1781 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Cumberland

Richard Brinsley Sheridan, in The Critic (1781); Moulton, Library of Literary Criticism (1901-05) 4:558-59.



SNEER:

He is envious as any old maid verging on the desperation of six-and-thirty; and then the insidious humility with which he seduces you to give a free opinion on any of his works, can only be exceeded by the petulant arrogance with which he is sure to reject your observations.... Then his affected contempt of all the newspapers strictures; though, at the same time, he is the sorest man alive, and shrinks like scorched parchment from the fiery ordeal of true criticism; yet is he so covetous of popularity, that he had rather be abused than not mentioned at all.