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West Country Poets

JOHN CODRINGTON BAMPFYLDE (1754-1796)

This poetical writer was born August 27, 1754, and was the son of Sir Richard Warwick BAMPFYLDE, of Poltimore, in the County of Devon.  He was educated at Cambridge.   His poetical works consist of 'Sixteen Sonnets' published in 1778, and two short poems added by SOUTHEY, and one by Park.  Southey called them 'some of the most original in our language.'  William JACKSON, a well-known musician of Exeter, told Southey that Bampfylde lived as a youth in a farmouse at Chudleigh, whence he used to walk over to show Jackson his poetical compositions.  He went to London and fell into dissipation.  He proposed to Miss PALMER, neice of Sir Joshua REYNOLDS, afterwards Marchioness Thomond, to whom the sonnets are dedicated.  Sir Joshua disapproved the match, and closed his door to Bampfylde, who thereupon broke Sir Joshua's windows and was sent to Newgate.  JACKSON coming to town soon after, found that his mother had got him out of prison, but that he was living in the utmost squalor in a disreputable house.  JACKSON induced his family to help him, but he soon had to be confined in a private madouse, whence he emerged many years later, and died of consumption about 1796.  (See 'Dictionary of National Biography,'vol.iii.)

ON A WET SUMMER

All ye who far from town in rural hall,
  Like me, were wont to dwell near pleasant field,
  Enjoying all the sunny day did yield,
With me the change lament, in irksome thrall,
By rains incessant held; for now no call
  From early swain invites my hand to wield
  The scythe.  In parlour dim I sit concealed,
And mark the lessening sand from hour-glass fall;
  Or 'neath my window view the wistful train
Of dripping poultry, whom the vine's broad leaves
  Shelter no more.  Mute is the mournful plain;
  Silent the swallow sits beneath the thatch,
  And vacant hind hangs pensive o'er his hatch,
Counting the frequent drips from reeded eaves.

Transcribed by Sandra Windeatt from: Wright, W.H.K., (1896) West-Country Poets:  Their Lives and Works. London: Elliot Stock, p.23.

Last updated 22 Jul 2011 - Brian Randell.

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