The following poem was written by Victor Hugo, one of France’s finest poets, in 1823 and has been transcribed by Stephen Basdeo.
Dr Stephen Basdeo
Stephen Basdeo is a historian and writer based in Leeds, UK. He is the author of several peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and popular history books.
Snakes are one of mankind’s most feared enemies, and the Victorians loved to read about them. Killer snakes appear in a variety of popular magazines and novels.
The following song was written in 1838, by an author who remains anonymous, and was published in Hugh Williams’s National Songs and Poetical Pieces (1839). It has been transcribed by Stephen Basdeo.
“Democracy, the Idea of the 19th century,” is a great and most welcome fact. This idea has revealed itself at different times, and in different ways.”
In 1851 G.W.M. Reynolds launched a new series of ‘memoirs’ novels that told the story of poor women struggling to make their way in a heartless and alienating capitalist world.
The following pro-democracy poem was written by someone writing under the pseudonym of Tyrtaeus and was published in Reynolds’s Political Instructor on 19 January 1850.
George W. M. Reynolds spent his teenage years and early twenties in France and was a great admirer of the country’s history and culture which is celebrated in this poem.
“He defied the law, he suffered imprisonment, and lost his property in struggling for a right … we are indebted for the immense benefits derived by the masses from the circulation amongst them of cheap literature.”
The following poem, celebrating the life and deeds of Napoleon, was first written by Victor Hugo in the 1830s. It was later translated for the Monthly Magazine, probably by G.W.M. Reynolds, who had previously translated several of Hugo’s works.
The following poem was written by the radical poet Charles Cole and printed in A Poetical Address to his Grace the Duke of Wellington (1835).
‘Love of Country’, was written anonymously and printed in Reynolds’s Miscellany. It does not celebrate any one country in particular.
George R. Stewart’s novel Earth Abides grapples with the question of what shape society will take after a deadly pandemic kills off most of the earth’s population.
The following poem was written by someone known only as “E.L.E.” and published in the Monthly Magazine in February 1837. It has been transcribed by Stephen Basdeo.
Selfish, haughty and arrogant…and can merit nothing but the severest censure. All his actions, when closely scrutinized, fill us with the most unequivocal contempt.
Georg Herwegh’s ‘A Song of Hatred’ expresses contempt for the German ruling class and was translated by the Fenian activist James Clarence Mangan in 1849.
In the present age, everything, whether ideal or fact, whether connected with society in general, or with a single individual—everything is in a state of twilight. But of what species is that twilight? Oh! who shall solve so profound a mystery—the most sublime of all those that are agitated during times of doubt and uncertainty?
Charles Cole was one of the finest radical poets of the early nineteenth century. ‘Degradation of Toil’ was first printed in Cole’s collection of poetry in 1835.
It was to me, strange and unaccountable as it may seem, as if I abhorred Neroweg by reason of the future as much as of the present; as if that hatred was to perpetuate itself not only between our two races of Franks and Gauls, but also between our families, individually.
Charles Cole was one of the finest radical poets of the early nineteenth century. ‘Once as the Oak’ was first printed in 1835 and has been transcribed by Stephen Basdeo.
I rose cautiously from the bed…One look, and the blood chilled in my veins, and I could feel the hair rising upon my head!
The following pro-democracy song appeared in Hugh Williams’s National Songs and Poetical Pieces (1839). The identity of the author is now lost to history but their work has been newly transcribed.
‘My Heart is in the Battlefield’ was first written in November 1839 and has been newly-transcribed for Reynolds’s News! Subscribe now for more 19th century short texts!
This poem celebrating the 1830 Revolution in France was written by Victor Hugo and translated by George W.M. Reynolds (1814–79).
This poem from 1849 celebrates American Independence on the 4 July 1776. It was originally published in the Democratic Review