1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Cumberland

Thomas James Mathias, in Pursuits of Literature (1798) 363-64 & n.



For Athens CUMBERLAND seems born alone
To bid her comick Patriot be our own....

RICHARD CUMBERLAND, Esq. an author of various talents, and of very considerable learning. It is scarcely necessary to enumerate his compositions, in particular his dramatick works, which have received the sanction of publick esteem. In my opinion he has done very great service to the cause of morality and of literature. He is author of a work called The Observer, and from the translation, in that work, of the fragments of the Greek comick writers, I believe all learned readers will agree, that he is the only man in the kingdom (with whom we are publickly acquainted) equal to the translation of Aristophanes. I wish it were to be the amusement of his retired hours. I shall never think he has been "publick too long," but as he has quitted the stage (as he affirms himself,) such a translation would be an easy, yet an adequate and honourable employment for a man of unquestionable genius, versatility of talents, knowledge of the world, and a consummate master of the poetical language of our best ancient dramatick writers. Let us hope that Aristophanes may yet be our own.