The eccentric poet was a byword in literary circles.
Origin of byword
- Middle English byworde from Old English bīword translation of Latin prōverbium
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From Middle English byworde (“proverb”), from Old English bīword, bīwyrde (“proverb, household word", also "adverb”), from bī- (“by-”) + word (“word”); probably a translation of Latin proverbium. Compare also Old High German pīwurti (“proverb”), Old English bīspel (“proverb, example”), bīcwide (“byword, proverb, tale, fable”). More at byspel.