In this special guest post, Ana Sampson offers some fascinating facts about classic poets
Matthew Arnold struggled a bit with the ageing process
At Oxford University, Matthew Arnold made a name for himself as something of a dandy. It was only when he fell in love, and needed to prove that he had prospects, that he finally settled into the position of Schools Inspector, rattling around provincial Victorian Britain on the newborn railway network. Most of his poetry was written during his younger years – he once said that after his thirtieth birthday he felt ‘three parts iced over’. His most famous poem, ‘Dover Beach’, was begun during his honeymoon in 1851, but was not published until sixteen years later.
There was a sad story behind Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s beard
Longfellow, best remembered now for The Song of Hiawatha, numbered among New England’s ‘Fireside Poets’, so called because their verses were easy to learn and recite due to their musical rhythms, and were written to be shared with families. Longfellow’s first wife, Mary, died young and his second, Frances, burnt to death while using sealing wax on a letter. He grew his iconic bushy beard to hide the burn scars he sustained while trying to save her.