1796
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To the Evening Star.

Monthly Magazine 1 (May 1796) 313-14.

Rev. John Bidlake


Five blank-verse stanzas, dated "Plymouth, May 9." John Bidlake, a country schoolmaster, adapts the imagery of Collins's Ode to Evening to an amorous theme: "Thy lamp serene, my now benighted steps | Directs, to that blest spot where dwells my fair, | Twin rivals who can boast | More pure, more bright than thee." West-country poets were well represented in the poetry columns of the early numbers of the Monthly Magazine, among them Coleridge and Southey.

Anti-Jacobin Review: "There is nothing striking in any of these pieces, which are certainly inferior to those in the preceding numbers. But if they seldom rise above mediocrity, they never fall below it" review of Bidlake, Poems (1803); 14 (April 1803) 426.



Bright eye of pensive eve! resplendent orb
That o'er the misty mountains shinest clear;
Like a rich gem,
Upon an Aethiop's brow!

Thy lamp serene, my now benighted steps
Directs, to that blest spot where dwells my fair,
Twin rivals who can boast
More pure, more bright than thee.

For not thy lovely light, that kindly cheers
The sullen frown of unpropitious night;
Is half so sweet as truth,
That beams in beauty's eyes.

Not all the little waking elves, that rise
From out their rosy bow'rs of velvet buds,
Where they had slept the day,
To dance thy rays beneath,

Feel such delight as does this breast, when thou
With radiant lustre shew'st the happy hour,
That leads from scenes of care
To still domestic bliss.

[pp. 313-14]