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11.08.06 Timrod, Henry, Henry Timrod’s Poems, with Memoir and Portrait, published in 1899.

Our Review

Henry Timrod, one of the outstanding American lyric poets of the 19th century, was a South Carolinian, born in Charleston in 1828 and died in 1867 in poverty amidst the ruins of Columbia.  Other than one slim volume,  Poems,  published in 1860, Timrod never saw his work collected in book form during his lifetime.   Friends published a collected edition in 1872, and a number other volumes have been published since, the one cited being the best known and most available and often reprinted.   Most of his work appeared in newspapers of the time and much of it celebrated the South and the War for Southern Independence, although by no means all of his verse was patriotic.  Timrod  also wrote  on traditional poetic themes.

Plagued by bad health all his life, Timrod repeatedly enlisted in the Confederate army but each time was soon discharged as physically unfit.  Yet he served the Confederacy well, celebrating its beginnings with “Ethnogenesis,” its life with many wartime poems, and memorializing it with his best known poem,  an ode written in the last year of his life to celebrate decoration of the graves of Confederate dead at Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston: “Stoop, angels, hither from the skies!/ There is no holier spot of ground/ Than where defeated valour lies/By mourning beauty crowned.”  

There are various online versions of  nearly all of Timrod’s poetry.  A reader might also look at The Essays of Henry Timrod, edited by Edd Winfield Parks, 1942, and Henry Timrod:  A Biography , by Walter Brian Cisco, 2004.