Dowson, Ernest Christopher

(1867-1900)
   Born in Kent to prosperous parents, he entered Queen's College, Oxford, but left in 1888 when his father fell on hard times. He is one of the most gifted of the circle of English poets of the 1890s known as the Decadents, all members of the Rhymers' Club. In 1891 he met Adelaide Foltinowicz, a girl aged 12, the inspiration for his best-known poem, "Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae sub Regno Cynarae." After she refused his offer of marriage Dowson sunk into a life of dissolution and strong drink. Within months, in 1894, both his parents died: his father of tuberculosis, his mother of suicide, and he discovered the symptoms of his own tuberculosis. He then moved to Brittany but was found destitute by a friend who brought him home to London, where he died. Some of his publications: Dilemmas, 1895 (short stories). Verses, 1896. Decorations, 1899 (poetry). Some of his poems: "Breton Afternoon," "Carthusians," "From the Icelandic," "My Lady April," "Nuns of the Perpetual Adoration," "The Passing of Tennyson," "To a Lost Love," "Yvonne of Brittany."
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite DVD, 2006. English Poetry: Author Search. Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 1995 (http://www.lib.utexas.edu:8080/search/epoetry/author.html). 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 Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. The Poems of Ernest Dowson. Arthur Symons Dodd, ed. Mead and Company, 1922.

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

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