He was born Emil Bohuslav Frída, Vrchlický being a pseudonym. He also wrote epic poetry, plays, prose and literary essays and translated widely from various languages, introducing e.g. Dante, Goethe, Shelley, Baudelaire, Poe, and Whitman to Czechoslovakian literature.
He was one of the main voices in Lumír magazine from 1851.
Vrchlický"s life was the subject of a 1997 novel, Za trochu lásky.