Sidney Lanier was born in Macon, Georgia. As a child, he taught himself to play numerous musical instruments. He fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War, commanding the blockade runner Talisman. He was captured in 1864 by the United States Navy after being shipwrecked between North Carolina and Bermuda. Subsequently, Lanier spent five months as a prisoner of war at Point Lookout, Florida.
In 1877, Lanier relocated his family to Baltimore, Maryland, where he lectured on English literature at Johns Hopkins University and was principal flautist at Peabody School of Music.
In 1880, he published his treatise of literary criticism, Science of English Verse, which primarily explained the link Lanier percieved between verse poetry in English and music in the Western tradition.
Sidney Lanier spent the following summer in the mountains near Lynn, North Carolina, where he died from tuberculosis contracted during the civil war.
Among Lanier's works are:
A Boy's King Arthur
A Boy's Mabinogion