Archibald Thomas Strong
Biography of Archibald Thomas Strong
Archibald Thomas Strong was an Australian scholar and poet.
Strong was born at South Yarra, Melbourne, the son of Professor Herbert Strong, professor of classics at the University of Melbourne, and his wife Helen Campbell, née Edmiston.
Strong and his family moved to Liverpool, England in 1883 when Prof. Herbert Strong became professor of Latin at University College, Liverpool. Archibald was educated at Sedbergh School and University College, Liverpool where he graduated B.A. in 1896 with first-class honours in classics. Strong then went to Magdalen College, Oxford, however a long illness prevented any possibility of a first in "Greats". Strong graduated in Literae Humaniores (1900) and spent several months at the University of Marburg, Germany, before returning to read law with F. E. Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead, then a rising barrister, afterwards to become Lord Chancellor of England. Strong became a member of the Middle Temple, but ill-health caused him in 1901 to return to Australia seeking a warmer climate.
Settling again in Melbourne, Strong did some tutoring and lecturing, and published a volume of verse, Sonnets and Songs (1905). In 1910 Strong was president of the Literature Society of Melbourne and his presidential address, 'Nature in Meredith and Wordsworth', was printed as a pamphlet in that year. Strong was a long-term literary critic for the Herald newspaper and in 1911 republished some of his earlier writings for this journal under the title of Peradventure, A Book of Essays in Literary Criticism. Strong was appointed lecturer in English at the University of Melbourne in 1912, and brought out a volume of translations, The Ballads of Theodore de Banville (1913), followed by Sonnets of the Empire (1915). When Professor Robert Wallace enlisted due to World War I in 1916, Strong became acting-professor of English for three years. He was passionately patriotic and, having been rejected for active service, did much war work in addition to carrying on the English school. Some of his work was in the nature of propaganda; a collection of his articles, Australia and the War (1916) and The Story of the Anzacs, published anonymously at his own expense in aid of patriotic funds, appeared in 1917. From 1919 to 1922 he acted as Chief Film Censor for the Commonwealth government. A small volume of verse, Poems, appeared in 1918. In 1920 he became associate professor in English language and literature, and in the following year the Clarendon Press published his A Short History of English Literature, and Three Studies in Shelley and an Essay on Nature in Wordsworth and Meredith. In 1922 Strong was appointed the first Jury professor of English language and literature at the University of Adelaide.
Strong was ready for his new task, as in addition to his knowledge of the work of his own school he was an excellent classical scholar, familiar with French and German literature, and with some knowledge of Italian and Spanish in the originals. At Adelaide he became a valuable member of the staff, fully convinced of the importance of the humanities in university life. He visited Europe in 1925 and represented South Australia at a world conference on adult education held at Vancouver in 1929. Strong published his translation of Beowulf into English rhyming verse in 1925.
Late Life and Legacy
Strong died after a short illness on 2 September 1930. In 1932 Four Studies by him, edited with a memoir by Robert Cecil Bald and with a portrait frontispiece, was published in a limited edition at Adelaide. Strong never married; he was knighted in 1925.
Strong played both cricket and football at Liverpool University; he was also interested in boxing. Strong was one of the promoters of the original Melbourne repertory theatre and became president of the similar organization at Adelaide. Strong was a good lecturer in English, never losing his enthusiasm for his subject and communicating it to his students. Strong's Short History of English Literature is an excellent piece of work within the limits of its 200,000 words, sound and interesting. His verse is technically excellent, often no more than strongly felt rhetorical verse, but at times rising into poetry. Strong's translations from Théodore de Banville and Beowulf were both successful
Archibald Thomas Strong's Works:
Sonnets and Songs (1905)
Peradventure, A Book of Essays in Literary Criticism (1911)
The Ballads of Theodore de Banville (1913)
Sonnets of the Empire (1915)
Australia and the War (1916)
The Story of the Anzacs (1917)
Short History of English Literature (1920)
Three Studies in Shelley (1920)
Essay on Nature in Wordsworth and Meredith (1920)
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Archibald Thomas Strong Poems
Sonnets Of The Empire: Australia To Engl...
By all the deeds to Thy dear glory done, By all the life blood spilt to serve Thy need, By all the fettered lives Thy touch hath freed,
Sonnets Of The Empire: Dawn At Liverpool
The Sunlight laughs along the serried stone About whose feet the wastrel tide runs free; Light lie the shipmasts, fairy-like to see,
ALL the first night she might not weep But watched till morning came, And when she slept at dawn, she heard The dead man call her name.
Sonnets Of The Empire:Gloriana’s England
Forth sped thy gallant sailors, blithe and free, Fearing nor foeman’s hate, nor iron clime, Nor Lima’s flame, nor Plata’s fever-slime,
Sonnets Of The Empire:Australia, 1902
Gallant is Spring along thy laughing hills, With wattle’s loveliest scent and gleam of gold, When the good rain hath quickened all thy mould,
Sonnets Of The Empire: Nelson
White soul of England’s glory, sovereign star! Ne’er shall disaster beat her down, nor shame, While still she sees thee by the leaping flame
Sonnets Of The Empire: Hawk
Great sea dog, fighter in the great old way! What though thy ships were tinder, and the pest Rotted thy ruffian crews that need had prest,
Sonnets Of The Empire: Australia 1914
The Night is thick with storm and driving cloud, Lurid at instants through the blackness break Quick gleams of war across the perilous lake
Sonnets Of The Empire: Australia 1905
Careless she lies along the Southern Main, The lovely maiden, wanton with the spell Of sun and vastness and the ocean swell:
LADY of Sorrow! What though laughing blue, Thy sister, mock men’s anguish, and the sun Glare like a wrathful judge on many a one That longs for night his bitter shame to rue,
Australia To England
By all the deeds to Thy dear glory done, By all the life blood spilt to serve Thy need, By all the fettered lives Thy touch hath freed, By all Thy dream in us anew begun;
LADY of Sorrow! What though laughing blue,
Thy sister, mock men’s anguish, and the sun
Glare like a wrathful judge on many a one
That longs for night his bitter shame to rue,
Yet dost thou grant thy mercy of mist and dew
And cloud and calm ere angry day be done,
Weaving over the vault the weary shun
Thy veil of peace, with pity trembling through.