Thomas Chatterton

(1752 - 1770 / Bristol / England)

Thomas Chatterton
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Thomas Chatterton was born in Bristol on November 20, 1752 and is generally regarded as the first Romantic poet in English.

Throughout his early childhood Chatterton showed no signs of talent. He was regarded as little better than an idiot until he was about six and a half years old, because he would learn nothing, refused to play with other children, and spent most of his time brooding in silence. He was expelled from his first school as a dullard.

It appears that he underwent a considerable transformation in his seventh year. The story goes that one day he found his mother tearing up for waste paper some old music folios which had been brought home from the church ... more »

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  • Mie love ys dedde,
    Gon to hys death-bedde,
    Al under the wyllowe tree.

    Waterre wytches, crownede wythe reytes,
    Bere mee to yer leathalle tyde.
    I die; I comme;...
    Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770), British poet. Aella; a Tragycal Enterlude (l. 54-60). . . Oxford Book of English Verse, The, 1250-1918. Sir Arthur ...
  • Liste! now the thunder's rattling clymmynge sound
    Cheves slowlie on, and then embollen clangs,
    Shakes the hie spyre, and losst, dispended, drown'd,
    Still on the gallard eare of te...
    Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770), British poet. An Excelente Balade of Charitie (l. 36-42). . . The Oxford Anthology of English Poetry. Vol. I: Spens...
  • It is my PRIDE, my damn'd, native, unconquerable Pride, that plunges me into Distraction. You must know that 19-20th of my Composition is Pride. I must either live a Slave, a Servant; to have no Will ...
    Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770), British poet. Letter, April 1770. Quoted in John Cranstoun Nevill, Thomas Chatterton (1948).
  • ''There is a time for all things—Except Marriage my dear.''
    Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770), British poet. Reply, April 9, 1770, to a note from an admirer who bids him be patient, "for there is a time for all thi...
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