George Darley

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George Darley (1795–1846) was an Irish poet, novelist, and critic.


He was born in Dublin, and educated at Trinity College. Having decided to follow a literary career, in 1820 he went to London.[1]

Darley fell into depression, and died on 23 November 1846 in London.[1] Playwright Dion Boucicault was a nephew. His grandnephew was the Irish musician Arthur Warren Darley.


Darley published his first poem, Errors of Ecstasie, in 1822. He also wrote for the London Magazine, under the pseudonym of John Lacy. In it appeared his best-known story, Lilian of the Vale, which Edgar Allan Poe thought had "wonderfully succeeded."[2] Various other books followed, including Sylvia, or The May Queen, a poem (1827).[1]

Thereafter Darley joined the Athenaeum, in which he became a severe critic. He was also a dramatist and studied old English plays, editing those of Beaumont and Fletcher in 1840. His poem "It is not beauty I desire" was included by F. T. Palgrave in the first edition of his Golden Treasury as an anonymous lyric of the 17th century.[1]

Darley wrote a number of songs such as "I've been Roaming", once popular, and praised by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.[3]

He was also a mathematician, and published some treatises on the subject.[1]

Other works included:

  • Nepenthe
  • Syliva; or, The May Queen
  • The Mermaidens' Vesper-Hymn
  • The Sea-Bride
  • Thomas à Beckett: A Dramatic Chronicle in Five Acts
  • Popular Algebra
  • Familiar Astronomy, Darley, G., Published by John Taylor, London, 1830.


A. E. Housman said of a passage from his poem Nepenthe, "Admirers of the sea may call that a lampoon or a caricature, but they cannot deny that it is life-like: the man who wrote it had seen the sea, and the man who reads it sees the sea again".[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e Cousin 1910.
  2. ^ Barger, Andrew (2015). Middle Unearthed: The Best Fantasy Short Stories 1800-1849. Bottletree Books LLC. p. 94. ISBN 978-1-933747-53-8. 
  3. ^ Wood 1907.
  4. ^ Housman 1989, p. 292.



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