1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Locker-Lampson, Frederick

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LOCKER-LAMPSON, FREDERICK (1821-1895), English man of letters, was born, on the 29th of May 1821, at Greenwich Hospital. His father, who was Civil Commissioner of the Hospital, was Edward Hawke Locker, youngest son of that Captain William Locker who gave Nelson the memorable advice "to lay a Frenchman close, and beat him." His mother, Eleanor Mary Elizabeth Boucher, was a daughter of the Rev. Jonathan Boucher, vicar of Epsom and friend of George Washington. After a desultory education, Frederick Locker began life in a colonial broker's office. Soon deserting this uncongenial calling, he obtained a clerkship in Somerset House, whence he was transferred to Lord Haddington's private office at the Admiralty. Here he became deputy-reader and précis writer. In 1850 he married Lady Charlotte Bruce, daughter of the Lord Elgin who brought the famous marbles to England, and sister of Lady Augusta Stanley. After his marriage he left the Civil Service, in consequence of ill-health. In 1857 he published London Lyrics, a slender volume of 90 pages, which, with subsequent extensions, constitutes his poetical legacy. Lyra Elegantiarum (1867), an anthology of light and familiar verse, and Patchwork (1879), a book of extracts, were his only other publications. In 1872 Lady Charlotte Locker died. Two years later Locker married Miss Hannah Jane Lampson, the only daughter of Sir Curtis Miranda Lampson, Bart., of Rowfant, Sussex, and in 1885 took his wife's surname. At Rowfant he died on the 30th of May 1895. Chronic ill-health debarred Locker from any active part in life, but it did not prevent his delighting a wide circle of friends by his gifts as a host and raconteur, and from accumulating many treasures as a connoisseur. His books are catalogued in the volume called the Rowfant Library (1886), to which an appendix (1900) was added, after his death, under the superintendence of his eldest son. As a poet belongs to the choir who deal with the gay rather than the grave in verse—with the polished and witty rather than the lofty or emotional. His good taste kept him as far from the broadly comic on the one side as his kind heart saved him from the purely cynical on the other. To something of Prior, of Praed and of Hood he added qualities of his own which lent his work distinction—a distinction in no wise diminished by his unwearied endeavour after directness and simplicity.

A posthumous volume of Memoirs, entitled My Confidences (1896), and edited by his son-in-law, Mr Augustine Birrell, gives an interesting idea of his personality and a too modest estimate of his gifts as a poet.

(A. D.)