Bendlowes, Edward

, a poet of considerable note in his day, was son and heir of Andrew Bendlowes, esq. and born in 1613. At sixteen years of age he was admitted a fellow-commoner of St. John’s | college in Cambridge, to which he was afterwards a benefactor; and as such his portrait is hung up in the master’s lodge. From Cambridge he travelled through several countries, and visited seven courts of princes, and returned home a most accomplished gentleman both in behaviour and conversation, but a little tinctured with the principles of popery. Being very imprudent in the management of his worldly concerns, he made a shift (though he was never married) to squander away his estate, which amounted to seven hundred or a thousand pounds a year, on poets, musicians, buffoons, and flatterers, and in, buying curiosities. He gave a handsome fortune with a niece named Philippa, who was married to Blount, of Maple-Durham in Oxfordshire, esq.; but being security for the debts of some persons, which he was not able to discharge, he was put into prison at Oxford, and upon his release spent the remainder of his life, which was eight years, in that city. He was esteemed in his younger days a great patron of the poets, especially Quarles, Davenant, Payne, Fisher, &c. who either dedicated books to him, or wrote epigrams and poems on him. His flatterers used to style him “Benevolus,” byway of anagram on his name, in return for his generosity towards them. About the latter end of his life, he was drawn off from his inclination to popery, and would often take occasion to dispute against the Papists and their opinions, and particularly disliked the favourers of Arminius and Socinus. This gentleman, reduced, through his own indiscretion, to great want, died at Oxford, Dec. 18, 1686, and was buried in the north aile of St. Mary’s church, the expences of his funeral being defrayed by a contribution of several scholars who respected him. His picture is in the Bodleian gallery.

Among his poetical pieces Wood mentions the following, 1. “Sphinx Theologica, seu Musica Templi, ubi discordia concurs,” Camb. 1626, 8vo. 2. “Honorifica armorurii cessatio, sive pacis et fidei associatio,” Feb. 11, 1643, 8vo. 3. “Theophila, or Love-Sacrifice,” a divine poem, Lond. 1652, folio, with the author’s picture before it. Several parts of this poem were set to music by Mr. John Jenkyns, an eminent musician whom Mr. Bendlowes patronized; and a whole canto of it, consisting of above three hundred verses, was turned into elegant Latin verse, in the space of one day, by Mr. John Hall of Durham. 4. “A summary of Divine Wisdom,London, 1657, 4to. 5. “A glance at the glories of Sacred Friendship,London, 1657, printed | on one side of a large sheet of paper. 6. “De Sacra Amicitia,” printed with the former in Latin verse and prose. 7. “Threnothriambeuticon, or Latin poems on king Charles II.‘s Restoration,London, 1660, printed on a side of a large sheet of paper. A few were printed on white satin, one copy of which, in a frame suitable to it, he gave to the public library at Oxford. 8. “Oxonii Encomium,” Oxon. 1672 r in four sheets folio, mostly in Latin verse. 9. “Oxonii Elogia,” Oxon. 1673, printed on one side of a large sheet of paper it consists of twelve stanzas, and is followed by I, “Oxonii Elegia” II. “Academicis SerenitasIII. “Academicis Temperantia” IV. “Studiosis Cautela,” and some other pieces. 10. “Magia Caelestis,” Oxon. 1673, a Latin poem, printed on one side of a large sheet of paper. The three last-mentioned pieces were composed at Oxford. 11. “Echo veridica joco-seria,” Oxon. 1673, printed on one side of a large sheet of paper, a Latin poem, chiefly against the pope, the Papists, Jesuits, &c. 12. “Truth’s touch-stone,” consisting of an hundred distichs, printed on one side of a long sheet of paper, and dedicated to his niece Mrs. Phiiippa Blount. 13. “Annotations for the better confirming the several truths in the said poem;” uncertain when printed. 14. Mr. Bendlowes wrote a “Mantissa” to Richard ’Fenn’s “Panegyricon Inaugurale,” entitled, “De celeberrima et florentiss. Trinobantiados Augustoe Civ. Praetori, reg. senatui populoque,” Lond. 1673, 4to; in the title of which piece he styles himself “Turmae Equestris in Com. Essex. Prsefectus.” These writings, according to Wood, acquired Mr. Bendlowes the name of a Divine Author, but we fear the value of that character is considerably suok; although we cannot agree with Pope, that “Bendlowes, propitious to blockheads, bows,” nor with his commentator Warburton, that “Bendlowes was famous for his own bad poetry, and for patronising bad poets.” In his “Theophila” there are many uncommon and excellent thoughts, but it must be allowed that his metaphors are often strained and far-fetched, and he sometimes loses himself in mystic divinity. Granger, who thinks his Latin verses better than his English, quotes a passage from his prayer in “Theophila,” which has been deservedly admired for piety and sense. 1

1 Biog. Brit. Wood’s Fasti, vol. II, Granger. Bowles’s Pope’s Works, vol. V. p. 20$.