1808 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Richard Polwhele

Anonymous, in Review of Polwhele, Poems, The Critical Review S3 13 (January 1808) 53.



We have heard of the pleasure which illustrious statesmen and generals receive from sitting, in their old age, under the shade of their own laurels. George Colman, indeed, assures us that it is a posture somewhat "more dignified than entertaining." Whether he speaks from experience or not we cannot say; but at any rate we conceive the pleasure to be very inferior to that which Mr. Polwhele is enabled by the multitude of his publications to enjoy, of sitting in a library entirely of his own creating. What with three or four editions of the English Orator, and three or four more of the Country Gentleman, two at least of The Influence of Local Attachments, and about a dozen of his minor poems, besides Theocritus, and a full volume of the Devon and Cornish Gentlemen's poems; when to these are added the huge folios and more modest quartos into which he has from time to time compressed his collections on the history and topography of Devonshire, an inexhaustible list of sermons and pamphlets, Exeter society papers, and papers dispersed through all the periodical publications of the last thirty years, he may well furnish a book-case almost too wide for any room in a west country vicarage, and contemplate himself in every possible dress of sheep-skin, calf's-skin, Russia, Turkey, and Morocco, in which the book-making and book-binding trades have ever expatiated.