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Published editions of 

Gerald Massey's Poetry

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"A poet sought the golden prize
 For Wife and Child, till, out of breath,
 He gained it—when the Coins, in death,
 Were laid upon his sightless eyes!
 In winning bread for Child and Wife,
 His death was ten times worth his life."

Massey....'An Old Custom Still Extant.'

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Minor Poets and Political
Radicalism in the Victorian Literary Canon.


An introduction by
Michelle Hawley
Associate Professor, Department of English,
California State University, U.S.A.

 
THE Victorian Age has long been better known for its novels than for its poetry.

    In 1861, George L. Craik observed that "in the Georgian Era, verse was in the ascendant; in the Victorian era the supremacy has passed to prose."*  Indeed, prose continues to reign supreme in the scholarly field of Victorian literature and on many Victorian literature syllabi at the University level.  This state of affairs is not surprising considering that such major poets as Tennyson and Arnold repeatedly expressed concerns that the lyric voice of poetry seemed ill-suited for an audience shaped by the forces of industrialism, capitalism, and democratic movements.

    Such characterizations are, however, misleading and have effectively silenced the powerful voices of a host of minor radical and working-class poets.   Gerald Massey, Thomas Hood, Thomas Cooper and their peers made significant contributions to the social, political, and literary movements of the nineteenth-century.   The reader of their poems can see that poetry was a force with which to be reckoned and served many functions.  It was printed on banners at political rallies, sung in lieu of hymns at secularist ceremonies, and recognized as a powerful weapon in the fight against the establishment.   Although these poems often spoke on behalf of the oppressed as a group, they also served as vehicles for personal creativity and self-expression and as points of entry into a burgeoning national literary culture.  Read alongside canonical works with which they are in dialogue, these poems have the capacity to open up the canon and pose new questions about the nature and function of the Victorian poetry.   For example, Gerald Massey's "The Cry of the Unemployed" resonates with Tennyson's "Mariana" and serves as both tribute to and critique of Tennyson's lyric expression of depression and misery.

    There is no question that the inclusion of minor poets such as Massey enriches the Victorian syllabus.  However, the fact that most of these poems are out-of-print has made it difficult for students to access a representative and extensive selection of texts.  Fortunately, students of the literature of this period will have—as this website extends to encompass the work of further minor poets—a growing opportunity to see for themselves that the Victorian period was, indeed, an Age of Poetry.

* Jackson I. Cope, “An Early Analysis of ‘The Victorian Age in Literature,” Modern Language Notes 71:1 (1956) 16.


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Readers unfamiliar with Gerald Massey's poetry might find that John Churton Collins' 'The Poetry of Mr. Gerald Massey' and 'Gerald Massey: Poet, Prophet and Mystic' by B. O. Flower each provide a useful introduction.

In the following poems Massey sometimes employs words that have since fallen out of use, "archaic" to use the dictionary description.  This is particularly so in the early volumes of his verse.  For example, weet, meaning 'to know or have knowledge of', crops up occasionally, as in Yet she weeteth not I love her (A Lover's Fancy).  Readers might find Webster's Online Dictionary (1828 edition) helpful for explaining such archaic words.


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INDEX TO POEMS.



EARLY POEMS
1847-51
Collected from various sources.


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VOICES OF FREEDOM

AND
LYRICS OF LOVE !
BY
T. GERALD MASSEY.

Working Man.
LONDON :
J. WATSON, QUEEN'S HEAD PASSAGE, PATERNOSTER ROW.
AND ALL BOOKSELLERS.
1851.


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POEMS AND BALLADS

BY
GERALD MASSEY,
CONTAINING THE
BALLAD OF BABE CHRISTABEL.
PRINTED FROM THE THIRD LONDON EDITION,
WITH

Several New Poems Never Before Published.
NEW YORK:
J. C. DERBY, 119 NASSAU STREET
1854.


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WAR WAITS

BY
GERALD MASSEY.

LONDON :
DAVID BOGUE, 86, FLEET STREET.


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CRAIGCROOK CASTLE
BY
GERALD MASSEY
LONDON
DAVID BOGUE, 86, FLEET STREET
MDCCCLVI


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ROBERT BURNS :

A CENTENARY SONG,
AND OTHER LYRICS.
BY GERALD MASSEY.
LONDON:
W. KENT AND CO. (LATE D. BOGUE), 86, FLEET STREET.
EDINBURGH : ANDREW ELLIOT, PRINCES STREET.

1859.

PRINTED BY WILLIAM NICHOLS,
32, LONDON WALL.


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HAVELOCK'S MARCH
 AND OTHER POEMS
 BY
Gerald Massey
LONDON
TRÜBNER & CO., PATERNOSTER ROW,
1861


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ELECTION LYRICS
.
BY
GERALD MASSEY.
(1886)
(Price Twopence each; 7/6 per 100 ; 30/- per 1000.)
LONDON:
J. BURNS, 15, SOUTHAMPTON ROW, W.C.


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MY LYRICAL LIFE :

Poems Old and New
KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH & CO. 
LONDON
1889
FIRST SERIES          SECOND SERIES


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MY LYRICAL LIFE :

Poems Old and New
NEW EDITION
FIRST SERIES WITH ADDITIONS
LONDON
WATTS AND CO. 
1896
ADDITIONS TO EARLIER EDITIONS

 



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