1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Blunt, Wilfrid Scawen

BLUNT, WILFRID SCAWEN (1840–), English poet and publicist, was born on the 17th of August 1840 at Petworth House, Sussex, the son of Francis Scawen Blunt, who served in the Peninsular War and was wounded at Corunna. He was educated at Stonyhurst and Oscott, and entered the diplomatic service in 1858, serving successively at Athens, Madrid, Paris and Lisbon. In 1867 he was sent to South America, and on his return to England retired from the service on his marriage with Lady Anne Noel, daughter of the earl of Lovelace and a granddaughter of the poet Byron. In 1872 he succeeded, by the death of his elder brother, to the estate of Crabbet Park, Sussex, where he established a famous stud for the breeding of Arab horses. Mr and Lady Anne Blunt travelled repeatedly in northern Africa, Asia Minor and Arabia, two of their expeditions being described in Lady Anne’s Bedouins of the Euphrates (2 vols., 1879) and A Pilgrimage to Nejd (2 vols., 1881). Mr Blunt became known as an ardent sympathizer with Mahommedan aspirations, and in his Future of Islam (1888) he directed attention to the forces which afterwards produced the movements of Pan-Islamism and Mahdism. He was a violent opponent of the English policy in the Sudan, and in The Wind and the Whirlwind (in verse, 1883) prophesied its downfall. He supported the national party in Egypt, and took a prominent part in the defence of Arabi Pasha. Ideas about India (1885) was the result of two visits to that country, the second in 1883–1884. In 1885 and 1886 he stood unsuccessfully for parliament as a Home Ruler; and in 1887 he was arrested in Ireland while presiding over a political meeting in connexion with the agitation on Lord Clanricarde’s estate, and was imprisoned for two months in Kilmainham. His best-known volume of verse, Love Sonnets of Proteus (1880), is a revelation of his real merits as an emotional poet. The Poetry of Wilfrid Blunt (1888), selected and edited by W. E. Henley and Mr George Wyndham, includes these sonnets, together with “Worth Forest, a Pastoral,” “Griselda” (described as a “society novel in rhymed verse”), translations from the Arabic, and poems which had appeared in other volumes.