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Robert Bloomfield

Robert Bloomfield (December 3, 1766 - August 19, 1823), English poet, was born of humble parents at the village of Honington, Suffolk.

He was apprenticed at the age of eleven to a farmer, but he was too small and frail for field labour, and four years later he came to London to work for a shoemaker. The poem that made his reputation, The Farmer's Boy, was written in a garret in Bell Alley. The manuscript, declined by several publishers, fell into the hands of Capel Lofft, who arranged for its publication with woodcuts by Bewick in 1800. The success of the poem was remarkable, over 25,00o copies being sold in the next two years.

His reputation was increased by the appearance of his Rural Tales (1802), News from the Farm (1804), Wild Flowers (1806) and The Banks of the Wye (1811). Influential friends attempted to provide for Bloomfield, but ill-health and possibly faults of temperament prevented the success of these efforts, and the poet died in poverty at Shefford, Bedfordshire. His Remains in Poetry and Verse appeared in 1824.

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.