DARLEY, GEORGE (1795–1846), Irish poet, was born in Dublin in 1795. His parents, who were gentle folks of independent means, emigrated to America, leaving the boy in charge of his grandfather at Springfield, Co. Dublin. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, graduating in 1820; but an unfortunate stammer prevented him from going into the church or to the bar, and he established himself in London, where he published his first volume of poems, the Errors of Ecstasie, in 1822, and became a regular contributor to The London Magazine. He was intimate with Cary, the translator of Dante, and with Charles Lamb. In 1826 he published under the name of "Grey Penseval" a volume of prose tales and sketches, Labour in Idleness (1826), one of which, "The Enchanted Lyre," is plainly autobiographical. Sylvia, or the May Queen (1827, reprint 1892), a fairy opera, met with no success, but about 1830 he became dramatic and art critic to the Athenaeum. His other works are: Nepenthe (1835, reprint 1897), his most considerable poem; introduction to the works of Beaumont and Fletcher (1840); with two plays, Thomas à Becket (1840), and Ethelstan (1841). He died in London on the 23rd of November 1846.
Selections from the Poems of George Darley, with an introduction by R. A. Streatfield, appeared in 1904. See also the edition by Ramsay Colles in the “Muses’ Library” (1906).