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Theodore Martin

Martin, Sir Theodore (1816–1909). Poet, biographer, and translator, son of James M., solicitor in Edinburgh, where he was born and ed. at the 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 Bon Gaultier Ballads, written along with W.E. Aytoun (q.v.), full of wit and humour, which still retain their popularity; originally contributed to a magazine, they appeared in book form in 1855. His translations include Dante’s Vila Nuova, Oehlenschläger’s Correggio and Aladdin, Heine’s Poems and Ballads, Schiller’s Song of the Bell, and Hertz’s King René‘s Daughter. He also published a complete translation of Horace with a Life, and one of Catullus. He is, however, perhaps best known for his Life of the Prince Consort (1874–80), the writing of which was committed to him by Queen Victoria, a work which he executed with such ability and tact as to win for him her lifelong friendship. He also wrote Lives of Prof. Aytoun and Lord Lyndhurst. He married in 1851 Miss Helen Faucit (died 1898), the well-known actress, and authoress of studies on Shakespeare’s Female Characters, whose Life he published in 1901. M. 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.

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