Ebenezer Jones

(10 January 1820 - 14 September 1860 / Islington, London)

Biography of Ebenezer Jones

Ebenezer Jones, British poet, was born in Islington, London, on the 10th of January 1820. His father, who was of Welsh extraction, was a strict Calvinist, and Ebenezer was educated at a dull, middle-class school. The death of his father obliged him to become a clerk in the office of a tea merchant.

Shelley and Carlyle were his spiritual masters, and he spent all his spare time in reading and writing; but he developed an exaggerated style of thought and expression, due partly to a defective education. The unkind reception of his Studies of Sensation and Event (1843) seemed to be the last drop in his bitter cup of life. Baffled and disheartened, he destroyed his manuscripts. He earned his living as an accountant and by literary hack work, and it was not until he was rapidly dying of consumption that he wrote his three remarkable poems, "Winter Hymn to the Snow," "When the World is Burning" and "To Death." The fame that these and some of the pieces in the early volume brought to their author came too late. He died on the 14th of September 1860.

It was not till 1870 that Dante Gabriel Rossetti praised his work in Notes and Queries. Rossetti's example was followed by W. B. Scott, Theodore Watts-Dunton, who contributed some papers on the subject to the Athenaeum (September and October 1878), and R. H. Sheppard, who edited Studies of Sensation and Event in 1879.

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The Hand

Lone o'er the moors I stray'd;
With basely timid mind,
Because by some betray'd
Denouncing human-kind;
I heard the lonely wind,
And wickedly did mourn
I could not share its loneliness,
And all things human scorn.

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