Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Robson, William

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ROBSON, WILLIAM (1785–1863), author and translator, was born in 1785. In early life he was a schoolmaster, but, when he was over fifty years of age, he devoted himself to literature. His earliest work, ‘The Walk, or the Pleasures of Literary Associations,’ London, 12mo, appeared in 1837, and was followed in 1846 by ‘The Old Playgoer,’ London, 12mo. This volume consists of a series of letters describing the British stage at the beginning of the nineteenth century. His criticisms are scholarly and his recollections are always interesting. His later works are of little value. Besides writing original books, Robson also translated, without much skill, many French works, including Michaud's ‘History of the Crusades,’ 1852, 8vo; Dumas's ‘Three Musketeers,’ 1853, 8vo; and Balzac's ‘Balthazar,’ 1859, 8vo. In later life Robson fell into poverty. Routledge the publisher raised, by public subscription, a fund to purchase an annuity for him, but before Robson could reap the benefit he died on 17 Nov. 1863.

He was the author of: 1. ‘John Railton, or Read and Think,’ London, 1854, 16mo. 2. ‘The Life of Cardinal Richelieu,’ London, 1854, 8vo. 3. ‘The Great Sieges of History,’ London, 1855, 8vo.

[The Reader, 1863, ii. 633.]

E. I. C.