1788 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Cumberland

William Cowper to Mrs. King, 6 December 1788; Southey, Life and Works of Cowper (1835-37) 6:205.



I have never seen the Observer, but am pleased with being handsomely spoken of by an old school-fellow. Cumberland and I boarded together in the same house at Westminster. He was at that time clever, and I suppose has given proof sufficient to the world that he is still clever: but of all that he has written, it has never fallen in my way to read a syllable, except perhaps in a magazine or review, the sole sources, at present, of all my intelligence. Addison speaks of persons who grow dumb in the study of eloquence, and I have actually studied Homer till I am become a mere ignoramus in every other province of literature.