1843 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Cumberland

John Holland, in Psalmists of Britain. Records of upwards of One Hundred and Fifty Authors, who have rendered the Whole or Parts of The Book of Psalms, into English Verse (1843) 2:268.



In, 1801, Richard Cumberland, the friend of Johnson, Reynolds, Goldsmith, &c., and one of the most prolific writers for the stage since the time of Shakspeare, published "a Poetical Version of certain of the Psalms of David." It would be unreasonable to look for concentration of religious expression in the productions of a gentleman, nearly the whole of whose life, with the exception of a period spent in diplomatic residence abroad, was a constant intercourse with players. Cumberland appears indeed, to have suffered as little on this score, as perhaps any man in his circumstances could have done: and he not only wrote a sacred epic poem, entitled "Calvary," but in the bulky quarto "Memoirs" which he printed of himself, thus speaks: — "I reflect with satisfaction that I have devoted much time and thought to serious subjects, and been far from idle or lukewarm in the service of religion. I have written at different times, as many sermons as would make a large volume; some of which have been delivered from the pulpits: I have rendered into English metre fifty of the Psalms of David, and upon which I flatter myself I have not in vain bestowed my best attention."