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John Freeman

(1880-1929 / England)

Biography of John Freeman

John Frederick Freeman, (29 January 1880 – 23 September 1929), was an English poet and essayist, who gave up a successful career in insurance to write full time.

He was born in London, and started as an office boy aged 13. He was a close friend of Walter de la Mare from 1907, who lobbied hard with Edward Marsh to get Freeman into the Georgian Poetry series; with eventual success. De la Mare's biographer Theresa Whistler describes him as "tall, gangling, ugly, solemn, punctilious".

He won the Hawthornden Prize in 1920 with Poems 1909-1920. His Last Hours was set to music by Ivor Gurney.

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All That I Was I Am

Hateful it seems now, yet was I not happy?
Starved of the things I loved, I did not know
I loved them, and was happy lacking them.
If bitterness comes now (and that is hell)
It is when I forget that I was happy,
Accusing Fate, that sits and nods and laughs,
Because I was not born a bird or tree.
Let accusation sleep, lest God's own finger
Point angry from the cloud in which He hides.

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