1836 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Flecknoe

Hartley Coleridge, in "Andrew Marvell" Worthies of Yorkshire and Lancashire (1836) 7n.



As for Flecnoe, it appears that he was not an English priest, but a native of the Emerald Isle. Hence Pope:

High on a gorgeous seat that far outshone
Henley's Gilt-tub — or Flecnoe's Irish throne.
DUNCIAD, BOOK 2d.

Flecnoe having laid aside, (as himself expressed it,) "the mechanic part of priesthood, wrote only to avoid idleness, and published to avoid the imputation of it." Mr. Southey, whose laudable zeal for obscure merit extends both to the dead and to the living, and who seems to entertain a compassion, almost melting into love, for innocent dulness, has dedicated some pages of his Omniana, (a miscellany of wonderful learning, and delightful vivacity,) to the vindication of this poor author, and gives some extracts from his poems, which we are afraid, will not plead potently against Mc Flecnoe. Southey ascribes Dryden's antipathy to Flecnoe's just invectives against the obscenity of the stage, for which wickedness Dryden was, if not more infamous, more notorious, than his dull contemporaries. But it is just as likely, that Flecnoe's name, itself a rememberable sound, and apt for composition, had by the attacks of a series of satirists, become, like that of Bavius, of Quarles, of Sternhold, and of Blackmore, a synonyme for extravagant flatness. It is hard for a man to have his name thus memorized, when every thing else about him is forgotten.