Ebenezer Elliott

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Ebenezer Elliott (17 March 1781 – 1 December 1849) was an English poet, known as the Corn Law rhymer.

Early life

Elliott was born at the New Foundry, Masbrough, in the Parish of Rotherham, Yorkshire. His father, (known as "Devil Elliott", for his fiery sermons) was an extreme Calvinist and a strong Radical, and was engaged in the iron trade. His mother suffered from poor health, and young Ebenezer, although one of a family of eleven children, of whom eight reached mature life, had a solitary and rather morbid childhood. At the age of six he contracted small-pox, which left him ‘fearfully disfigured and six weeks blind.’ His health was permanently affected, and he suffered from illness and depression in later life.

He was first educated at a dame school, then attended the Hollis School in Rotherham, where he was ‘taught to write and little more.’, but was generally regarded as a dunce. He hated school, and preferred to play truant, spending his time exploring the countryside around Rotherham, observing the plants and local wildlife. At about fourteen he began to read extensively on his own account, and in his leisure hours he studied botany, collected plants and flowers, and was delighted at the appearance of ‘a beautiful green snake about a yard long, which on the fine Sabbath mornings about ten o'clock seemed to expect me at the top of Primrose Lane.’ When he was sixteen he was sent to work at his father's foundry, working for the next seven years...
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