Boyes, John Frederick (DNB00)

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BOYES, JOHN FREDERICK (1811–1879), classical scholar, born 10 Feb. 1811, entered Merchant Taylors' School in the month of October 1819, his father, Benjamin Boyes (a Yorkshireman), being then resident in Charterhouse Square. After a very creditable school career extending over nearly ten years, he went in 1829 as Andrew's civil law exhibitioner to St. John's College, Oxford, having relinquished a scholarship which he had gained in the previous year at Lincoln College. He graduated B.A. in 1833, taking a second class in classics, his papers on history and poetry being of marked excellence. Soon afterwards he was appointed second master of the proprietary school, Walthamstow, and eventually succeeded to the head-mastership, which he filled for many years. He proceeded M.A. in due course. At school, at Oxford (whither he was summoned to act as examiner at responsions in 1842), and among a large circle of discriminating friends, he enjoyed a high reputation for culture and scholarship. 'There was not an English or Latin or Greek poet with whom he was not familiar, and from whom he could not make the most apposite quotations. With the best prose authors in our own and in French, and indeed other continental literature, he was thoroughly acquainted' (Archdeacon Hessey). The fruits of his extensive reading and literary taste are to be seen in his published works, which evince also considerable originality of thought, terseness of expression, and felicity of illustration. The closing years of his life were largely devoted to practical benevolence, in the exercise of which he was as humble as he was liberal. He died at Maida Hill, London, 26 May 1879.

His writings comprise:

  1. 'Illustrations of the Tragedies of Æschylus and Sophocles, from the Greek, Latin, and English Poets,' 1844.
  2. 'English Repetitions, in Prose and Verse, with introductory remarks on the cultivation of taste in the young,' 1849.
  3. 'Life and Books, a Record of Thought and Reading,' 1859.
  4. 'Lacon in Council,' 1865. The two latter works remind one very much in their style and texture of 'Guesses at Truth,' by the brothers Hare.

[Robinson's Register of Merchant Taylors' School, ii. 211; Information from Archdeacon Hessey, Dr. Seth B. Watson, and other personal friends of Mr. Boyes; Preface and Appendix to Sermon by Rev. J. G. Tanner (E. Hale), 1879.]

C. J. R.