1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Percival Stockdale

David Rivers, in Literary Memoirs of Living Authors (1798) 2:281-82.



Rector of Lesborough and Long Houghton in Northumberland. A veteran of the press. He was formerly in the army and commenced his literary career in the character of a poet, publishing, in 1764, Churchill defended, a poem; and The Constituents, a poem. In 1770, he published a Translation of Tasso's Amyntas; and, two years afterward, he translated for the booksellers Bos' Antiquities of Greece, and Sabbathier's Institutions, &c. of the Ancient Nations. Mr. Stockdale has, since that time, published the Works and Life of Waller, in a duodecimo volume; three Discourses against Luxury, &c. six Discourses, in an octavo volume; a single Sermon on Self-knowledge; a volume of Sermons dedicated to Mr. Pitt; eight Sermons on different Subjects, dedicated to Mr. Jerningham; a volume of Sermons to Seamen, preached on board the Leander; an Enquiry into the Nature and genuine Laws of Poetry; a duodecimo volume of Miscellanies in Prose and Verse; an Essay on Education; an Essay on Misanthropy; Three Poems, viz. Siddons, an Epistle to Sir Ashton Lever, and an Essay on an Officer; Ximenes, a tragedy; a Letter to Granville Sharpe, Esq. respecting the Negroes; Poetical Thoughts and Views on the Banks of the Wear; Letters to the Bishop of Durham, relative to the Living of Hartburn; Observations on modern Reformers; a Letter to Mr. Bryan; Letters to the Reviewers; and a very angry Letter to a Gentleman of the Philanthropic Society. He is also the editor of Oram's Poems.

The life of Mr. Percival Stockdale has been marked by various misfortunes, and discouraging circumstances. As a writer he has never been popular, and his miscarriage has been somewhat unfortunate. He seems to labour under an extreme irritability of the nervous system, which has never allowed him to endure the rebukes of honest criticism. He is paradoxical, without being ingenious; he is new, without the power of invention; and he possesses the true poetic melancholy without the spark of poetic fire.