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Sydney Thompson Dobell. Biography
Sydney Thompson Dobell (5 April 1824 – 22 August 1874) was an English poet and critic, and a member of the so-called Spasmodic school.
Dobell was born at Cranbrook, Kent. His father, John Dobell, was a wine merchant, his mother a daughter of Samuel Thompson (1766–1837), a London political reformer. The family moved to Cheltenham when Dobell was twelve years old. He was educated privately, and never attended either school or university. He refers to this in some lines on Cheltenham College in imitation of Chaucer, written in his eighteenth year. After a five-year engagement he married, in 1844, Emily Fordham, a lady of good family. Acquaintance with James Stansfeld (subsequently Sir James Stansfeld) and with the Birmingham preacher-politician George Dawson fed the young enthusiast's ardour for the liberalism of the day, and later led to the foundation of the Society of the Friends of Italy.
Meanwhile, Dobell wrote a number of minor poems, infused with a passionate desire for political reform. The Roman appeared in 1850, under the nom de plume of Sydney Yendys. Next year he travelled through Switzerland with his wife; and after his return he formed friendships with Robert Browning, Philip Bailey, George MacDonald, Emanuel Deutsch, Lord Houghton, Ruskin, Holman Hunt, Mazzini, Tennyson and Carlyle. His second long poem, Balder, appeared in 1854. The three following years were spent in Scotland. Dobell also wrote "The Ballad of Keith Ravelston and Tommy's Dead".
Perhaps his closest friend at this time was Alexander Smith. Together they published, in 1855, a number of sonnets on the Crimean War, which were followed by a volume on "England in Time of War". Although by no means a rich man he was always ready to help needy men of letters, and it was through his exertions that David Gray's poems were published. In 1869 a horse, which he was riding, fell and rolled over with him. His health, which had for several years necessitated his wintering abroad, was seriously affected by this accident, and he was from this time more or less of an invalid until his death in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire.
Sydney Thompson Dobell's Poems:
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