Robert Bridges

(1844—1930) poet

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studied medicine and continued to practise until 1881. At Oxford he met G. M. Hopkins, who became a close and influential friend, and whose complete poems Bridges eventually published in 1918. Bridges' early volumes include The Growth of Love (1876), a sonnet sequence; Prometheus the Firegiver (1883); and Eros and Psyche (1885). Between 1885 and 1894 he wrote eight plays. He wrote two influential essays, Milton's Prosody (1893) and John Keats (1895); and between 1895 and 1908 wrote the words for four works by H. Parry. He was much interested in the musical settings of words, and edited several editions of the Yattendon Hymnal from 1895 onwards. In 1898 appeared the first of the six volumes of his Poetical Works (1898–1905). His poetry appeared in one volume in 1912. The following year he was appointed poet laureate, and became a founder of the Society for Pure English. For many years he was closely connected with the Oxford University Press. His successful anthology of prose and verse, The Spirit of Man (1916), included six poems by Hopkins, little of whose work had yet been published. October and Other Poems appeared in 1920, New Verse in 1925, and in 1929 The Testament of Beauty, a long poem, in four books, on his spiritual philosophy, which he regarded as the culmination of his work as a poet. Bridges' general reputation does not stand as high as it once did, but the simplicity of his diction and his adventurous experiments in metre and prosody are still respected.

Subjects: Literature.

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