1811 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Richard Farmer

Thomas Frognall Dibdin, in The Bibliomania (1811); Moulton, Library of Literary Criticism (1901-05) 4:341.



How shall I talk of thee, and of thy wonderful collection, O RARE RICHARD FARMER! — and of thy scholarship, acuteness, pleasantry, singularities, varied learning, and colloquial powers! Thy name will live long among scholars in general; and in the bosoms of virtuous and learned bibliomaniacs thy memory shall be ever shrined! The walls of Emanuel College now cease to convey the sounds of thy festive wit; thy volumes are no longer seen, like Richard Smith's "bundles of sticht books," strewn upon the floor; and thou hast ceased, in the cause of thy beloved Shakspeare, to delve into the fruitful ore of black-letter literature. Peace be to thy honest spirit; for thou were wise without vanity, learned without pedantry, and joyous without vulgarity.... Farmer had his foragers, his jackals, and his avant-couriers, for it was well-known how dearly he loved every thing that was interesting and rare in the literature of former ages. As he walked the streets of London — careless of his dress, and whether his wig was full-bottomed or narrow-bottomed — he would talk and "mutter strange speeches" to himself, thinking all the time, I ween, of some curious discovery he had recently made in the aforesaid precious black-letter tomes.