William Johnson Cory
Biography of William Johnson Cory
English schoolmaster and author, son of Charles Johnson of Torrington, Devonshire, was born on the 9th of January 1823. He was educated at Eton and King’s College, Cambridge. At Cambridge he gained the chancellor’s medal for an English poem on Plato in 1843, and the Craven Scholarship in 1844. In 1845, after graduating at the university, he was made an assistant master at Eton, where he remained for some twenty-six years. He has been called “the most brilliant Eton tutor of his day.” He had a great influence on his pupils, and he defended the Etonian system against the criticism of Matthew James Higgins. In 1872, having inherited an estate at Halsdon and assumed the name of Cory, he left Eton. He married late in life, and after four years spent in Madeira he settled in 1882 at Hampstead. He died on the 11th of June 1892. He proved his genuine lyrical power in lonica (1858), which was republished with some additional poems in 1891. He also produced Lucretilis (1871), a work on the writing of Latin verses; lophon (1873), on Greek Iambics; and Guide to Modern History from 1815 to 1835 (1882). Extracts from the Letters and Journals of William Cory, which contains much paradoxical and suggestive criticism, were edited by F.W. Cornish and published by private subscription in 1897.
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They told me, Heraclitus, they told me you were dead,
They brought me bitter news to hear and bitter tears to shed.
I wept, as I remembered, how often you and I
Had tired the sun with talking and sent him down the sky.
And now that thou art lying, my dear old Carian guest,
A handful of grey ashes, long long ago at rest,
Still are thy pleasant voices, thy nightingales, awake;
For Death, he taketh all away, but them he cannot take.