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~ Sunday, November 17, 2002
HOW THE POETS GOT THEIR NAMES
Three famous British poets of recent times have had very unusual first names:
1 Wystan (AUDEN) was named after a Mercian princeling killed by his uncle Bertulph during a power struggle in 849 AD. He was buried in Repton Abbey, Derbyshire according to de Marleberge's Chronica Abbatiae de Evesham.
2 Dylan (THOMAS) was named after a very minor figure in the Mabinogion, the classic collection of Welsh folklore. Dylan is a yellow haired child born when his supposedly virginal mother Arianrhod steps over a magic wand. The child immediately heads for the sea. The name probably means 'ocean' or 'wave'. It is properly pronounced dullan, not dillan, though Thomas' family mispronounced it. It was a very rare name at the time.
3 Rudyard (KIPLING) was named after the place, Rudyard Lake in Staffordshire, where his parents met. The name means either 'place where rudd are kept' or 'garden where rue is planted'.