ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION
Bp. Richard Hurd
Mellifont, "Classicus, a Literary Character" St. James's Chronicle (27 January 1763).
Bp. Richard Hurd:
1757: Thomas Gray
1759: Rev. William Mason
1762: Rev. Thomas Warton
1762: Edward Gibbon
1762: A. B.
1773: Rev. Percival Stockdale
1774: Rev. Robert Potter
1775: William Warburton
1776: Rev. William Mason
1776: Ductor Dubitantium
1776: Chiaro Oscuro
1783: Samuel Johnson
1786: James Beattie
1787: Frances Burney
1793: Horace Walpole
1796: Thomas Green
1804: Rev. William Tooke
1808: Edmond Malone
1809: Rev. Richard Polwhele
1814: George Dyer
1814: Isaac D'Israeli
1825 ca.: Joseph Cradock
1834: John Wilson
1836: Rev. Thomas Frognall Dibdin
1853: Rev. John Mitford
1858: Francis Kilvert
1763: Bp. Richard Hurd
In Classicus we always see
An Author of Celebrity,
Master of Arts — of Learning too,
In Literature excell'd by few;
But wants one Art — the Art to hide
Th' Emotions of scholastic Pride,
Which make him with contemptuous Frown
On Half the letter'd World look down.
When Classicus, with all his Might,
Dogmatic as the Stagyrite,
In Conversation over-bears,
And puts on self-sufficient Airs,
His literary Lustre fades;
For Pride the brightest Parts degrades.
By frequent Disappointments sour'd,
And acrimonious Thoughts devour'd,
With much Acerbity he writes,
And in keen Satire most delights.
O'er all his Views of Life he throws
A Gloom, and dwells upon its Woes:
We therefore from his Works arise,
Too smartly tax'd for being wise;
For, while we to his Truths assent,
We pay — what most we want — Content.
On serious Themes he chiefly shines,
And happily his Words combines;
With proper Pomp his Periods roll,
And his Sense penetrates the Soul;
But on a hum'rous Subject — there
You see the Gambols of a Bear.
Sometimes, with Periods of a Mile,
He apes the Ciceronian Style;
But often fails by that to please,
For want of Tully's graceful Ease.
In general, his Diction's good,
And generally understood;
But sometimes five-feet Words offend
Ears, which to Harmony attend;
And Readers of the softer Sex,
With their enormous Length perplex.
For Instance now — Con-ca-te-na-tion
Gives many a pretty Mouth Vexation,
Which can, with Ease, a Chain express,
As well as any Part of Dress.
However, Classicus, with all
His Faults, is an Original;
And has, the wicked Wits must own,
In spite of all their Wagg'ry, shown,
In various Parts of Composition,
Genius, Taste, Fire, and Erudition.