Robert Seymour Bridges, OM (23 October 1844 – 21 April 1930) was a British poet, and poet laureate from 1913 to 1930.
Robert Seymour Bridges, OM, (October 23, 1844 – April 21, 1930) was an English poet, holder of the honour of poet laureate from 1913.
Bridges was known for his technical mastery of prosody. In book Milton's Prosody, he took an empirical approach to examining Milton's use of blank verse, and developed the controversial theory that Milton's practice was essentially syllabic. He considered free verse to be too limiting, and explained his position in the essay "Humdrum and Harum-Scarum." His own efforts to "free" verse resulted in the poems he called 'Neo-Miltonic Syllabics' which were collected in New Verse (1925). The meter of these poems was based on syllables rather than accents, and he used it again in the long philosophical poem "The Testament of Beauty" (1929), for which received the Order of Merit. His best-known poems, however, are to be found in the two earlier volumes of Shorter Poems (1890, 1894). He also wrote verse plays, with limited success, and literary criticism, including a study of the work of John Keats.
Despite being made poet laureate in 1913, Bridges was never a very well-known poet and only achieved his great popularity shortly before his death with "The Testament of Beauty". However, his verse evoked response in many great English composers of the time. Among those to set his poems to music were Hubert Parry, Gustav Holst, and later Gerald Finzi.
At Corpus Christi College, Bridges became friends with Gerard Manley Hopkins, who is now considered a superior poet but who owes his present fame to Bridges' efforts in arranging the posthumous publication (1916) of his verse.