1801 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Cumberland

Alexander Thomson, in The British Parnassus, at the Close of the Eighteenth Century (1801) 47-48 &n.



That veteran Bard, whose extensive career
Brought at first a delightful WEST INDIAN here,
In the same Comic course has persisted with spirit,
And produc'd many pieces of unequal merit;
Nor has much time elaps'd, since this grey-headed Wit,
With his nice WHEEL or FORTUNE enrptur'd the pit;
And perhaps even yet he has something in store,
Before his TERENTIAN labours give o'er.

It is scarcely here necessary to name Cumberland, the author of so many Dramatic pieces. Besides the two here mentioned, the Brothers, the Fashionable Lover, and the Jew, are still among the favourites of the public. Scarcely any of our living writers has tried so many modes of composition. As an Epic and Comic Poet, as an Essayist and Translator, his merits are unquestionably very considerable; as a Novelist, the question is more doubtful; and as a Tragic Poet, it has been decided against him.