HENRY KIRKE WHITE, (1785-1806), with all the drawbacks of an unfortunate paternity (but his mother was an excellent woman) a limited education, ill chosen occupations, and poor health, struggled hard to give liberty to his poetic genius, and show "That goodness Time's rude hand defies, That virtue lives when beauty dies." Yet his "melancholy hours" were cut short, but not before he had immortalized Wilford and Clifton Grove. He was first sent to learn to make hose in a stocking frame, and was then articled to a firm of solicitors, whose ordinary business hours were from eight in the morning until eight in the evening, after which he studied Latin until nine. No wonder that a close atmosphere, little bodily exercise, the midnight lamp (or rather candle), were unfavourable to health and vigour, but poetry was in his soul, and as he gazed at the stars he sang:— Oh! 'tis this heavenly harmony which now In fancy strikes upon my listening ear And thrills my inmost soul." Lord Byron, referring to White's death at St. John's, Cambridge, to which college he had been sent, and where too much exertion in the pursuit of knowledge completed the physical injury which had begun in earlier years, uses a beautiful figure of him:—

So the struck eagle, stretched upon the plain,
No more through rolling clouds to soar again,
Viewed his own feather on the fatal dart
And wing'd the shaft that quivered in his heart."

His poems were collected, and edited by Southey, the Poet Laureate, and much information of interest may be seen in "The Homes and Haunts of Henry Kirke White," by J. T. Godfrey and J. Ward.

Lord Byron

GEORGE GORDON NOEL, LORD BYRON, (1788-1824) was neither born, nor died in Nottinghamshire, nor did he live long in the county, yet a long line of ancestors lived and died there, and are buried in the family vault at Hucknall, where the poet's remains lie, and his attachment to Newstead is so inwrought in his poems, that he will always be claimed as a Nottinghamshire poet. He wrote:—

"Through thy battlements,
Newstead, the hollow winds whistle ;
Thou, the hall of my fathers,
art gone to decay."

And, unfortunately, instead of economising and repairing, extravagant expenditure involved the necessity for sale, and the transferring of the estate to strangers, and banishment in foreign lands. Yet out of that banishment there came the enrichment of our literature, the entwinement of personal experience with the poetical description of events and places in foreign lands, and the effort, after many failures and much that we must deplore and condemn, to do something for the relief of humanity, and the betterment of the world. The flashes of genius, and the charms of poetical description in a pleasant flowing style, at length were put aside in order to accomplish the deliverance of a nation of ancient art and culture, but the manhood had been undermined, and when the mind soared the hand fell, and the end came before half the accustomed years had been accomplished.

One hundred years have passed since the death of Lord Byron, and in the centenary notices two opposite aspects were presented. There was a tendency in one direction to go into and dwell on the details of character and life, and, on the other hand, an exaltation of the charms of his person and manners, and the inspiration of the poetry, without regard to the life and character. The wiser way is to take a fair and full view of the man and his work. In doing so one is reminded of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, who saw—or rather dreamt that he saw—a great image "whose brightness was excellent," for his head was of fine gold, but with a descending scale his legs were of iron, and his feet were partly of iron and partly of common earthenware clay. Lord Byron, we are told, had features of remarkable delicacy, with fine blue eyes, a head of curly auburn hair, and an uncommon beauty of face, a magical influence, and a magnetic power of attracting or repelling: but both of his feet were clubbed, and his legs withered to the knee. (Trelawney). Here were two physical facts—types of mysterious parables. The appearance, the social position, the capacity for great things, were there. The very highest spheres had an open door and might be entered. The path chosen of poetry and literature has ministered pleasure to thousands, it may be to millions, and the influence of a great example of virtuous effort might have become a mighty power for good, but the scale descended, and the feet trod in mire as though it were their native element. The pure love of woman as man's life helpmeet; the charms of domestic happiness through the angel in the house, were never realized, because never sought in God's appointed way. The exquisite pleasure of a passion restrained and regulated he knew nothing of, for the fires within raged without control, until gratification was followed by satiety, wearisomeness, and loathing. It is inexpressibly sad to read of a man in the prime of life incapable of effort, overcome by excitement, physically unable to bear the strain of commanding the Greek soldiers placed under his charge, his constitution having been shattered. Here is the bitter wail from the very Dead Sea of despondency, with the apples of Sodom for food, written three months before his death:

" On this day I complete my thirty-sixth year.

Missolonghi. Jan. 22. 1824."

"My days are in the yellow leaf;
The flowers and fruits of Love are gone;
The worm, the canker, and the grief
Are mine alone. The fire that on my bosom preys
Is lone as some volcanic isle;
No torch is kindled at its blaze— A funeral pile."

Yet in this lower region there came the iron resolution of a great decision to live and die for the noble purpose of emancipating the Greek nation. He gave, it was said, £10,000 to the cause; he lived a life of privation during the days of the struggle—faring as a common soldier. "I have given her,"—he said, referring to Greece,—"my time, my means, my health, and now I give her my life. What can I do more?"

The Greeks showed their appreciation of his service and sacrifice. The body was embalmed, and brought, to Hucknall church for burial; for Hucknall had formerly been a part of the Byron estate, and its church had long been the burial place of the Byron family, and it has become the shrine to which many pilgrims wend their way, and as they walk are sad.

Hucknall Church is now a beautiful temple,—"a house of prayer for all people," in which Art has become the handmaid of Religion, and it never looked better than on the 19th of April, 1924, when in the presence of the Bishop of the Diocese, the Lord Lieutenant of the County, the present Reverend Lord Byron, a representative of the Greek Legation, and a great assembly, a Byron Centenary Commemoration Service was held. An appropriate form of service compiled by the Vicar was impressively rendered, with a large choir, and "in remembrance of the genius of George Gordon Noel Byron, the gifts of poetry he gave to mankind, his hatred of tyranny, and the sacrifice of his life for the liberty of the Greek nation," many wreaths were laid on the grave, and we prayed "the Lord of all mercy and love to grant unto his soul peace, and a merciful judgment at the last day."

The man is gone, but the books continue, and Mr. John Murray, the publisher of them, says that "there has been a large and constant demand for all the editions of his books," and "the popularity of Byron is as great, and as fully alive as ever." (See article in "The Cornhill Magazine," April, 1924).

ROBERT MILLHOUSE, (1788-1839) Sneinton, was a stocking maker, and a poet. He had every disadvantage to contend with. The second child in a family of ten, sent to work at six, and placed in a stocking frame at ten, with ill health and poverty, and only a Sunday School education, surely here were circumstances fitted. to crush the poetical fire out. Then at twenty-two he must join the Notts. Militia, which went to Ireland, and four years later he returned to his stocking frame. He, however, had within him the spirit of poetry, which resulted in the production of various single poems, then a collection of sonnets, and in 1826 "The Song of the Patriot, Sonnets and Songs," was well received. "Sherwood Forest" followed, with aspirations after God, and admiration of His works. "The Destinies of Man" was one of his chief productions. Here was a hard brave struggle, in which the soul triumphed although the body failed. In the General Cemetery is a monument with an extravagant inscription by Spencer Hall, but the man and his poetry deserve to be honoured and cherished.

GEORGE HICKLING was a stocking maker, living at Cotgrave, and working for Messrs. I. & R. Morley, to whom he says in the preface to a book, "The Pleasures of Life," and other poems, he was under especial obligations, and he was also much indebted to L. Heymann, Esq.; that is, we may assume those gentlemen enabled him to publish his book in 1861. He had previously issued a book, "The Mystic Land." Neither his poverty, nor his village environment, could limit the soul of "Rusticus," the name he generally attached to the short poems he sent from time to time to the local newspapers. The charm of Nature, the beauty of the landscape, the happiness of home, the blessedness of a noble life, and other like subjects, are treated with true poetic feeling, and with beautiful imagery.

"There's pleasure in a happy home,
Where holy bonds are seen;
Where sweet contentment ever reigns
A graceful jewelled queen," or

" There is a joyful cry
Runs through the sky,
And echoes o'er creation's utmost bounds
Hear it, ye mortals ! gladsome are the sounds,
'Tis music from above !
Rolling for ever in full cadence clear, Hark !
sweetly eddying on the enraptured ear
The chorus, God is love ! "

He died in 1909 aged 82 years.

HENRY HOGG, (d. 1874) had the rare combination of being a lawyer and a poet. His home was in Holborn Villas, where the Electric Lighting Works now are, and his office was in Wheeler Gate, but both are now demolished. His sympathies were with the poor in the lowest parts of the town. His portrait may be seen in Wesley schoolroom, and in a school in North Street, Sneinton, where he laboured on Sundays and week nights. He published two small volumes of "Poems," 1852, and " Songs for the Times," 1856. His poems indicate true poetic feeling, with symbol and imagery, devotional, and having strong sympathy with the people. Here is one of his verses in "England's Slavery:"

"In shop and mill, in attic bare,
Alone or closely packed,
Are men that toil in toil's despair;
And women who were once more fair;
Breathing foul distempered air,
With bone and body racked." or

''All noble deeds that live when men are dead;
All glorious thoughts that have eternal sway; 
Were bom of labour, of the heart and head;
This heritage of toil is ours to-day."

"The Spirit of Labour," p. 17.

He had a wondrous influence with young men and boys, nearly a hundred of whom were led and guided in his classes. As a singer he had a very musical voice, and if he saw the influence in a school or meeting was lagging he would start a tune with such fervour that the whole assembly were raised a stage higher.

"His early death, says Mr. Wakerley, at the age of forty-two, is one of the mysteries of life." (See "Centenary of Wesley School.")

THOMAS RAGG, (1808-1881) Haywood Street, Sneinton. In "The Times" newspaper of August 11th, 1834, an article appeared praising in no measured terms a poem in twelve books, entitled "The Deity," as a very remarkable production, "an elaborate philosophical poem by a working mechanic of Nottingham." Isaac Taylor wrote an introductory essay to it, and the poem was dedicated to James Montgomery, of Sheffield, and was printed at the cost, or risk, of Mr. Mann, a solicitor of Andover. (Wylie). Mr. Ragg was employed by Mr. Dearden, Bookseller, and afterwards he became a bookseller at Birmingham. Later he was ordained, and in 1864 became Vicar of Lawley, Salop, where he died. He wrote ten works, one of his best being "Creation's testimony to its God, or the accordance of Science, Philosophy and Revelation." This book reached its twelfth edition in 1873, and indicates careful observation, great thoughtfulness, reasoning power, fairness, and sympathy. His son is the Rev. Canon Lonsdale Ragg.

Philip James Bailey

PHILIP JAMES BAILEY, (1816-1902) was born in Nottingham. His great poem "Festus," was written in 1836-9 at Basford, in the red brick house north of the parish church, where his father, Thomas Bailey, then lived. He had studied at Glasgow University, and been called to the bar, but never practised. The poem was published in Manchester, anonymously, when the writer was only 23, but at once attracted considerable attention, and passed through many editions, especially in the United States. Its object was to endeavour to show the ultimate triumph of good over evil, the salvation of all men "accompanied by repentance on the one hand, and by remedial punishment on the other." We may not assent to the theology, but nowhere shall we find grander thoughts of God, and His great purposes, leading to adoration, and lifting the soul into the great unseen realities of life and destiny. One is strongly tempted to quote specimens, but perhaps we had better be content with the passage already quoted after the title page, and which will never die:—

We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths: In feelings; not in figures on a dial. We should count time by heart throbs. He most lives, Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best." (V. p. 71).

After "Festus," other poetical books were written, some of which were afterwards incorporated in the larger poem and unfortunately, for fifty years Mr. Bailey expanded, the book into 800 pages, having forty thousand lines closely printed with small divisional headings, one continuous whole, a vast conception which has become largely unreadable except to those who are willing to glean golden corn, or, to change the figure, the book may be likened to a mine in which devout men may dig for golden thoughts of God, religion and the future.

In his latter days he lived at the Ropewalk, in Nottingham.

HENRY SEPTIMUS SUTTON, (1825-1905),— Nottingham and Manchester, was the son of Richard Sutton, the proprietor of the "Nottingham Review," a weekly newspaper. His father intended that he should be a chemist and druggist, but this was distasteful to him, as was being afterwards articled to a surgeon. He preferred to be a newspaper reporter, in which work he succeeded. "The Evangel of Love," was one of his earliest poems. He acted as Chairman of the Discussion Class at the Mechanics' Institution, and remodelled its rules. He obtained an appointment on the staff of the "Manchester Guardian," became editor of the "Alliance News," and so continued for forty years. He edited "Meliora," a magazine devoted to Social Science. His "Poems" with the "Clifton Grove Garland," "Rose's Diary," and other booklets followed. The "Sutton Treasury" contains samples from a much larger collection. The soul, the life, the work of the man was imbued with the spirit of usefulness to others,—the belief that our worship of God must be accompanied by helpfulness to man. "Unless I strive these people dear to bless, I do not love my God." How happy is our case, How beautiful it is to be alive ! " tell of the spirit of a man whose soul enlarged as his years advanced.

JOHN HENRY BROWN, (1836-1911), the grandson of Thomas Bailey,was a wine merchant in Nottingham, and the author of several books. "The Rambler's Calendar" was published in 1882, and recounts the author's thoughts on observations of Nature in each month of the year. Here is a specimen:

" Behold God's way in yonder lasting oak, Lord of the soil, within whose sheltering arms The fainting herd repose; whose rugged limbs Threaten, not woo the blast; and wring regard Even from rustic's eyes." (page 55).

Another book of his was "Love's Labyrinth,"— "Welcome ye groves ! ye woodland thickets hail ! Fair Nature's temple ye, where she enshrines Her flowery gems, and hides the dainty fern,

Where clambering woodbine, as huge censer swings; Where flocks the bird, gay winged; and they who move The soul with music sing the morning hymn." (page 57).

MISS ANNIE MATHESON, (d. 1924, in her seventy-first year), was the daughter of the Rev. James Matheson, formerly Minister of Friar Lane Chapel, Nottingham. She published in 1890 a book of poems entitled "The Religion of Humanity and other Poems." "To my Father and Mother I dedicate this book." Addressing her father she says:—

"When long ago a child at play
My rhymes to thee I used to say,
Thy pleasure was a joy so pure
That I wrote on of thee secure,
And thine is this last roundelay,
Thou art not dead."

"The Times" obituary notice says, "The graceful idealism of her thoughts gives her work a real value. She published various books of verse, chief among them being "Love Triumphant and Other Poems." She edited a series of biographies of great or heroic men and women for Schools, the "Rose and Dragon" series.

GILBERT, A., see "Families."