Tuesday, July 23, 2013


William Linwood

W. Tuckwell, Reminiscences of Oxford (London: Cassell and Company, Limited, 1900), p. 156 (on William Linwood, 1817-1878):
He is known to the present generation as compiler of the "Anthologia Oxoniensis." He was a rough, shabby fellow when I remember him, living in London, and coming up to examine in the Schools, where he used to scandalise his colleagues by proposing that for the adjudication of Classes they should "throw into the fire all that other rubbish, and go by the Greek Prose." It was said of him that somewhat late in life, reading St. Paul's Epistles for the first time, and asked by Gaisford what he thought of them, he answered "that they contained a good deal of curious matter, but the Greek was execrable."
Sir William Gregory, K.C.M.G., Formerly Member of Parliament and Sometime Governor of Ceylon. An Autobiography, ed. Lady Gregory, 2nd ed. (London: John Murray, 1894), pp. 44-45:
At the time of my matriculation, I remarked, among the other students undergoing the ordeal, one in particular, who struck me much. He seemed very old, very ugly, very unclean, and very uncouth, and I wondered what could have brought such a creature to such a smart college as Christ Church. Shortly after my coming up there were three exhibitions or scholarships for Christ Church men alone. They were pleasant things to get, as they about paid for the food of the holder of them. I went in, thought I had done a most successful examination, as many subjects were given with which I was thoroughly conversant, and when the result was announced it was Linwood first, Gregory second. My antiquated and dirty companion at matriculation was the victor, and by all accounts an easy winner. It was hardly a crumb of comfort to have got the second. A rumour pervaded the college that he wrote off sixty or eighty of the most unimpeachable Greek iambics, whereas I felt rather elated at having produced about twenty during the same period of two hours, all of which were not unimpeachable.

The same year I contested the Craven Scholarship, open to all the University, and there I found my old antagonist. I had still great hopes that I should be able to turn the tables on him, but alas! it was again Linwood first, Gregory second. I had only the barren honour of being the second best scholar of my year. It was truly unfortunate my coming into contact with this remarkably learned man, a kind of modern Porson in Greek, the author of the profound "Lexicon Aeschylaus [sic, read Aeschyleum]" and the subsequent master of Birmingham school; for not only had I to submit to the bitterness of defeat, but I became disheartened and gradually estranged from the steady reading set of men, with whom I had allied myself at the beginning of my Oxford career.

From Ian Jackson:
A small addition to your account of Linwood. It's from H.C. Beeching's anonymous "Pages from a Private Diary" as published in The Cornhill Magazine for March 1898 (new series volume 4), p.388: entry for January 1, 1898:
Linwood is forgotten now, but he was a character in his day. 'My dear boy,' he said once, as he corrected a piece of Greek prose — 'my dear boy, you have been reading the Greek Testament again; I wish you wouldn't.'

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