1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Lisle Bowles

Anonymous, in Review of Bowles, The Missionary; Blackwood's Magazine 6 (October 1819) 13.



Mr. Bowles was a popular poet before any one of the great poets of the day arose, except Crabbe and Rogers; and though the engrossing popularity of some late splendid productions has thrown his somewhat into the shade, yet, though little talked of, we are greatly mistaken if they are not very much read — if they have not a home and an abiding in the heart of England. The extreme grace and elegance of his diction, the sweetness and occasional richness of his versification, and his fresh and teeming imagery, would of themselves be sufficient to give him a respectable and permanent station among our poets; but when to these qualities are added a pure, natural, and unaffected pathos, a subduing tenderness, and a strain of genuine passion, we need not scruple to say that Mr. Bowles possess more of the poetical character than some who enjoy a more splendid reputation, and that while they sink with sinking fashion and caprice, he will rise with rising nature and truth.