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SIR HENRY TAYLOR (1800-1886)

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Originally appearing in Volume V26, Page 469 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SIR HENRY TAYLOR (1800-1886), English poet and political official, was born on the 18th of October 1800, at Bishop-Middleham, Durham, where his ancestors had been small landowners for some generations. His mother died while he was yet an infant, and he was chiefly educated by his father, a man of studious tastes, who, finding him less quick than his two elder brothers, allowed him to enter the navy as a midshipman. Finding the life uncongenial, he only remained eight months at sea, and after obtaining his discharge was appointed to a clerkship in the storekeeper's office. He had scarcely entered upon his duties when he was attacked by typhus fever, which carried off both his brothers, then living with him in London. In three or four years more his office was abolished while he was on duty in the West Indies. On his return he found his father happily married to a lady whose interest and sympathy proved of priceless value to him. Through her little by the egotism pardonable in a poet and the garrulity natural to a veteran, is in the main a pleasing and faithful picture of an aspiring youth, an active maturity, and a happy and honoured old age. Taylor's Artevelde cannot fail to impress those who read it as the work of a poet of considerable distinction; but, perhaps for the very reason that he was so prominent as a state official, he has not been accepted by the world as more than a very accomplished man of letters. His lyrical work is in general laboriously artificial, but he produced two well-known songs—" Quoth tongue of neither maid nor wife " and " If I had the wings of a dove." Taylor's Autobiography (2 vols. 1885) should be supplemented by his Correspondence (1888), edited by Edward Dowden. His Works were collected in five volumes in 1877-78.
End of Article: SIR HENRY TAYLOR (1800-1886)
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