Russell, Thomas

(1762-1788)
   Born at Beaminster, Dorset, into a prosperous family of shipping merchants and ship-owners from Weymouth, he was educated at Winchester College, graduated B.A. from New College, Oxford, in 1784, and was ordained deacon in 1785 and priest in 1786. His promising career was cut short by what was probably tuberculosis. He died at Bristol and was buried in the churchyard of Powerstock, Dorset. Russell was inspired by Edmund Spenser, John Milton, and John Dryden (see entries). Sonnets and Miscellaneous Poems by the late Thomas Russell, Fellow of New College was published in 1789. In this he wrote many sonnets and his work inspired many other poets. William Wordsworth (see entry) not only wrote with warm appreciation of Russell's genius as a sonneteer, but uses four lines from Russell to close his own sonnet "Iona." Some of his poems: "A Christian is a Man Who Feels," "Lay of Ancient Rome," "Ode to Work in Springtime," "The Names and Order of the Books of the Old Testament," "To a Violet," "To Delia," "To Silence," "To Zephyr."
   Sources: A Century of Sonnets: The Romantic-Era Revival 1750-1850. Paula R. Feldman and Daniel Robinson, ed. Oxford University Press, 1999. A Second Treasury of the Familiar. Ralph L. Woods, ed. Macmillan, 1950. Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. English Poetry: Author Search. Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 1995 (http://www.lib.utexas.edu:8080/search/epoetry/author.html). Innocent Merriment: An Antholog y of Light Verse. Franklin P. Adams, ed. McGraw-Hill, 1942. The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Home Book of Modern Verse. Burton Egbert Stevenson, ed. Henry Holt, 1953. The Oxford Book of Eighteenth Century Verse. David Nichol Smith, ed. Oxford University Press, 1926. The Oxford Book of Sonnets. John Fuller, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. The Penguin Book of the Sonnet: 500 Years of a Classic Tradition in English. Phillis Levin, ed. Penguin Books, 2001. What Cheer: An Anthology of American and British Humorous and Witty Verse. David McCord, ed. Coward-McCann, 1945.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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