1815 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Fowler

Thomas Park, in Restituta or ... English Literature Revived 3 (1815) 133-34.



A short time before the learned Dr. Leyden departed from India, in the spring of 1803, he put forth an interesting volume, entitled Scottish Descriptive Poems, with some Illustrations of Scottish Literary Antiquities. At the close of that volume were inserted extracts from two MS. volumes in the library of Edinburgh College, comprising translations of the Triumphs of Petrarcke and Triumph of Love, with Sonnets, entitled The Tarantula of Love, by WILLIAM FOWLER; one of the poets who frequented the court of James VI. before his accession to the throne of England; and who appears, after his accession, to have been made Secretary and Master of the Requests to Queen Anne; and to have had the presumption (as Mr. Lodge infers from some passages in the Talbot papers) to become an inferior pretender to that persecuted state-sufferer, the Lady Arabella Stewart. Mr. Lodge has printed a sonnet of his, addressed to that "most verteous and treulye honorable Ladye," and another, "uppon a horologe of the clock." Mr. George Ellis, (a name which will never be mentioned without a throb of tender regard, and a sigh of deep regret, by those who were honoured with his friendship) in his Specimens of the early English Poets, has inserted a sonnet from a transcript of part of the Tarantula of Love, politely communicated to him by the late Lord Woodhouselee. With that transcript Mr. Ellis amicably favoured your correspondent. It contains eighteen sonnets, one of which only has been printed by Mr. Ellis, and another by Dr. Leyden: the remaining sixteen it may be in consonance with the plan of RESTITUTA to introduce. Lord Woodhouselee observes that they were copied with little regard to critical selection, and merely with the view of ascertaining Fowler's general merits as a poet. His Lordship adds, that Fowler is very remarkable for the harmony of his numbers; that all his sonnets shew an intimate acquaintance with Petrarch, and a refinement on his defects — his quaintness and concetti.