Newbolt – Sir Henry

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English Poet English poet Henry Newbolt
Lawyer, Novelist, Playwright, Magazine Editor, Poet.

NEWBOLT: Sir Henry 1862-1938

Born: 6 June 1862, Bilston, Staffordshire, United Kingdom
Died: 19 April 1938, Kensington, United Kingdom


Newbolt was a barrister. After World War 1 he was commissioned to complete Great Britain’s official naval history. His marriage to Margaret Duckworth was unusual as she was in love with another woman and only agreed if Ella Coltman was an accepted part of their intimate lives. Newbolt eventually made Ella his mistress but this was further complicated when Newbolt fell in love with another woman, while Margaret fell in love with a sculptor, Henry Furse. Henry grew to hate his poem Vitae Lampada when he was asked to recite it at every stop on a lecture tour of Canada.

“To set the cause above renown.”

Selected Bibliography
Sir Henry produced over 80 poems

POETRY (* Famous poems)

* Vitae Lampada: There’s a breathless hush in the Close tonight, ten to make and the match to win
*Drake’s Drum: Drake he’s in his hammock an’ a thousand miles away, (Capten, art tha sleepin’ there below?)
*The Fighting Téméraire: It was eight bells ringing, For the morning watch was done,

Byron – George Gordon

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English Poet

BYRON: George Gordon (Lord Byron) 1788 – 1824

Born: 22 January 1788 Dover, England
Died: 19 April 1824 Greece


He was born with a clubbed foot and in portraits this foot is always hidden. His father abandoned the family and died abroad and his mother was a rather moody and violent woman who later remarried. Byron’s writings reflected an extremely multifaceted personality and his poetry was more often than not an emotional reaction to events which affected him deeply. In modern day terms he would be regarded as being bisexual in his early years. He fell in love with his cousin, Mary Chaworth – a love that was not returned.. He did however have an affair with his halfsister, Augusta and had a number of illegitimate children, whom he did not acknowledge, from other affairs. He later married Annabella Milbanke who had once rejected his proposal but changed her mind. After the birth of their daughter she left Byron because of his “anger and violent utterances”. When adultery and charges of incest were added the couple had a legal separation.


“A celebrity is one who is known to many persons he is glad he doesn’t know.”
“Absence – that common cure of love.”
“Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves.”

Selected Bibliography
Byron wrote nearly 300 poems

POETRY (* Famous poems)

*She walks in Beauty: She walks in Beauty, like the night of cloudless climes and starry
*The Destruction of Sennacherib: The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold
*The First Kiss of Love: Away with your fictions of flimsy romance
*To Time: Time! On whose arbitrary wing


Marino Faliero, Doge of Venice
The Two Foscari

Kipling – Rudyard

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English Poet English Poet Kipling

KIPLING: Rudyard 1865-1936

Nobel Prize for Literature 1907
Born: 30 December 1865, Mumbai, India
Died: 18 January 1936, London, United Kingdom


Kipling was a snowbird and escaped the northern winters in Cape Town. He declined most of the many honours offered him including a knighthood, the title of Poet Laureate and the Order of Merit.

”Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
”For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.”
Selected Bibliography (*Famous Poems)
Kipling wrote nearly 550 poems


*If: If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
*Gunga Din: You may talk o’ gin and beer When you’re quartered safe out ‘ere,
*I Keep Six Honest: I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew)
*The Way through the Woods: They shut the road through the woods seventy years ago
*How the Camel Got His Hump: The Camel’s hump is an ugly lump which well you may see at the Zoo;
*The Female of the Species: When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride, He shouts to scare the monster who will often turn aside.

NOVELS (*Best known)

Kipling was a prolific writer producing 1200 books, some of which have stood the test of time
*Jungle Book
*Just So Stories
Puck of Pook’s Hill (Based on the signing of the Magna Carta)
Stalky and Co.
Captains Courageous


Cutting-edge Fashion

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Poet Laureate 1930 – 1967

English Poet English Poet Masefield

MASEFIELD: John 1878 – 1967 (Order of Merit)

Born: 1 June 1878, Ledbury, United Kingdom
Died: 12 May 1967, Abingdon, United Kingdom


In his teens, Masefield went to sea as a cadet. He jumped ship in New York and lived for several months as a vagrant. When he later became employed all his earnings went to feed his vociferous appetite for literature. He was an inspiring and very popular speaker and lecturer and received honorary Doctorates from both Harvard and Yale, followed by honorary degrees from various British Universities including a Doctorate from Oxford. He died from a gangrenous infection and his ashes were spread in Westminster Abbey’s Poet’s Corner after which this verse was found:

Let no religious rite be done or read
In any place for me when I am dead,
But burn my body into ash, and scatter
The ash in secret into running water,
Or on the windy down, and let none see;
And then thank God that there’s an end of me.


”Commonplace people dislike tragedy because they dare not suffer and cannot exult.”
“The days that make us happy make us wise.”
Selected Bibliography
Masefield produced about 45 poems

POETRY (* Famous poems)

* Sea Fever: I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
*Cargoes: Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
*On Growing Old: Be with me, Beauty, for the fire is dying; My dog and I are old, too old for roving.
*Beauty: I have seen dawn and sunset on moors and windy hills
*A Wanderer’s Song: A wind’s in the heart of me, a fire’s in my heels, I am tired of brick and stone
*The West Wind: It’s a warm wind, the west wind, full of birds’ cries;
*Roadways: One road leads to London, One road leads to Wales, My road leads me seawards


Masefield wrote about 20 novels and 8 non-fiction/semi auto biographical books as well as a handful of plays

For children:

*The Midnight Folk
*The Box of Delights

For adults:

Stories of the sea:
*The Bird of Dawning
*Victorious Troy
Social Commentary:
*The Hawbucks
*The Square Peg


So many true Princesses have gone – set to music by Sir Edward Elgar and performed at the unveiling of a memorial to Queen Alexandra.


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American poet John Gillespie Magee

MAGEE: John Gillespie Jr. 1922 – 1941

Born: 9 June 1922, Shanghai, China
Died: 11 December 1941, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom (Aged 19 killed in a flying accident)


Magee was the son of missionary parents. In 1939 he went to the States and enrolled at Yale on scholarship. He became a pilot with the Royal Canadian Airforce in 1941 which is when he wrote High Flight. He died when his Spitfire collided with another plane over England. He is buried in Scopwick (Lincolnshire) in the UK.


Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds,—and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor ever eagle flew—
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.


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English Poet Hopkins

HOPKINS: Gerard Manley (Jesuit Priest) 1844 – 1889

Born: 28 July 1844, Stratford, United Kingdom
Died: 8 June 1889, Dublin, Republic of Ireland


On entering the priesthood, Hopkins destroyed all the poems he had written to date. The event which triggered his re-emergence was the wreckage of a ship during a storm on the Thames wherein a number of nuns were drowned. His poems were only published posthumously. Hopkins developed new rhythmic effects and introduced possibilities of language variations which greatly influenced the styles of the likes of W H Auden and Dylan Thomas,


“I always knew in my heart Walt Whitman’s mind to be more like my own than any other man’s living. As he is a very great scoundrel this is not a pleasant confession.”
“The poetical language of an age should be the current language heightened.”

Selected Bibliography
Hopkins wrote over 70 poems

POETRY (* Famous poems)

* Pied Beauty: Glory be to God for dappled things — For skies of couple-colour as a brindled cow;
* As Kingfishers Catch Fire: As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
* The Alchemist in the City: My window shews the travelling clouds, Leaves spent, new seasons, alter’d sky
* God’s Grandeur : The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
* The Starlight Night: Look at the stars! look, look up at the skies! O look at all the fire-folk sitting in the air!


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American poet Robert Frost

FROST: Robert 1874-1963

Four-time Pulitzer Prize Winner for Poetry
Born: 26 March 1874, San Francisco, California, United States
Died: 29 January 1963, Boston, Massachusetts, United States


A poem is “never a put-up job…. It begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a loneliness. It is never a thought to begin with. It is at its best when it is a tantalizing vagueness.” Tragedy and misfortune followed Frost: most of his children suffered from various maladies and died young – this in addition to many failed business ventures. He moved to England in 1912 where he met Ezra Pound who was the first to recognise Frost’s genius, but when war broke out he returned to America in 1914. He taught at numerous universities and colleges, predominantly at Amherst College where the library is named in his honour. He attended Kennedy’s inauguration and was regarded as America’s Poet Laureate.


“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”
“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.”
“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”
“The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.”

Selected Bibliography (*Best known)
Robert Frost wrote over 150 poems

POETRY (* Famous poems)

* The Road Not Taken: Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both and be one traveller
Fire and Ice: Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice.
Acquainted with the Night: I have been one acquainted with the night. I have walked out in rain — and back in rain
Once by the Pacific: The shattered water made a misty din
The Freedom of the Moon: I’ve tried the new moon tilted in the air


A Way Out: A One Act
The Cow’s in the Corn: A One Act Irish Play in Rhyme
A Masque of Reason
A Masque of Mercy

Prose books

The Letters of Robert Frost to Louis Untermeyer
Robert Frost and John Bartlett: The Record of a Friendship, by Margaret Bartlett Anderson
Selected Letters of Robert Frost
Interviews with Robert Frost
Family Letters of Robert and Elinor Frost
Robert Frost and Sidney Cox: Forty Years of Friendship
The Notebooks of Robert Frost, edited by Robert Faggen


The Letters of Robert Frost, Volume 1, 1886–1921, edited by Donald Sheehy, Mark Richardson, and Robert Faggen

Emily Dickinson

American poet Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson 1830-1886

Born: 10 December 1830, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA
Died: 15 May 1886, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA

During her lifetime, the genius of Emily Dickinson went unrecognised. After leaving school early, she lived a reclusive existence on her family’s farm. The unusual form and syntax she employed in her work has her now regarded as one of the leading figures in the development of American literature.


“They might not need me; but they might. I’ll let my head be just in sight; a smile as small as mine might be precisely their necessity.”
“I dwell in possibility.”
“Saying nothing… sometimes says the most.”
“Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell.”
“Forever is composed of nows.”
“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry.”
“Behaviour is what a man does, not what he thinks, feels, or believes.”
“Morning without you is a dwindled dawn.”

Selected Bibliography

Poetry (*Best known)

*Hope is the Thing with Feathers: “Hope” is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all,
*Because I Could Not Stop For Death: Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me;
*Behind me dips Eternity: Behind Me — dips Eternity – Before Me — Immortality – Myself — the Term between
*If I Can Stop: If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain;
*They shut me up in Prose: They shut me up in Prose – As when a little Girl they put me in the Closet – Because they liked me “still” –


Dickinson was a prolific letter writer. Unfortunately, due to the customs of her times and based on a request from her to destroy letters she had received, much of her correspondence was destroyed on her death. However, her sister Lavinia, acting on these instructions, discovered Emily’s poems – a fortuitous event which established her posthumous fame. Her letters cover a wide range of subjects, including correspondence with prominent figures of the times and her observations as well as her wonderfully warm and empathetic personality make for interesting reading.

Dylan Thomas


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Welsh Poet Dylan Thomas Dylan Thomas 2

THOMAS: Dylan 1914 – 1953

Born: 27 October 1914, Swansea, (Wales), United Kingdom
Died: 9 November 1953, Greenwich, United Kingdom

Dylan Thomas was a controversial character whose drinking and philandering often made headline news. He was only 17 when he wrote And Death shall have No Dominion and his first anthology appeared a year later. There is a memorial plaque for him in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey.


“Washington isn’t a city, it’s an abstraction.”
“Poetry is not the most important thing in life… I’d much rather lie in a hot bath reading Agatha Christie and sucking sweets.”

Selected Bibliography
Dylan Thomas wrote over 100 poems

POETRY (* Famous poems)

* Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night: Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
* And Death Shall Have No Dominion: And death shall have no dominion.Dead man naked they shall be one
* Fern Hill: Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughsAbout the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
* Poem In October: It was my thirtieth year to heaven Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
* Clown in the moon: My tears are like the quiet drift Of petals from some magic rose;


Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog
Selected Writings of Dylan Thomas
Adventures In The Skin Trade, an unfinished novel
Quite Early One Morning (planned by Thomas, posthumously published by New Directions)
A Child’s Christmas in Wales
A Prospect of the Sea and other stories and prose writings
Letters to Vernon Watkins
Rebecca’s Daughters
Twelve More Letters, (limited edition of 175)


Under Milk Wood (Written for Radio)


Ideas from Good and Evil
Forgotten Tales of Long Ago


Paka Mdogo childrens books

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English Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1772-1834

Born: 21 October 1772, Ottery St Mary, Devon, UK
Died: 25 July 1834, Highgate, London, UK

Coleridge, along with his friend, Wordsworth was one of the founders of the Romantic Movement in poetry. He was an opium addict and it is thought that his failure to complete his fantastical poem Kubla Khan was due to him being interrupted while writing it. His best verse was written while in his twenties.


”In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly.”
”The man’s desire is for the woman; but the woman’s desire is rarely other than for the desire of the man.”
”The principle of the Gothic architecture is infinity made imaginable.”

Selected Bibliography (*Best known)


Coleridge wrote nearly 200 poems
*Kubla Khan: In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure-dome decree : Where Alph, the sacred river, ran Through caverns measureless
*The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: It is an ancient Mariner, And he stoppeth one of three.


Coleridge was the son of a clergyman and had a lot to say about the relationship between church and state. His published intellectual contributions were expanded on by the likes of William Gladstone (a British Prime Minister) thereby raising the ire of the Whigs who disagreed with his propositions.