Robert Stephen Hawker

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Robert Stephen Hawker (3 December 1803 - 15 August 1875), was an English poet, antiquarian of Cornwall, Anglican clergyman and reputed eccentric. He is best known as the writer of Cornwall's "national anthem" "The Song of the Western Men", better known for its chorus line "And shall Trelawney die?". His name became nationally famous after Charles Dickens acknowledged his authorship of "The Song of the Western Men" in the serial magazine Household Words.

He was born in Stoke Damerell Plymouth, and educated at Liskeard Grammar School, Cheltenham Grammar School and Pembroke College, Oxford. He married his godmother in 1823 while an undergraduate, changing college and graduating in 1827. He won the 1827 Newdigate Prize for poetry.

He took Anglican orders in 1831, became curate at North Tamerton and then vicar of Morwenstow, where he remained. He converted to the Roman Catholic Church on his deathbed, in Plymouth. He is buried in Ford Park Cemetery, Plymouth, England.

Works

  • Tendrils (1821),
  • Records of the Western Shore Oxford (1832)
  • Ecclesia: A Volume of Poems Oxford (1840)
  • Reeds Shaken with the Wind (1843)
  • Echoes from Old Cornwall (1846)
  • The Quest of the Sangraal: Chant the First Exeter (1864) from an unfinished Arthurian poem
  • Cornish Ballads & Other Poems, Introduction by C.E. Byles (1908)
  • Selected Poems: Robert Stephen Hawker. Ed. Cecil Woolf (1975)

References

  • The Vicar of Morwenstow (1875) by Sabine Baring-Gould
  • The Life and Letters of R. S. Hawker (sometime Vicar of Morwenstow)(1906) by C. E. Byles,
  • Hawker of Morwenstow (2002) by Piers Brendon, Random House
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