Samuel Ferguson

Samuel Ferguson

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Samuel Ferguson

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Sir Samuel Ferguson (10 March 1810 – 9 August 1886) was an Irish poet, barrister, antiquarian, artist and public servant. Perhaps the most important Ulster-Scot poet of the 19th century, because of his interest in Irish mythology and early Irish history he can be seen as a forerunner of William Butler Yeats and the other poets of the Celtic Twilight.

Early life

Ferguson was born at 23 High Street, Belfast into a family that had moved to Ulster from Scotland during the 17th century. His father was a spendthrift and his mother was a noted conversationalist and lover of literature who read the works of Shakespeare, Walter Scott, Keats, Shelley and other English authors to her six children.

Ferguson lived at a number of addresses, including Glenwhirry, where he later said he acquired the love of nature that informed his later work. He was educated at the Belfast Academy and the Belfast Academical Institution. He then moved to Dublin to study law at Trinity College, getting his BA in 1826 and his MA in 1832.

Because his father had exhausted the family property, Ferguson was forced to support himself through his student years. To do this, he turned to writing and was a regular contributor to Blackwood's Magazine by the age of 22. He was called to the bar in 1838, but continued to write and publish, both in Blackwood's and the newly formed Dublin University Magazine.

Later life

Ferguson settled in Dublin, where he practiced law. In 1846, he toured European museums, libraries...
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