1808 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Richard Hurd

Samuel Egerton Brydges, Obituary in Censura Literaria 8 (1808) 224.



May 28, died, at Hartlebury Castle, aged 88, the Right Rev. Richard Hurd, D.D. Lord Bishop of Worcester. He was educated under the care of the Rev. Wm. Budworth, M.A. and Master of the Grammar-school in Brewood, of whom he makes a grateful mention in the dedication of his Horace to Sir E. Littleton. He was fellow of Emanuel College, Cambridge, and became Rector of Thrucaston, in Leicestershire. He succeeded Bishop Warburton, as Preacher of Lincolin's Inn, for which office, however, he would not solicit. By his merit, and the recommendation of the Earl of Mansfield, he became Bishop of Litchfield. The King putting his hands one day upon his Dialogues, said, "These made Hurd a Bishop, and I never saw him till he came to kiss hands." As the noble Earl was generally known to have recommended the late Archbishop of York, as Preceptor to the Prince of Wales, so it is evident, that when Lord Hodernesse and he resigned, Dr. Hurd was recommended from the same quarter. The good opinion of Bishop Warburton contributed not a little to that of Lord Mansfield. In the year 1781, Dr. Hurd was translated from Lichfield to Worcester, and declined the Primacy offered a year or two after. His Horace, his Dialogues, and three volumes of Sermons, with a Life of Bishop Warburton, are the principal works he left behind him, for as to the Delicacy of Friendship, it has been dragged into notice without his consent, and in all probability contrary to his wishes. His merit as a writer has been variously estimated, and literary men have gone into opposite extremes. It must be acknowledged that his veneration for the author of the Divine Legation seduced him into excessive panegyrick, both of the work itself and the author, and caused him to deprecate the merits and labours of all who had the fortune to differ in their opinions. With much ingenuity in criticism, there will be discovered some unnecessary refinement, and, in this instance, the character of the two prelates will descend to posterity as perfectly congenial.