William Lisle Bowles

(1762 - 1850 / England)

Biography of William Lisle Bowles

William Lisle Bowles poet

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.

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Netley Abbey

Fallen pile! I ask not what has been thy fate;
But when the winds, slow wafted from the main,
Through each rent arch, like spirits that complain,
Come hollow to my ear, I meditate
On this world's passing pageant, and the lot
Of those who once majestic in their prime
Stood smiling at decay, till bowed by time
Or injury, their early boast forgot,
They may have fallen like thee! Pale and forlorn,

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