Charles Hamilton Aide

Charles Hamilton Aide, 1870's. Photo by London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Charles Hamilton Aide (sometimes written as Aidé or Aïdé) (4 November 1827 - 13 December 1906)[1] was an English poet, songwriter, and novelist.[2]



Aide was "for many years a conspicuous figure in London literary society, a writer of novels, songs and dramas of considerable merit and popularity, and a skillful amateur artist".[3] In particular, Aide was "known for such widely anthologized lyrics as 'Love, the Pilgrim', 'Lost and Found' and 'George Lee'".[4]

Youth and educationEdit

Aide was born in rue St. Honoré, Paris, the younger son of Georgina, 2nd daughter of Admiral Sir George Collier, and of George Aïdá, son of an Armenian merchant settled in Constantinople. His father, who acquired in Vienna a complete knowledge of languages, travelled widely, was admitted to good society in the chief capitals of Europe, came to England during the regency, and was killed in Paris in a duel when Aidé was 4 years old. His elder brother, Frederick (b. July 1823), was killed by an accident at Boulogne in 1831.[5]

Brought by his mother to England, Charles was educated privately at East Sheen and at Greenwich till at the age of 16 he was sent to the University of Bonn. Subsequently he obtained a commission in the British army, serving with the 85th Light Infantry until 1853, when he retired with the rank of captain.[5]

Adult lifeEdit

After a spell of foreign travel he settled in England, living chiefly at Lyndhurst in the New Forest with his mother, till her death at Southsea on 12 October 1875.[5]

Subsequently he took rooms in Queen Anne's Gate, London, where he entertained largely, his guests including the chief figures in the social and artistic world of France as well as England. Many months each year were spent abroad, in Egypt and every country in Europe except Russia.[5]

A man of versatile accomplishments and with abundant social gifts, Aidé, who spoke and wrote French as easily as English, devoted himself with equal success to society, music, art, and literature. From early youth he composed poetry.[5]

His debut collection of poetry appeared in 1856, under the title of Eleanore, and other poems. The Romance of the Scarlet Leaf followed in 1865, and Songs without Music: Rhymes and recitations' (2 editions. 1882; 3rd enlarged edition, 1889). His volume of poems, 'Past and Present,' appeared in 1903.[5]

At the same time Aidé made some reputation as an amateur artist, exhibiting at many of the London galleries sketches which he made in foreign travel. But his chief energies were devoted to fiction, and novels came regularly from his pen for some 50 years. His debut novel, Rita, appeared anonymously in 1856 (French translation, 1862). Some 18 others followed, the most popular being Confidences (1859; 2nd edition, 1862, 16mo); Carr of Carlyon (3 volumes, 1862; new edition, 1869); Morals and Mysteries (1872), short stories; and Passages in the Life of a Lady in 1814-1815-1816 (3 volumes, 1887). The Chivalry of Harold was published posthumously in 1907.[5]

Aidé also turned his attention to the stage. On 7 February 1874 Philip, a romantic drama in 4 acts from his pen, was produced by Sir Henry Irving at the Lyceum theatre, Irving taking the title role. On 12 June 1875 Sir John Hare with Mr. and Mrs. Kendal produced at the Court theatre A Nine Days' Wonder, a comedy, adapted from a simultaneously published novel.[6] Aidé also published, in 1902, 7 miniature plays in a volume entitled We are Seven: Half hours on the stage grave and gay; the last, called A table d'hôte, is in French.[5]

In later life he lived with his cousins, Colonel and Mrs. Collier, at Ascot Wood Cottage, Berkshire.[5]

Aidé died in London, unmarried, on 13 December 1906, and was buried in the churchyard of All Souls, South Ascot.[5]


Aidé's novels mainly dealt with fashionable society, and although they lacked originality or power, were simply written under French influence and enjoyed some vogue.

Many of his poem ballads, "The Pilgrim," "Lost and Found," and "George Lee," found their way popular anthologies. Aidé was also a prolific musical composer, and set many of own verses to music. "The Danube River," "The Fisher," "The Spanish Boat Song," and "Brown Eyes and Blue Eyes" were among songs by him which won a general repute.[5]


A portrait in oils, painted at Rome by Duke Sante della Rovera, and exhibited at the New Gallery in 1907, was in the possession of the artist.[5]





Short fictionEdit

  • Morals and Mysteries (short stories). Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1872; London: Smith, Elder, 1874.
  • A Nine Days' Wonder: A novelette. London: Smith, Elder, 1875.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[7]

Poems by Hamilton AideEdit

When we are parted LibriVox Short Poetry 058 Hamilton Aide

When we are parted LibriVox Short Poetry 058 Hamilton Aide

  1. When We Are Parted

See alsoEdit


PD-icon.svg Lee, Sidney, ed (1912). "Aidé, Charles Hamilton". Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement​. 1. London: Smith, Elder. pp. 24-25. . Wikisource, Web, Dec. 30, 2019.


  1. The Dictionary of National Biography gives his birth date as 1826.
  2. Aide, Charles Hamilton, Composers of Classical Music. Web, Dec. 30, 2019.
  3. The Annual Register (1907), p. 147.
  4. Bertrand Russell, Kenneth Blackwell, Cambridge Essays, 1888-99, (1983), 383.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 DNB 1912, 24.
  6. Joseph Knight, Theatrical Notes, 43-47.
  7. Search results = au:Hamilton Aide, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Dec. 28 2015.

External linksEdit


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement​ (edited by Sidney Lee). London: Smith, Elder, 1912. Original article is at:Aidé, Charles Hamilton

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