Epitaphium Roberti Rolloci (1599)

Robert Rollock (1555-1599) was educated by Thomas Buchanan (George Buchanan's nephew) at Stirling before embarking on university study at St Andrews. He gained his MA in St Salvator's college between 1574 and c.1577 and then studied theology under the Melvilles at St Mary's College. Rollock was appointed as the first principal of the 'tounis college' in Edinburgh (later Edinburgh University) in 1583, and theological teaching under Rollock shows the influence, in terms of the use of commonplaces and Ramist methodology, of Melville's programme of divinity study. He was made minister of Greyfriars Kirk in 1598 before his sudden early death in 1599. A skilled biblical commentator, he produced 'logical analyses' (variously titled as 'Analyis Dialectica', 'Analysis Logica', and 'Commentarius Analytica Methodo Conscriptus') on a range of books in the New Testament and several works on covenant and federal theology. At least forty printings of his works were produced in Edinburgh and in Calvinist centres on the Continent between 1590 and 1634. Rollock was one of several of Melville's learned colleagues at Scottish and Continental universities for whom he wrote epitaphs, including the Aberdeen and Glasgow principals Alexander Arbuthnot and Thomas Smeaton (d2_MelA_050 and d2_MelA_051) and the students Johannes Wallasius and James Lindsay (d2_MelA_013 and d2_MelA_053). See James Kirk, 'Rollock, Robert (1555-1599)', ODNB; Reid, Humanism and Calvinism, pp. 205-12. Metre: phalacean hendecasyllables.

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Epitaphium Roberti Rolloci

1Dux Rolloce gregis tener tenelli,
doctarum decus elegantiarum, 1
et morum specimen modestiorum:
dux Rolloce gregis sacer sacrati,
5sal terrae, sine fraude, luxque mundi,
et vitae speculum laboriosae:
quo diversus abis? Tuos relinquis
Link to an image of this page  [p115] praesens? Anne abiens tuos relinquis?
Invidit tibi nemo sanus unquam,
10aut cari emeritum gregis favorem
aut clari aureolum gregis decorem.
Invidit tibi nemo publicata
castarum intima cogitationum
sanctarum abdita lucubrationum.
15Invidit tibi nemo gratiam aulae,
gratam gratiam, eam et redintegratam,
grata ut gratia sit redintegrata:
invidit tibi nemo propagatum,
saepe a principe pene principatum:
20nil horum tibi ego, tibi nec ullus
unquam sane. At invidemus omnes
(tantillum aut invidere si fas,
quanquam non magis invidemus omnes
quam lugemus item et dolemus omnes)
25istam praeproperam festinationem,
26a nobis procul hinc abitionem.

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The epitaph of Robert Rollock

Rollock, tender leader of a tender little flock, the ornament of learned refinement, and the model of a more sober kind of behaviour: Rollock, sacred leader of a consecrated flock, salt of the earth, lacking in guile, the light of the world, and the example of an industrious life: where, now that you have crossed over, do you go? Does your presence remain when you leave behind your flock? Link to an image of this page  [p115] Or do you vanish when you leave them behind? No sane man begrudges you anything, either of the deserved favour of your dear flock or of the golden honour of your celebrated flock. No man begrudges you the published inner workings of your chaste thoughts and the hidden depths of your sacred night-labours. No man begrudges you the grace of the court, a grateful grace that, as it has renewed the court, so too a grateful grace has been renewed: no man begrudges you your virtual pre-eminence, which has been frequently added to by the prince: holy man, I begrudge you none of these things, nor does anyone begrudge you anything. But we all begrudge (or rather, if it is lawful to begrudge you this trifle, yet we do not all begrudge you this more than we all lament and grieve it) that overly rash haste of yours, and your departure hence from us, far away.



1: cf. Panormita, Amores I.27: 'Antoni, decus elegantiarum...'