An American poet, literary critic, translator, fiction and travel author.Taylor was born on January 11, 1825, in Kennett Square in Chester County, Pennsylvania. He was the fourth son, the first to live to maturity, of the Quaker couple, Joseph and Rebecca (née Way) Taylor. His father was a well-to-do farmer. Young Bayard received his early instruction in an academy at West Chester, and later at Unionville. At the age of seventeen, he was apprenticed to a printer in West Chester. His interest in poetry was coached by the influential critic and editor Rufus Wilmot Griswold, who encouraged him to write a volume of poetry. Published at Philadelphia in 1844, Ximena, or the Battle of the Sierra Morena, and other Poems was dedicated to Griswold. It made little income, but indirectly was a means of his introduction to The New York Tribune.With the money from his poetry and an advance for some journalistic work to be done in Europe, Taylor set sail for Europe. The young poet spent a happy time in roaming on foot through certain districts of England, France, Germany and Italy; this tour of almost two years cost him only £100. The accounts which he sent from Europe to The New York Tribune, The Saturday Evening Post, and The United States Gazette were so highly appreciated that on Taylor's return to America, he was advised to compile his articles into book form.In 1846, he published Views Afoot, or Europe seen with Knapsack and Staff (2 vols, New York). This book's success brought Taylor recognition as an author. He was asked to serve as an editorial assistant for Graham's Magazine for a few months in 1848. That same year, Horace Greeley, then editor of the Tribune, placed Taylor on his staff, thus securing Taylor a certain if moderate income. His next journey, made when the gold-fever was at its height, was to California as correspondent for the Tribune. From this expedition he returned by way of Mexico, and, seeing his opportunity, published a highly successful book of travels, entitled El Dorado; or, Adventures in the Path of Empire (2 vols, New York, 1850). Within two weeks of release, the book sold 10,000 copies in the US and 30,000 in Great Britain.In the middle of all of these successes, Taylor had another coup, winning a popular competition sponsored by P.T. Barnum to write a welcome ode to the Swedish Nightingale, Jenny Lind. His poem "Greetings to America" was set to music by Julius Benedict and performed by the singer at numerous concerts on her tour of the United States.Taylor always said he had an affinity for the Near and Far East. In 1851 he traveled to Egypt, where he ascended along the Nile River as far as 12° 30' N. He also traveled in Palestine and Mediterranean countries. He drew on these experiences and sights for many poems. Towards the end of 1852, from England he sailed for Calcutta, proceeding thence to China, where he joined the historic expedition of Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry to Japan.The results of these journeys (besides his poetical memorials) were A Journey to Central Africa; or, Life and Landscapes from Egypt to the Negro Kingdoms of the White Nile (New York, 1854); The Lands of the Saracen; or, Pictures of Palestine, Asia Minor, Sicily and Spain (1854); and A Visit to India, China and Japan in the Year 1853 (1855).