1898 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir James Bland Burges

Ernest Hartley Coleridge, in Byron, Poetical Works, ed. E. H. Coleridge (1898-1904) 1:437-38n.



Sir James Bland Burges (1752-1824), who assumed, in 1821, the name of Lamb, married, as his first wife, the Hon. Elizabeth Noel, daughter of Lord Wentworth, and younger sister of Byron's mother-in-law, Lady Milbanke. He was called to the bar in 1777, and in the same year was appointed a Commissioner in Bankruptcy. In 1787 he was returned M.P. for the borough of Helleston; and from 1789 to 1795 held office as Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs. In 1795, at the instance of his chief, Lord Grenville, he vacated his post, and by way of compensation was created a baronet with a sinecure post as Knight-Marshal of the Royal Household. Thenceforth he devoted himself to literature. In 1796 he wrote the Birth and Triumph of Love, by way of letter-press to some elegant designs of the Princess Elizabeth.... His plays, Riches, and Tricks for Travellers, appeared in 1810, and there were other works. In spite of Wordsworth's testimony (Wordsworth signed, but Coleridge dictated and no doubt composed, the letter: see Thomas Poole and His Friends, ii. 27) "to a pure and unmixed vein of native English" in Richard the First (Bland-Burges Papers, 1885, p. 308), Burges as a poet awaits rediscovery. His diaries, portions of which were published in 1885, are lively and instructive. He has been immortalized in Porson's Macaronics—

Poetis nos laetamur tribus,
Pye, Petro Pindar, parvo Pybus.
Si ulteris ire pergis,
Adde his Sir James Bland Burges!