Sydney Thompson Dobell
1824 – 1874
Who was Sydney Thompson Dobell?
His father, John Dobell, was a wine merchant, his mother a daughter of Samuel Thompson, a London political reformer. The family moved to Cheltenham when Dobell was twelve years old. He was educated privately, and never attended either school or university. He refers to this in some lines on Cheltenham College in imitation of Chaucer, written in his eighteenth year. After a five-year engagement he married, in 1844, Emily Fordham, a lady of good family. Acquaintance with James Stansfeld and with the Birmingham preacher-politician George Dawson fed the young enthusiast's ardour for the liberalism of the day, and later led to the foundation of the Society of the Friends of Italy.
Meanwhile, Dobell wrote a number of minor poems, infused with a passionate desire for political reform. The Roman appeared in 1850, under the nom de plume of Sydney Yendys. Next year he travelled through Switzerland with his wife; and after his return he formed friendships with Robert Browning, Philip Bailey, George MacDonald, Emanuel Deutsch, Lord Houghton, Ruskin, Holman Hunt, Mazzini, Tennyson and Carlyle. His second long poem, Balder, appeared in 1854. The three following years were spent in Scotland. Dobell also wrote England in Time of War, The Ballad of Keith Ravelston, and Tommy's Dead.
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- Apr 5, 1824
- Aug 22, 1874
on July 23, 2013