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Samuel Croxall's Biography (Books)

Croxall, Samuel (1688/9-1752), poet and Church of England clergyman. Samuel Croxall is a published translator. A published credit of Samuel Croxall is Fables of Aesop.

Samuel Croxall Religious career:


With royal patronage behind him, and having made judicious friendships in the Anglican hierarchy, Croxall began moving up the ecclesiastical ladder too. In 1727 he was made a prebendary of Hereford Cathedral and the following year he became a Doctor of Divinity. In 1732 he was made Archdeacon of Shropshire and in 1738 chancellor of Hereford. By this time Samuel's brother Rodney had followed him into the ministry and was living in Hereford. Samuel scandalised the citizens by demolishing an ancient chapel and using the stone to build Rodney a house.

His later publications were mainly religious. These include six of his sermons which comprise, as well as "Incendiaries no Christians": one preached in Lambeth Chapel at the consecration of the bishops of Hereford and of St. David's (1723); one preached before the Honourable House of Commons at St. Margaret's, Westminster on the anniversary of the beheading of Charles I (1729); and one on "The antiquity, dignity and advantages of music", delivered in the cathedral church of Hereford on the occasion of the Three Choirs Festival in 1741. He also wrote the voluminous Scripture Politics: Being a View of the Original Constitution, and Subsequent Revolutions, in the Government Religious and Civil, of that people out of whom the SAVIOUR of the WORLD was to arise, published in 1735 with "the design to make the Bible more easily understood". At the end of his life he brought out a final poem, "The Royal Manual" (1750), a moral prayer and meditation containing 22 sections of 16 lines each.

Croxall's anti-Catholic stance was part of the libertarian programme adopted by the Whig supporters of a Protestant succession and is manifested in a variety of ways. Unsurprisingly it is to be found in his political poetry, most notably in the portrait of the proud, triple-crowned Romania, the companion of the tyrannising Sir Burbon in stanzas 38-9 of the first Spenserian canto, and in the stanza devoted to the Roman Inquisition (12) in the second. Another unfavourable allusion to Catholic practice occurs in the second of his extracts from Ovid's Fasti where, following a reference to the naked priests of Faunus, Croxall departs from the original to observe that in place of outward observation of the naked truth, "modern Rome, to scour us all from sin,/ Appoints a prying Priest to peep within".

A more surprising context for the party line is in the preface to The Fables of Aesop. Here Croxall attacks the principles of interpretation of his immediate predecessor as fabulist, Sir Roger L'Estrange, as "coined and suited to promote the growth, and serve the ends, of Popery and arbitrary power....In every political touch he shows himself to be the tool and hirelling of the Popish faction". L'Estrange's versions are as lively and colloquial as Croxall's while his commentaries are shorter and, if anything, less political. In fact, the rival author's real crime was to be a supporter of the Stuart regime, for which at one time he acted as press censor.

Croxall was engaged in several literary ventures on his own account. In 1720 he edited A Select Collection of Novels written by the most celebrated authors in several languages. In its four volumes were eighteen complete or extracted works by such authors as Madame de la Fayette, Miguel de Cervantes, Nicolas Machiavelli, the Abbe de St. Real, and Paul Scarron. So successful was this that he extended it to six volumes containing nine new works in 1722. Further editions under different titles followed into which some English works were also introduced. But Croxall was to achieve even greater success with his other work of 1722, The Fables of Aesop and Others, which were told in an easy colloquial style and followed by 'instructive applications'. Aimed at children, each fable was accompanied by illustrations which were soon to find their way onto household crockery and tiles. Several more editions were published in his lifetime and the book was continuously in print until well into the second half of the 19th century.

Source: wikipedia