Edward Bysshe (writer)

Edward Bysshe (fl. 1712) was an English writer, remembered for his popular guide The Art of Poetry from 1702. While not respectable as a manual on verse-writing, it was used by leading authors.[1]


Bysshe's background is unclear. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography suggests that either Henry Bysshe of Buxted or George Bysshe of Burstow might be his father.[2] He worked as a hack writer in London.[3]


The Art of English Poetry (1702) is dedicated to Edmund Dunch and consists of three sections:[3]

The work was popular: a fifth edition was issued in 1714; a seventh, "corrected and enlarged", in 1724; an eighth is dated 1737. In 1714 the second and third parts were published separately under the title of The British Parnassus; or a compleat Common Place-book of English Poetry (2 vols.), and this was reissued in 1718 with a new title-page (The Art of English Poetry, vols. the iiid and ivth).[3]

Thomas Hood the younger reprinted Bysshe's "Rules" as an appendix to his Practical Guide to English Versification in 1877.[3]

Bysshe also edited in 1712 Sir Richard Bulstrode's Letters, with a biographical introduction and a dedication addressed to George Brudenell, 3rd Earl of Cardigan. In the same year there appeared a translation by Bysshe of Xenophon's Memorabilia, which was dedicated to John Ashburnham, 1st Earl of Ashburnham, and was reissued in 1758.[3] Bysshe was not involved by name in the 1715 edition of further works by Bulstrode, and that has been taken as an indication that he had died by that date.[2]


  1. Carol Stewart (30 September 2015). The Invisible Spy: By Eliza Haywood. Routledge. pp. 469–70. ISBN 978-1-317-30388-6.
  2. 1 2 Baines, Paul. "Bysshe, Edward". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/4286. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. 1 2 3 4 5  Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1886). "Bysshe, Edward (fl.1712)". Dictionary of National Biography. 8. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1886). "Bysshe, Edward (fl.1712)". Dictionary of National Biography. 8. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

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