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Selected Poetry of Robert Bridges (1844-1930)


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
© 2005, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

  1. The Affliction of Richard
  2. Eros
  3. The Evening Darkens over
  4. I Love all Beauteous Things
  5. London Snow
  6. Low Barometer
  7. On a Dead Child
  8. The Testament of Love (excerpt)
  9. To Catullus


Notes on Life and Works

Robert Bridges was born October 23, 1844, in Walmer, Kent. Educated at Eton College from 1854 to 1863, at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, from 1863 to 1867, where he took a B.A., and finally at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London, where he completed his M.B. in 1874. He served as a physician successively in London at St. Bartholomew's Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children on Great Ormond Street, and at the Great Northern Hospital, Holloway, before retiring from his medical practice in 1882 to live at Yattendon. Two years later, on September 3, 1884, he married Monica Waterhouse. They had three children, Elizabeth, Margaret, and Edward. Before retirement he had published four books of verse, but afterwards his writing took up much more of his energy. In 1893 he published a study of Milton's prosody. By 1905 a collection of his poetry and verse plays occupied six volumes. He edited the works of poets such as Mary Coleridge and Digby Mackworth Dolben, but he also befriended one of the greatest Victorian poets, then utterly known, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and after his death, edited and published his collected poems in 1918. This act od dedicated friendship alone puts modern English poetry in debt to Bridges. Oxford University awarded him a D. Litt. in 1912, and a year later he became Poet Laureate and co-founded, with Henry Bradley and Walter Raleigh, the Society for Pure English. Bridges experimented with quantitative hexameters and unrhyming verse late in his life, when he lived near Oxford. His The Testament of Beauty (1929), in four cantos, is the pre-eminent long philosophical poem in English before T. S. Eliot's The Four Quartets. Bridges died on April 21, 1930, in Chilswell, Oxford.

Here are Bridges' principal books of poetry:

For more about Bridges' works and life, see

Biographical information

Given name: Robert
Family name: Bridges
Title: Dr.
Birth date: 23 October 1844
Death date: 21 April 1930
Nationality: English
Family relations
          husband: Monica Bridges (from 1884)
Education
          Eton College: 1854 to 1863
          Corpus Christi College Oxford: 1863 to 1867
Honours
          Poet Laureate: 1913
          Order of Merit: 1929
Literary period: modern
Occupation: Physician to 1882
Residences
          London, England to 1882
          Oxford to 1930
          Yattendon: 1882
Buried at: Yattendon
First RPO edition: 2003