1836 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Richard Hurd

Thomas Frognall Dibdin, in Reminiscences of a Literary Life (1836) 1:164-65.



I called upon that venerable prelate at Hartlebury, with a view of having this point [about ordination] settled one way or the other, and waited his appearance in an anteroom. I had read Gibbon's acute remarks upon his Letters on Romance and Chivalry, and upon the Art of Poetry by Horace — and seemed to feel a particular curiosity to see the friend and the editor of Warburton, then far advanced in the vale of years. I shall never forget his appearance. It was as if some statue had "Stepp'd from its pedestal to take the air." He was habited in a brocaded silk morning gown, with a full-dressed wig, stooping forward, and walking and leaning upon what appeared to be a gold-headed cane. His complexion had the transparency of marble, and his countenance was full of expression, indicative of the setting of that intellectual sun which, at its meridian height, had shone forth with no ordinary lustre. He was then, I think, in his eightieth year. His reception of me was bland and courteous; but he deemed the taking of the degree an absolutely essential preliminary measure. On asking me what was my then course of studies, and on receiving my reply, he added, "you cannot do better."