Swain, Charles

(1801-1874)
   Born in Manchester, Lancashire, he worked for 14 years as a clerk, then the rest of his working life in engraving and lithographing, which business he eventually bought. Any leisure he had he devoted to writing poetry, and his first poem was printed in a Manchester magazine, the Iris. Between that and his last publication, he acquired a solid reputation as poet and song writer; many of his poems were set to music. Of him, Robert Southey (see entry) is reported to have said that if any man was born to be a poet it was Swain. In 1846, he lectured on modern poets at Manchester Royal Institution and was made honorary professor of poetry. He died at his house, Prestwich Park, near Manchester, and was buried in Prestwich churchyard. Some of his publications: Metrical Essays, 1827. Beauties of the Mind, 1831. Rhymes for Childhood, 1846. Dramatic Chapters, 1847. English Melodies, 1849. Poems, 1857. Art and Fashion, 1863. Songs and Ballads, 1867. Some of his poems: "Be Kind to Each Other," "The Blind Boy Dying," "The Covenanter's Son," "Wreck of the Steam-Ship the 'President.'"
   Sources: British Minstrelsie. T.C. and E.C. Jack, Grange Publishing works, Edinburgh (?1900). Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Dramatic Chapters, Poems and Songs of Charles Swain. David Bogue, 1848. English Poetry: Author Search. Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 1995 (http://www.lib.utexas.edu:8080/search/epoetry/author.html). Index of Charles Swain's Contributions to British Literary Annuals: Forget Me Not: A Hypertextual Archive (http://www.orgs.muohio.edu/anthologies/FMN/Authors_Swain.htm). Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (http://library.stanford.edu). 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 National Portrait Gallery (www.npg.org.uk). The Poorhouse Fugitives: Self-Taught Poets and Poetry in Victorian Britain. Brian Maidment, ed. Carcanet, 1987.

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

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