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Selected Poetry of John Banister Tabb (1845-1909)


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

Index to poems

  1. God's Likeness
  2. An Idolator
  3. Inscriptions
  4. Mammy
  5. Memory
  6. The Reaper
  7. The Stranger
  8. The United States to the Filipinos


Notes on Life and Works

Father Tabb (John Banister Tabb) was born at "The Forrest," in Mattoax, near Richmond, Virginia, on March 22, 1845. Despite bad eyesight, he served on the Robert E. Lee steamer for the South in the Civil War and was imprisoned by the North in Point Lookout prison. After the war, he taught at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Baltimore, and Racine College, Michigan. He left the Anglicanism and entered the Catholic Church September 8, 1872. Educated first at St. Charles College, in Ellicot City, Maryland, from 1872 to 1875, he taught for some years, 1877-78, at St. Peter's Boys' School, Richmond, and then at St. Charles College, until entering St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, in 1881. He graduated as a priest on December 20, 1884. From that year until his death, Father Tabb was chair of English at St. Charles College. (The College, burned down in 1911, relocated in Catonsville up to 1969, when St. Charles closed.) His amusing Bone Rules, or Skeleton of English Grammar was published in 1897. His lyrics appeared in eleven collections from 1882 to 1910. Beautifully crafted, accessible to everyone, Father Tabb's poems enjoyed a wide audience. He became totally blind in 1908. He died a confederate on November 19, 1909, and was buried in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia. His niece Jennie produced a loving biography and appreciation in 1922.

Biographical information

Given name: John Banister
Family name: Tabb
Honorific: Father
Birth date: 22 March 1845
Death date: 19 November 1909
Nationality: American
Occupations
          Teacher
          Priest: 20 December 1884 to 19 November 1909
Illness: Blindness: 1908 to 1909
Buried at: Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia
First RPO edition: 2002