Robert, vicar of Halstead, Essex, and Martha, survived their father.
Lowth is said to have been well and stoutly built, with a florid countenance and animated expression. His conversation was easy and refined, and his manners were courtly. Of a sympathetic disposition, he was more inclined to melancholy than to mirth. His temper was hasty but kept under control. His taste was fine, and he was an industrious student. He was an accomplished and elegant scholar, well versed in Hebrew, and with a keen appreciation of the poetic beauty of the Old Testament scriptures. Hebrew was, he believed, the language spoken in Paradise; he studied it critically, and his knowledge of it gained him a European reputation. He wrote both Latin and English verse with some success, though the poet Gray thought poorly of his efforts (ed. Mason, 1827, p. 346). In controversy he was a dangerous antagonist, with great power of polished sarcasm. His more important published works are: 1. ‘Prælectiones de Sacra Poesi Hebræorum,’ his ‘Lectures on Hebrew Poetry,’ with a ‘Short Confutation of Bishop Hare's [see Hare, Francis] System of Hebrew Metre,’ 1753, 4to, 1763, 8vo, 1770, ‘notas et epimetra adjecit J. D. Michaelis,’ 1775, 1810, 2 vols. 8vo; translated into English by Gregory, with Michaelis's notes, 1793, 2 vols. 8vo; translation and notes begun by Michaelis, Göttingen, 1763, German translation 1793. Hare's system was defended by Dr. Thomas Edwards (1729–1785) [q. v.], to whom Lowth replied in ‘A Larger Confutation of Bishop Hare's System,’ 1766. An argument in the ‘Prælectiones’ (p. 312, 2nd ed.), in answer to the question whether idolatry was punished by the civil magistrate under the Jewish economy, was supported by a reference to Job, and was opposed to one of the theories advanced in Warburton's ‘Divine Legation.’ Hearing that Warburton had expressed displeasure at this opposition, Lowth wrote to him in September 1756, and a correspondence ensued between them which appeared to end amicably. Warburton, however, attacked Lowth in the appendix to the sixth book of the ‘Divine Legation’ (iii. 507–14, ed. 1788), jeering at him for the date which he assigned to Job, and for his opinion as to the nature of Job's authority. Lowth replied in a ‘Letter to the … Author of the “Divine Legation” in Answer, &c., by a late Professor of Oxford,’ 1765, with an appendix containing the correspondence of 1756, a pamphlet full of amusing sarcasm, in which the ‘Divine Legation’ as viewed by its author is compared to ‘Lord Peter's brown loaf,’ as containing ‘inclusive all the necessaries of life.’ It was generally held that Lowth had got the better of his unmannerly antagonist, and Gibbon described the ‘Letter’ as ‘a pointed and polished epistle’ (Memoirs, p. 136). Warburton rejoined, complaining of the publication of a private correspondence, and the further stage of the controversy was published under the title of ‘The Second Part of a Literary Correspondence between the Bishop of Gloucester and a late Professor of Oxford,’ 1766. This controversy led to some minor disputes, of which only the one between Lowth and Dr. John Brown (1715–1766) [q. v.] need be noticed here. Lowth answered Brown's letter of 1766 by a letter which is printed in the fourth edition of the above-mentioned ‘Letter to the … Author of the “Divine Legation,”’ snubbing Brown for interfering in a matter which did not concern him. 2. ‘Life of William of Wykeham,’ 1758, with ‘supplement to the first edition, containing corrections of the second,’ 1759, London, 3rd ed. 1777, Oxford; an excellent biography considering the date at which it was written. The dedication to Bishop Hoadly occasioned a ‘Letter to the Rev. Dr. Lowth … in Vindication of the Fellows of New College, Oxford,’ 1758, to which Lowth replied in the ‘Answer to an Anonymous Letter,’ &c. 1759, and this was answered in ‘A Reply to … Dr. Lowth's Answer, by a Wykehamist,’ 1759. 3. ‘A Short Introduction to English Grammar,’ 1762, 8vo; 1764, 12mo; numerous editions, first American edition, Cambridge, Mass., 1811, 12mo, is criticised by William Cobbett [q. v.] in his ‘Grammar of the English Language,’ 1818. 4. ‘Isaiah, a New Translation,’ with notes, a book full of learning and poetic feeling, 1778, 1779, 4to, 1790, 8vo, 11th ed. corrected and revised, 1835, was criticised by Dodson, and defended by the bishop's relative, Dr. J. Sturges, 1791 [see under Dodson, Michael], also criticised by Kocher in ‘Vindiciæ S. textus Hebræi Esaiæ vatis,’ 1786; see also ‘Remarks’ by J. Rogers, canon of Exeter. 5. ‘The Choice of Hercules,’ a poem from the Greek of Prodicus, in Roach's ‘Collection,’ vol. vi., and other poems in collections of Pearch, Nichols, and Dodsley, 1794. 6. ‘Sermons and Charges,’ various dates, see volume of ‘Sermons and other Remains,’ 1834, and ‘Twelve Anniversary Sermons before the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel,’ 1845; he also contributed notes to ‘Select Psalms in Verse,’ and edited his father's ‘Directions for Reading the Scriptures.’
Lowth's portrait was painted by E. Pine, and engraved by Sherwin in 1777, while he was bishop of Oxford, and is also engraved by Cock in ‘Memoirs of Life and Writings,’ 1787.