Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Southey, ROBERT (1774-1843), Poet-Laureate, was born at Bristol, and was the son of a draper. He was chiefly educated at Westminster School, for his subsequent admission to Balliol College, Oxford did not have much effect on his culture. He travelled abroad for a year or two, and lived in Ireland for a few months, holding an official appointment there. Finally, he settled at Keswick, in Cumberland, near Coleridge, whom he had previously met, and Wordsworth. He was at this time very well known as a poet, his Wat Tyler having appeared in 1794, and other works influenced by the events of the French Revolution, such as Joan of Arc (1796), following rapidly. Besides a couple of collections of smaller poems, he published Thalaba the Destroyer in 1801, Madoc in 1805, The Curse of Kehama, in 1810, and Minor Poems in 1815. Many of these were adversely and not unjustly criticised, and at the present day Southey is considered a better prose-writer than a poet, his Life of Lord Nelson (1813) being one of the finest biographies in the language. In the last-named year he was made Poet-Laureate, and in 1837 was offered, and declined, a baronetcy. He was a most voluminous writer, and a few of his lyrics are still admired. In 1839 he married his second wife, Miss Caroline Bowles, a poetess of some merit.