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Laureate

Poets so called from an ancient custom in our universities of presenting a laurel wreath to graduates in rhetoric and poetry. Young aspirants were wreathed with laurels in berry (orné de baies de laurier). Authors are still so “crowned” in France. The poets laureate of the two last centuries have been-

Ben Jonson, 1615, appointed by King James.

Sir William Davenant. 1637.

John Dryden, 1670.

Thomas Shadwell, 1688.

Nahum Tate, 1692.

Nicholas Rowe, 1715.

Laurence Eusden, 1718.

Colley Cibber, 1730.

William Whitehead, 1757

Thomas Warton, 1783.

Henry James Pye, 1790.

Robert Southey, 1813.

William Wordsworth, 1844.

Alfred Tennyson, 1850.

Alfred Austin, 1896.

Six or seven of these are almost unknown, and their productions are seldom read.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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