Rogers, Benjamin

, doctor of music, and an ecclesiastical composer, whose works are still contained in our cathedral service, and for whose fame Anthony Wood has manifested great zeal, was born at Windsor, and brought up in that college under Dr. Nath. Giles; being employed there, first as a singing boy, and afterwards in the capacity of lay clerk or singing man. Thence he went to Ireland, and was appointed organist of Christ-church ia Dublin, where he continued till the breaking out of the rebellion, in 1641; at which time, being forced to quit his station, he returned to Windsor, where he was again reinstated as choirman; but being soon after silenced in consequence of the civil wars, he procured a subsistence by teaching in the neighbourhood. And during this time, according to his friend Anthony Wood, having addicted himself much to study, he acquired great credit as a composer, and produced several sets of airs in four parts for violins and an organ, which being then imagined the best that could be composed of that kind, were sent as great rarities to the archduke Leopold, afterwards emperor, and himself a great musician; and, upon their being performed by his band, they were very much admired.

In 1658, by the favour of his friend Dr. Ingelo, he’obtained the degree of bachelor in music at Cambridge, and acquired great reputation in that university by his exercise. Soon after, on Dr. Ingelo going chaplain to Bulstrode lord Whitelock, into Sweden, he carried with him some of Rogers’s best compositions, which, upon being | repcatedly performed in the presence of Christiana, queen of Sweden, were very much applauded. At the restoration he was appointed to compose the music that was performed at Guildhall, on the day iiis majesty and his brothers, the dukes of York and Gloucester, dined there with the lordmayor, by which he greatly increased his reputation. About this time also he was chosen organist of Eton college, which he resigned soon after, on being invited to Oxford, where he was appointed to the same office in Magdalen college. And in I6G9, upon opening the new theatre in that city, he was created doctor in music. Me continued, says Ant. Wood, in the university, where he was much esteemed, till 1685, when he was ejected, in company with the fellows of his college, by king James II. after which he long resided in the skirts of the town, wholly disregarded.

His compositions for instruments,” says Ant. Wood, “whether in two, three, or four parts, have been highly valued, and were thirty years ago always first called for, taken out and played as well in the public music schools, as in private chambers: and Dr. Wilson, the professor, (the greatest and most curious judge of music that ever was), usually wept when he heard them well performed, as being wrapt up in an ecstacy or, if you will, melted down while others smiled, or had their hands and eyes lifted up, at the excellence of them.” “It is to be feared,” says Dr. Burney, “that instead of weeping, the wicked lovers of modern music would now laugh, if they were to hear the quaint and starched strains, and see on paper the ruffs and roll-ups of honest Ben. Rogers at the Operahouse, or professional concert, Hanover-square. Bin, alas! what is the secular music, that thirty years have not wrinkled, withered, and rendered superannuated!1

1 Burney and Hawkins’s Hist, of Music.