Sue Young Histories

Wathen Mark Wilks Call 1817 - 1890

September 13, 2008

Wathen Mark Wilks Call 1817-1890 BA 1842, MA 1846 of St. John’s College Cambridge was an English poet who entered Holy Orders in 1843, and was a curate untill 1856, but he withdrew from Holy Orders in 1856.

Wathen Mark Wilks Call wrote for John Chapman at the _Westminster Review_.

John Chapman 1821 - 1894 was an orthodox doctor who converted to homeopathy and he also became a publisher, based at 142 Strand, London. John Chapman was an ‘invaluable enabler’ who gave the start to the careers of many famous writers.

Wathen Mark Wilks Call was a friend of Moncure Daniel Conway, George Eliot and George Henry Lewes.

Wathen Mark Wilkes Call married Rufa Hennell (Elizabeth Rebecca Brabant Hennell) in 1857.

Call was a Cambridge man and, on leaving college, took orders; not was it till he was near the half way house of a rather more than ordinarily prolonged life that what are politely called “difficulties” made him give up his duties.

He never returned to them; but the type (a not uncommon one) of his dissidence may be gauged by the fact that, in one his best poems, having made the refrain ‘I praise thee, God!’ he altered “God” to “World” and afterwards altered it back again.

Eloquent, also, is the compliment which an admiring critic of, perhaps, his best known poem, the prettily sentimental and pathetic Manoli, published in a popular magazine, that it “illustrates the saddening idea that the collective welfare is too frequently purchased by the suffering of the individual”—on which, as a theme for poetry, one would like to have heard Matthew Arnold, himself no fanatic of dogma. But Call had some poetical gift, and The Bird the Bower shows it.


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