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Abse, Daniel [Dannie] (1923–2014), physician, poet, and author, was born on 22 September 1923 at 161 Whitchurch Road, Gabalfa, Cardiff, the youngest of four children of Rudolf Abse (1887–1964), cinema proprietor, and his wife, Kate, née Shepherd (1890–1981...

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Adams, Sarah Flower (1805–1848), poet, was born on 22 February 1805 at Great Harlow, Essex, the daughter of Benjamin Flower (1755–1829), nonconformist editor of the radical Cambridge Intelligencer, and Eliza Gould (1770–1810), a Devon schoolteacher. Her father was famous for going to prison in defence of his right to freedom of expression in 1799, while her mother had been forced out of her school for refusing on principle to cancel her subscription to his ...

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Akenside, Mark (1721–1770), poet and physician, was born on 9 November 1721 in Butcher Bank, St Nicholas, Newcastle upon Tyne, the sixth of seven children of Mark Akenside (b. 1676), butcher, and his wife, Mary (1685–1760), daughter of William Lumsden. He was baptized on 30 November in the nonconformist meeting-house which his parents attended in ...

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Alexander [née Humphreys], Cecil Frances [Fanny] (1818–1895), hymn writer and poet, was born at 25 Eccles Street, Dublin. She was the second daughter of John Humphreys, a second lieutenant in the Royal Marines and later brigade major in the Tyrone yeomanry, and his wife, ...

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Alexander, William, first earl of Stirling (1577–1640), poet and politician, was born probably at Menstrie Castle in Clackmannanshire, the only son (there were four daughters) of Alexander Alexander (d. 1581) and Marion, daughter of Gilbert Graham of Gartavertane. His descent has been traced from the lords of the ...

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Algarotti, Francesco, Count Algarotti in the Prussian nobility (1712–1764), poet and scholar, was born on 11 December 1712 in the family home in Venice on the Fondamenta Nuove, the second son of Rocco Algarotti (d. 1726) and his wife, Maria Mercati. His father was a prosperous merchant of Paduan origin, settled in ...

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Allingham, William (1824–1889), poet, was born on 19 March 1824 in Ballyshannon, co. Donegal, the eldest of the five children of William Allingham and his wife, Elizabeth, née Crawford (d. 1833). His father ran a shipping business, plying cargo such as timber and slate, between ...

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Alsop, Anthony (bap. 1670, d. 1726), Latin poet, was born at Darley, Derbyshire, and was baptized on 4 January 1670 at St Helen's, Darley, the son of Anthony Alsop and his wife, Anne Lowe. He was educated at Westminster School (king's scholar, 1686), and was head of the list of students elected to ...

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Robert James Merrett

Anstey, Christopher (1724–1805), poet, was born on 31 October 1724 at Trumpington, Cambridgeshire, the only son and third child of Christopher Anstey (1680–1751), vicar of Brinkley, Cambridgeshire, and Mary Thompson (d. 1754), daughter of the squire of Trumpington. He went to school at ...

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Arnold, Sir Edwin (1832–1904), poet and journalist, was born at Gravesend on 10 June 1832, the second son of Robert Coles Arnold (b. 1797), of Whartons, Framfield, and his wife, Sarah, née Pizzey (or Pizzi). He was the elder brother of Sir (Robert) Arthur Arnold (1833–1902)...

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Arnold, Matthew (1822–1888), poet, writer, and inspector of schools, was born at Laleham-on-Thames, Middlesex, on 24 December 1822, the eldest son and second of the nine surviving children of the Revd Thomas Arnold (1795–1842) and Mary Penrose Arnold (1791–1873). Thomas Arnold had been a fellow of ...

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Atherstone, Edwin (1788–1872), poet and writer, was born on 17 April 1788 at Brewhouse Yard, Nottingham, the thirteenth of the fifteen children of Hugh Atherstone (1743–1816), dyer, and his wife, Ann, née Green (1747–1819). He was educated at Fulneck Moravian School in Yorkshire...

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Auden, Wystan Hugh (1907–1973), poet and writer, was born at 54 Bootham, York, on 21 February 1907, the youngest of three children (all sons) of George Augustus Auden (1872–1957), general practitioner, and his wife, Constance Rosalie, née Bicknell (1869–1941). His parents were devout high Anglicans, especially his mother, who had trained as a missionary nurse before meeting ...

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William H. Scheuerle

Austin, Alfred (1835–1913), poet, was born at Headingley, near Leeds, on 30 May 1835, the second son and third child of the six children of Joseph Austin (d. 1857), wool-stapler, of Leeds, and his wife, Mary Locke, sister of Joseph Locke (1805–1860)...

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Ayton, Sir Robert (1570–1638), poet and courtier, was born at the castle of Kinaldie, near St Andrews, Fife, the second of four sons, to Andrew Ayton (d. 1589), landowner, and his wife, Mariona London or Lundie, daughter of the laird of Balgonie...

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Theodore Martin

revised by David Finkelstein

Aytoun, William Edmonstoune (1813–1865), poet, was born on 21 June 1813 in Edinburgh, the only son and youngest of the three children of Roger Aytoun (d. 1843), writer to the signet, and of Joan Keir (d. 1861). Through both father and mother he belonged to old Scottish families, his progenitors on the father's side being the ...

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Ronald Bayne

revised by D. E. Latané, Jr.

Bailey, Philip James (1816–1902), poet, was born in Nottingham on 22 April 1816, the only son of Thomas Bailey (1785–1856), merchant, newspaper editor, and author, and his first wife, Marie-Anne, née Taylor (c.1791–c.1818). He showed an early interest in his father's poetical tastes, which his father stimulated by taking him to see ...

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Baillie, Joanna (1762–1851), playwright and poet, was born in the manse of Bothwell, Lanarkshire, on 11 September 1762, the daughter of the Revd James Baillie (c.1722–1778), who had recently been appointed minister at Bothwell, and his wife, Dorothea Hunter (c...

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Barbauld [née Aikin], Anna Letitia [Anna Laetitia] (1743–1825), poet and essayist, was born on 20 June 1743 at Kibworth Harcourt, Leicestershire, elder child of the Revd John Aikin (1713–1780), schoolmaster, and his wife Jane (1714–1785), daughter of the Revd John Jennings of ...

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Robert Speaight

revised by Annette Peach

Baring, Maurice (1874–1945), poet and author, was born at 37 Church Street, Mayfair, London, on 27 April 1874, the fifth son of Edward Charles Baring (1828–1897), who became first Baron Revelstoke, banker, and his wife, Louisa Emily Charlotte (d. 1892), daughter of ...