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From Chambers’s Cyclopædia of English Literature, New Edition by David Patrick, LL. D., Vol. III.; J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, W. &. R. Chambers Limited, London and Edinburgh; 1902; p. 384.



Thomas Gordon Hake (1809-95), the ‘parable poet,’ was born at Leeds, and educated at Christ’s Hospital. He travelled a good deal on the Continent, took his M.D. at Glasgow, and practised at Bury St. Edmunds, Richmond, and elsewhere. Among his friends were Borrow, Trelawny, Rossetti, his cousin Gordon Pasha, and Watts-Dunton. He published Madeline (1871), Parables and Tales (1873), The Serpent Play (1883), New Day Sonnets (1890), &c. See his Memoirs of Eighty Years (1893). The blind poet, Philip Bourke Marston, inspired one of his best-known poems, ‘The Blind Boy;’ this is perhaps one of his most memorable sonnets:

The Infant Medusa.

By Thomas Gordon Hake

I loved Medusa when she was a child,
    Her rich brown tresses heaped in crispy curl
    Where now those locks with reptile passion whirl,
By hate into dishevelled serpents coiled.
I loved Medusa when her eyes were mild,
    Whose glances, narrowed now, perdition hurl,
    As her self-tangled hairs their mass unfurl,
Bristling the way she turns with hissings wild.

Her mouth I kissed when curved with amorous spell,
Now shaped to the unuttered curse of hell,
    Wide open for death’s orbs to freeze upon;
Her eyes I loved ere glazed in icy stare,
Ere mortals, lured into their ruthless glare,
    She shrivelled in her gaze to pulseless stone.


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