1882 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Lisle Bowles

Epes Sargent, in Harper's Cyclopaedia of British and American Poetry (1882) 264-65.



But for the praise bestowed by Coleridge and Wordsworth on the sonnets of Bowles — praise which seems a little overstrained a century later — he would hardly be entitled to a place among British poets of note. Born in the county of Wilts in 1762, he died in 1850. He was educated at Oxford, studied for the ministry, was made Prebendary of Salisbury, 1804, and incumbent of Bremhill, Wiltshire, 1805. He was a voluminous writer both of prose and poetry. Hallam says: "The sonnets of Bowles may be reckoned among the first-fruits of a new era in poetry." Bowles had a controversy with Byron and Campbell on the writings of Pope, and took his ground that Pope was no poet. Many pamphlets were issued on both sides, and the question was left where the combatants found it. Pope must always be a great name in English literature.