Charles Stuart Calverley Poems

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Charles Stuart Calverley
Charles Stuart Calverley (December 22, 1831 - February 17, 1884) was an English poet and wit. He was the literary father of what has been called "the university school of humour". He was born at Martley, Worcestershire, and given the name Charles Stuart Blayds. In 1852, his father, the Rev. Henry Blayds, resumed the old family name of Calverley, which his grandfather had exchanged for Blayds in 1807. Charles went up to Balliol College, Oxford from Harrow School in 1850, and was soon known in Oxford as the most daring and high-spirited undergraduate of his time. He was a universal favourite, a delightful companion, a brilliant scholar and the playful enemy of all "dons." In 1851 he won the Chancellor's prize for Latin verse, but it is said that the entire exercise was written in an afternoon, when his friends had locked him into his rooms, refusing to let him out until he had finished what they were confident would prove the prize poem. A year later, to avoid the consequences of a college escapade, he moved to Christ's College, Cambridge. Here he was again successful in Latin verse, the only undergraduate to have won the Chancellor's prize at both universities. In 1856 he took second place in the first class in the Classical Tripos. He was elected fellow of Christ's (1858), published Verses and Translations in 1862, and was called to the bar in 1865. Injuries sustained in a skating accident prevented him from following a professional career, and during the last years of his life he was an invalid. His Translations into English and Latin appeared in 1866; his Theocritus translated into English Verse in 1869; Fly Leaves in 1872; and Literary Remains in 1885. Calverley was one of the most brilliant men of his day; and, with better health, might have achieved distinction in any career. Although naturally lazy, he was outstandingly gifted; he was a scholar, a musician, an athlete and a brilliant conversationalist. His sparkling verses were much imitated. His good-natured humour and "keen but kind" satire are still admired. His light verse had the polish and elegance of the great masters, and is raised to the level of poetry by the saving excellence of style. His Complete Works, with a biographical notice by Sir WJ Sendall, appeared in 1901.

In those old days which poets say were golden --
(Perhaps they laid the gilding on themselv... [read poem]
song to the evening star
Star that bringest home the bee,
And sett'st the weary labourer free!
If any star shed pea... [read poem]
the pleasures of hope


Where barbarous hordes on Scythian mountains roam,... [read poem]
ye mariners of england
Ye Mariners of England
That guard our native seas,
Whose flag has braved, a thousand years... [read poem]
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