Barton, Bernard

Barton, Bernard known as "the Quaker poet," was born near London, England, Jan. 31, 1784. He early developed' a poetical taste, and in 1811 published a volume of poetry which, coming from such a source, awakened the admiration of scholars in England. In 1806 he removed to Woodbridge, and in 1810 became a clerk in the banking-house of Messrs. Alexander, where he remained nearly till the time of his death. At one time he thought of abandoning his business as a banking clerk, but the remonstrances of his friend Charles Lamb, who set before him the uncertainties of a merely literary life, kept the gentle poet at his desk. During the leisure hours of his profession, he devoted himself to literary pursuits. The Edinburgh Review gave a flattering notice of a volume of his poetry published in 1820. "The staple of the whole poems," said the critic, "is description and meditation — description of quiet home scenery sweetly and feelingly wrought out, and meditation overshadowed with tenderness and exalted by devotion; but all terminating in soothing and even cheerful views of the condition and prospects of mortality.' Of his Devotional Verses the (Lod.) New Monthly Magazine, March, 1826, says, "Mr. Barton's style is well suited to devotional poetry. It has great sweetness and pathos, accompanied with nos small degree of power, which well qualify it for the expression of the higher and purer feelings of the heart." Another writer says, "His religious poems, while they are animated with a warmth of devotion, are still expressed with that subdued propriety of language which evinces at once a correctness of taste andl feeling." Such was the esteem in which he was held that he was honored with a pension of one hundred pounlds, granted to him by the queen, during the administration of sir Robert Peel. It was said of him that, "whether at his official place at the bank or in the domestic circle, he was the same pleasant man, and had the same manners to all. always equally frank, genial, and communicative; and, as he was charitable towards all, so he was beloved by all, of whatever creed, party, or condition in life." His death took place Feb. 19, 1849. See Selections from the Poems and Letters of Bernard Barton, with a Memoir, by his daughter, Miss Lucy Barton; Allibone, Dict. of Brit. and Amer. Authors, s.v.; Cleveland, English Literature of the 19th Century, p. 494; Gentleman's Magazine, Nov. 1849. (J. C. S.)

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