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A Short Biographical Sketch of WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY (1849 to 1903)

by John W. Cousin

HENLEY, WILLIAM ERNEST (1849-1903). —Poet and critic, b. at Gloucester, made the acquaintance of Robert Louis Stevenson (q.v.), and collaborated with him in several dramas, including Deacon Brodie, and Robert Macaire. He engaged in journalism, and became ed. of The Magazine of Art, The National Observer, and The New Review, compiled Lyra Heroica, an anthology of English poetry for boys, and, with Mr. Farmer, ed. a Dictionary of Slang. His poems, which include Hospital Rhymes, London Voluntaries, The Song of the Sword, For England's Sake, and Hawthorn and Lavender, are very unequal in quality, and range from strains of the purest music to an uncouth and unmusical realism of no poetic worth. He wrote with T.F. Henderson a Life of Burns, in which the poet is set forth as a "lewd peasant of genius."