it was brief, for Mrs. Porson died of a decline on 12 April 1797. [The year of the marriage is given as 1795 by some authorities, but H. R. Luard, Cambridge Essays, 1857, p. 154, is right in giving 1796.] During the few months of his married life Porson lived at 11 Lancaster Court, but after his wife's death he went back to his chambers at the Temple in Essex Court. The six years 1797–1802 were busy; they saw the publication of the four plays of Euripides which he edited. About 1802 a London firm of publishers offered him a large sum for an edition of Aristophanes. A letter preserved among the Porson MSS. in the library of Trinity College proves that even as late as 1805 such a work was still expected from him. Dean Gaisford had found in the Bodleian Library ‘a very complete and full index verborum to Aristophanes,’ and on 29 Oct. 1805 he writes to Porson offering to send him the book, ‘that if it should suit your purpose, it might be subjoined to your edition, which we look for with much eagerness and solicitude.’ But, during the last five or six years of his life, Porson's health was not such as to admit of close or sustained application to study. He now suffered severely from his old trouble of asthma, and habits had grown upon him which were wholly incompatible with steady labour. In 1805 the London Institution was founded; it was then in the Old Jewry, whence it was afterwards removed to Finsbury Circus. The managers elected Porson to the post of principal librarian, with a salary of 200l. a year and a set of rooms (No. 8 Old Jewry), an appointment which was notified to him on 23 April by Richard Sharp (‘Conversation Sharp’), one of the electors. ‘I am sincerely rejoiced,’ Sharp writes, ‘in the prospect of those benefits which the institution is likely to derive from your reputation and talents, and of the comforts which I hope that you will find in your connection with us.’ The managers afterwards complained (and justly in the opinion of some of Porson's friends) that his attendance was irregular, and that he did nothing to enlarge the library; but in one respect, at least, he made a good librarian—he was always ready to give information to the numerous callers at his rooms in the Institution who came to consult him on matters of ancient or modern literature.
Early in 1808 his wonderful memory began to show signs of failure, and later in the year he suffered from intermittent fever. In September he complained of feeling thoroughly ill, with sensations like those of ague. On Monday morning, 19 Sept., he called at the house of his brother-in-law, Perry, in Lancaster Court, Strand, and, not finding him at home, went on towards Charing Cross. At the corner of Northumberland Street he was seized with apoplexy, and was taken to the workhouse in St. Martin's Lane. He could not speak, and the people there had no clue to his identity; they therefore sent an advertisement to the ‘British Press,’ which described him as ‘a tall man, apparently about forty-five years of age, dressed in a blue coat and black breeches, and having in his pocket a gold watch, a trifling quantity of silver, and a memorandum-book, the leaves of which were filled chiefly with Greek lines written in pencil, and partly effaced; two or three lines of Latin, and an algebraical calculation; the Greek extracts being principally from ancient medical works.’ Next morning (20 Sept.) this was seen by James Savage, the under-librarian of the London Institution, who went to St. Martin's Lane and brought Porson home. As they drove from Charing Cross to the Old Jewry, Porson chatted with his usual animation, showing much concern about the great fire which had destroyed Covent Garden Theatre the day before. On reaching the Institution, he breakfasted on green tea (his favourite kind) and toast, and was well enough to have a long talk with Dr. Adam Clarke in the library, about a stone with a Greek inscription which had just been found in the kitchen of a London house. Later in the day he went to Cole's Coffee-house in St. Michael's Alley, Cornhill. There he had another fit, and was brought back to the Old Jewry and put to bed. This was on Tuesday afternoon, 20 Sept. His brother-in-law Perry was sent for, and showed him the greatest kindness to the end. He sank gradually during the week, and died at midnight on Sunday, 25 Sept. 1808, in the forty-ninth year of his age. On 4 Oct. he was buried in the chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge, the funeral service being read by the master, Dr. Mansel. Many Trinity men have heard the veteran geologist, Professor Adam Sedgwick, tell how he chanced to come into Cambridge from the country on that day, without knowing that it had been fixed for the funeral, and how, anxious to join in honouring the memory of the great scholar, he borrowed a black coat from a friend, and took his place in the long procession which followed the coffin from the college hall through the great court. Porson's tomb is at the foot of Newton's statue in the ante-chapel, near the place where two other scholars who, like him, died prematurely—Dobree and John Wordsworth—were afterwards laid. Bentley rests at the eastern end of the same chapel.