Massey, Gerald

(1828-1907)
   A poet of the people, he was born into poverty, started work when he was eight, and learned to read at a "penny school." At 15 he worked as an errand boy in London and devoted his leisure to learning. His cheap journal The Spirit of Freedom started when he was 21 and, written by workingmen, aroused opposition, but he persisted. He used his pen to further the aims of the Chartists and wrote over 800 reviews for Athenaeum magazine. Between 1873 and 1888 he lectured on poetry in America, Australia and New Zealand. He died in London and was buried in Old Southgate cemetery, North London. His hymn "Surrounded by Unnumbered Foes" was set to music by William Shore. Some of his poetry publications: Poems and Chansons, 1848. Voices of Freedom and Lyrics of Love, 1850. Robert Burns, a Song, and Other Lyrics, 1859. Havelock's March, 1860. A Tale of Eternity and Other Poems, 1869. Some of his poems: "All's Right with the World," "Babe Christabel," "England," "His Banner over Me," "Robin Burns," "The Awakening of the People," "The Worker."
   Sources: Athenaeum Index: Contributor Record (http://web.soi.city.ac.uk/Massey, Geraldasp/v2/contributors/contributorfiles/MASSEY,Gerald.html). 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). Everyman's Book of Victorian Verse. J.R. Watson, ed. J.M. Dent, 1982. 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 Cyber Hymnal (http://www.cyberhymnal.org/index.htm). The National Portrait Gallery (www.npg.org.uk). The Poorhouse Fugitives Self-Taught Poets and Poetry in Victorian Britain. Brian Maidment, ed. Carcanet, 1987. The World's Great Religious Poetry. Caroline Miles Hill, ed. Macmillan, 1954. Treasury of Favorite Poems. Joseph H. Head, ed. Gramercy Books, 2000.

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

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