Alice King (1839-94) was the daughter of a clergyman. She became blind at the age of 7 and was educated by her mother. She learned by ear seven languages and contributed to the Argosy and the Quiver, both journals largely devoted to fiction and associated with Mrs Henry Wood. She also wrote eleven three-decker novels, published between 1861 and 1887. Her account of Donne in a journal article was sentimental and showed little awareness of the facts of his life, but conveyed enthusiasm for his poetry ('John Donne', Argosy, 32 (1881), 300 and 304-5).
Before he was twenty he published a volume of poems, which got quickly into brisk circulation, and were greatly admired in his day, though they are too full of over-strained conceits and too stiff to suit our modern taste. There is, however, so much of the fire and melody of true poetry in Donne's verse, that every age must grant him the title of a poet….
His genius as a poet no doubt had much to do with his success as a preacher; it bore him aloft into heights of inspired fancy, and clothed his thoughts in language of glowing splendour….
Donne wrote some beautiful and touching sacred poetry after he was a clergyman…. His poetry before he entered the Church is occasionally stained by some degree of licence, but all that vanishes in his later verse.
David Masson (1822-1907) married Rosaline Orme (see No. 2) in 1853, the year in which he became Professor of English