Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834) wrote Zapolya in 1817. He was imitating Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale, he claimed, hoping: “I will be well content if my readers will take it up, read it and judge it, as a Christmas tale.” There is little in the work itself that is decidedly Christmas apart from a mother fleeing with her […]

In January 1817, the Prince Regent survived an attack on his carriage as he was being driven to the opening of Parliament. War had ended the year before, but transitioning to a peacetime economy had vexed the Government and there was much suffering. The Prince Regent was blamed in part for the situation. Nevertheless, a special Thanksgiving prayer […]

The Prince Regent declared January 18, 1816 an official day of Thanksgiving for all Regency England–to commemorate a Nation’s gratitude that war had ended. Wordsworth wrote the following poem to mark the occasion: O Britain! dearer far than life is dear, If one there be Of all thy progeny Who can forget thy prowess, never more […]

From a delightful Regency-era discussion in the Edinburgh Observer, or, Town and Country Magazine, Jan. 3, 1818: “ON GHOSTS” In churchyards: “(they) have no particular business, but seem to appear, pro bono publico, or to scare idle apprentices from playing pranks over their tombs.” Their appearance: “dragging chains is not the fashion of English ghosts; […]

James Hogg (1770-1835) was the son of a tenant farmer and largely self-taught, the Bible being his primer. He worked as a sheep drover for another farmer, Laidlaw, who gave him more books to read and his son Will as companion. He began to write plays and pastoral poems, taking walking tours in the summers. So things might have […]

  It is perhaps appropriate, in the aftermath of the Referendum on Scottish Independence, that we turn to another Scot, a patriot to his birthplace, and famous Regency-era critic. John Gibson Lockhart (1794 – 1854) was born to a clergyman and a clergyman’s daughter at the manse (rectory) of Cambusnethan House in the Scottish Lowlands. (Today, the place is marked by a rather […]

reposted from Hearts through History: The Referendum on Scottish independence brings to mind the fate of a little girl born to forge a much earlier Union. In 1283, some three hundred years before England and Scotland were joined under a single monarch, a daughter was born to the sea-king of the north, Eirik II of Norway. The little […]


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