1858 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bernard Barton

Samuel Austin Allibone, in Critical Dictionary of English Literature (1858-71; 1882) 1:136.



In 1810 he obtained a clerkship in the Messrs. Alexander's bank at Woodbridge, which situation he held for the rest of his life. At one time he thought of resigning his post and devoting himself entirely to literature; but his friend Charles Lamb interposed a timely remonstrance. Mr. Barton's first volume of poems was pub. in 1811. He wrote much, — his poems filling eight or nine volumes. His Household Verses, a collection of his fugitive pieces, pub. in 1845, "contain more of his personal feelings than perhaps any previous work of his pen." Mr. Barton was remarkable for great amiability of manners, extensive information, and a refined taste in the arts.... In 1820 Mr. Barton requested Southey's opinion whether the Society of Friends were likely to be offended at his publishing a volume of poems. We give a short extract from Southey's reply: "I know one, a man deservedly respected by all who know him, (Charles Lloyd the elder, of Birmingham,) who has amused his old age by translating Horace and Homer. He is looked up to in the society, and would not have printed these translations if he had thought it likely to give offence. Judging, however, from the spirit of the age, as affecting your society, like every thing else, I should think they would be gratified by the appearance of a poet among them who confines himself within the limits of their general principles.... They will not like virtuous feeling and religious principle the worse for being conveyed in good verse. If poetry in itself were unlawful, the Bible must be a prohibited book."... Mr. Barton was a brother to Maria Hack, the authoress of a number of juvenile works of great merit, and his daughter, Miss Lucy Barton, has devoted her talents to the composition of scriptural works, principally intended for the young.