Born in Plymouth, England, in 1840, poet, essayist, and biographer Henry Austin Dobson studied to be a civil engineer in Strasbourg, France. He lived in London and worked for the Board of Trade, becoming principal in the Harbour Department. Dobson first published his poems in the magazine St. Paul’s, edited by Anthony Trollope, in the late 1860s. His interest in poetic structure led him to write in forms originally from the French, among them the villanelle, rondel, ballade, rondeau, and triolet; he played a role in the French forms’ revival among English poets. His collections of poetry include Vignettes in Rhyme (1873), Proverbs in Porcelain, and Other Verses (1877), At the Sign of the Lyre (1886), Old-World Idylls and Other Verses (1893), Collected Poems (1895), and Selected Poems (1905).
Dobson’s biographies include Life of Oliver Goldsmith (1888), Samuel Richardson (1902), and Fanny Burney (Madame d’Arblay) (1903). Austin Dobson died in 1921.