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Morris, Sir Lewis

MORRIS, SIR LEWIS (1833-1907), British poet, eldest son of Lewis Edward William Morris and Sophia, daughter of John Hughes of Carmarthen, was born at Penbryn in 1833. His great grandfather, Lewis Morris (1700-1765), had been a well-known Welsh poet and antiquary. He was educated at Sherborne School and Jesus College, Oxford, where he took first classes in classics (1853 and 1855). He won the chancellor's prize for an English essay in 1858, was called to the bar in 1861, and elected hon. fellow of his old college in 1877. He practised for twenty years as a conveyancing counsel, retiring from active legal work in 1 88 1. He was energetic on behalf of educational movements in Wales, and contested Welsh constituencies in the Liberal interest, but without success. He was knighted in 1896, and became also a Jubilee-medallist and Knight of the Redeemer of Greece. Comparatively late in life Sir Lewis Morris made his appearance as a writer of verse with three series of miscellaneous poems, called Songs oj Two Worlds, published respectively in 1872, 1874 and 1875. These little volumes proved him to have a refined taste and a gentle metrical fluidity, which soon won for his work considerable popularity. In 1876 and 1877 he made a more important venture with The Epic oj Hades, an attempt to re-tell the stories of Hellenic mythology with a certain modern and allegorical setting. This work, though it is somewhat strained in sentiment and is not free from artistic infelicities, contains his best verse and has passages of undeniable force and effect. His later work follows too closely upon the influence of Tennyson, from which he is never altogether free; but his earnest didacticism, genial optimism and evident sincerity have given his work a thoroughly wholesome moral influence. Among his other books were Owen (1880), Songs Unsung (1883), Gycia (1886), A Vision of Saints (1890), Idylls and Lyrics (1896) and The New Rambler (1906). He died at Carmarthen on the 13th of November 1907.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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