1809 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Richard Polwhele

Richard Alfred Davenport to Richard Polwhele, 5 January 1809; Polwhele, Traditions and Recollections (1826) 2:621-22.



January 5, 1809.

SIR,

I delayed writing to return you my acknowledgments, until I had received your Poems from Cadell; they arrived a few days ago, and I now beg you to accept my best thanks for the treat which they have afforded me. With several of them, indeed, I had been previously acquainted; but "Sir Allan," and some of the smaller pieces were novelties. With the "Knight of Expiring Chivalry" I have been much delighted; it is, in fact, a domestic epic, and supported with great spirit, and a strict attention to old English costume.

Of the various productions, however, of your Muse, the "Influence of Local Attachment" is, I confess, my favourite. Without the smallest intention to flatter you, I do not hesitate to declare it (and I know that I should be supported in the assertion by nine out of ten) one of the most exquisite and interesting poems in the language. I found great difficulty in procuring the edition of 1798; having sought for it in vain in London; I had, at last, the good fortune to meet with a copy at York, during a tour to the Lakes in the Autumn of 1807, and I made it the companion of my journey. ***

Your "Ode to the Genius of Danmonium," struck me as breathing a tone of high enthusiasm.

I will not affect to deny, that the opinion which you have been so good as to express of my lyric attempts, is peculiarly grateful to me; springing from such a source, indeed, a favourable verdict must necessarily be of the highest value. Believe me, Sir, with the greatest respect, your very obliged servant,

D—.