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Alfred Austin
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Poet
    (May 3, 1835-June 2, 1913)
    Born in Headingly, England, United Kingdom
    Poet laureate (1896-1913)
    He was named poet laureate only after the office went vacant for four years.
    Lord Salisbury admitted he named Austin as laureate ‘because no one else applied.’
    His first work as poet laureate, an ode on the Jameson raid (an unsuccessful attempt by Cecil Rhodes to overthrow the Boer government in South Africa), was so jingoistic that it earned a rebuke from Queen Victoria.
    When he was criticized about grammatical errors in one of his poems, he replied, ‘I dare not alter these things. They come to me from above.’
    When he avoided politics and wrote about nature, he could be quite charming.
    His two most derided lines (‘Over the electric wires the message came/He is no better, he is much the same’ about the death of Lord Tennyson) were not actually written by him.

Credit: C. Fishel


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