1869 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Benwell

John Forster, in Walter Savage Landor, a Biography (1869) 25.



He [Landor] remained at Oxford little more than a year and a half, between 1793 and 1794, and used to call the hours passed with Walter Birch in the Magdalen walk by the half-hidden Cherwell (the road of which Addison was so fond) the pleasantest he could remember, as well as the most profitable. Of his studies there is little to be said. For a portion of the time he certainly read hard, but the results he kept to himself. "Though I wrote better Latin verses than any undergraduate or graduate in the University," he wrote to Dr. Davy, in 1857, "I could never be persuaded, by my tutor or friends, to contend for any prize whatever. I showed my compositions to Birch of Magdalen, my old friend at Rugby; and to Cary, the translator of Dante; to none else." It is at the same time unquestionable that his extraordinary talents, and skill in both the ancient languages, had impressed greatly his tutor Benwell, and the president and fellows of Trinity; and I have heard him say frequently that Benwell ("dear good Benwell") shed tears when his favourite pupil was obliged to quit the college.