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C321 Apostate Will

Apostate Will

Age 11-12, Colston's School

Thomas Chatterton's poem Apostate Will Herbert  Croft.jpg

First Printing: Herbert Croft's Transcript 1780

Apostate Will is, in all probability, Chatterton's first poem.

It was written in 1764 but not published until 1780 when Herbert Croft included it in his book Love and Madness.  According to Croft, the original Chatterton manuscript, which is lost, was in the possession of Sarah Chatterton, the poet's mother.

George Symes Catcott transcribed the copy shown here in 1777, it is from the same manuscript original as Croft. Catcott also claims that the Ms. was in the possession of Sarah Chatterton. In the last page of the transcript he states that the poem is 'supposed to be the first effort of her unfortunate son's poetical abilities' a statement he could only have got from Sarah or Mary.


The Croft transcript of Apostate Will is preferred by Taylor.

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