Rugby School, Lawrence Sheriff St, Rugby CV22 5EH, UK
University of Cambridge, 4 Mill Ln, Cambridge CB2 1RZ
Farringford House, Bedbury Ln, Freshwater PO40 9PE, UK
Clifton College, 32 College Rd, Bristol, City of Bristol BS8 3JH
5 Downleaze, Stoke Bishop, Bristol BS9 1NB, UK
Higher Coombe, Highercombe Rd, Haslemere GU27 2LQ, UK
Saint Bartholmew's Churchyard Haslemere, Waverley Borough, Surrey, England
Henry Graham Dakyns, often H. G. Dakyns (August 1, 1838 - June 28, 1911), was a British translator of Ancient Greek, best known for his translations of Xenophon: the Cyropaedia and Hellenica, The Economist, Hiero and On Horsemanship. Graham had numerous correspondences with Tennyson and his wife, Henry Sidgwick, John Addington Symonds and T.E. Brown and other nineteenth century literary figures. John Addington Symonds had studied Walt Whitman's poems carefully when, in February 1867, he wrote a "secret letter" to his close friend and confidant, Henry Graham Dakyns, a classicist and professor at Clifton College. If only Symonds had read Leaves of Grass earlier, he said, "I should have been a braver better very different man now." Leaves of Grass was "not a book," he exclaimed, "it is a man, miraculous in his vigour & love... & animalisme & onnivorous humanity." On March 3, 1889, Symonds confided to his friend, Horatio Brown, that he had recently begun "a new literary work of the utmost importance, my "Autobiography."" Later in March, an excited Symonds wrote to Henry Graham Dakyns, to say that he would let his executors decide what to do with his memoirs, "the most considerable product of my pen." He added: "You see I have "never spoken out."" And it is a "great temptation to speak out" when, for two years, he had been researching the biographies of the artists Benvenuto Cellini and Carlo Gozzi, "men who spoke out so magnificently.""
Henry Graham Dakyns was born on the island of St. Vincent in the West Indies on 1 August 1838. His father, Thomas Henry Dakyns (1803-1874) was a physician, who later left St. Vincent and became an attorney, running several estates. He later moved to England after the decline of the sugar trade in 1845 and was made Sub-Treasurer of the Middle Temple (Inn of Court) in London.
Thomas Dakyns had married his half-cousin, Harriet Dasent (1814-1868), sister of George Webbe Dasent, translator of the Icelandic sagas, in 1834. They had six sons: John Roche Dakyns (1836-1910), Henry Graham Dakyns (1838-1911), Bury Irwin Dakyns (1842-1918), Charles Stewart Dakyns (b.1844), Thomas Arnold Dakyns (1847-1910) and George Doherty Dakyns (1856-1939).
Henry Graham Dakyns attended Rugby School from 1850 to 1856 and Trinity College, Cambridge from 1857 to 1860 (B.A. in 1860 and M.A. in 1864). Upon graduation in 1860, Henry Graham Dakyns became the tutor of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's two sons: Hallam Tennyson (1852-1928) and Lionel Tennyson (1854-1886). He held this position at Farringford, Isle of Wight until 1861. In September 1862, he was appointed Assistant Master of Classics at Clifton College, Bristol, where he remained until 1889. Though he never played himself, he started the Rugby Football Club at Clifton College. His brother, C.S.Daykyns, was a founding member of the Richmond club. Another brother was said to have enjoyed playing the game so much that he stayed at Rugby School until he was twenty, and eventually had to be asked to leave.
Henry Graham Dakyns married Margaret Elsy Pirie Cay (1846-1908), daughter of Alexander Pirie and Charlotte Ann Lindsay, in 1872. She was the widow of Charles Hope Cay. They had three children, Henry Graham Dakyns (1874-1937, who married Winifred Dakyns, close friend of Katharine Furse)), Margaret Frances Dakyns (1877-1960), and Arthur Lindsay Dakyns (1883-1941). In the 1881 census they are living at 5 Downleaze, Westbury on Trym, Gloucestershire.
From 1881 until 1883, Henry Graham Dakyns took a sabbatical in Greece to work on his edition of the Complete Works of Xenophon. In December 1889, he retired from Clifton College, moving to Higher Coombe, Haslemere in 1891, to be closer to his life-long friend Alfred Lord Tennyson. He co-edited the Collected Poems of T.E. Brown (1900) with Horatio Brown & W.E. Henley and the Golden Treasury Selected Poems of T.E. Brown (1908) with Horatio Brown. He also contributed the chapter "Tennyson, Clough & the Classics" to Tennyson & his Friends (1911), edited by Hallam, Lord Tennyson, Macmillan & Co. Ltd.
Henry Graham Dakyns died of a heart attack at Haslemere Station, Surrey on the eve of the Coronation, June 21, 1911, while waiting for some visitors. His splendid 'Tudorbethan' house in the town, Higher Coombe, (worth a few million these days) was sold and the effects dispersed among his children. In July 1911 the Clifton College magazine, The Cliftonian, published reminiscences by former pupils.He is buried at St. Bartholomew's, Haslemere. Inside the church there is the Tennyson Window, designed by Burne-Jones. It depicts Sir Galahad at the chapel where he saw a vision of the Holy Grail. I Galahad saw the Grail, the Holy Grail descend upon the shrine, And in the strength of this I rode, shattering all evil customs everywhere. The Holy Grail was one of Tennyson's Idylls of the King (1869), which in itself was an allusion to The Holy Grail.
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