1796 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Richard Polwhele

Richard Hole to Richard Polwhele, 21 November 1796; Polwhele, Traditions and Recollections (1826) 2:444-45 &n.



Faringdon, Nov. 21, 1796.

SIR,

With no little surprise I saw your critique on the publication of the Exeter Society, in the European Magazine for August last; in which, at the expense of the other gentleman's Essays, you have set forward your own in the most favourable and conspicuous point of view. What particularly attracted my notice was your polite assertion of my "deserving the pillory" for making "theme" and "stream" rhyme together. A rhyme to which I should suppose none but a vitiated ear could object, or if defective, could in the opinion of none but a ******** mind, entitle its author to such a punishment. The "man of principle," "the writer of the 'only' moral Essay" in the collection, might have shewn a little more morality in his conduct. The letter in which Dr. Dowman informed you of your being completely "deterre," will, I perceive, by your extraordinary answer, induce you to compose the second part of your critique in a different style from the former, and from that which would otherwise have appeared in the last Magazine, wherein the ode to Danmonium would have appeared "velut inter ignes luna minores." I commend your suppressing it, and making, as far as lies in your power, the "amende honorable." As, however, you cannot unsay your ungentlemanly abuse of me, I write this to assure you, that if you are ever again detected in acting towards me the part of a literary assassin, it is not by a private letter I shall retaliate your unprovoked malice.

However ungenerously you have treated me, I cannot refrain from giving you one piece of friendly advice. When you may think proper hereafter to puff your own compositions in the European Magazine, substitute some other signature instead of your favourite letter W. It is as well known to the generality of its readers,* as to your humble servant,

R. HOLE.

* All these charges arise from misconception. They were repeated in the Gentleman's Magazine by Mr. Swete, but a letter of Dr. Watkins to Mr. Urban, Dec. 1796, must have silenced (candour would at least conceive) the Globe Club murmurs of malevolence and envy. See my letter to a College Friend in 1797.