Gerald Massey

Gerald Massey

About Gerald Massey

Gerald Massey was an English poet and writer on Spiritualism and Ancient Egypt. In this selection, we are assembling some of the best Massey's poems extracted from the most famous author's works. Massey first public appearance as a writer was in connection with a journal called the Spirit of Freedom, of which he became editor, and he was only twenty-two when he published his first volume of poems, Voices of Freedom and Lyrics of Love (1850). These he followed in rapid succession with The Ballad of Babe Christabel (1854), War Waits (1855), Havelock's March (1860), and A Tale of Eternity (1869).
In 1889, Massey published a two-volume collection of his poems called My Lyrical Life. He also published works dealing with Spiritualism, the study of Shakespeare's sonnets (1872 and 1890), and theological speculation. It is generally understood that he was the original of George Eliot's Felix Holt.
Massey's poetry has a certain rough and vigorous element of sincerity and strength which easily accounts for its popularity at the time of its production. He treated the theme of Sir Richard Grenville before Tennyson thought of using it, with much force and vitality. Indeed, Tennyson's own praise of Massey's work is still its best eulogy, for the Laureate found in him a poet of fine lyrical impulse, and of a rich half-Oriental imagination. The inspiration of his poetry is a combination of his vast knowledge based on travels, research and experiences; he was a patriotic humanist to the core. His poem The Merry, Merry May was set to music in 1894 by the composer Cyril Rootham and then in a popular song by composer Christabel Baxendale.

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