Robert Bridges (Robert Seymour Bridges) Biography
(1844–1930), (Robert Seymour Bridges), Poems, The Growth of Love, Prometheus the Firegiver, Eros and Psyche
British poet, critic, and editor, born in Walmer, Kent, educated at Eton and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. After studying at St Bartholomew's Hospital, he became a consulting physician at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital. In 1881 he ceased medical practice in order to concentrate on his literary activities. His first collection of verse, Poems (1873), was followed by many volumes, including the sonnet sequence The Growth of Love (1876), the long poems Prometheus the Firegiver (1883) and Eros and Psyche (1885), and The Humours of the Court (1890). His Poetical Works appeared in six volumes between 1898 and 1905, with the publication in 1912 of a very popular single-volume edition. He was among the founders of the Society for Pure English in 1913, the year in which he succeeded Alfred Austin as Poet Laureate. Among his later volumes of poetry are October and Other Poems (1920), which contained a number of poems on the Great War, and New Verse (1925). Testament of Beauty was published to widespread acclaim in 1929; its four books form a lyrical and meditative exposition of his theistic rationalism, which derived from the philosophy of Santayana. Bridges regarded the work as the summation of his career as a poet. Its long verse lines are the result of his interest in combining the properties of quantitive classical metres and the stress patterns of English prosody. He edited numerous anthologies of prose and poetry, and produced the first edition of Gerard Manley Hopkins's Poems in 1918; Hopkins's friendship and correspondence with Bridges since their meeting at Oxford are dealt with in Jean-Georges Ritz's Robert Bridges and Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1863–1889: A Literary Friendship (1960). The best-known of Bridges's many works as a critic are his monographs Milton's Prosody (1893) and John Keats (1895). He was keenly interested in the musical settings of words, collaborating on four occasions with the musician Hubert Parry and editing several editions of the Yattendon Hymnal. There is a biography by Edward Thompson (1944); Selected Letters of Robert Bridges, edited by Donald E. Sandford, was published in two volumes in 1984.