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.”


Hail, old October, bright and chill,
First freedman from the summer sun!
Spice high the bowl, and drink your fill!
Thank heaven, at last the summer's done!

Come, friend, my fire is burning bright,
A fire's no longer out of place,
How clear it glows! (there's frost to-night,)
It looks white winter in the face.

You've been to "Richard" Ah! you've seen
A noble play: I'm glad you went;
But what on earth does Shakespeare mean
By "winter of our discontent?"

Be mine the tree that feeds the fire!
Be mine the sun knows when to set!
Be mine the months when friends desire
To turn in here from cold and wet!

The sentry sun, that glared so long
O'erhead, deserts his summer post;
Ay, you may brew it hot and strong:
"The joys of winter" - come, a toast!

Shine on the kangaroo, thou sun!
Make far New Zealand faint with fear!
Don't hurry back to spoil our fun,
Thank goodness, old October's here!
Thomas Constable [1812-1881]