1818 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Cumberland

William Beloe, in The Sexagenarian: or Recollections of a Literary Life (1817; 1818) 2:223-24.



He could not endure a rival in any branch of literature, but, without entering into his failings, it may easily be conceded that he had not in his time many equals. His talents were so various, his productions so numerous, and of many of them it may truly be asserted, that they were so valuable and so instructive, that who can call to memory without a sigh, that his latter hours were darkened by poverty.

He excited in the writer of these brief notices the sincerest esteem and regard, notwithstanding that, after having for years enjoyed his most intimate familiarity, be by an untoward accident provoked his displeasure. The accident was this.

When employed in writing the incidents of his own life, with the view of publication, Mr. C. applied to the Sexagenarian to revise the manuscript and correct the press. This appeared to be both a difficult and perilous office; the well-known irritable temper of the author presented itself as a frightful spectre to the imagination, breathing discontent, impatience, and dispute. The same misfortune, however, ensued from declining, as perhaps would have resulted from the performance of the task. Mr. C. was much offended, and the intimacy became less and less cordial. Alas, poor ghost!