1896 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Richard Hole

W. H. K. Wright, in West-Country Poets (1896) 257-58.



This eminent poet and essayist was the son of William Hole, Archdeacon of Barnstaple, and Canon of Exeter Cathedral, who died in 1791. He was born at Exeter in 1746, and was educated at the Grammar School in that city. In his eighteenth year he entered Exeter College, Oxford, and matriculated 1764; graduating B.C.L. in 1771.

While at the university he wrote humorous pieces, and proposed entering the army; but after taking his degree he was ordained. For some time he officiated as curate of Sowton, near Exeter, but in 1777 he was presented to the vicarage of Buckerell. In 1792 he was promoted by the Bishop of Exeter to the rectory of Faringdon, in the same district, and retained it together with the benefice of Buckerell.

He afterwards became Rector of Inwardleigh, near Okehampton, which he retained until his death, which took place at Exmouth, May 28, 1803. Hole married, in 1776, Matilda Katencamp, daughter of a merchant at Exeter, who survived him.

A mural tablet is erected to his memory in the choir of Exeter Cathedral.

Hole dabbled in literature from his youth. Among the productions of his pen we may notice

A Poetical Version of Ossian (1781).

Arthur; or, the Northern Inchantment: a Poetical Romance (1789).

Translation of Homer's Hymn to Ceres (1781).

Remarks on the Arabian Nights Entertainments (1797).

Hole was one of the first members of the Exeter Literary Society. He wrote many other works.

Polwhele includes this writer in his collection of Poems, chiefly by Gentlemen of Devonshire and Cornwall (Bath, 1792), and says of him: "In the meantime it was an honour for which the editor could scarcely hope, in moments of the most sanguine expectation, to have the 'Poet of Arthur' for his associate in this work. But to be favoured with such fine original pieces as his odes to Terror and to Melancholy, was a mark of attention to the editor, which checked, in silent gratitude, every effort to acknowledge it."

The poems by this writer included in Polwhele's volumes were, The Tomb of Gunnar, An Ode prefixed to a Version of Fingal, the Ode to Melancholy, an Ode to Terror, and An Ode to Stupidity.