The Reverend William Lisle Bowles (1762-1850), who anticipated the revival of the sonnet form with his publication of Fourteen Sonnets in 1789, showed to better advantage in his ten-volume edition of Pope. Stressing a romantic esthetic (nature over art), his edition, not surprisingly, stirred up a lively reaction—the ‘Pope and Bowles’ controversy—with Lord Byron and Thomas Campbell, among others, championing the tenets of neo-classicism.
Bowles’s comments on two of Marvell’s poems, representing a distinctly new approach to his poetry, derive from the notes to Windsor Forest. By 1871, they had been incorporated into the introductory essay to the poem in the edition by Elwin and Courthope.
From the Works of Alexander Pope (1806), I, pp. 122-4.
Johnson remarks, that this Poem was written after the model of Denham’s Cooper’s Hill, with perhaps an eye on Waller’s Poem of The Park. Marvel has also written a Poem on Local Scenery, ‘upon the Hill and Grove at Billborow;’ and another, ‘on Appleton House, ’ (now Nunappleton in Yorkshire).
Marvel abounds with conceits and false thoughts, but some of the descriptive touches are picturesque and beautiful. His description of a gently rising eminence is more picturesque, although not so elegantly and justly expressed, as the same subject is in Denham. I transcribe the following, as the Poem is but little read.