1831 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Lisle Bowles

John Wilson, in "An Hour's Talk about Poetry" 1831; Recreations of Christopher North (1852) 73.



In almost all his strains you felt the scholar; but his was no affected or pedantic scholarship — intrusive most when least required; but the growth of a consummate classical education, of which the career was not inglorious among the towers of Oxford. Bowles was a pupil of the Wartons — Joe and Tom — God bless their souls! — and his name may be joined, not unworthily, with theirs — and with Mason's, and Gray's, and Collins's — academics all; the works of them all showing a delicate and exquisite colouring of classical art, enriching their own English nature. Bowles's muse is always loath to forget — whether she roam or linger — Winchester and Oxford — the Itchin and the Isis. None educated in those delightful and divine haunts will ever forget them, who can read Homer and Pindar, and Sophocles, and Theocritus, and Bion, and Moschus, in the original; Rhedicyna's ungrateful or renegade sons are those alone who pursued their poetical studies — in translations. They never knew the nature of the true old Greek fire. But has Bowles written a Great Poem? If he has, publish it, and we shall make him a Bishop.