1801 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Fowler

George Ellis, in Specimens of Early English Poets (1801; 1845) 2:339.



A writer of amatory verses at the court of James VI. has been lately noticed by Mr. Leyden in his curious collection of Scottish Descriptive Poems (Edin. and Lond. 1803, 12mo). Scarcely any anecdotes of his life are preserved, and even the time of his birth is doubtful, though it may be placed with some probability about the year 1569. He seems to have possessed the esteem of Drummond of Hawthornden, by whom two MS. volumes of his poems, the one entitled The Tarantula of Love, and the other a translation of Petrarch's Triumphs, were, in 1627, presented to the library of Edinburgh College, and he was a great favourite with King James, whose unkindly genius he had the singular good fortune of inspiring with a very tolerable commendatory sonnet prefixed to the triumphs of Petrarch.

Fowler's style, as his editor justly observes, "is often quaint, affected, and full of antithesis;" though he "possesses a facility of versification, and a harmony of numbers, which the best poets of that period were not always able to attain."