Davies, William Henry

(1871-1940)
   Born at his paternal grandfather's public house, Church House Tavern, Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales, to a poor family, he was apprenticed to a picture framer at age 14. He moved to London at the age of twenty, living in poverty. In 1893, having come into a small inheritance, he spent six years globe trotting. In 1896, while boarding a moving train Renfrew, Ontario, he slipped and suffered a traumatic amputation of his right leg at the knee. He returned to London and devoted himself to writing. In 1912, Edward Marsh selected several of his poems for inclusion in the first volume of his successful Georgian Poetry. Davies wrote twenty volumes in all, including several novels, and most sold well. His favorite topics were the things he knew bestcity poverty and rural contentment. The opening lines of Leisure are the well known: "What is this life if, full of care/ We have no time to stand and stare." His main publications: The Soul's Destroyer, 1905. Autobiography of a Super-Tramp, 1908. Complete Poems, 1963. Young Emma, 1980 (the story of his courtship). Some of his poems: "Ambition," "The Inquest," "The Power of Silence," "The Villain."
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Modern British Poetry. 7th rev. ed. Louis Untermeyer, ed. Harcourt, Brace, 1962. 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 Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000.

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

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