Smyth [also Smythe], William (1765–1849)

Historian and poet. Born in Liverpool, he was educated at Eton College and Peterhouse, Cambridge. His appointment as Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge in 1807 was controversial and attributed to patronage by the Holland House set. He wrote poetry – publishing English Lyrics in 1807 – and took an interest in contemporary poets, including Henry Kirke White, whom he knew during the latter’s time at university. Smyth’s verse epitaph to White, which also praised Southey, was inscribed on a memorial to White in All Saints’ Church, Cambridge. Smyth and Southey corresponded about this monument in 1819–1820.