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Item #: CWB1728
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CARD IS TRIMMED AT BOTTOM. PHOTOGRAPHERS MARK ON REVERSE READS "W. HAYLER, PHOTOGRAPHER 20 BLOOMFIELD TERRACE PIMLICO S.W." Poets' Corner "The communication of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living" - Epitaph on the memorial to T.S.Eliot. One of the best known parts of Westminster Abbey, Poets' Corner can be found in the South Transept. It was not originally designated as the burial place of writers, playwrights and poets; the first poet to be buried here, Geoffrey Chaucer, was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey because he had been Clerk of Works to the palace of Westminster, not because he had written the Canterbury Tales. Over 150 years later, during the flowering of English literature in the sixteenth century, a more magnificent tomb was erected to Chaucer by Nicholas Brigham and in 1599 Edmund Spenser was laid to rest nearby. These two tombs began a tradition which developed over succeeding centuries. Burial or commemoration in the Abbey did not always occur at or soon after the time of death. Lord Byron, for example, whose lifestyle caused a scandal although his poetry was much admired, died in 1824 but was finally given a memorial only in 1969. Even Shakespeare, buried at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1616, had to wait until 1740 before a monument, designed by William Kent, appeared in Poets' Corner. Other poets and writers, well known in their day, have now vanished into obscurity, with only their monuments to show that they were once famous. Conversely, many whose writings are still appreciated today have never been memorialised in Poets' Corner, although the reason may not always be clear. Burials Some of the most famous to lie here, include the poets John Dryden, Tennyson, Robert Browning and John Masefield. Many writers, including William Camden, Dr. Samuel Johnson, Charles Dickens, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Rudyard Kipling and Thomas Hardy are also buried here. Charles Dickens's grave attracts particular interest. As a writer who drew attention to the hardships born by the socially deprived and who advocated the abolition of the slave trade, he won enduring fame and gratitude and today, more than 110 years later, a wreath is still laid on his tomb on the anniversary of his death each year. Memorials Those who have memorials here, although they are buried elsewhere, include the poets John Milton, William Wordsworth, Thomas Gray, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Robert Burns, William Blake, T.S. Eliot and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Writers such as Samuel Butler, Jane Austen, Oliver Goldsmith, Sir Walter Scott, John Ruskin, Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte, Henry James and Sir John Betjeman have also been given memorials here. Not all those buried in the South Transept are poets or writers. Several of Westminster's former Deans and Canons lie here. Also buried here is Thomas Parr, who was said to have died at the age of 152 in 1635 after having seen ten sovereigns on the throne during his long life. The grave and monument of the famous composer George Frederic Handel can also be seen here, as well as the graves of David Garrick, Shakespearean actor, and Laurence Olivier, actor of our age.
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