1834 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Cumberland

Samuel Egerton Brydges, in Autobiography (1834) 1:189.



Richard Cumberland put forth occasionally metrical compositions, but they were vapid stuff. He had a vast memory and a great facility of feeble verbiage; but his vanity, his self-conceit, and his supercilious airs offended every body. He was a tall, handsome man, with a fair, regular-featured face, and the appearance of good birth. For many years he resided at Tunbridge Wells, where he affected a sort of dominion over the Pantiles, and paid court, a little too servile, to rank and title. He wrote some good comedies, and was a miscellaneous writer of some popularity; but in every department he was of a secondary class, — in none had he originality. He was one of Johnson's Literary Club, and therefore could render himself amusing by speaking of a past age of authors and of eminent men. Sheridan represented him as Sir Fretful Plagiary. He was a most fulsome and incontinent flatterer of those who courted him.