1898 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Richard Polwhele

W. H. K. Wright, in West-Country Poets (1898) 370-71.



The name of Polwhele is so intimately associated with the history and literature of Cornwall that to omit it in this connection would be to commit a most unpardonable error. Few names claim greater recognition than that of the worthy who heads this section of our book, a list of whose works occupies several pages of the Bibliotecha Cornubensis; and few men did more than he for Cornish literature.

He was a typical Cornishman, for not only did he rejoice in one of the trio of prefixes always ascribed to Cornishmen, but he came from a good old Cornish stock, several members of his family having at various times attained celebrity. Richard Polwhele, of Polwhele, was born at Truro, January 6, 1760, and was educated at Christ Church, Oxford. He was successively curate of Lamorran; curate of Kenton 1782; curate of Exmouth 1794; Vicar of Manaccan 1794-1821; Vicar of St. Anthony 1809-1821; curate of Kenwyn 1806; Vicar of Newlyn East 1821-1838. He died at Truro, March 12, 1838, and was buried at St. Clements.

He was a very voluminous writer, and his published works comprise the Histories of Devon and Cornwall, many religious dissertations and sermons, translations from the classics, and poetical works too numerous to mention. He was also the editor of several series of poems, notably the work frequently quoted in these pages, Poems, chiefly by Gentlemen of Devonshire and Cornwall, 2 vols, 1792. Many of the poems in this compilation were by Polwhele. He was an extensive contributor to the Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine, and his essays and poems are to be found in nearly all the most important journals of his day.