1796 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Lisle Bowles

F. P. C., "To the Rev. W. L. Bowles" Bath Chronicle (31 March 1796).



When PROSPERO wav'd his magic wand in air,
Bidding the rude waves his mighty spell
Felt, and their bickerings stay'd; a silence rare
Stole strangely on the tumults of the deep.
So if proud passion in my soul rebel,
The melancholy song can hush to sleep
The tempest, and in trance Lethean steep
The fretful spirit. Sad, O BOWLES! thy theme,
And sighs compose the mournful melody.
It tells of cloyster'd beauty's gloomy grave,
Of him, who wept, "so beautiful, so brave,"
His peerless child, tost on the distant wave;
And let the breeze of health and cheeriness
Into the Lazar-house; it tells of them,
Blest sprites, who foster'd miseries fatherless
In love's warm breast, and taught th' unwand'ring way
To instant innocence, too prone to stray.
Hard were his heart, who heard uncharm'd the lay,
Which floating on the still air tremblingly,
To Peace can soothe the soul, to Love, and Sympathy.
—Coll. Cambridge, March 20.