Famous British Poets Of The 19th Century

19th century was a phase when literature was completely dominated by the British writers. It was a period of brilliance as world renowned British writers, authors, poets and litterateurs made their way into the world of writing. With their pen, they weaved almost magic on paper. Some of the greatest and best known British poets have their roots well laid in the 19th century. Interestingly, the era also witnessed the growing importance of women in poetry. Be it Emily Bronte or Elizabeth Browning, Emily Dickinson or Amy Lowell, British women of the period showed the world how well a woman could perform when given a chance. Many other poets started a revolution including John Clare, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Rudyard Kipling, John Keats, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Percy Shelley. They brought in new aspects to poetry writing and challenged the preconceived notions. And leading the British poetry brigade from the front were two of the world’s most illustrious and eminent poets of all times William Wordsworth and Lord Tennyson. While William Wordsworth helped launch the Age of Romanticism in English literature, Tennyson was Poet laureate during Queen Victoria’s reign and remains one of the most popular British poets of that time. With this section, get a brief update about some of the most famous British poets of the 19th century.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 
Lord Byron
(Baron Byron)

Lord Byron
18
Birthdate: January 22, 1788
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 19, 1824

Widely considered one of the greatest British poets of all time, Lord Byron remains influential as his works are widely read even today. He was also one of the most important personalities of the Romantic Movement. He is also known for his role in the Greek War of Independence, for which the Greeks consider him a national hero.

 2 
William Blake
(Poet and Visual Artist of the Romantic Age)

William Blake
14
Birthdate: November 28, 1757
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Soho, London, England
Died: August 12, 1827
William Blake, author of The Songs of Innocence and of Experience, was a prominent figure of the early phase of the Romantic Age, known as the pre-Romantic era. Known for his visual artistry and poetry, he was also a staunch abolitionist and a forerunner of the "free love" movement.

 3 
Lewis Carroll
(English Author Best Known for His Works: ‘Alice's Adventures in Wonderland’ & Its Sequel ‘Through the Looking-Glass’)

Lewis Carroll
7
Birthdate: January 27, 1832
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cheshire, England, United Kingdom
Died: January 14, 1898
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pseudonym, Lewis Carroll, is remembered for his iconic children’s fiction such as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. He explored the genre of literary nonsense with his poems such as Jabberwocky. He was also a photographer, a mathematician, and an inventor.
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 4 
P B Shelley
(One of the Epic Poets of the 19th Century)

P B Shelley
7
Birthdate: August 4, 1792
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Warnham, United Kingdom
Died: July 8, 1822
Legendary English Romantic poetry P.B. Shelley is remembered for his masterpieces such as Ode to the West Wind, To a Skylark, and Prometheus Unbound. He was known for his poetic imagery, and his popularity soared after his premature death due to drowning while boating at age 29. 

 5 

John Keats
4
Birthdate: October 31, 1795
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moorgate, London, England
Died: February 23, 1821
John Keats was one of the leading 19th-century Romantic poets, along with Byron and Shelley, known for his natural imagery and emotions in his poems. Some of his best-known works are Ode on a Grecian Urn, To Autumn, and Ode to a Nightingale. He died of tuberculosis at age 25.

 6 
Thomas Hardy
(Novelist & Poet)

Thomas Hardy
5
Birthdate: June 2, 1840
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Stinsford, Dorset, England
Died: January 11, 1928
Victorian novelist and poet Thomas Hardy exhibited strong influences of Romanticism in his works. He wrote classic novels such as Far from the Madding Crowd, The Mayor of Casterbridge, and Tess of the d'Urbervilles. He mostly showed his characters struggling against social conditions and ending up in tragic situations.

 7 

Charlotte Bronte
10
Birthdate: April 21, 1816
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Thornton, Yorkshire, England
Died: March 31, 1855
Charlotte Bronte, remembered for her iconic novel Jane Eyre, was one of the most significant literary figures of the 19th century. She was the eldest of the Bronte sisters who survived into adulthood. She and her sisters Emily and Anne wrote under the pseudonyms Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell.
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 8 
Emily Brontë
(Novelist)

Emily Brontë
8
Birthdate: July 30, 1818
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Thornton, West Yorkshire
Died: December 19, 1848
Victorian novelist/poet Emily Brontë, also known as Ellis Bell, is best remembered for her iconic novel Wuthering Heights. Her book of poems, written with her sisters Charlotte and Anne, was titled Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, highlighting their pseudonyms. She suffered from prolonged illness and died of tuberculosis.

 9 

Wilfred Owen
4
Birthdate: March 18, 1893
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Oswestry
Died: November 4, 1918

Wilfred Owen was an English soldier and poet. One of the most important poets during World War I, Owen wrote about the horrors of gas warfare. His life and career inspired a docudrama titled Wilfred Owen: A Remembrance Tale where he was portrayed by Samuel Barnett. In 1989, the Wilfred Owen Association was established to commemorate his life and poetry.

 10 

Samuel Coleridge
5
Birthdate: October 21, 1772
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ottery St Mary, Devon, Great Britain, United Kingdom
Died: July 25, 1834

Samuel Coleridge was an English poet, philosopher, theologian, and literary critic. He is credited with co-founding the Romantic Movement in England along with his friend William Wordsworth. Despite struggling from bouts of depression and anxiety throughout his adult life, Samuel Coleridge had a major influence on American transcendentalism and writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson.

 11 
Robert Browning
(Poet & Playwright)

Robert Browning
4
Birthdate: May 7, 1812
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Camberwell
Died: December 12, 1889

Robert Browning was an English playwright and poet best remembered for his dramatic monologues. His monologues are widely studied around the world as most teachers consider them ideal examples of the monologue form. One of the most important Victorian poets, Browning has inspired several poets and playwrights. 

 12 

D. H. Lawrence
7
Birthdate: September 11, 1885
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Eastwood, England
Died: March 2, 1930

English writer, D. H. Lawrence, was known for exploring sensitive issues, such as sexuality, emotional health,  and instinct. In his works, he often reflected upon the dehumanizing effects of modernity and industrialization. The sexual nature of his writings earned him many enemies. Even though he died at the relatively young age of 44, he left behind a rich literary legacy.

 13 
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
(English poet of the Victorian era, best known for her 'Sonnets From the Portuguese' and 'Aurora Leigh.)

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
6
Birthdate: March 6, 1806
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kelloe, Durham, England
Died: June 29, 1861

 14 
Rudyard Kipling
(Journalist, Poet & Novelist)

Rudyard Kipling
23
Birthdate: December 30, 1865
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mumbai, India
Died: January 18, 1936

English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist Rudyard Kipling is best remembered for his fiction work The Jungle Book. He was born in India and many of his works are inspired by his life in the country. He was one of the most popular English writers in the late 19th and early 20th century.

 15 
William Morris
(Textile Designer, Poet)

William Morris
6
Birthdate: March 24, 1834
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Walthamstow, England
Died: October 3, 1896

William Morris was a British poet, novelist, textile designer, translator, and socialist activist. He played a major role in reviving the traditional British textile arts and the various methods of production. As a novelist and poet, Morris helped establish the fantasy genre, which is prevalent today. He is counted among the most important cultural figures of the Victorian era.

Siegfried Sassoon
4
Birthdate: September 8, 1886
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Matfield, Kent, England
Died: September 1, 1967

Siegfried Sassoon was an English writer, poet, and soldier. One of the most popular poets during the First World War, Sassoon's works satirized the patriotic pretensions of those accountable for the war as well as described the horrors of the war. Siegfried Sassoon's works and ideology greatly influenced another leading poet of the First World War, Wilfred Owen.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
4
Birthdate: May 12, 1828
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: April 9, 1882

Known for founding the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a legendary poet and painter of the 19th century. His illustrations also adorned the books of his poet sister Christina Rossetti. Known for volumes such as The House of Life, he also influenced the Aesthetic movement.

 18 

Matthew Arnold
5
Birthdate: December 24, 1822
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Laleham, United Kingdom
Died: April 15, 1888

Iconic Victorian poet and literary critic Matthew Arnold is best remembered for his classic essay Culture and Anarchy, which was a social critique of the Victorian era. He also penned poems such as Dover Beach and Sohrab and Rustum. He had also been a school inspector for over 3 decades.

 19 
Christina Rossetti
(Poet, Writer, Hymnwriter)

Christina Rossetti
6
Birthdate: December 5, 1830
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London
Died: December 29, 1894

 20 

Rupert Brooke
4
Birthdate: August 3, 1887
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rugby
Died: April 23, 1915

 21 

A. E. Housman
4
Birthdate: March 26, 1859
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Fockbury, England
Died: April 30, 1936

 22 
Gerard Manley Hopkins
(Poet, Writer)

Gerard Manley Hopkins
4
Birthdate: July 28, 1844
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London
Died: June 8, 1889

 23 
George Eliot
(Poet & Novelist)

George Eliot
6
Birthdate: November 22, 1819
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England
Died: December 22, 1880

Mary Ann Evans, known by her pseudonym George Eliot, was an English poet, novelist, translator, and journalist. One of the most prominent writers of the Victorian era, Eliot's works are known for their psychological insight, realism, and detailed description of the countryside. Her novel Middlemarch was voted one of the greatest literary works in a 2007 poll conducted by Time.

Alfred Lord Tennyson
5
Birthdate: August 6, 1809
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Somersby, Lincolnshire, England
Died: October 6, 1892

Alfred, Lord Tennyson was a British poet. One of the most famous British poets of all time, Tennyson served as the Poet Laureate during Queen Victoria's reign. His poetry, which is renowned for its powerful visual imagery, served as an important influence on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of English poets and painters.

 25 

Edward Thomas
3
Birthdate: March 3, 1878
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lambeth, Surrey, England
Died: April 9, 1917

Educated at Oxford, poet Edward Thomas spent a considerable time working rather reluctantly as a journalist and penning nature studies and critiques of 19th-century authors. An encounter with Robert Frost inspired him to write poems. He was killed in action in Arras, France, during World War I.

 26 
Gilbert K. Chesterton
(One of the Greatest Writers of the 20th Century Best Known as the 'Prince of Paradox')

Gilbert K. Chesterton
4
Birthdate: May 29, 1874
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kensington, London, United Kingdom
Died: June 14, 1936

Gilbert K. Chesterton was an English writer, philosopher, and art critic. A prolific writer, he composed around 80 books, hundreds of poems, around 200 short stories, and 4,000 essays. Often referred to as the "prince of paradox", he had as many detractors as he had admirers. He is considered a successor to Victorian authors like Matthew Arnold and John Ruskin.

 27 
Charles Lamb
(Essayist)

Charles Lamb
4
Birthdate: May 29, 1874, 1775
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Inner Temple, London, England
Died: December 27, 1834

Renowned British essayist Charles Lamb was a major figure of the Romantic period. He is best remembered for his Essays of Elia and his book of abridged versions of Shakespeare’s plays, Tales from Shakespeare, which he co-wrote with his sister, Mary. He had also once spent time in a mental facility.

 28 
Branwell Brontë
(Painter, Poet, Writer)

Branwell Brontë
4
Birthdate: June 26, 1817
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Yorkshire
Died: September 24, 1848

 29 
William Ernest Henley
(English Poet Best Known for His Poem 'Invictus' (1875))

William Ernest Henley
5
Birthdate: August 23, 1849
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gloucester, England
Died: July 11, 1903

Best known for his short poem Invictus, William Ernest Henley was a Victorian-era British poet and author. A disease he contracted in childhood caused one of his legs to be amputated. It is believed, he was the inspiration behind the crippled character Long John Silver in RL Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

 30 

Robert Bridges
3
Birthdate: October 23, 1844
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Walmer, Kent, England
Died: April 21, 1930

 31 
Robert Southey
(Former poet of the Romantic school, and Poet laureate from 1813 until his death)

Robert Southey
4
Birthdate: August 12, 1774
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bristol, England, United Kingdom
Died: March 21, 1843

 32 

John Masefield
6
Birthdate: June 1, 1878
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ledbury, United Kingdom
Died: May 12, 1967

 33 
W. S. Gilbert
(Dramatist)

W. S. Gilbert
4
Birthdate: November 18, 1836
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Southampton Street, London, England
Died: May 29, 1911

 34 
George MacDonald
(Writer, Minister, Poet, Novelist, Cleric)

George MacDonald
6
Birthdate: December 10, 1824
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Huntly
Died: September 18, 1905

 35 
Robert W. Service
(Poet & Writer)

Robert W. Service
10
Birthdate: January 16, 1874
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Preston, Lancashire, England
Died: September 11, 1958

Robert W. Service was a British-Canadian poet and writer. Popularly called "the Bard of the Yukon," he wrote some of the most commercially successful poetry of his era. A bank clerk by profession, he often wrote while traveling for work. Besides poetry, he also wrote fiction and non-fiction. He was often compared to English writer and novelist Rudyard Kipling. 

 36 
Ford Madox Ford
(Novelist)

Ford Madox Ford
9
Birthdate: December 17, 1873
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Merton, Surrey, England
Died: June 26, 1939

Best remembered for his novel The Good Soldier, author Ford Madox Ford was the grandson of Pre-Raphaelite painter Ford Madox Brown. He had been part of World War I. He spent his final years in France and the US, mostly authoring criticism. The tetralogy Parade's End remains one of his best-known works.

 37 

Walter Savage Landor
3
Birthdate: January 30, 1775
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Warwick, England
Died: September 17, 1864

 38 

Radclyffe Hall
3
Birthdate: August 12, 1880
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bournemouth, United Kingdom
Died: October 7, 1943

 39 
Edward Carpenter
(Poet, Philosopher, Writer)

Edward Carpenter
3
Birthdate: August 29, 1844
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hove
Died: June 28, 1929

 40 

Alfred Douglas
6
Birthdate: October 22, 1870
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Powick, Worcestershire, England
Died: March 20, 1945

Alfred Douglas was an English journalist and poet best remembered as one of the lovers of famous Irish poet Oscar Wilde. Douglas played an important role in Wilde's imprisonment for homosexuality. Alfred Douglas' father John Sholto Douglas abhorred his son's relationship with the Irish poet and publicly accused the latter of homosexuality, which was illegal at that time.

 41 

Vita Sackville-West
6
Birthdate: March 9, 1892
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Knole, Kent, England, UK
Died: June 2, 1962

 42 

Lionel Johnson
3
Birthdate: March 15, 1867
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Broadstairs, England
Died: October 4, 1902

Poet and critic Lionel Johnson was part of the 1890s’ tragic generation, with themes of decadence prevailing in his works. Best known for his study on Thomas Hardy, he was a closeted homosexual and was plagued by alcoholism. It is believed he died after falling and suffering a skull fracture.

Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany
3
Birthdate: July 24, 1878
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 25, 1957

Edward Plunkett was a talented Irish author, known for his fantasy novels such as The King of Elfland's Daughter. Initially educated at Eton and then at Sandhurst, he had also been part of the British Army in World War I. He also designed chess puzzles and was a keen hunter.

Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton
3
Birthdate: November 8, 1831
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England
Died: November 24, 1891
Apart from serving as a British viceroy of India, Robert Bulwer-Lytton had also penned poems under the pen-name Owen Meredith. His relief policy in the wake of the Madras famine of 1876-78 was highly criticized and held responsible for aggravating the famine. He also catalyzed the Second Afghan War.

 45 
George Meredith
(Novelist)

George Meredith
3
Birthdate: February 12, 1828
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Died: May 18, 1909

Lady Flora Hastings
0
Birthdate: February 11, 1806
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Died: July 5, 1839

 47 

Alfred Noyes
3
Birthdate: September 16, 1880
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wolverhampton
Died: June 28, 1958

 48 

Caroline Norton
3
Birthdate: March 22, 1808
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London
Died: June 15, 1877

Being the granddaughter of playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan, author Caroline Norton had her first experience at writing in her teens. Her beauty and charm, however, made her failed barrister husband jealous. The rift in their marriage caused her to successfully campaign for married women’s right to property and their children’s custody.

 49 

Algernon Charles Swinburne
4
Birthdate: April 5, 1837
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London
Died: April 10, 1909

 50 
Elizabeth Siddal
(Painter, Poet, Art model, Visual artist, Model)

Elizabeth Siddal
6
Birthdate: July 25, 1829
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Holborn
Died: February 11, 1862