Born at Lichfield in England, and educated at a school in Bloomsbury, he entered the British Museum in 1851 as an assistant librarian. In 1875, he became superintendent of the Reading Room, in 1881, editor of the General Catalogue of Printed Books, and in 1890 until his retirement in 1899, Keeper of Printed Books.
His literary works include numerous translations from the Greek, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese; several books of verse; the book of short stories The Twilight of the Gods (1888, 16 stories; 12 stories added in the 1903 edition); biographies of Thomas Carlyle, John Milton, William Blake, and others; The Age of Dryden (1895); a History of Italian Literature; English Literature: An Illustrated Record (with Edmund Gosse); and many articles for encyclopaedias and the Dictionary of National Biography. He also discovered and edited some unpublished poems of Shelley (Relics of Shelley, 1862). His poem "Where Corals Lie" was set to music by Sir Edward Elgar as part of Sea Pictures and was first performed in 1899.
Richard Garnett, Professor of Law at Notre Dame, Wants Us to Consider This: Most of What We Call Church-State Disputes in American Law Are Nothing of the Sort
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Faithful Reader Joe Bingham Writes with Consternation, or Maybe Regret, That in His Article in the March Issue ("Things Not Caesar's") Richard Garnett Referred to the Constitution's Religion Clauses, and Not to Its Single Religion Clause
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