The Rowley Poems by Thomas Chatterton

“Most people know the legend of Thomas Chatterton -- brilliant poet who failed to make a living, starved himself to send expensive presents to his family, and died by his own hand at seventeen -- much better than his poems. Like all legends, it is partial and exaggerated, but was a powerful influence on the Romantic movement and long after. The painting "The Death of Chatterton" by Henry Wallis epitomises this reputation. His fame rests, apart from this almost unbearably romantic life story, on his "Rowley Poems". These he wrote in a sham Middle English dialect, and passed off as the work of Thomas Rowley, a priest of Bristol in the fifteenth century, and some of his friends. The imposture was quickly detected (though some continued to believe in him for many years), but they were published in a collected edition after his death and were popular and much admired by the Romantic poets, especially Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats, who dedicated "Endymion" to the memory of Thomas Chatterton.”

Pseudodoxia Epidemica:
Into very many Received
And commonly presumed

By Thomas Brown Knight, M. D.
Based on The Sixth and Last Edition of 1672

Thomas Brown’s Vulgar Errors treats the opposite of orthodoxy, pseudodoxy. An intelligent and readable presentation of an amusing classic.

Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791)

“Throughout his political career Hopkinson wrote poetry and satire on the politically derisive issues of the day. He penned a popular and humorous work on the 1787 Constitutional Convention. He was also an accomplished harpsichordist and composer. His work "My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free," set to the words of Thomas Parnell's "Love and Innocence," is the first extant secular song by a native American composer.”


O that the pines which crown yon steep
Their fires might ne"er surrender!
O that yon fervid knoll might keep,
While lasts the world, its splendor!

Pale poplars on the breeze that lean, 
And in the sunset shiver,
O that your golden stems might screen
For aye yon glassy river!

That yon white bird on homeward wing
Soft-sliding without motion,
And now in blue air vanishing
Like snow-flake lost in ocean,

Beyond our sight might never flee,
Yet forward still be flying;
And all the dying day might be
Immortal in its dying!

Pellucid thus in saintly trance,
Thus mute in expectation,
What waits the earth?  Deliverance?
Ah no!  Transfiguration!

She dreams of that "New Earth" divine,
Conceived of seed immortal;
She sings "Not mine the holier shrine,
Yet mine the steps and portal!"
Aubrey Thomas de Vere [1814-1902]