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he was persuaded to undertake a translation of the “Hymn to Ceres,” attributed to Homer, and which had, only a few years before, been discovered by Christian Frederic Matthæi, in the library of the Holy Synod at Moscow, and had just made its appearance at Leyden, 1780, under the editorship of his friend, the learned David Ruhnkenius.
The version of Mr. Hole, with a preface almost entirely extracted from Mr. Badcock's critique, and with notes; appeared in 1781, in 8vo. It is executed in a masterly manner, in rhymed heroic verse of high polish, and constructed with great dignity; and, though somewhat paraphrastic, gives the sense of the original, if not with all its peculiar terseness and simplicity, yet with much fidelity and beauty.
The connexion with Mr. Badcock led our young poet into other walks of literature. He assisted his learned friend, for instance, in several of his contributions to the Monthly Review, and especially in the articles relative to the Rowley controversy; and when, in 1782, the London Magazine found it necessary to call in additional support, and Mr. Badcock's aid was solicited, he felt happy in being able to obtain Mr. Hole as one of his coadjutors. It was in this work that they commenced, in conjunction with Major Drewe, a fellow-collegian of Mr. Hole, a periodical paper under the title of “ The Linkboy,” which was carried on for some time with considerable spirit. Mr. Hole's chief contributions, however, to the magazine consisted of a series of dialogues between the ideal characters of popular fiction; as, for example, between Belcour and serjeant Kite; Mr. Shandy, senior, and Matthew Bramble; Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and parson Adams; a design happily imagined, and conducted, on the part of its projector, with no little sprightliness and vigour. There was, indeed, in the mental temperament of Mr. Hole, a large share of wit and humour and sportive irony; and amongst the sallies of this kind, which he sprinkled over the pages of the Miscellany, I am tempted to extract one, which he is said to have written on the recovery of a young attorney, who had little or no practice, from a disease which had threatened his life.
On his sick bed as Simple lay,
A novice in the laws,
And die without a cause,
Jove wondering hears; his gracious nod
The youth from death reprieves;
Without a cause he lives.
For several years, indeed, about this period of his life, Mr. Hole seems to have been a frequent contributor to the monthly literature of his country. Beside communicating with the works which I have just mentioned, he undertook the poetical department in a review of considerable popularity, and became also an occasional writer, both in the British and Gentleman's Magazines.
At length, after having long withdrawn his name from the public eye, he affixed it to the work on which his future fame must rest, and which I have selected as the principal subject of these papers, his ARTHUK. It appeared in 1789, in an octavo volume, and with the following title: “ Arthur, or the Northern Enchantment. A Poetical Romance, in Seven Books." By Richard Hole, L.L.B.
In 1792, on the resignation of Mr. Massey, he was presented, by the bishop of Exeter, to the rectory of Faringdon, in Devonshire, and obtained, at the same time, a dispensation to hold with it his
former vicarage of Buckerell, which he afterwards, however, exchanged for the rectory of Inwardleigh, in the same county, then in the patronage of the Rev. Mr. Moore.
It has been remarked that the lyric powers of Mr. Hole were shown to great advantage in the Ode to Imagination, first printed in the volume which contained his “ Fingal.” This beautiful piece again met the eye in a collection of “ Poems, by Gentlemen of Devonshire and Cornwall,” published by Mr. Polwhele in 1794, and accompanied by several other communications from the same source, and in the same department of poetry. Of these it would be injustice not to particularize the Odes to Terror and to Melancholy, and that named The Tomb of Gunnar, imitated from the Islandic, as entitled to very distinguished praise, and to a rank, indeed, next, if not equal, to those of Gray and Collins.
In the year 1796 was published an octavo of 580 pages, under the title of “ Essays by a Society of Gentlemen at Exeter.” To this volume Mr. Hole, who had been one of nine members with whom the society had originated in 1792, contributed several papers of great merit, especially one On Liter
Fame, and the Historical Characters of Shakspeare, .and two ironical Apologies for the Characters and Conduct of Iago and Shylock. So admirably, indeed, was the grave irony of these vindications maintained, that, as a writer in the Gentleman's Magazine has observed, “ several attacks have been made on them, on the supposition of their being serious; as Swift's advice to the Irish peasantry, to eat their own children, was, at first, from the grave manner in which it was proposed, mistaken in the same way.”
There is much reason to regret that the sequel to this volume of essays which, we were told, was soon to follow, has never made its
since it is well known that Mr. Hole had made many other communications to the society of a very interesting nature. Two of these, however, have since been published in a separate form; and the first, indeed, by the author himself, in a manner very much enlarged from that in which it was originally read to his fellow members. It is entitled “Remarks on the Arabian Nights Entertainments; in which the Origin of Sinbaď's Voyages, and other Oriental Fictions, is particularly considered," and was printed in 1797, in 12mo. Few works of similar extent have