Jean Ingelow

[Orris] (17 March 1820 - 20 July 1897 / Boston, Lincolnshire)

Jean Ingelow
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Jean Ingelow was an English poet and novelist.

Early Life and Education

Born at Boston, Lincolnshire, she was the daughter of William Ingelow, a banker. As a girl she contributed verses and tales to magazines under the pseudonym of Orris, but her first (anonymous) volume, A Rhyming Chronicle of Incidents and Feelings, did not appear until her thirtieth year. This was called charming by Tennyson, who declared he should like to know the author; they later became friends.


Jean Ingelow followed this book of verse in 1851 with a story, Allerton and Dreux, but it was the publication of her Poems in 1863 which suddenly made her a popular writer. ... more »

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Best Poem of Jean Ingelow


Subject given—'Light and Shade.'

She stepped upon Sicilian grass,
Demeter's daughter fresh and fair,
A child of light, a radiant lass,
And gamesome as the morning air.
The daffodils were fair to see,
They nodded lightly on the lea,

Lo! one she marked of rarer growth
Than orchis or anemone;
For it the maiden left them both,
And parted from her company.
Drawn nigh she deemed it fairer still,
And stooped to gather by the rill
The daffodil, the daffodil.

What ailed the meadow that it shook?
What ailed the air of ...

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