1814 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Bidlake

Anonymous, Obituary in Monthly Magazine 37 (April 1814) 272.



In the 59th year of his age, the Rev. John Bidlake, D.D. of Christ Church, Oxford, chaplain to their Royal Highnesses the Prince Regent and the Duke of Clarence. He was a native of Plymouth, and formerly master of the grammar-school in that town. He sustained, with great patience, for the last three years of his life, the most afflicting calamity, a total deprivation of sight, accompanied with many bodily infirmities. During this dark and distressing part of his existence, he had all the endearing consolations that friendship could suggest, and all the kind alleviations that relatives could bestow. He was strict in his religious principles, but not intolerant; devoted to the church-establishment, but without preferment; he possessed all the tender charities of the heart, and in the duties of a son he was truly exemplary. Dr. Bidlake was a man of unassuming manners; naturally communicative among his intimate friends, by whom he was beloved and respected; patient under injuries; and of a sedate temper, even from his earliest years. One of the striking features of his character was the deep interest he felt in discovering young men of talent and modesty, and in patronising them as far as his limits would admit. Through the whole tenor of his life he was just and honourable; prudent in his domestic concerns, but not niggardly; liberal in the acquisition of the works of taste, but not expensive. As an author he was instructive, elegant, and pathetic; as a preacher, unembarrassed, persuasive, and forcible; he had an unaffected and lively sense of the beauties of nature, and a genuine relish for poetry, painting, and music, in all of which he was conversant; but poetry was his favourite art. In a word, his mind was enriched with various knowledge; and had he concentrated the brilliant rays of his powerful intellect, he might have shone amongst the greatest men of his age.