Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Will Write Poetry for Shoes

Poet James Thomson was born on this day in 1700 in Ednam, Roxburghshire, Scotland.

Thomson was best known for his collection of nature poems, The Seasons (1730; revised 1744) and for the lyrics of "Rule, Britannia" (set to music by Thomas Arne).

After he left Scotland on foot for his new chosen home in London in 1725, he was mugged and lost all his possessions. Finding himself in London without a shilling, he sold a portion of what would become "Winter," the first part of The Seasons, for a pair of shoes. He died on August 27, 1748, after catching a chill during a boat trip from Hammersmith to Kew.

"He possesses a facility, almost amounting to a genius, for holding together in loose, artificial suspension all the characteristic elements of the popular culture of his day: Augustan patriotism, classicism in diction and tone, gothic excess, sentimentalism." -- M. Wynn-Davies.



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