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It is a circumstance which has frequently been remarked, that those authors who by their writings have greatly benefitted mankind, have left to posterity few particulars from which may be gathered the events of their own life. The course of a scholar rarely exhibits any incidents or features of variety. Living more with past generations than his own, holding converse with his books in preference to the world without, the daily tenor of his habits and occupations continues the same. We must be contented, therefore, to dwell with him in his seclusion, and to read the expression of his recorded thoughts, rather than expect to have to trace his history in events of more stirring interest. Such is the case with respect to the subject of the present memoir. The few particulars that have been preserved of the biography of William Fulke, may be briefly stated.
Of his parentage nothing is known. Bishop Wren1, who took some trouble to glean notices of his life, has not even left us the date of his birth: but we are incidentally informed by himself that he was born before the year 1538. (See p. 41, and compare the statement there with the notice in p. ix. of No. 17 of his works.) It is
£' Bishop Wren's collections have been used for a similar purpose by Tanner. (Historical Account of the Masters of Pembroke Hall. Compiled by Matthew Wren, Bishop of Ely. A MS. volume in possession of the College. Leland's Collectanea, Vol. v. p. 396.) The Manuscript life in Cuius College Library seems to be copied from the former.]
reasonably presumed, that he was born in London; and that whilst a boy at school he manifested indications of that talent which developed itself so conspicuously at a later age. An anecdote has been preserved which shews that even at an early period he was possessed with the ambition of distinguishing himself above his associates. It happened, singularly enough, that as a schoolfellow he came into competition with Edmund Campian in a contest for the prize of a silver pen, offered by one of the masters as a reward for the best literary exercise. Our aspiring young scholar being unsuccessful bore his disappointment with so ill a grace as to shed tears under it, indignantly looking forward to the reprisals of a future competition. From Christ's Hospital, where it appears likely that Fulke received the rudiments of his education, (as it is certain that Campian was educated there1,) he was transferred to St John's College, Cambridge, A. D. 1555. After taking his degree of bachelor of arts, his father, designing him for the legal profession, entered him a student of Clifford's Inn. During the six years and upwards that he remained here pursuing legal studies, he made himself well acquainted with the sciences, and gave to the world his Ovpavo/na-^ia, a treatise in which he exposed the absurdities of astrology. At length returning to the University, he proceeded to his Master's degree, being at the same time elected fellow of his college, A.d. 1564.
The change thus indicated in his plans so displeased his father, that for a tune he withdrew from him the necessary means of subsistence. The zeal of Fulke suffered, however, little diminution under his pecuniary difficulties; and we find him immediately pursuing his new course of study with alacrity. To that of theology he now joined
f1 This however is no conclusive evidence, especially as Pnlke must have been at least fifteen years old at the time of the foundation of the