1827 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Lisle Bowles

C. N., "An Essay on Bowles's Poetry and Sonnets" Living Poets of England: Specimens of the Living British Poets (1827) 1:462-63.



The Lake school or Coleridge at least, speaks of Mr. Bowles as intitled to a higher rank among the living poets of England; we find in Coleridge's Biographia litteratia the following statement of his early remembrance of Bowles's sonnets:

"I had just entered on my seventeenth year, when the sonnets of Mr. Bowles, twenty in number, and just then published in a quarto pamphlet, were first made known and presented to me, by a school-fellow who had quitted us for the university, and who, during the whole time that he was in our first form (or in our school language a GRECIAN) had been my patron and protector. It was a double pleasure to me, and still remains a tender recollection, that I should have received from a friend so revered the first knowledge of a poet, by whose works, year after year, I was so enthusiastically delighted and inspired. My earliest acquaintances will not have forgotten the undisciplined eagerness and impetuous zeal, with which I laboured to make proselytes, not only of my companions, but of all with whom I conversed, of whatever rank, and in whatever place. As my school finances did not permit me to purchase copies, I made, within less than a year and an half, move than forty transcriptions, as the best presents I could offer to those who had in any way won my regard. And with almost equal delight did I receive the three or four following publications of the same author." (Biog. litter.)

Mr. Bowles is perhaps better known to the rising generation as a critic than a poet, by the Pope controversy, in which were engaged, Mr. Bowles, Lord Byron, Mr. Campbell, Jeffry, Hazzlit. Much was said on both sides about art and nature, manners and passions, fancy and imagination. And Mr. Bowles must be quoted with honour in the next edition of Mr. Israels's quarrels of authors.

In 1822 he published his poem: The grave of the last Saxon, an interesting poetical composition, but of a rather diffuse style, a better poem after all than The Missionary, by the same author.

C. N.