AUSTIN, Alfred, poet laureate of Eng land, critic and journalist: b. Headingly, near Leeds, 30 May 1835; d. Kent, .2 June 1913. He was the son of a wool merchant, educated at Stoneyhurst, Oscott and London University; called to the bar in 1857. After his father's death he abandoned the law and devoted him self to study and travel, and in 1864 he pub lished his first success, 'The Season; a Satire,' after Byron. He had, however, written vol umes of verse earlier. He ran for Parliament in 1865, but was defeated. In 1867 he joined the staff of the Standard, at that time one of the most influential London dailies, which ceased publication 16 March 1916. For this paper he wrote many reviews and biographies, and so stamped his personality and opinions upon that journal that it was humorously called ((The Daily Alfred Austin) Sent abroad, he did good work as special correspondent at the Vatican Council, the Prussian headquarters in the Franco-German War (1870), and the Berlin Congress (1878). He was editor of the Na tional Review, 1883-93. His appointment as poet laureate to succession to Lord Tennyson, but nearly four years after the latter's death, was the cause of much surprise and comment.
It was known that Swinburne, Browning and William Morris —his greatest contemporaries — were out of the running owing to their pro nounced radical tendencies, and his chief com petitors were Lewis Morris and Sir Edwin Arnold. Austin could by no stretch of imag ination be called a great poet; yet he performed his official work satisfactorily, though both his poetry and his criticism were decidedly con servative and conventional. Perhaps his most attractive work was done in his pleasant books of garden life, of which Veronica's Garden' was the most conspicuous. Some of his other works are 'The Human Tragedy' (1862) ; 'The Golden Age: a Satire' (1871) ; Tower of Babel,' a drama (1874) ; 'Savon arola,' a tragedy (1881) ; 'The Garden that I Love' ; (In Lamia's Winter ; 'Haunts of Ancient Peace' (1902) ; and 'A Lesson in Harmony' (1904). In December 1899, he pub lished a war poem, (To Arms' l and in May 1900, one on the relief of Maf eking. In 1865 Austin married Miss Hester Mulock, who survived him, but left no children. His successor in the poet laureateship is Mr. Robert Bridges (q.v.).