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Vitamin Q: the book!

~ Sunday, November 17, 2002

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'.

Source: various.

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