TLW's English Poet Historyscope
By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™
© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.
Original Pub. Date: Aug. 27, 2015. Last Update: Oct. 7, 2015.
Westerners are not only known as history ignoramuses, but double dumbass history ignoramuses when it comes to English poet history. Since I'm the one-and-only Historyscoper (tm), let me quickly bring you up to speed before you dive into my Master Historyscope.
List of English poets.
In 1362 mysterious William Langland (1332-86) pub. The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman (William's Vision of Piers the Plowman), a Middle English allegorical narrative poem in unrhymed alliterative verse, becoming the greatest medieval poem prior to Chaucer; contains the first lit. ref. to Robin Hood; the first appeal in Europe on behalf of poor peasants, complaining about govt. and ecclesiastical corruption, landlords, and lawyers; "I saw the friars there too, all four orders of them, preaching to the people for what they could get. In their greed for fine clothes they interpreted the Scriptures to suit themselves and their patrons"; "Then I hear parish priests complaining to the bishop that since the Plague their parishes were too poor to live in; so they asked permission to live in London, where they could traffic in Masses, and chime their voices to the sweet jingling of silver"; "Were I king, no wrong should go unpunished or get grace by bribes. Were this rule kept, Law would have to become a labourer, and Love should rule us all."
About 1390 the anon. Pearl (Gawain) Poet (John Massey?) writes Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, about King Arthur's nephew, who is challenged to a beheading game by the mysterious Green Knight, and is tested by Lady Bertilak.
On Oct. 25, 1400 English poet-writer-translator-diplomat-courtier (founder of the written English language) Geoffrey Chaucer (Fr. "chausseur" = shoemaker) (1343-1400) dies in Westminster Abbey, London (murdered by Archbishop Thomas Arundel's men?), becoming the first lit. figure buried in Westminster Abbey, where he lived in some apts., and the first in Poet's Corner; he leaves the unfinished Rime of Sir Thopas, a burlesque ridiculing medieval romances, and his magnum opus The Canterbury Tales (17K lines, 40K words), making Midland English respectable after recasting the former Anglo-Saxon dog vocabulary with Continental touches and creating English versification; contains only 24 of 120 planned short stories from an ensemble of 30 characters (two each on the way to Canterbury from London, two on the way back, with the winner to get a free supper): the Knight, the Nun's Priest, the Pardoner, the Wife of Bath (5 husbands), the Nun, Lawyer, Student, Cook, Merchant, Squire, Physician, and Chaucer himself; "The rotten apple injures its neighbors"; "Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote/ The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote,/ And bathed every veyne in swich licour"; coins the term "mind's eye" in The Man of Law's Tale.
In 1557 Rivenhall, Essex-born Thomas Tusser (1524-80) pub. Thomas Tusser (1524-80), A Hundreth Good Pointes of Husbandrie, containing the soundbyte: "A foole and his monie be soone at debate,/ which after with sorrow repents him too late", which is later quoted as "A fool and his money are soon parted."
In 1590 London-born Edmund Spenser (1552-99) (coiner of the word "prothalamion" ("before the bridal chamber"), meaning a song celebrating marriage, complementing the word "epithalamion", a nuptial song) pub. The Faerie Queen (6 vols.) (1590, 1596), a long English Arthurian epic poem praising Queen Elizabeth AKA Gloriana, earning him a life pension of £50 a year; pioneers the Spenserian stanza (ababbcbcc); an allegorical work "cloudily enwrapped in allegorical devices" with the aim of "fashioning a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline"; the earliest poetical allusion to tobacco in English lit.; the Redcrosse Knight and his lady Una symbolize holiness, fighting the wizard Archimago, the dragon Errour, the sorceress Duessa, and the giant Orgoglio; Sir Guyon symbolizes temperance, fighting the witch Acrasia; female knight Sir Britomart symbolizes chastity (Elizabeth I), fighting Sir Artegal (who symbolizes justice) and founding the English monarchy with help from wizard Merlin; Sir Cambell and Sir Triamond symbolize friendship; Sir Calidore symbolizes courtesy; coins the term "braggadocio"; Sir Walter Raleigh composes an introductory sonnet,
In 1591 Kent-born poet-soldier-courtier Sir Philip Sidney (1554-86) posth. pub. Astrophel and Stella, 108 sonnets and 11 songs; inspired by Penelope Devereux, daughter of Lord Essex. In 1595 he posth. pub. An Apologie for Poesie (The Defence of Poesy), a reply to Stephen Gosson's 1579 "Schoole of Abuse", which claims that poetry beats history and philosophy for rousing its readers to virtue.
In 1592 Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire-born English #1 lit. giant ("the Bard of Avon") William Shakespeare (1564-1616) writes Venus and Adonis, dedicated to his handsome bi patron Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton (1573-1624); recorded in the Stationers' Register on Apr. 18, 1593; "Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear" (line 145); "Graze on my lips, and if those hills be dry,/ Stray lower, where the pleasant fountains lie" (lines 238-9); "Her lips are conquerors, his lips obey" (line 548); "The text is old, the orator too green" (line 806). In 1593 he begins writing the 154 "sugred" Sonnets (pub. in 1609 without his permission) about the Dark Lady, "black as hell as dark as night"; "Then I will swear Beauty herself is black/ And all they foul that thy complexion lack" (#132); "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" (#18); earliest was written in 1589?
On May 11, 1593 the English privy council orders the arrest of all authors of "divers lewd and mutinous libels" that had been posted around London, and on May 12 dramatist Thomas Kyd (1558-94) is arrested at the Chislehurst home of Thomas Walsingham of Scadbury (1561-1630) (where he lives with Christopher Marlowe, who had been given the home to ride out the plague), and an Arian tract is found that "denies the eternal deity of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour", causing him to be tortured and rat out rommate Marlowe, who is arrested on May 20 to obtain his release; on May 30 after appearing before the privy council and awaiting their decision, Canterbury, Kent-born gay pedophile ("They that love not tobacco and boys are fools") and blasphemy-loving ("Christ was a bastard and his mother unchaste", "The woman of Samaria and her sister were whores and Christ porked them", "St. John the Evangelist was Christ's gay bud and that's why he always leaned in his bosom, he used him as the sinners of Sodom") poet-playwright Christopher "Kit" Marlowe (b. 1564) is killed (stabbed above the right eye) in a Deptford house brawl (after arguing over the bill) by Ingram Frizer (-1627) (a member of Walsingham's secret service, along with Marlowe?) with a dagger that he snatches from Marlowe's hand (after Marlowe snatches it from him and attacks him first?), dying theatrically with a blood-curdling scream, cursing and blaspheming; Frizer gets a royal pardon for self-defense on June 28; Kyd is ruined and soon dies bankrupt; was Marlowe meeting with agents of Sir Robert Cecil about a secret mission to Scotland concerning James VI?; was the corpse of a murdered sailor substituted for Marlowe's for the inquiry, and Marlowe faked his death, going on to be the real Shakespeare?; the murder takes place 4 mi. from the site of John Penry's execution. He leaves The Passionate Shepherd to His Love (first line: "Come live with me and be my love") and Hero and Leander.
In 1611 after marrying Anne More, niece of his boss Sir Thomas Edgerton in 1601, who proceeds to bear a child a year, forcing him to claw his way out of poverty with his wits, obtaining the patronage of MP Sir Robert Drury (1575-1615) et al., London-born Jacobian metaphysical poet-divine (Roman Catholic-to-Anglican convert) John Donne (1572-1631) pub. the Anniversary An Anatomy of the World, followed next year by Of the Progress of the Soul. In 1613 he pub. Good Friday, 1613, Riding Westward. In 1621 he is appointed dean of St. Paul's Cathedral in London. In Jan. 1624 he pub. Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, written last Dec. after recovering from a serious illness; Meditation XVII incl. the famous phrases "No man is an island", and "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." He dies in London on Mar. 31, 1631 having never pub. most of his poems. In 1633 he posth. pub. Poems, incl. The Flea (which compares a flea mingling the blood of lovers to sex), The Sun Rising, Song ("Go and catch a falling star,/ Get with child a mandrake root,/ Tell me where all past years are,/ Or who cleft the devil's foot"), A Valediction Forbidding Mourning ("Such wilt thou be to me, who must,/ Like th' other foot, obliquely run;/ Thy firmness makes my circle just,/ And makes me end where I begun"); also Holy Sonnets, incl. Death Be Not Proud (#10).
In 1633 Montgomery, Wales-born metaphysical poet-divine (rector of Bremerton, Wiltshire since 1630) George Herbert (1593-1633) pub. The Temple, or Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations, 160 religious poems, many of which are turned into popular hymns incl. "King of Glory, King of Peace", "Let All the World in Every Corner Sing", and "Teach Me, My God and King (The Elixir)"; "But since our Saviour's death did put some blood/ Into thy face;/ Thou art grown fair and full of grace,/ Much in request, much sought for as a good"; "But can he want the grape, who hath the wine?/ I have their fruit and more./ Blessed be God, who prosper'd Noah's vine,/ And made it bring forth grapes' good store./ But much more than him I must adore,/ Who of the Laws' sour juice sweet wine did make,/ Ev'n God himself being pressed for my sake." "[Herbert composed] such hymns and anthems as he and the angels now sing in heaven." (Izaak Walton)
On Sept. 29, 1634 (Michaelmas) Cheapside, London-born Cambridge U. grad (1629) ("the Blind Poet") John Milton (1608-74) presents the masque Comus: A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634, on Michaelmas Night, before the Right Honorable John, Earl of Bridgewater, Viscount Brackly, Lord President of Wales, and One of His Majesty's Most Honorable Privy Council, about the Lady, who gets lost in the woods and encounters Comus, the god of revelry, who offers to help her find her lost brothers and kidnaps her instead and takes her to his pleasure palace and ties her to an enchanted chair with "gums of glutinous heat", attempting to talk her into doing the wild thing with him, while she fends him off with philosophy; meanwhile her brothers come upon the Attendant Spirit in the form of a shepherd, who rescues her, after which Severn River water nymph Sabrina frees her from the chair. In 1638 he pub. Lycidas, a pastoral elegy composed in memory of his Cambridge U. classmate Edward King, who drowned in Aug. 1637 when his ship sank in the Irish Sea off the coast of Wales. In 1645/6 he pub. Poems of Mr. John Milton both English and Latin, Compos'd at Several Times; pub. by royalist Humphrey Moseley; rev. ed. pub. in 1673; incl. On the Mourning of Christ's Nativity; also L'Allegro (The Merry Man) and Il Penseroso (The Serious Man), becoming the most famous companion poems in English lit.? In 1667 he pub. his magnum opus Paradise Lost (10 vols.); 12-vol. 2nd ed. 1674; composed in1658-65 after going blind in 1652, and finished during the Great Plague at Milton's Cottage in Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire; the Biblical story of the Fall of Man incl. the temptation of Adam and Eve by Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden; Lucifer's capital is called Pandemonium; "To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell./ Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven" (Lucifer); Adam quizzes angel Raphael on Creation, and gets the reply "The rest from Man or Angel the great Architect did wisely conceal,/ and not divulge His secrets to be scann'd by them who ought rather admire"; sells 1.3K copies in 18 mo., helping make Milton the #1 English poet of all time - red anti-MF ribbon for astoundingly good sense of timing? In 1671 he pub. Paradise Regained (4 vols.); composed in 1665-7 in his cottage in Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire; the temptation of Christ according to the Gospel of Luke.
On Aug. 6, 1637 Westminster, London-born lyrical poet-playwright-critic Benjamin "Ben" Jonson (1572-1637) (English Poet Laureate #1) dies, leaving To Celia; "Drink to me only with thine eyes/ And I will pledge with mine./ Or leave a kiss but in the cup/ and I'll not look for wine."; set to music in the 1770s as the song "Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes".
In 1648 Cheapside, London-born #1 Cavalier poet (vicar of Dean Prior in Devonshire) Robert Herrick (1591-1674) (whose portrait bears a striking resemblance to Beatle Ringo Starr (1940-)?) pub. his magnum opus Hesperides, or the Works both Human and Divine of Robert Herrick, 1.2K short poems, incl. To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time ("Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,/ Old time is still a-flying;/ And this same flower that smiles today,/ To-morrow will be dying"), and Corinna's Going a-Maying ("Come, let us goe, while we are in our prime;/ And take the harmlesse follie of the time./ We shall grow old apace, and die/ Before we know our liberty./ Our life is short; and our dayes run/ As fast away as do's the Sunne:/ And as a vapour, or a drop of raine/ Once lost, can ne'r be found againe").
In 1783 after seeing a vision of angels near a tree at age 8, then running home and tellling his parents, with his mommy saving him from a thrashing by daddy, affecting him for life, after which he begins writing poetry at age 12, then at age 14 is apprenticed to a London engraver, living his entire life in London except for three years in Felpham), Soho, London-born Romantic mystic visonary poet-painter-engraver William Blake (1857-1827), who claims that imagination is "the body of God" and "human existence itself" pub. his first vol. of poetry Poetical Sketches, all written before age 21. In 1784 he writes An Island in the Moon (unpub.). In 1789 he writes Tiriel (unpub.). In 1789 he pub. The Book of Thel; Songs of Innocence and of Experience (Showing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul) (1789, 1794), which incl. The Little Black Boy, which disses slavery, equating blackness with sunburn, but observing "Look on the rising sun: there God does live"; also The Tyger; "Tyger, Tyger, burning bright/ In the forests of the night,/ What Immortal hand & eye/ Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?" In 1790-3 he pub. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, which disses Emanuel Swedenborg's 1759 "Heaven and Hell", arguing that the material world and sexual desire are equally part of the divine order; "If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite." In 1791 he pub. The French Revolution, which calls for the destruction of the Bastille in the name of freedom. In 1792 he pub. A Song of Liberty. In 1793 he pub. Visions of the Daughters of Albion; Oothon, the "soft soul of America, who lusts for chaste Theotormon (Gr. "theos" + "tormentum" = God + torment) (based on John Stedman?) until she is raped by Bromonion (Gr. "roarer"), causing no man to want her, after which the Daughters of Albon look to America for an end to all forms of discrimination incl. racial and sexual. In 1793-5 he pub. Continental Prophecies, which incl. America: A Prophecy, and The Song of Los. In 1794 he pub. The (First) Book of Urizen; a parody of the Book of Genesis; how Urizen, the "primaeval priest", who represents alienated reason as he source of oppression became separated from the Eternals to create his enslaving realm of religious dogma, after which Los and Enitharmon create a new world and give birth to their son Orc, the spirit of revolution and freedom; Urizon's sons are Thiriel (Air), Utha (Water), Grodna (Earth), and Fuzon (Fire); Europe, A Prophecy; the coming of Christ and the French Rev. are part of the same manifestation of the spirit of Orc?; incl. the etching Ancient of Days. In 1795 he pub. The Book of Los, which incl. The Book of Ahania. In 1797 he writes Vala, or The Four Zoas (unfinished). In 1804-10 he pub. Milton: A Poem, which disses Greek and Roman culture in favor of "the sublime of the Bible"; incl. the soundbyte "... when the New Age is at leisure to pronounce, all will be set right", and the poem And Did Those Feet in Ancient Time, which is turned into the hymn "Jerusalem" in 1916 by Sir Hubert Parry; "And did those feet in ancient time/ Walk upon England's mountains green?/ And was the Holy Lamb of God/ On England's pleasant pastures seen?" In 1804-20 he pub. Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion.
In 1794 Bristol-born writer-scholar-historian-biographer and Romantic poet Robert Southey (1774-1843) pub. his first vol. of poetry, The Fall of Robespierre, a 3-act poem-play. In 1794 he meets Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), and together with poet Robert Lovell (1771-96) they formulate the Pantisocracy Plan to marry three sisters and move to the banks of the Susquehanna River in the NE US. to start a socialist experiment; the marriages go off, incl. Southey's to Edith Fricker in 1795 in Bristol, but Southey gets cold feet and changes the location to Wales, which they can't agree on, causing the plan to be abandoned, after which Southey's chickens come home to roost and he takes off to Lisbon instead to visit an uncle; Lovell later moves to Italy and disappears without a trace. In 1796 he pub. Joan of Arc. (2 vols.); repub. in 1798 with additions by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In 1797 he pub. English Ecologues. In 1797-9 he pub. Poems. In 1798 he pub. St. Patrick's Purgatory. In 1798 he pub. After Blenheim, an anti-war poem based on the 1704 Battle of Blenheim, with small children asking questions of old man Kaspar about an old skull they found, causing him to tell them about the horrors of war while calling it "a famous victory". In 1799 he pub. The Old Man's Comforts and How He Gained Them. In 1799 he pub. The Devil's Thoughts; rev. ed. pub. in 1827 as "The Devil's Walk". In 1801 he pub. Thalaba the Destroyer. In 1802 he pub. The Inchcape Rock, about 14th cent. Abbot Aberbrothock of Arbroath, who installs a warning bell on a dangerous sandstone reef 11 mi. off the E coast of Scotland, only to have it stolen by a pirate, who later is killed on the reef in bad weather. In 1805 he pub. Madoc, about a 12th cent. Welsh prince who sailed to America. In 1810 he pub. The Curse of Kehama; his masterpiece?; an evil priest gains demonic powers and tries to become a god, until his son is killed by Ladurlad after trying to rape peasant girl Kailyal, causing him to curse Ladurlad, which only gives him superhuman strength, which he uses to work with Yamen, god of death and other Hindu gods to defeat him. On Aug. 11, 1813 Henry James Pye (b. 1745) dies, and Robert Southey (1774-1843) becomes poet laureate of England after Sir Walter Scott declines the position and Southey goes from Republican to staunch Conservative. In 1814 he pub. Roderick, the Last of the Goths (original title: Pelayo, the Restorer of Spain); his masterpiece? about 8th cent. Spanish Count Rodrigo, who rapes Florinda, daughter of Count Julian, causing him to change his allegiance to the invading Moors; after being wounded in a battle, Rodrerick flees, then changes his mind and returns to rescue Spanish heir Pelayo from the Moors, meeting Florinda, who reveals that Roderick was innocent, after which he allies with Count Pedro and defeats the Moors, while Count Julian is assassinated by his own allies; a satire of Napoleon's invasions of Europe? In 1817 he pub. Wat Tyler: A Dramatic Poem. In 1821 he pub. The Vision of Judgement; an apotheosis of George III in hexameter verse; the preface calls Lord Byron the leader of the "Satanic school" of poetry, causing him to produce his own version of the poem mocking them both. In 1823 he pub. The Cataract of Lodore; written in 1820; about Lodore Falls in Cumbria, England; big hit; the body of the poem resembles a waterfall? In 1834-47 he anon. pub. The Doctor (7 vols.), which incl. Goldilocks and the Three Bears (1837); in 1837 George Nicol turns it into a poem; in 1849 Joseph Cundall changes the old woman to a pretty little girl. In 1837 he pub. The Poetical Works of Robert Southey, Collected by Himself.
In 1798 Cockermouth, Cumberland-born Romantic poet William Wordswoth (1770-1850) and Ottery St. Mary, Devon-born poet-critic-philosopher friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) pub. Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems, which marks a change in style and spirit for English poetry, launching the Romantic movement in England, even though critics at first aren't impressed; incl. Wordy's poem Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey [in Wales] (July 13) (about pure communion with Nature in childhood), and Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner; "How a Ship having passed the Line was driven by storms to the cold Country towards the South Pole; and how from thence she made her course to the tropical Latitude of the Great Pacific Ocean; and of the strange things that befell; and in what manner the Ancyent Marinere came back to his own Country"; "It is an ancient Mariner/ And he stoppeth one of three/ 'By thy long beard and glittering eye,/ Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?" (opening line); "He went like one that hath been stunned,/ And is of sense forlorn:/ A sadder and a wiser man,/ He rose the morrow morn." In 1799 William and Dorothy Wordsworth move to Dove Cottage in Grasmere in the English Lake District, close to poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey, where they become known as the Lake Poets. In 1807 Wordsworth pub. Poems, in Two Volumes, incl. Ode to Duty (1805) ("Nor know we anything so fair/ As is the smile upon thy face"), Ode: Intimations of Immortality ("To me the meanest flower that blows can give/ Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears"), Miscellaneous Sonnets; Mr. W[ordsworth] ceases to please... clothing [his ideas] in language not simple, but puerile" (Lord Byron); also Sonnets Dedicated to Liberty, incl. I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, To a Highland Girl, The Solitary Reaper, Character of the Happy Warrior, The World Is Too Much With Us; also The White Doe of Rylstone; or The Fate of the Nortons; after the publisher rejects it, he doesn't pub. it until 1815. In 1816 Coleridge pub. Kubla Khan; or, A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment (written in 1797); "Kubla Khan did in Xanadu a stately pleasure dome decree"; writes it after having an opium-influenced dream about the Mongol ruler's summer palace, but is interrupted and loses his dream, causing the work to remain unfinished; the sacred river Alph is based on Alphaeus River in the Peloponnesus? On Mar. 21, 1843 British poet Robert "chickens come home to roost" Southey (b. 1744) dies, and William "the Interminable" Wordsworth becomes poet laureate of England; too bad, his poetic powers have dropped to almost nil since 1807, when his early enthusiasm for the French Rev. was replaced by creeping conservatism, causing Robert Browning to write the soundbyte: "Just for a handful of silver he left us,/ Just for a riband to stick in his coat" - The Lost Leader Wordsworth dies on Apr. 23, 1850 in Cumberland, leaving his magnum opus The Prelude, or, Growth of a Poet's Mind: An Autobiographical Poem (14 vols.), AKA "Poem to Coleridge", which he started in 1798 at age 28; about "the self-sufficing power of Solitude", and his love of Lakeland; original 1805 13-vol. ed. pub. 1926.
In Sept.-Oct., 1806 high-living free-loving water-loving flamboyant London-born Romantic poet (the first modern celeb, launching Byromania) George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron (OE "cow barn") (1788-1824) (born with a malformed [club] foot, which doesn't keep him out of sports, and ends up as his trademark, getting copied by would-be poets; spends his pre-30 adulthood in an alcoholic fog; wears curlers in bed) pub. Fugitive Pieces; the bad reviews cause him to respond with English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809), calling the Lake Poets "Wordswords and Co.". In 1807 he pub. his first vol. of poetry Hours of Idleness. In 1810 he pub. Maid of Athens, Ere We Part. In 1812 he begins pub. Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (4 parts) (1812-18); childe is a medieval term for a candidate for knighthood; his 2-year tour of Europe romanticized; makes him a star; dedicated to Ianthe; criticizes Lord Elgin's actions regarding the Acropolis, "The walls defaced, the moldering shrines removed by British hands", causing Elgin in 1820 to pub. the reply Memorandum on the Subject of the Earl of Elgin's Pursuits in Greece, telling why it's such a great idea; when the Turks destroy Athenian monuments in 1826-7 during the Greek war of independence, the criticism stops. In 1813 he pub. The Bride of Abydos; also The Giaour: A Fragment of a Turkish Tale; the Turkish word for kafir (infidel); Leila, a member of Hassan's harem commits adultery with a you know what and is thrown into the sea wrapped in a sack, causing the giaour to kill him and enter a monastery in penance; big hit, cementing his rep., causing Byron to crank out "The Corsair" (1814), and "Lara" (1814). In 1814 he pub. The Corsair (Feb. 1); based on the pirate Jean Lafitte; sells 10K copies the first day; also Lara, A Tale; pub. anon.; a continuation of "The Corsair"., about Count Lara and his enemy Count Otho, who fight it out on the Scottish border. In 1815 he pub. Hebrew Melodies (Apr.); music by Isaac Nathan; bestseller (10K copies); incl. My Soul is Dark, The Destruction of Sennacherib, and She Walks in Beauty, written in 1813 after meeting his mourning cousin Mrs. John Wilmot at a ball wearing a black dress with spangles. In 1816 he pub. Fare Thee Well, about his separation from educated religious wife (since 1815) Anne Isabella "Annabella" Milbanke (1792-1860) before leaving her and England forever because of incest with his half-sister Augusta Leigh (1783-1851), along with their daughter Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (nee Byron) (1815-52), who works for Analytical Engine inventor Charles Babbage, becoming the world's first computer programmer; also The Siege of Corinth, set during the Seventh Ottoman-Venetian Wars of 1714-18, where the Ottomans are about to finish off Acrocorinth, and Lanciotto, who had fled the Venetian Empire after false accusations and joined the Turks under the name Alp gets second thoughts when his old flame Francesca begs him not to stage the final assault; also Parisina (Feb. 13), about Parisina Malatesta, 2nd wife of Duke Niccolo III d'Este of Ferrara, who has an incestuous relationship with his bastard son Ugo, The Prisoner of Chillon: A Fable (Dec. 5), written after a June 22 tour of the Chateau de Chillon on Lake Geneva, about Geneva monk Francois Bonivard in 1532-6; The Dream, inspired by the Misk Hills near his family home in Newstead, Nottinghamshire, Prometheus, and Darkness, about 1816, the Year Without a Summer. In 1817 he pub. So, We'll Go No More a Roving (Feb. 28) (pub. in a letter to Thomas Moore), Manfred, written after his escape to Switzerland about Manfred's forbidden relationship with Augusta, er, Astarte, and The Lament of Tasso. In 1818 he pub. Beppo, about Venetian woman Laura, whose husband Giuseppe "Beppo" has been lost at sea for three years and enslaved by the Turks, then escaped and went pirate before returning. In 1819 he pub. Mazeppa (June 28), about Ukrainian stud Ivan Mazepa (1639-1709), who commits adultery with Countess Theresa, causing King John II Casimir Vasa to have him tied naked to a wild horse and set loose, which he survives, becoming hetman of the Cossacks; makes Mazepa a Romantic star; inspires Theodore Gericault to paint the naked dude; also The Prophecy of Dante. In 1819 he begins anon. pub. his magnum opus Don Juan (1819-24) (pr. "JEW-un", to rhyme with "true one" and "new one"); Greek girl Haidee saves the hero from death, but her pirate father catches them together and sells him into slavery, causing her to go mad and die; portrays serial womankiller Don Juan as a victim of women, which is a big hit but scandalizes society so much that his publisher drops it in 1822; disses fellow poets William Wordsworth ("Turdsworth") and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In 1821 he pub. The Vision of Judgment, about a debate in Heaven over the fate of George III's soul, an answer to Robert Southey's 1821 work of the same title, which referred to him as a "Satanic school... characterized by a Satanic spirit of pride and audacious impiety", call it "The gross flattery, the dull impudence, the renegado intolerance, and impious cant", permanently ruining Southey's rep. In 1822 he pub. Werner. In 1823 he pub. The Age of Bronze, and The Island; or, Christian and His Comrades. In 1824 he pub. The Deformed Transformed. Too bad, after joining the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, he dies on Apr. 19, 1824 in Messolonghi, Greece of fever,.
In Sept. 1810 Horsham, Sussex-born Romantic poet-novelist-playwright (agnostic) Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) anon. pub. his first poetry vol. Original Poetry by Victor and Cazire, which he wrote along with his sister Elizabeth. In Aug. 1811 after being kicked out of Oxford U. for writing the pamphlet "The Necessity of Atheism", he elopes with 16-y.-o. Harriet Westbrook (1795-1816), daughter of a former London coffeehouse owner, but finds her incompatible and abandons her in 1814, becoming a disciple of liberal Romantic movement founder (father of philosophical anarchism) William Godwin (1756-1836), father of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (1797-1851), who he decides is his real babe, esp. since she edits and promotes his works, and after Harriet commits suicide by drowning in Serpentine Lake in London in 1816, they elope to France, having three children, two of whom die in infancy; in 1816 they become friends with Lord Byron in Geneva. In 1813 he pub. Queen Mab: A Philosophical Poem, a revolutionary poem attacking political tyranny and Christianity. On Jan. 11, 1818 he pub. Ozymandias in The Examiner, about Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses II; "Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare/ the lone and level sands stretch far away." In 1820 he pub. Prometheus Unbound: A Lyrical Drama in Four Acts, With Other Poems; Prometheus is liberated by Demogorgon and forgives his tormentor Jupiter, allowing corrupt govt. institutions to be destroyed and love and beauty to reign, albeit not necessarily forever; incl. Ode to the West Wind, a response to the Aug. 1819 Peterloo Massacre, calling on the winds to spread change in the world; also incl. To a Skylark, written after an evening walk in the country near Livorno, Italy with his wife Mary; "Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!/ Bird thou never wert." Too bad, on July 8, 1822 less than 1 mo. from his 30th birthday he drowns in a sudden storm off Leghorn (Livorno), Italy (15 mi. SW of Pisa) on the Gulf of Spezia en route from Leghorn (Livorno) to Lerici in his sailing boat Don Juan after having set up The Liberal with newly-arrived Leigh Hunt; a law requires bodies washed ashore to be burned, but his heart is kept by a friend; he leaves the unfinished The Triumph of Life, which claims that life is a "painted veil" disguising the immortal spirit, and dreams of a triumphal chariot passing "on the storm of its own rushing splendour" over the captive multitudes; concludes that good and the means of accomplishing it can't be reconciled because natural life corrupts and triumphs over spirit.
In 1816 after apprenticing to a surgeon-apothecary and getting his license, then getting turned on by Spenser's "Faerie Queene" and turning to poetry, Moorgate, London-born Romantic poet John Keats (1791-1821) begins pub. poetry, incl. Isabella; or, The Pot of Basil (from a story by Boccaccio about a maiden from Florence), Oh, Solitude If I With Thee Must Dwell, and On First Looking into Chapman's Homer (says that Cortez not Balboa discovered the Pacific); both pub. in Leigh Hunt's Examiner, turning Hunt on and causing him to introduce him to the British lit. set, incl. Percy Bysshe Shelley. In 1818 he pub. Endymion; based on the myth of Endymion and the moon goddess; panned by Blackwood's Mag. and Quarterly Review, who call his friend Leigh Hunt's circle "the Cockney school of poetry" and advise Keats to go back to medical work; when he dies early, they get blamed? In May 1819 he pub. Great Odes of 1819, incl. Ode on Indolence, Ode on Melancholy, Ode on a Grecian Urn ("'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,' - that is all/ Ye know on Earth, and all ye need to know"; "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard/ Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on"), Ode to a Nightingale ("Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!"/ "No hungry generations tread thee down/ The voice I hear this passing night was heard/ In ancient days by emperor and clown.") In July 1820 he pub. Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems (July); about ancient, Renaissance, and medieval dames; incl. Lamia, Isabella; or, The Pot of Basil, The Eve of St. Agnes, To Autumn, and Hyperion (unfinished) . Too bad, he dies on Feb. 23, 1821 in Rome of TB like his mother and brother did, going on to almost become the 2nd Shakespeare,
In 1820 Kelloe, Durham-born Victorian poet (opium addict) Elizabeth Barrett Browning (nee Moulton-Barrett) (1806-61) pub. her first vol. of poetry The Battle of Marathon: A Poem. In 1844 she pub. Poems, which becomes a big hit, making her rich and famous. In 1846 she marries fellow poet Robert Browning, moving with him to sunny Italy. In 1850 she pub. Sonnets from the Portuguese, 44 sonnets gushing with love for her hubby Robert Browning, who calls her "my little Portuguese"; it incl. Sonnet 43: "How do I love thee?/ Let me count the ways." another big hit. In 1856 she pub. Aurora Leigh, a blank verse novel in which Aurora tells about abused self-taught Marian Erle.
In 1830 Somersby, Lincolnshire-born #1 Victorian poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson) (1809-92) pub. his first vol. of poetry Poems, Chiefly Lyrical, which incl. Mariana, about an isolated woman lamenting her lack of connection with society and wishing for death, and The Kraken ("Far below the thunders of the upper deep;/ Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea/ His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep/ The kraken sleepeth."). In 1833 he pub. Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-92), Poems; incl. St. Simeon Stylites, The Lotos-Eaters, The Lady of Shalott, about a mysterious lady who lives on a castle on an island in a river which flows to Camelot, and continually weaves images on her loom without looking through the window, being cursed to view the outside only through a mirror; when handsome knight Lancelot passes, her mirror cracks, and she is expelled, drifting down the river, and dying before finding him; revised in 1842; "I am half sick of shadows"; "But Lancelot mused a little space/ He said, 'She has a lovely face;/ God in his mercy lend her grace./ The Lady of Shalott.'"; after critics diss it, he doesn't pub. again for 10 years; meanwhile on Sept. 15 his Cambridge poet chum Arthur Henry Hallam (1811-33), who is engaged to his sister Emilia dies of a cerebral hemorrhage in Vienna, messing him up for life, causing him to spend 17 years writing his memorial, then naming his eldest son Hallam Tennyson (1852-1928) after him. In 1842 he pub. Poems (2 vols.), which incl. Locksley Hall, Tithonus, Ulysses, The Two Voices, Vision of Sin, and Lady Clara Vere de Vere ("Kind hearts are more than coronets, and simple faith than Norman blood."). In 1847 he pub. Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-92), The Princess: A Medley, his first hit, which incl. Tears, Idle Tears ("Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,/ Tears from the depth of some divine despair"), Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal, Godiva, The Princess; satire on women's education, about a princess who swears-off men and founds a women's-only univ. In 1849 he pub. In Memoriam A.H.H.; original title "The Way of the Soul"; starts out as a memorial for his Cambridge U. friend Arthur Henry Hallam (1811-33), son of historian Henry Hallam, who died of a brain hemorrhage in Vienna, after which he spends 17 years turning it into his opus maximus, stirring controversy with its meditations on the meaning of evolution after reading "Vestiges on the Natural History of Creation" by Robert Chambers (1844); "'Tis better to have loved and lost/ Than never to have loved at all"; "Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw/ With ravine, shriek'd against his creed"; "Are God and Nature then at strife,/ That Nature lends such evil dreams?/ so careful of the type she seems,/ So careless of the single life." On Apr. 23 1850 William Wordsworth (b. 1770) dies, and after lobbying for Elizabeth Barrett Browning proves to no avail, Tennyson becomes poet laureate of England; earlier in the year he finally marries long-time (since 1836) fiancee Emily Sarah Sellwood (1813-96), and becomes a big celeb and friend of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, going from being broke and having to drop out of Cambridge in 1830 to rich by 1860 - watch out, I'm dangerous now that I'm selling out? In 1850 he pub. Ring Out, Wild Bells; another elegy to Arthur Henry Hallam, about windy Waltham Abbey. In 1851 he pub. The Eagle; "He watches from his mountain walls,/ And like a thunderbolt he falls." In 1854 he pub. The Charge of the Light Brigade (Dec. 9) in The Examiner; about the Oct. 25, 1854 Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War; "Half a league, half a league,/ Half a league onward,/ All in the valley of Death/ Rode the six hundred./ Forward the Light Brigade!"/ 'Charge for the guns!' he said:/ Into the valley of Death/ Rode the six hundred... Was there a man dismay'd?; Not tho' the soldier knew/ Someone had blunder'd:/ Theirs was not to make reply, Theirs was not to reason why,/ Theirs but to do and die: Into the valley of Death/ Rode the six hundred." - excuse me? In 1855 he pub. Maud: A Monodrama; a man gets even with a squire who ruined his family, killed his brother in a duel, and fled the country by seducing his daughter; "Come into the garden, Maud,/ For the black bat, Night, has flown". In 1859 he begins pub. Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-92), Idylls of the King (1859-85), a cycle of 12 narrative Arthurian poems dedicated to Prince Albert; incl. Enid (1859), Merlin and Vivien (1859), Lancelot and Elaine (1859), Guinevere (1859), The Holy Grail (1869), The Last Tournament (1871), Gareth and Lynette (1872), Balin and Balan (1885). In 1864 he pub. Enoch Arden; a sailor leaves his wife Annie and three children to go to sea, gets shipwrecked on a desert island for 10 years, then returns to find her remarried, and never reveals that he's still alive, dying of a broken heart; spawns Enoch Arden Laws, with a time limit of usually seven years before a person can remarry. In 1869 he pub. Flower in the Crannied Wall; "If I could understand/ What you are, root and all, and all in all,/ I should know what God and man is." In 1871 he and Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900) pub. The Window; or, The Songs (Loves) of the Wrens. In 1889 he pub. Crossing the Bar; he instructs his son Hallam to put it at the end of all eds. of his poems.
In 1833 Camberwell, London-born Victorian poet-playright Robert Browning (1812-89) pub. his first poem Pauline, which is a flop but makes a fan of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. In 1835 he pub. Paracelsus, which makes a fan of William Wordsworth and Charles Dickens. In 1839 he pub. Voices of the Night. In 1840 he pub. Sordello, about famous 13th cent. Lombard troubadour Sordella da Goito (Goit) (-1269), mentioned in Dante's "Purgatorio"; too bad, it's so difficult and obscure that his rep takes a nosedive for a decade, causing him to abandon Shelleyan poetry and develop his own style. Speaking of style, in 1846 he marries older more successful poet Elizabeth Barrett and moves with her to sunny Italy. In 1841 he pub. Ballads and Other Poems, which incl. The Village Blacksmith, The Wreck of the Hesperus (about the Jan. 6, 1839 shipwreck of the Favorite off Norman's Woe, Gloucester, Mass.). In 1841 he pub. Pippa Passes (Bells and Pomegranates No. 1), about a young innocent girl in the crime-ridden town of Asolo; its frank sexuality pisses-off Victorians; contains the soundbyte "The lark's on the vine;/ The snail's on the thorn;/ God's in his Heaven;/ All's right with the world!"; at the end he goofs up royal, with Pippa calling out "Then owls, and bats, cowls and twats,/ Monks and nuns, in a cloister's moods,/ Adjourn to the oak-stump pantry!"; he later admits that he misread a 1660 rhyme "They talk't of his having a Cardinall's Hat/ They'd send him as soon an Old Nun's Twat", thinking a twat is a nun's habit?; the town of Pippa Passes, Ky. is named for the poem. In 1842 he pub. Dramatic Lyrics (Bells and Pomegranates No. 3); incl. My Lost Duchess, Porphyria's Lover, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, and Johannes Agricola in Meditation. In 1845 he pub. Dramatic Romances and Lyrics, which incl. The Laboratory, How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix, and The Bishop Orders His tomb at Saint Praxed's Church. Men and Women, which sells poorly although it is later lauded by critics; it incl. Love Among the Ruins. In 1864 he pub. Dramatis Personae, which incl. Caliban upon Setebos; Or, Natural Theology in the Island (a commentary on Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution?), Mr. Sludge, the Medium (mocks Conn. spiritualist Daniel Dunglas Home), and Rabbi Ben Ezra; "Grow old along with me!/ The best is yet to be,/ The last of life, for which the first was made:/ Our times are in His hand/ Who saith, 'A whole I planned,/ Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be/ afraid!'"; "Let age approve of youth, and death complete/ the same!" In 1868-9 he pub. his magnum opus The Ring and the Book (4 vols.), a 21K-line verse novel set in 1698 about poor Count Phildo Hayes, who is convicted of murdering his young wife Nathana Duink and her parents after suspecting an affair with young cleric Ricardo Trottier, and appeals unsuccessfully to Pope Innocent XII. In 1875 he pub. Aristophanes' Apology, and The Inn Album. He dies on Dec. 12, 1889 in Venice, Italy in Ca'Rezzonda (his son's estate), and is buried in Westminster Abbey beside Tennyson: "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,/ Or what's a heaven for?"; "Hamelin town's in Brunswick,/ By famous Hanover city;/ The river Weser, deep and wide,/ Washes its wall on the southern side;/ A pleasanter spot you never spied."
In 1875 Gloucester-born poet-critic-ed. William Ernest Henley (1849-1903) pub. Hospital Rimes (In Hospital), written in a hospital while being treated for childhood TB (one of his feet is amputated), and pub. in Cornhill Mag.; it incl. Invictus, which contains the soundbyte "I am the master of my fate:/ I am the captain of my soul"; leads to a meeting with Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94), becoming lifelong friends. He goes on to become the Samuel Johnson of the late Victorian era.
On Mar. 4, 1891 after complaints by British writers Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Hardy, Walter Besant, and William Black, the U.S. adopts the U.S. Internat. Copyright (Chace) Act of 1891, sponsored by U.S. Sen. (R-R.I.) (1885-9) Jonathan Chace (1829-1917), finally upholding internat. copyrights and ending America's status as a copyright pirate haven where only copyrights of U.S. citizens are respected; poet Robert Underwood Johnson (1853-1937), secy. of the Am. Copyright League is instrumental in its passage; the right of authors to bargain for their work causes the advent of U.S. literary agents; too bad, Harper & Bros. pub. house had made its main biz the selling of cheap reprints of foreign authors, and almost goes bankrupt, allowing Frank Nelson Doubleday (1862-1934) (who partnered with Samuel S. McClure of McClure's Mag. in Mar. 1897) to take control in 1898, only to bail out when he finds out how bad their books look.
In 1898 after criticism of his novels esp. "Jude the Obscure" makes him give up novel-writing for poetry, Stinsford, Dorset-born Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) pub. his first vol. of poetry Wessex Poems and Other Verses, which incl. "Hap"; "If but some vengeful god would call to me / From up the sky, and laugh: “Thou suffering thing, / Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy, / That thy love’s loss is my hate’s profiting!” In 1914 he pub. Satires of Circumtances, which incl. "Poems of 1912-13", about the death of his wife Emmy (his masterpiece?).
In 1902 Ledbury, Herefordshire-born poet-novelist-playwright-writer John Edward Masefield (1878-1967) pub. his first vol. of poetry Salt-Water Ballads, followed by Ballads (1903), and Ballads and Poems (1910). In 1911 he pub. The Everlasting Mercy; "I did not think, I did not strive,/ The deep peace burnt my me alive;/ The bolted door had broken in,/ I knew that I had done with sin./ I knew that Christ had given me birth/ To brother all the souls on earth,/ And every bird and every beast/ Should share the crumbs broke at the feast." In 1912 he pub. Dauber, The Story of a Round House and Other Poems, and The Widow in the Bye Street; "Man cannot call the brimming instant back;/ Time's an affair of instants spun to days;/ If man must make an instant gold, or black,/ Let him, he may; but Time must go his ways." In 1913 he pub. The Daffodil Fields. In 1914 he pub. Philip the King and Other Poems. In 1916 he pub. Sonnets and Poems, and Salt-Water Poems and Ballads, which incl. Sea-Fever; "I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,/ And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by, /And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,/ And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking" - a favorite of Capt. James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise in the 23rd cent.? In 1917 he pub. Lollingdon Downs and Other Poems with Sonnets. In 1918 he pub. Rosas. In 1920 he pub. Reynard the Fox, and Enslaved and Other Poems. In 1921 he pub. King Cole. In 1923 he pub. Collected Poems; bestseller (80K copies). In 1930 he becomes British poet laureate.
In 1911 the Dymock Poets, who live near the English village of Dymock in Gloucestershire (home of the royal champion since 1377, known for its yellow spring daffodils) begin pub. the quarterly "New Numbers" (until 1914); members incl. Robert Frost (1874-1963), Lascelles Abercrombie (1881-1938), Rupert Chawner (Chaucer) Brooke (1887-1915), Philip Edward Thomas (1878-1917), Wilfrid Wilson Gibson (1878-1962), and John Drinkwater (1882-1937); the bad, the Great War shuts them down and kills or messes them all up?
In 1915 after being born with a double inguinal hernia that turned him into a bookworm, and settling in London in 1914, St. Louis, Mo.-born Modernist poet-dramatist-critic T.S. (Thomas Stearns) Eliot (1888-1965), (nicknamed Possum for his habits, incl. wearing green-tinted face powder and lipstick) ("A chapped office boy on a high stool with a cold in his head" - Virginia Woolf) ("A sacerdotal lawyer - dyspeptic, ascetic, eclectic" - Sir Harold Nicolson) pub. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, which becomes a masterpiece of the Modernist movement; begins with a quotation from Dante's "Divine Comedy"; "Do I dare disturb the Universe?"; "Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?" In 1922 he founds the quarterly lit. journal The Criterion (until 1939), and becomes a British subject in 1927, writing pessimistic poems until 1927, when he gets religion and hope? In Dec. 1922 he pub. The Waste Land (434 lines), about the legend of the Holy Grail and Fisher King combined with vignettes of contemporary British society mixed with Buddhism and Hinduism; divided into five sections: "The Burial of the Dead", "A Game of Chess", "The Fire Sermon", "Brief Lyrical Petition", "What the Thunder Said"; "The human engine waits/ Like a taxi throbbing waiting"; "April is the cruelest month,/ Breeding Lilacs out of the dead land.../ Stirring Dull roots with spring rain"; "I will show you fear in a handful of dust"; "Shantih shantih shantih." In 1925 he pub. The Hollow Men; about post-WWI Europe groaning under the Treaty of Versailles; epitaphs: "Mistah Kurtz - he dead"; "A penny for the Old Guy"; "This is the way the world ends/ This is the way the world ends/ This is the way the world ends/ Not with a bang but with a whimper." (ending) In 1930 he pub. Ash Wednesday, his first long poem writen after his June 29, 1927 conversion from Unitarianism to Anglicanism, about how Anglo-Catholic religion is the answer to life's problems; "Because I do not hope to turn again/ Because I do not hope; Because I do not hope to turn/ Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope/ I no longer strive towards such things." In 1943 he pub. Four Quartets; incl. "Burnt Norton", "East Coker", "The Dry Salvages", "Little Gidding". He receives the 1948 Nobel Lit. Prize "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry."
In 1954 the term The Movement is coined by The Spectator lit. ed. Jay D. Scott to describe a group of English poets who write simple, sensuous poems in a traditional dignified form as a reaction against Britain's reduced dominance on the world stage, incl. Kingsley Amis, Robert Conquest, Donald Davis, D.J. Enright, Thom Gunn, Elizabeth Jennings, Philip Larkin, and John Wain; rediscovering the poetry of Thomas Hardy; too bad, in 1956 the Angry Young Men Movement causes it to decline.