Views & Reviews Between the Lines

The forgotten poet laureate

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b5182 (Published 02 December 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b5182
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    The only doctor who was ever poet laureate was Robert Bridges (1844-1930). He is now almost forgotten, and unless I am much mistaken I think one could move quite far in literary circles before meeting anyone who could quote a single line of his.

    Yet he was once very popular. My copy of his last poem, the 200 page long Testament of Beauty, is of the 12th impression within the first year of its publication, 1929. I have reasons for thinking, however, that it was more bought than read. Indeed in this respect it was the Brief History of Time of its day.

    The bookseller I obtained it from, whom I have …

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