Hovey, Richard

[1864-1900]

(4)

Born at Normal, Illinois, May 4, 1864, died February 24, 1900. He received his early education at Dartmouth College, which he afterward celebrated in several of his best-known poems. In collaboration with Bliss Carman he did the well known "Vagabondia Books", — "Songs from Vagabondia", 1894; "More Songs from Vagabondia", 1896; "Last Songs from Vagabondia", 1900, — books whose freshness and charm immediately won them a place in public favor that time has not lessened. Aside from his work with Mr. Carman and his lyric collection, "Along the Trail", 1898, Hovey had done a remarkable group of poetic dramas built upon the Arthurian legend and issued separately under the titles, "The Quest of Merlin: A Masque", 1898; "The Marriage of Guenevere: A Tragedy", 1898; "The Birth of Galahad: A Romantic Drama", 1898; "Taliesin: A Masque", 1899. These were but part of the dramas projected in the cycle and a fragment of the next to be issued, "The Holy Grail", was published, with explanatory notes of the whole series, in 1907. The dramas stand for a dramatic achievement of a high order, and contain poetry of great beauty, reaching at times, in the lyric masque of "Taliesin", an almost consummate expression. Richard Hovey was, indeed, both in lyric and dramatic work, a poet of rare endowment and his early death was a distinct loss to American letters.