William Percy French was the son of a landlord and a clergyman's daughter. He studied engineering at Trinity College, where he spent a lot of time in song writing, dramatics, banjo playing and watercolour painting. After graduation he was on the verge of emigrating to Canada, but was appointed to a post in a government drainage scheme in Cavan. He was a self-styled 'Inspector of Drains' for seven years.

In 1891, his first wife, Ettie, died in childbirth, as did his baby daughter. he toured the country on his bicycle with a box of paints, painting and performing. He developed a one-man show, where he sang the songs he composed. At fifty, French moved to London and performed on stage until his death in 1920.

Poet of the day

Little is known about Robert Henryson's life, who was a very well-known Scottish author much admired by his contemporories (often described as the 'greatest' Scottish medieval author); who wrote in middle-scots in the second half of the fifteenth century, and mainly during the reign of James III. He 'possibly' attended...
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Poem of the day


Festlig bredte sig Faklernes Glands fra kneisende Høisal
I den dæmrende Nat, da Ikarios, Høvding i Sparta,
Fæsted sin Datter bort, den yndigtrødmende Jomfru,
Penelopeia med hviden Slør til Drotten Odysseus.
Hundrede Harper klang i den kølige Nat, medens Maanen
Iled med Jomfrugang i den...
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