English poet and novelist Algernon Charles Swinburne was born on April 5, 1837 in London, England. He invented the roundel form, which makes use of refrains, repeated according to a certain stylized pattern. A roundel consists of nine lines each having the same number of syllables, plus a refrain after the third line and after the last line. He also wrote several novels, and contributed to the famous 11th Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in every year from 1903 to 1907 and again in 1909. He was the eldest of six children born to Captain (later Admiral) Charles Henry Swinburne and Lady Jane Henrietta, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Ashburnham. He grew up at East Dene in Bonchurch on the Isle of Wight and attended Eton College 1849–53, where he first started writing poetry, and then Oxford 1856–60 with a brief hiatus when he was suspended from the university in 1859 for having publicly supported the attempted assassination of Napoleon III by Felice Orsini, returning in May 1860, though he never received a degree. After leaving college he lived in London and started an active writing career. His poetic works include: Atalanta in Calydon (1865), Poems and Ballads (1866), Songs before Sunrise (1871), Poems and Ballads Second Series (1878), Tristram of Lyonesse (1882), Poems and Ballads Third Series (1889), and the novel Lesbia Brandon (published posthumously in 1952). Throughout his life, Swinburne battled alcoholism. He was also a very nervous and excitable character and because of this his health suffered in later life. He died on April 10, 1909 at the age of 72 in London and was buried at St. Boniface Church on the Isle of Wight.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Great Britain’s Literary Legends. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the following links: