January 4 1801, Manchester, England.

September 22, 1874, of an epileptic fit. At the time of his death, he was living in Prestwich Park, Prestwich, in a house bought for him by friends.

Son of a an English father and French mother, Swain is remembered as a poet and engraver. He was honorary professor of poetry at the Manchester Royal Institution, and in 1856 was granted a civil list pension. His friends included Robert Southey. Swain’s epitaph for John Horsefield is noted by English Heritage as an element of their rationale for listing Horsefield’s tomb as a Grade II monument.

After his early education, Swain began work at age 15 as a clerk for Tavaré and Horrocks, a dye-works that was part-owned by a maternal uncle. Swain left his job at the dye-works after 14 years to become a bookseller. That venture did not last, and two years later he joined Lockett & Company, a Manchester firm of engravers and lithographers.

Swain eventually bought the engraving department from the firm and to run it himself. By the time the bookselling venture ended, Swain was friends with Robert Southey and other literary names. His poems had been published in journals from 1822 on, and he had also had various more substantial works published. His works include:

  1. Heart It Hath Its Own Estate, The
  2. How Sweet and Heavenly Is the Sight
  3. Let Tomorrow Take Care of Tomorrow
  4. Let Us Love One Another
  5. Morn Called Fondly to a Fair Boy Straying
  6. Mystery of the Spirit’s Birth, The
  7. Nay, Speak No Ill
  8. Never Rail at the World
  9. O Loving and Forgiving
  10. O What a World This Might Be
  11. Sabbath Sun Was Setting Slow, The
  12. Take the Spade of Perseverance
  13. There Is a Friend, a Secret Friend
  14. There’s a Charm Too Often Wanted
  15. Think, O My Soul, What Must It Be
  16. To Him, Who for Six Days a Week
  17. What Is Noble, to Inherit