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WILLIAM SAMUEL SYMONDS (1818-1887)

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Originally appearing in Volume V26, Page 287 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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WILLIAM SAMUEL SYMONDS (1818-1887), was born in Hereford in 1818. He was educated at Cheltenham and Christ's College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1842. Having taken holy orders he was appointed curate of Offenham, near Evesham in 1843, and two years later he was presented to the living of Pendock in Worcestershire, where he remained until 1877. While at Offenham he became acquainted with H. E. Strickland and imbibed from him such an interest in natural history and geology, that his leisure was henceforth devoted to these subjects. He was one of the founders of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club (1851) and of the Malvern Naturalists' Field Club (18J3), and was an active member of the Cotteswold Field Club and other local societies. In 1858 he edited an edition of Hugh Miller's Cruise of the " Betsey." Ile was the author of numerous essays on the geology of the Malvern country, notably of a paper " On the passage-beds from the Upper Silurian rocks into the Lower Old Red Sandstone at Ledbury " (Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. 186o). His principal work was Records of the Rocks (1872). He was author of Stones of the Valley (18J7), Old Bones, or Notes for Young Naturalists (18J9, 2nd ed. 1864), and other popular works. He died at Cheltenham on the 15th of September 1887. See A Sketch of the Life of the Rev. W. S. Symonds, by the Rev. J. D. La Touche. SYMOND'S YAT, one of the most famous view points on the river Wye; England. At a point 9 m. above Monmouth and 12 M. below Ross by water, the Wye makes a sweep of nearly 5 m. round a peninsula whose neck is only some 600 yds. across. The peninsula is occupied by the limestone acclivity of Hunts-ham Hill. Caverns are seen in the limestone on both precipitous banks of the river. The Yat or Gate is situated on the west side of the neck, which reaches an elevation over 500 ft., and a road from the east drops to a ferry, which was of early importance as a highway between England and Wales. The boundary between Herefordshire and Gloucestershire crosses the neck; the Yat is in the county first named, but the railway station, on the east side (left bank) is in Gloucestershire. It is on the Ross-Monmouth line of the Great Western railway. There are here groups of cottages and several inns on both banks, while opposite the Yat itself is the hamlet of New Weir, and a little above it the village of Whitchurch. The river banks are densely wooded, except where they become sheer cliffs, as at the Coldwell rocks above the station. The surrounding country is hilly and rich, and the views from the Yat are superb, embracing the Forest of Dean to the south and east, and backed by the mountains of the Welsh border in the west.parents. He was educated privately, spending much of his time in France and Italy. In 1884-1886 he edited four of Quaritch's Shakespeare Quarto Facsimiles, and in 1888-1889 seven plays of the " Henry Irving " Shakespeare. He became a member of the staff of the Athenaeum in 1891, and of the Saturday Review in 1894. His first volume of verse, Days and Nights (1889), consisted of dramatic monologues. His later verse is influenced by a close study of modern French writers, of Baudelaire and especially of Verlaine. He reflects French tendencies both in the subject-matter and style of his poems, in their eroticism and their vividness of description. His volumes of verse are: Silhouettes (1892), London Nights (1895), Amoris victima (1897), Images of Good and Evil (1899), A Book of Twenty Songs (1905). In 1902 he made a selection from his earlier verse, published as Poems (2 vols.). He translated from the Italian of Gabriele d'Annunzio The Dead City (1900) and The Child of Pleasure (1898), and from the French of Emile Verhaeren The Dawn (1898). To The Poems of Ernest Dawson (1905) he prefixed an essay on the deceased poet, who was a kind of English Verlaine and had many attractions for Mr Symons. Among his volumes of collected essays are: Studies in Two Literatures (1897), The Symbolist School in Literature (1899), Cities (1903), word-pictures of Rome, Venice, Naples, Seville, &c., Plays, Acting and Music (1903), Studies in Prose and Verse (1904), Spiritual Adventures (1905), Studies in Seven Arts (1906).
End of Article: WILLIAM SAMUEL SYMONDS (1818-1887)
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