Dr. William Dodd was a student of this college [Clare Hall]. He took his M.A. degree in 1759, his L.L.D. in 1766. On his first leaving college, he became acquainted with some leading men among the Hutchinsonians and Methodists: but soon leaving them for other pursuits, and other connexions, he became Prebendary of Brecon, and one of the King's Chaplains; and was for many years a popular and much-loved preacher.
His writings are various and numerous. He published an English translation of Callimachus's Greek Hymns, with Notes; a Commentary, and Notes on the Bible; Sermons on the Parables; Sermons to Young Men, with appropriate Anecdotes, in two volumes; several single sermons; the Beauties of Shakspeare, in three volumes, and some anonymous pieces.
He was also the original planner of the Christian Magazine, and for some time the principal writer in it; where his most conspicuous pieces are, Reflections on Death, and various poems. He was also with Mr. Jonas Hanway, one of the first promoters of the Magadalen hospital, to which he became chaplain, and in behalf of which he published hymns and recommendatory addresses.
Of his melancholy end, so well known to every one, it is not our business to say any thing, except that it happened June 27, 1777; and that his Thoughts in Prison, and a Sermon addressed to his unhappy Fellow-convicts, are given to Dr. Samuel Johnson; but with what justice I do not know.
I have just recollected the following elegant lines written by this unfortunate man.
To a Lady, on her presenting the Author with a Rose-Bud.
The smallest of presents, received from the fair,
With pleasure we take, and with transport we wear;
But the gift of a Rose-Bud, Eliza, from thee,
Is a present, which fit for a monarch might be;
And remember one virtue the Rose hath to boast,
That its fragrance remains, when its beauty is lost.