Bowring, Sir John

(1792-1872)
   Devonian author and statesman from a cloth trading, Unitarian family. He had a distinguished diplomatic career, was twice a member of Parliament, and was knighted in 1854. He was fluent, sources say, in over 20 languages and could speak many more. In 1822, caught by the French for carrying dispatches to the Portuguese ministers announcing the intended invasion of the peninsula, he was arrested, spent two weeks in prison and was condemned to perpetual exile from France. He became co-editor of the Westminster Review in 1825. In 1828 Bowring was appointed a commissioner for the reform of public accounts. He translated a vast amount of poetry and the folklore of almost every European country, and was a prolific hymn-writer. A sample of his poetic works includes: Matins and Vespers (1823, 4th ed. 1851). Hymns, 1825. Servian Popular Poetry, 1827. Some of his other poems/hymns: "Blessings of Instruction," "God is Love," "In the Cross of Christ I Glory," "Mourn Not as Those Without Hope," "Retirement," "The Beauties of Creation," "The Minstrel Harp of Poetry," "To a Mother on the Death of a Child," "Wednesday Evening."
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography: Sir John Bowring (www.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/sirjohnbowring.html). Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite DVD, 2006. English Poetry: Author Search. Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 1995 (http://www.lib.utexas.edu:8080/search/epoetry/author.html). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Home Book of Verse. Burton Egbert Stevenson, ed. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1953. The National Portrait Gallery (www.npg.org.uk).

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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