Bridges was the British Poet Laureate during the First World War, having been appointed in 1913, and was the father of one of the Female Poets of the First World War – Elizabeth Daryush.
Robert Bridges was born on 23rd October 1844 in Walmer, Kent, UK. Educated at Eton College, Bridges went up to Oxford to Corpus Christi College, where he met and befriended the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.
After Oxford, Bridges studied medicine at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital (“Barts”) in London and once he had qualified, he worked at the Great Northern Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children. Bridges retired from his work as a physician in 1882 due to ill health and began writing full-time. His first collection of poems was published in 1873.
In 1884, Bridges married Monica Waterhouse, whose father, a Quaker, was Alfred Waterhouse the architect who designed Manchester Town Hall and London’s Natural History Museum among other buildings. Their daughter Elizabeth was born in 1887.
Bridges was appointed to the post of Poet Laureat in 1913 on the death of Alfred Austin who held the post before him. So far, Bridges has been the only poet with qualifications in the medical field to become Poet Laureate. Bridges remained Poet Laureat until his death in 1930.
Gustav Holst, Hubert Parry and Gerald Finzi all set some of Bridges verses to music.