THOMAS LOVELL BEDDOES (1803-1849) is a latter-day Jacobean, the author of blank verse plays and poems which are as bold, wild and fresh as they are archaic in manner. We read his plays less for character and drama than for the miracles that occur in their language. He is a poet of fragments. His mastery of lyric and ballad make his work immediately accessible, an obsession with death aligns him with the Decadents. ‘Dream Pedlary’, with its potent eroticism, and Death’s Jest Book are masterpieces in what John Ashbery calls the ‘unlikely but addictive bouquet’ of Beddoes’s verse. A nephew of Maria Edgeworth, Beddoes was born in Bristol. Educated at Charterhouse and Pembroke College, Oxford, he went to the Continent to study medicine. He committed suicide at the age of 45.