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Robert Southey

Robert Southey was an English poet of the Romantic school, and one of the so-called "Lake Poets". Although his fame tends to be eclipsed by that of his contemporaries such as William Wordsworth, Southey's verse enjoys enduring popularity.

He was born in Bristol in 1774 and educated at Westminster School (from which he was expelled) and Balliol College, Oxford. After experimenting with a writing partnership with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, he published his first collection of poems in 1794. Southey's wife, Edith, was the sister of Coleridge's wife. The Southeys set up home in the Lake District, living on a tiny income. From 1809, he contributed to the Quarterly Review, and had become so well-known by 1813 that he was appointed Poet Laureate.

In 1838, Edith died and Southey married Caroline Anne Bowles, also a poet. He died in 1843. Many of his poems are still read by schoolchildren, the best-known being The Inchcape Rock and After Blenheim (possibly one of the earliest anti-war poems).

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