Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bampfylde, John Codrington

BAMPFYLDE, JOHN CODRINGTON (1764–1796), poet, was second son of Sir Richard Warwick Bampfylde, of Poltimore, Devonshire. He was born on 27 Aug. 1764, educated at Cambridge, and published in 1778 'Sixteen Sonnets.' William Jackson, a well-known musician of Exeter, told Southey that Bampfylde lived as a youth in a farmhouse 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, niece of Sir Joshua Reynolds, afterwards Marchioness Thomond, to whom the sonnets are dedicated. His mother, Lady Bampfylde, sat to Sir Joshua in April 1777; and one of her sons, probably John, in January 1779. Sir Joshua, however, 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 madhouse, whence he emerged many years later, only to die of consumption about 1796.

Bampfylde's poems consist of the sonnets above mentioned, with two short poems added by Southey and one by Park. Southey called them 'some of the most original in our language.' They give, at any rate, fresh natural descriptions.

[Southey's Specimens of Later English Poets (1807), iii. 434; Brydges' Censura Lit. (1816), vii. 309; Letter from Southey in Brydges' Autobiography (1834), ii. 257; Works in Park's British Poets (1808), vol. xli.; British Poets (Chiswick, 1822), lxxiii. 183–96; Routledge's British Poets (1863) (with Thomson, Beattie, and West); Selections in Dyce's Specimens of English Sonnets (1833), 140–50; D. M. Main's Treasury of English Sonnets (1880), pp. 393–4.]

L. S.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.14
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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ii 17 f.e. Bampfylde, John C.: for vii. 309 read iv. 301