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William Lisle Bowles 1762 - 1850

English poet and critic. His first work, Fourteen Sonnets (1789), was a considerable influence on the early romantics, especially Coleridge, and revived the sonnet form. Other works include The Spirit of Discovery (1804) and The Grave of the Last Saxon (1822). His edition of Alexander Pope's works (1806) brought about a pamphlet war between him and Byron for his claim that Pope's attention to "artificial" life rather than nature placed him at the leadership of only the second rank of poets.

Biography

Bowles was born at Northamptonshire and educated at Trinity College, Oxford, receiving his Batchelor of Arts in 1786 and Master of Arts in 1792. He was ordained deacon in 1788. He served as curate at Wiltshire (1788), rector at Chicklade (1795), Dumbleton (1797) and Bremhill, Wiltshire (1804). He became prebendary (1804) and canon residentiary (1828) at Salisbury Cathedral. Though he mostly led a city life as a clergyman and magistrate, his writings reveal a longing for rural retirement. Though his first work was well received by the early romantic poets, most of his work is no longer read. He is remembered for his long public argument with Byron, known as the "Pope-Bowles controversy", in which Byron, along with others like Thomas Campbell, ardently defended Pope's greatness and true rank among poets.

Available Poems
Sonnet: At Dover Cliffs, July 20th 1787
Sonnet: At Ostend, July 22nd 1787
Sonnet: July 18th 1787
Sonnet: Languid, and Sad, and Slow, from Day to Day
Sonnet: O Poverty! Though From Thy Haggard Eye

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