Gerald Massey, an English poet, born near Tring, Hertfordshire, May 29, 1828. He was the child of an illiterate couple, who lived in the most abject poverty; and his whole education was confined to a few months at a penny school. At eight years of age he was sent to work in a neighboring silk mill, and was afterward employed in straw plaiting. He read whatever books were accessible to him, and at the age of 15, when he went to London to seek employment as an errand boy, had made himself familiar with the Bible, "Pilgrim's Progress," " Robinson Crusoe," and a few Wes-leyan tracts. At the age of 17 he fell in love, and at the same time began to write verses. Some of his early poems, dwelling upon the sufferings of the poor, and the " power of knowledge, virtue, and temperance to elevate them," appeared in a provincial journal; and a collection of them was published in his native town under the title of " Poems and Chansons." The French revolution of 1848 "had the greatest effect on him of any circumstances connected with his life." He started in conjunction with some fellow working men, in April, 1849, a cheap ultra-radical weekly newspaper called the " Spirit of Freedom." This brought him into some prominence among people of his class, and he aided the Rev. F. D, Maurice and the Rev. Charles Kingsley in their plans for cooperative labor by means of work-ingmen's associations.
About the same time he married, and his poems, published occasionally in the London journals, began to attract notice. He has lectured extensively on spiritualism (in which he is a believer) and literary topics in Great Britain, and in 1873 in the United States. In 1863 he received a pension on the civil list. He resides in a rustic cottage in his native county, presented to him by Lord Brownlow. He lias published " The Ballad of Babe Christabel and other Poems" (1853); "Craigcrook Castle" (1850); "Robert Burns, and other Lyrics " (1859); " Voices of Freedom and Lyrics of Love" (1859); " Havelock's March, and other Poems " (1861); " Shakespeare's Sonnets never before Interpreted " (1866); and " A Tale of Eternity, and other Poems" (1870).