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Short poem

Selected Poetry of Robert Stephen Hawker (1803-1875)

from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Image of Robert Stephen Hawker

Index to poems

Trelawny he's in keep and hold,
Trelawny he may die; --
But here's twenty thousand Cornish bold,
Will know the reason why!
        (The Song of the Western Men, 21-24)
  1. The Burial Hour
  2. A Croon on Hennacliff
  3. Modryb Marya -- Aunt Mary
  4. On the Grave of a Child in Morwenstow Churchyard
  5. The Song of the Western Men
  6. The Wail of the Cornish Mother

Notes on Life and Works

Robert Stephen Hawker was born on Dec. 3, 1803, to Jacob Stephen Hawker and Jane Elizabeth Drewitt. He was educated at Liskeard and Cheltenham Grammar Schools, and Pembroke College and Magdalen College, Oxford, receiving his B.A. in 1828 and his M.A. in 1836. Hawker brought out his first book of poems, Tendrils, in 1821, and won the Newdigate Prize at Oxford for a poem on Pompeii in 1827. After being ordained a priest in the Anglican Church in 1831, Hawker settled down in the vicarage at Morwenstow, Cornwall, in 1834, with his wife, Charlotte Eliza Rawleigh, whom he had married on Nov. 6, 1823. Other books of verse came out in 1832, 1840, 1843, and 1844, but only when Charles Dickens acknowledged his authorship of "The Song of the Western Men" on Nov. 20, 1852, in Household Words, did Hawker become well known as a poet. After Charlotte died on Feb. 2, 1863, Hawker published The Quest of the Sangraal (1864) and remarried, to Pauline Anne Kuczynski, on Dec. 21 that year. His Cornish Ballads was published in 1869. Hawkins converted to Roman Catholicism before his death at 9 Lockyer St., Plymouth, on August 15, 1875. He was survived by his wife and three daughters.

The photograph of Robert Stephen Hawker, at 61, taken by Dr. Richard Budd at Barnstaple in 1864, appears in C. E. Byles' The Life and Letters of R. S. Hawker (1906), opp. p. 482.

Biographical information

Given name: Robert Stephen
Family name: Hawker
Birth date: 3 December 1803
Death date: 15 August 1875
Family relations
          father: Jacob Stephen Hawker
          father: Jane Elizabeth Hawker
          wife: Charlotte Eliza Hawker
          wife: Pauline Anne Hawker
          Anglican to 1875
          Roman Catholic: 1875
Literary period: Victorian
Occupation: Minister: 1831 to 1875
Residence: Morwenstow, Cornwall: 1834
First RPO edition: 2002