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Barron Field

(23 October 1786 – 11 April 1846 / London, England.)

Biography of Barron Field

Barron Field poet

Barron Field was born October 23, 1786 in England. He arrived in Australia in 1816 to serve as judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. In 1819 the government printer published Field's First Fruits of Australian Poetry which contained two poems and is generally regarded as the first book of poetry to be published in Australia.

The only Australian publication ever reviewed by Charles Lamb, whose lukewarm eulogy appeared in the “Examiner” in 1820. After saying something about the author, who had quitted his friends, his family, and his pleasing avocations, “to go and administer tedious justice in inauspicious and unliterary Thiefland,” Lamb goes on to say: — “The First Fruits consist of two poems. The first celebrates the plant epacris grandiflora; but we are no botanists, and, perhaps, there is too much matter mixed up in it from the Midsummer Night's Dream to please some readers. The thefts are, indeed, so open and palpable, that we almost recur to our first surmise, that the author must be some unfortunate wight, sent on his travels for plagiarisms of a more serious complexion. ...We select for our readers the second poem; and are mistaken if it does not relish of the graceful hyperboles of our elder writers. We can conceive it to have been written by Andrew Marvell, supposing him to have been banished to Botany Bay, as he did, we believe, once meditate a voluntary exile to Bermuda.” The poem thus introduced, and quoted in full, is called The Kangaroo. The second poem in the collection was titled Botany Bay Flowers.

As a keen amateur naturalist, Mt Field National Park in Tasmania was named for Barron Field. Barron Field died in 1846.

Barron Field's Works:

First Fruits of Australian Poetry (Sydney: George Howe, 1819)

Barron Field's Memoirs of Wordsworth (Sydney: Sydney University Press for the Australian Academy of the Humanities, 1975)

Geographical Memoirs on New South Wales (London: John Murray, 1825)

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PoemHunter.com Updates

The Kangaroo

Kanagaroo, Kangaroo!
Thou Spirit of Australia,
That redeems from utter failure,
From perfect desolation,
And warrants the creation
Of this fifth part of the Earth,
Which would seem an after-birth,
Not conceiv'd in the Beginning
(For GOD bless'd His work at first,

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