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William Johnson Cory

(1823 - 1892 / England)

Biography of William Johnson Cory

William Johnson Cory poet

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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Mimnermus in Church

You promise heavens free from strife,
Pure truth, and perfect change of will;
But sweet, sweet is this human life,
So sweet, I fain would breathe it still;
Your chilly stars I can forgo,
This warm kind world is all I know.

You say there is no substance here,
One great reality above:

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