1853 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Francis Hodgson

Anonymous, Obituary in Gentleman's Magazine NS 39 (April 1853) 442-43.



Dec. 29. At his lodge, in the 72nd year of his age, the Rev. Francis Hodgson, B.D. Provost of Eton College, and Rector of Cottesford, Oxfordshire.

Mr. Hodgson was the son of the Rev. James Hodgson, M.A. Rector of Humber, co. Hereford, by Jane, second daughter of the Rev. Richard Cole, Vicar of Eardisley, in that county.

He was educated at Eton, where his tutors were the Rev. John Roberts and Dr. Keate, both afterwards Head Master. He was elected in 1799 to King's college, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. 1804, and M.A. 1807; and was tutor to Mr. Lambton (afterwards Earl of Durham) and his brothers. In 1807 he returned to Eton as an Assistant Master, but resigned in the same year.

While at Cambridge he formed an intimacy with the late Lord Byron, equally honourable to both, and which was only put an end to by the death of the noble poet. Lord Byron not only regarded Mr. Hodgson with great affection, but entertained a very high opinion of his intellectual endowments. This opinion was justified by the deceased; in particular, by a translation of Juvenal (in 4to. 1808), a volume entitled Lady Jane Grey, with Miscellaneous Poems in English and Latin, 1809, 8vo., and Sir Edgar, a Tale, in two Cantos, 1810. In his later days he made considerable contributions in Latin to the Arundines Cami — a collection of poems in Latin and Greek, which was the successful and very popular forerunner of two other beautiful works of similar character — the Anthologia Oxoniensis and Sabrinae Corolla. He also published several books with the view of directing the students of Eton in the art of versification, which has so long been the boast of that school. We add the titles of these and some earlier productions:—

A translation of Twelve Books of Charlemagne, ou l'Eglise Deliveree, an Epic Poem by Lucien Buonaparte, the other twelve being translated by Dr. Butler, 1815.

The Friends: a Poem, in four Books. 1818, 12mo. (Dedicated to the Duke of Rutland.)

Mythology for Versification; or, a brief Sketch of the Fables of the Ancients, prepared to be rendered into Latin verse. (Four editions.)

Select portions of Sacred History, conveyed in sense for Latin Verses. (Three editions.)

Sacred Lyrics; or, Extracts from the Prophetical and other Scriptures of the Old Testament; adapted to Latine Versification, in the principal metres of Horace. 1842. 12mo. (Dedicated to Dr. Keate.)

Lyricorum Sacorum, sive ex Propheticis, et aliis Veteris Testamenti libris excerptorum, Clavis Metrica. 1850. 8vo.

In 1816 Mr. Hodgson was presented by the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield to the vicarage of Bakewell in Derbyshire, and in 1836 he was appointed Archdeacon of Derby. The latter preferment he resigned in 1840. We believe he also held for some time the donative chapelry of Edensor, in the gift of the Duke of Devonshire.

In March 1840 he was elected Provost of Eton by the Fellows, on her Majesty's recommendation; and shortly after he became Rector of Cottesford, one of the livings attached to Eton.

Mr. Hodgson was a scholar of sound and accurate judgment, and of delicate and refined taste. As a man, he was remarkable for benevolence and singular kindness of heart. As a friend, he was no less worthy of admiration for warmth and sincerity of affection. His health had been visibly declining some time past; about ten days before his death he was attacked with erysiphelas in the head, which from the first assumed an alarming character.

Mr. Hodgson was twice married. His first wife was Miss Tayler, sister to Mr. Frederick Tayler, an admirable painter in water-colours; she died, leaving no child. He married secondly, May 3, 1838, the Hon. Elizabeth Denman, eldest daughter of Lord Chief Justice Denman. She survives him, with five children.

The body of the Provost was deposited in the same vault in Eton College chapel in which lie the remains of Provost Goodall and the late Marquis Wellesley. His funeral on the 4th Jan. was attended by his cousin and brother-in-law, the Rev. George Coke as chief mourner, by his nephew George Francis Coke, esq. the Hon. Capt. Denman, the Rev. Henry Taylor, the Hon. George Denman, Captain Holland, H. Merivale, esq. and Thomas A. Soley, esq. and by several of the Fellows of Eton, the two Masters and several Assistant Masters of the School.