Johnston, Arthur

Johnston, Arthur a Scottish writer of great celebrity, a native of Caskieben, near Aberdeen, was born in 1587. He was a physician by profession, but spent most of his time in literary pursuits; especially thorough was his acquaintance with Latin, and it is mainly for his Latin version of the Psalms, one of his last and best works, that we mention his name here. They were published under the title of Psalmorum Davidis Paraphrasis Poetica, et Canticorum Evangelicorum (Anerd. 1637, 12mo, and often since). As another writer of note, George Buchanan, also furnished a Latin version of the Psalms, a comparison was frequently instituted as to the comparative merits of their work. Hallam (Liter. Hist. of Europe, 4th ed. Lond. 1854, 3, 53), in alluding to it, thinks that "Johnston's Psalms, all of which are in elegiac meter, do not fall far short of those of Buchanan either in elegance of style or correctness of Latinity. Johnston spent the earlier part of his life in France and Italy. His medical degree he obtained at Padua. He returned to Scotland in 1625, and about 1628 was appointed physician to the court of Charles I. In 1637 his literary attainments received recognition by his election to the rectorate of King's College. He died in 1641. Besides the Psalms, he translated into Latin the Te Deum, Creed, Decalogue, etc.; also Solomon's Song (Lond. 1633, 8vo). His other publications are Elegiain Obitum R. Jacobi (Lond. 1625, 4to) : — Epigrammata (Aberdeen, 1632, 8vo). See memoirs of him in Benson's ed. of Johnston's version of the Psalms; Allibone, Dict. of Eng. and Amer. Authors, 2, 983; Cyclop. Brit. vol. 12, s.v.

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