1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Richard Polwhele

Peter L. Courtier, in Lyre of Love (1806) 2:76-77.



Neither antiquity or loyalty are wanting to dignify the genealogy of Mr. Polwhele, son of Thomas Polwhele, Esq. of Polwhele in Cornwall, where he was born in the year 1760. Before the expiration of the time during which he was placed at the Grammar School of Truro, about two miles from his patrimonial dwelling, he gave satisfactory specimens of his poetical talent. Although Mr. Polwhele quitted the university of Christ Church without taking a degree, he entered into Orders in 1782, and served the living of Lamorran. Here he married Miss Loveday Warren, the Laura celebrated in his poems. Soon after this union, he became curate of Kenton, Devonshire, where he remained till the death of his wife; who died early in 1793, in the twenty-eighth year of her age, and was buried at Kenton. This event afflicted him so far as to compel him to quit a scene now insupportable to his feelings; and he removed to Truro. In 1795, however, having obtained the vicarage of Manaccan, in Cornwall, by voluntary presentation, from the late Bishop Buller, Mr. Polwhele engaged a second time in marriage. The subject of his election, on this occasion, was Mary daughter of Capt. R. Tyrell, of Exmouth. Mr. Polwhele's publications are multifarious and diversified; embracing subjects theological, poetical, topographical, and archaeological.

He was doubtless passionately attached to LAURA, who, besides the remembrance of her merits, which seem to have been highly appreciated by those to whose observation they were, revealed, left him the father of children. Her tomb was therefore consecrated by the tears of affectionate regret. Dr. Downman of Exeter, the friend of her husband, and witness of her life, has, in the following lines, very impressively commemorated her worth.

Could magic verse recall the fleeted breath,
The Lyre, sweet warbling, charm the ear of Death.
Thy Husband, tuning his Orphean strain,
Might lure thee to the bower of Love again.
But thou, chaste Soul! for highest bliss design'd,
He knows, art present with the' Eternal Mind!
Hence, doom'd to silence, sleeps his harp unstrung,
Control'd, each thought sublime, and mute his tongue.
Why join the sainted Spirit to it's clod?—
Why sever the pure Essence from it's GOD?