the fall of Troy. Benoît diverges very widely from the classical tradition, and M. Léopold Constans sees reason to suppose that the trouvère founded his poem on an amplified version of the Dares narrative that has not come down to us. In the Roman de Troie first appeared the episode of Troïlus and Briseïde, that was to be developed later in the Filostrato of Boccaccio, which in its turn formed the basis of Chaucer’s Troilus and Creseide. The Shakespearian play of Troilus and Cressida is also indirectly derived from Benoît’s story.
On the strength of a certain similarity of treatment Benoît has sometimes been credited with the authorship of the anonymous Roman d’Énéas and of the Roman de Thèbes, a romance derived indirectly from the Thebaïs of Statius. M. Constans is inclined to negative both these attributions. It is not even certain that the Benoît who chronicled the deeds of the Norman dukes for Henry II. between 1172 and 1176 was the Benoît de Sainte-More of the Roman de Troie.
The Chronique des ducs de Normandie was edited by Francisque Michel in 1836-1844; the Roman de Troie by A. Joly in 1870-1871; the Énéas, by J. J. Salverda de Grave in H. Suchier’s Bibliotheca Normannica in 1891; the Roman de Thèbes for the Société des anciens textes français, by M. L. Constans in 1890. See E. D. Grand in La Grande Encyclopédie; L. Constans in Petit de Julleville’s Hist. de la langue et de la litt, française (vol. i. pp. 171-225). where the three romances are analysed at length. The prefaces to the editions just mentioned discuss the authorship of the romances.
BENSERADE, ISAAC DE (1613-1691), French poet, was born in Paris, and baptized on the 5th of November 1613. His family appears to have been connected with Richelieu, who bestowed on him a pension of 600 livres. He began his literary career with the tragedy of Cléopâtre (1635), which was followed by four other indifferent pieces. On Richelieu’s death Benserade lost his pension, but became more and more a favourite at court, especially with Anne of Austria. He provided the words for the court ballets, and was, in 1674, admitted to the Academy, where he wielded an influence quite out of proportion to the merit of his work. In 1676 the failure of his Métamorphoses d’Ovide in the form of rondeaux gave a blow to his reputation, but by no means destroyed his vogue with his contemporaries. Benserade would probably be forgotten but for his sonnet on Job (1651). This sonnet, which he sent to a young lady with his paraphrase on Job, having been placed in competition with the Urania of Voiture, a dispute on their relative merits long divided the whole court and the wits into two parties, styled respectively the Jobelins and the Uranists. The partisans of Benserade were headed by the prince de Conti and Mile de Scudéry, while Mme de Montausier and J. G. de Balzac took the side of Voiture.
Some years before his death, on the 19th of October 1691, Benserade retired to Chantilly, and devoted himself to a translation of the Psalms, which he nearly completed.
BENSLEY, ROBERT, an 18th-century English actor, of whom Charles Lamb in the Essays of Elia speaks with special praise. His early life is obscure, and he is said to have served in America as a lieutenant of marines; but he appeared at Drury Lane in 1765, and at that house and at Covent Garden, and later at the Haymarket, he played important parts up to 1796, when he retired from the stage. He appears then to have been given a small post under the government, a paymastership, which he resigned in 1798. He is stated in various quarters to have died in 1817, but Mr Joseph Knight shows in his article in the Dict. Nat. Biog. that this is due to a confusion with another man named William Bensley, who possibly belonged to the family of printers of whom Thomas Bensley (d. 1833) was the chief representative. On the stage he was simply “Mr Bensley,” but though he is named William and even Richard in some accounts, Mr Knight shows that his name was certainly Robert. The actual date of his death is unknown, though it was probably later than 1809, when he is said to have inherited a fortune. His great character was Malvolio, but Charles Lamb’s fervent admiration of his acting seems to have outrun the general opinion.
BENSON, EDWARD WHITE (1829-1896), archbishop of Canterbury, was born on the 14th of July 1829, at Birmingham. He came of a family of Yorkshire dalesmen, his father, whose name was also Edward White Benson, being a manufacturing chemist of some note. He was educated at King Edward VI.’s school, Birmingham, under James Prince Lee, afterwards bishop of Manchester, and amongst his school-fellows were B. F. Westcott and J. B. Lightfoot, both of whom preceded him to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was elected a sub-sizar in 1848, becoming subsequently sizar and scholar. The death of his widowed mother in 1850 left him almost without resources, with a family of younger brothers and sisters dependent upon him. Relations came to his aid, and presently his anxieties were relieved by Francis Martin, bursar of Trinity, who gave him liberal help. Benson took his degree in 1852 as a senior optime, eighth classic and senior chancellor’s medallist, and was elected fellow of Trinity in the following year. He became a master at Rugby, first under E. M. Goulburn, and then (1857) under Frederick Temple, who became his lifelong friend; he was also ordained deacon in 1854 and priest in 1856. From Rugby he went to be first headmaster of Wellington College, which was opened in January 1859; and in the course of the same year he married his cousin, Mary Sidgwick. The school flourished under his management and also developed his administrative abilities, but gradually his thoughts began to turn towards other work. In 1868 he became prebendary of Lincoln and examining chaplain to Bishop Christopher Wordsworth, an office which he also held for a short time in 1870 for Dr Temple, just appointed to the see of Exeter. In 1872 his acceptance of the chancellorship of Lincoln opened a new period of his life. As chancellor, the statutes directed him to study theology, to train others in that study and to oversee the educational work of the diocese. To such work Benson at once devoted himself; and did more perhaps than any other man to reinvigorate cathedral life in England. He started a theological college (the Scholae Cancellarii), founded night schools, delivered courses of lectures on church history, held Bible classes, and was instrumental in founding a society of mission preachers for the diocese, the “Novate Novale.” Early in 1877 he was consecrated first bishop of Truro, and threw himself with characteristic vigour into the work of organizing the new diocese. His knowledge, his sympathy, his enthusiasm soon made themselves felt everywhere; the ruridecanal conferences of clergy became a real force, and the church in Cornwall was inspired with a vitality that had never been possible when it was part of the unwieldy diocese of Exeter. A chapter was constituted, the bishop being dean; amongst its members was a canon missioner (the first to be appointed in England), and the Scholae Cancellarii were founded after the Lincoln pattern. Moreover, the bishop at once set to work to build a cathedral. The foundation-stone was laid on the 20th of May 1880, and on the 3rd of November 1887 the building, so far as then completed, was consecrated. On the death of Dr Tait, Benson was nominated to the see of Canterbury and was enthroned on the 29th of March 1883. His primacy was one of almost unprecedented activity.
Frequent communications passed between him and the heads of the Eastern Churches. With their approval a bishop was again consecrated, after six years’ interval (1881-1887), for the Anglican congregations in Jerusalem and the East; and the features which had made the plan objectionable to many English churchmen were now abolished. In 1886, after much careful investigation, he founded the “Archbishop’s Mission to the Assyrian Christians,” having for its object the instruction and the strengthening from within of the “Nestorian” churches of the East (see Nestorians). An interchange of courtesies with the Metropolitan of Kiev on the occasion of the 900th anniversary of the conversion of Russia (1888), led to further intercourse, which has tended to a friendlier feeling between the English and Russian churches. On the other hand, with the efforts towards a rapprochement with the Church of Rome, to which the visit of the French Abbé Portal in 1894 gave some stimulus, the archbishop would have nothing to do.
With the other churches of the Anglican Communion the archbishop’s relations were cordial in the extreme and grew