Mark, Akenside ( 1721-1770)
Born at Newcastle, the son of a butcher, Akenside studied theology but abandoned it for medicine, practicing as a physician at Northampton and London. He contributed verses to Gentleman's Magazine, and wrote Pleasures of Imagination ( 1744, 1757), Hymn to the Naiads, and An Epistle to Curio.
Matthew Arnold ( 1822-1888)
Arnold was born in Middlesex and educated at Oxford. He served as secretary to Lord Lansdowne ( 1847) and inspector of schools ( 1851-1886). Arnold's first two volumes of poetry, The Strayed Reveller ( 1849) and Empedocles on Etna ( 1852), were followed by two volumes of Poems ( 1853, 1855) and by Merope ( 1858). Appointed Professor of Poetry at Oxford ( 1857-1867), he turned his attention to literary, theological, and educational criticism after 1861.
W. H. Auden ( 1907-1973)
Born in Yorkshire, Wystan Hugh Auden attended Oxford ( 1925-1928), served as schoolmaster in Scotland and England ( 1930-1935), and traveled to Spain to support the loyalists ( 1936). After marrying Erika Mann ( 1935) to provide her with a British passport, he emigrated to the United States ( 1939) and became an American citizen ( 1946). In England again, he was appointed Professor of Poetry at Oxford ( 1956-1961). Auden's lifelong companion was Chester Kallman, with whom he collaborated on opera libretti. Poems ( 1930) and three further volumes established Auden's reputation. He wrote plays with Christopher Isherwood, including The Dog Beneath the Skin ( 1935). Five volumes written in the United States reflect his growing commitment to Anglicanism.