1856 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Lisle Bowles

Samuel Rogers, in Table Talk (1856) 258-59.



Bowles, like most other poets, was greatly depressed by the harsh criticisms of the reviewers. I advised him not to mind them; and, eventually following my advice, he became a much happier man. I suggested to him the subject of The Missionary; and he was to dedicate it to me. He, however, dedicated it to a noble lord, who never, either by word or letter, acknowledged the dedication.

Bowles's nervous timidity is the most ridiculous thing imaginable. Being passionately fond of music, he came to London expressly to attend the last commemoration of Handel. After going into the Abbey, he observed that the door was closed; immediately he ran to the door-keeper, exclaiming, "What! am I to be shut up here?" and out he went before he heard a single note. I once brought a stall-ticket for him that he might accompany me to the opera; but just as we were stepping into the carriage, he said, "Dear me, your horses seem uncommonly frisky!" and he stayed at home.

"I never," said he, "had but one watch; and I lost it the very first day I wore it." Mrs. Bowles whispered to me, "And if he got another to-day, he would lose it as quickly."