Procter, Bryan Waller and Adelaide Anne

Procter, Bryan Waller and Adelaide Anne
(1787-1874)
   • Bryan Waller (pseudonym, Barry Cornwall), the father, 1787-1874
   Born at Leeds, Yorkshire, he was educated at Harrow School, then trained as a solicitor. He practiced law in London, acquiring a large and prosperous practice specializing in conveyance work. In 1832 he was made a metropolitan commissioner in lunacy. His tragedy Mirandola was staged at Covent Garden Theatre in 1821 with Charles Kemble (1775-1854) in the lead role. The success introduced him to a wide range of literary people and he wrote much poetry and many stories for annuals, and he composed many delightful songs. He published a biography of Charles Lamb in 1866. His main poetical publications: Dramatic Scenes, 1819. Marcian Colonna, 1820. A Sicilian Story, 1821. The Flood in Thessaly, 1823. Effigies Poeticæ, or the Portraits of the British Poets, 1824. English Songs and Other Smaller Poems, 1832. Some of his poems: "A Christmas Reminiscence," "A Drinking Song," "A Bacchanalian Song," "Babylon," "Dramatic Fragments," "GoldenTressed Adelaide," "The Approach of Winter," "The Beggar's Song," "The Farewell of the Soldier."
   • Adelaide Anne, the daughter, 1825-1864
   She was the eldest daughter and first child, to whom her father addressed his poem "GoldenTressed Adelaide" (see above). Most of her poems, under the pseudonym Mary Berwick, were published by Charles Dickens (see entry) in Household Words; Dickens was unaware of her identity. Not only until 1854 did Adelaide reveal her secret. Her poems were published in two volumes, Legends and Lyrics (1858), with a tenth edition in 1866. A philanthropist, she committed herself to the cause of single, fallen and homeless women. She campaigned for the Society for Promoting the Employment of Women, and supported the Providence Row Hostel for homeless women and children in East London. She died of tuberculosis and was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, London. She also wrote hymns, and The Lost Chord, set to music by Sir Arthur Sullivan (1877) has been popular with soloists of both sexes ever since. Her narrative poems "The Angel's Story," "Legend of Bregenz" and "Legend of Provence" show her ability to compose sustained poetry. Some of her other hymn/poems: "A Doubting Heart," "A Woman's Answer," "Cleansing Fires," "I Do Not Ask, O Lord," "My God, I Thank Thee," "Three Evenings in a Life," "Three Roses."
   Sources: A Sacrifice of Praise an Anthology of Christian Poetry in English from Caedmon to the Mid-Twentieth Century. James H. Trott, ed. Cumberland House Publishing, 1999. Complete Poetical Works of Adelaide Anne Proctor. Thomas Y. Crowell, 1903. Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. English Songs, and Other Small Poems of Barry Cornwall. Edward Moxon, 1844. Gilbert and Sullivan Archive. "The Lost Chord," by Adelaide Procter (http://math.boisestate. edu/gas/other_sullivan/songs/lost_chord/chord.html). Sound the Deep Waters: Women's Romantic Poetry in the Victorian Age. Pamela Norris, ed. Little, Brown, 1991. The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Home Book of Verse. Burton Egbert Stevenson, ed. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1953. The Life and Work of Adelaide Procter (http://www.litencyc.com/php/adpage.php?id= 2677). The Life and Work of Adelaide Procter: Poetry, Feminism and Fathers. Nineteenth Century Series. Gill Gregory. Ashgate Publishing, 1998. The National Portrait Gallery (www.npg.org.uk). The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. The Poetical Works of Adelaide A. Proctor. A.L. Burt, ?1900. The World's Great Religious Poetry. Caroline Miles Hill, ed. Macmillan, 1954.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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