Papers of William Watson, 1858-1935, poet

Scope and Content

  • Poem c1935, manuscript on one sheet of paper, held within glass frame.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Watson was born at Burley-in-Wharfedale, Yorkshire, England, in  1858 . In 1880, he published his first book The Prince's Quest. Recognition came with the publication of Wordsworth's Grave in  1890 ; and fame with the publication of the second edition in 1891, and with the appearance in the Fortnightly Review, August 1891, of an article by Grant Alien entitled A New Poet. During the years  1890-1892 , he contributed articles to the National Review, Spectator, Illustrated London News, Academy, Bookman and Atlanta, which were collected and republished in 1893 as Excursions in Criticism. In 1893, he also published Lacrymae Musaram and The Eloping Angels, a serio-comic trifle dedicated to Grant Alien. During this year William Gladstone bestowed on him the Civil List pension of £200. In 1894, he published Odes and Other Poems, and in 1895, The Father of the Forest. The volume contained a sonnet named To the Turk in Armenia, which was a prelude to the series of sonnets about Armenia, which was, in turn, contributed to the Westminster Gazette and republished in a brochure called The Purple East in 1896. These sonnets were republished with revision and considerable additions, and a preface by the bishop of Hereford, in The Year of Shame in 1897.

In  1898 , he published his Collected Poems and a volume of new poetry The Hope of the World. In 1900, he married Maureen Pring, with whom he had two daughters. In 1902, he printed privately 50 copies of New Poems, and in 1903 besides a volume of Selected Poems, a collection of poems contributed to various periodicals and called For England: Poems Written During Estrangement, a poetical defence of his patriotism during the Boer War. He was knighted in  1917 . He died in  1935 .

Source: Who was who, 1929-1940, (London, 1941).


The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposited, June 1960, ACCN 1068

Other Finding Aids

Item level descriptions are available via the department's online manuscripts catalogue available at the  University of Glasgow Library, Department of Special Collections, searching by the call number MS Gen 1068

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Elaine MacGillivray, Archive Assistant, August 2003

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Special Collections.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 0247 procedures

Custodial History

Held by Vice-Admiral Sir James Troup, then by the department of English, University of Glasgow, Scotland, until June 1960


None expected

Related Material

GB 247 MS Gen 1654/616, Prescutting from Everyone: The Neglected Genius of William Watson (Glasgow University Library Special Collections); GB0161, MSS Walpole, Correspondence and Papers of Sir William Watson, 1858-1935, including literary MSS (Oxford University: Bodleian Library Special Collections and Western Manuscripts). For contact details of all repositories with a GB code, see the  Archon repository search page, at the Historical Manuscripts Commission.

Location of Originals

This material is original


No known publications using this material