Theodore Martin


Theodore Martin

Sir Theodore Martin KCB KCVO (16 September 1816 - 18 August 1909) was a Scottish poet, biographer, and translator.

Martin was the son of James Martin, a solicitor in Edinburgh, where Theodore was born and educated at the Royal High School and University. He practised as a solicitor in Edinburgh 1840-45, after which he went to London and became head of the firm of Martin and Leslie, parliamentary agents.

His first contribution to literature was the humorous "Bon Gaultier Ballads", written along with W.E. Aytoun, which remained popular for a long time; originally contributed to a magazine, they appeared in book form in 1855.

Martin's translations include Dante's "Vila Nuova", Oehlenschläger's "Correggio" and "Aladdin", Heinrich Heine's "Poems and Ballads", Friedrich Schiller's "Wilhelm Tell", and Hertz's "King Rene's Daughter". He also published a complete translation of Horace with a "Life", and one of Catullus.

He is probably best known for his "Life of the Prince Consort" (1874-80), the writing of which was entrusted to him by Queen Victoria, a work which won him her lifelong friendship. He also wrote "Lives" of Professor Aytoun and Lord Lyndhurst.

In 1851 he married Helena Faucit (died 1898), a well-known actress, and authoress of studies on "Shakespeare's Female Characters", whose "Life" he published in 1901. The couple lived for some time at Bryntisilio, near Llangollen, where in 1889 they were visited by the queen during her progress in Wales.

Martin kept up his intellectual activity into old age, published in 1905 a translation of Leopardi's poems, and "Monographs" (1906). He was Lord Rector of St. Andrews 1881, LL.D. of Edinburgh 1875, and K.C.B. 1880.

He died in 1909 and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.

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