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SERMONS. Art. 26. Civil Establishment : preached in the Cathedral
Church of St. Peter, York, before the Honourable Sir Simon Le Blanc, Knight, One of the Justices of the Court of King's Bench, March 20. 1814. ' By the Rev. Francis Wrangham, M.A. F.R.S., of Trinity College, Cambridge. Published at the Request of the High Sheriff, and the Grand Jury. 4to. 25. 6d. Baldwin.
Though this able preacher professes to exhibit no novelty of remark on the subject which he has here chosen for an assize-sermon, he displays much eloquence and strength of language in his mode of elucidating it. The necessity of social union, and in course of subordination, of government, and of law, to create and to perpetuate the blessings resulting from that union, are stated in a luminous manner; while his sketch of our municipal code, and of its great feature the trial by jury, must have given pleasure to all who heard him. Excellent, however, as is our civil code in general, the preacher does not suppose it to be without defects, and mentions the subject of capital punishment as requiring more deliberation than it has yet received. In support of this opinion, he adduces several respectable names, to which list he should have added that of Bentham. Art. 27. Religious Establishment: ---- preached in the Cathedral
Church of St. Peter, York, before the Honourable Sir John Bayley, Knight, One of the Justices of the Court of King's Bench, and Mr. Serjeant Marshall, Judges of Assize, July 24. 1814. By the Rev. Francis Wrangham. Published at the Request of the High Sheriff and the Grand Jury. 4to. 26. 6d. Baldwin.
After the State, Mr. Wrangham proceeds to the Church, which he reserves as a bonne bouche. Here he professionally advocates the cause of our religious Establishment against all its opposers ; and here, while he argues with much energy, he suffers not his eloquence (which too often happens on these occasions) to be oxygenized by illiberality *. So far is he from denying the right of private judgment, and of actual dissent from the established doctrines and forms, that he admits this right in its full legitimate extent, and even truly represents the English church as herself founded on the principles of conscientious dissent from an existing and reverenced establishment. Yet, while he speaks respectfully of many of the ministers of the church dissenting from that which is by law established, and enumerates Leland, Lardner, Chandler, Watts, and Doddridge, as burning and shining lights, he contends for the necessity of a national worship, with its accompanying institutions; asserts the advantages of a liturgy over extemporaneous devotion; pleads the cause of episco
* Perhaps the charge (at p. 15.) of positive hypocrisy of recitation,' on those who pray without a written form, is an exception to the general liberality which pervades this discourse.
pacy; and states the vast number of small livings* as a full reply to those who declaim on the opulence of the church.'- This discourse is uniformly ingenious, if not always convincing. On the advantages of forms and of free prayer, much may be said on both sides.
* The number of small livings is an evidence that the property of the church is unequally divided, but is no proof that she is not opulent; though Mr. W. calls the opulence of the church a misnomer.' The church has more good things in its gift than any other profession ; and these good things, to which the poorest curate is looking up, constitute its opulence. The Judges of Assize could have told this eloquent preacher that many young barristers attend Westmin, ster-hall, for a length of time, without obtaining money enough to pay for the powder in their wigs : but no one will contend that the profession of the law, in this country, is not lucrative. Yet what are the places of the judges, in point of profit, compared with those of the bishops, who dwell in palaces, are lords of Parliament, and have a vast patronage? If Mr. W. looks about him, in the north of England, he will find several livings which yield from 2000l. to 40ool. per annum.
A Constant Reader, at Oxford, is informed that the delays to which he refers have been occasioned by particular circumstances attending an individual, but that our arrears in this
very speedily be paid off.
To A. G. W. it may suffice to say that we intended to have given an account of Mr. Scott's new poem, the Lord of the Isles, in the present Number, but that our Collector failed in obtaining a copy of the work immediately on its appearance, and that none have since been to be procured, the whole impression having been speedily sold.
S. S. H. may expect in our next Number the article which he is desirous of seeing
The APPENDIX to the last Vol. of the Review was published on the 1st of February with the Number for January, and contains a variety of articles in FOREIGN LITERATURE, as usual, with the General Title, Table of Contents, and Index, for the Volume.
In the last Review, p. 80. line 8. from bottom, fordismal' tead divine.
For MARC H, 1815.
ART. I. Roderick, the last of the Goths. By Robert Southey,
Esq., Poet-Laureate, and Member of the Royal Spanish Academy. 4to. Pp. 340., and Notes, 137. 21. 2s. Boards. Long
man and Co. 1814. IN N this « best" but at the same time oddest “ of all possible
worlds,” it is never safe to indulge in the spirit of prophecying, especially in political prophecies; and the events of the last two or three years have been of so extraordinary a nature, that we might reasonably expect them to stop the ravings of our oracular dispensers of futurity, at least for some months, or weeks, to come. We would by no means, however, be understood to imply that the whole course of these events, especially the campaign in Russia, was not pre-ordained at one of Lord Liverpool's cabinet-dinners; and we apprehend it is totally unnecessary to assure our readers how far we are from denying that the Poet-Laureate's own brains were the storehouse of all the ice and snow that intercepted the French army at Moscow, and consequently effected the deliverance of the « Western Peninsula." It was shameful stupidity in the Lords Grey and Grenville not to have been aware of the existence of those resources; and not to have better estimated the prodigious effects which they were capable of producing. Still, as (to adopt a style of expression now in vogue at the court-end of the town) this obtuseness of their Lordships can subject them only to the imputation of “a mere error in judgment," it is rather unhandsome of the Poet-Laureate, justly as he may pride himself on the wonderful results of his physical experiments, to stigmatise their ignorance with a severity of indignation equal to that which the most loyal of Attorneys-general ever indulged against the most execrable of traitors. That passage in the Laureate's voluminous works, or reputed works, to which we more particularly refer, is, however, in other respects so replete with fine poetical imagery, and so strongly marked by that oriental sublimity which is the most striking feature of his genius, that we cannot introduce the present article in a more VOL LXXVI.
appropriate appropriate manner than by exhibiting it as “ a Portrait in little" of that mind, one of whose latest and most vigorous productions we are now about to examine. It occurs in p. 319. Vol. v. of a fine Heroi-Comico-Political Romance, in blank verse, intitled “ History of Europe,” and comprizing a certain proportion of a publication known to some of our readers under the title of “The Edinburgh Annual Register.” The whole is, however, much too long for quotation. Suffice it to say that it is a most animated representation of what the Laureate (judging, probably, as our Lake-Poets are much in the habit of doing, from the moods of his own mind,) supposes to have been the feelings which actuated the breasts of the Opposition leaders, on being first apprized of one of the most signal successes achieved by the British arms in the Peninsula ; and, after much splendid imagery of the same nature, it concludes in the following strain :
“ They * disavow'd all sympathy
Of th’ balile of Salamanca." We shall but once more slightly advert to the degree of propriety with which these treasonable and wicked sentiments are attributed to some of the most eminent and respected cha“racters in the nation, only because they have the misfortune of merely differing in opinion from the political creed lately embraced by the Laureate; and we shall then proceed to remark on the style of versification, of which it is difficult to say whether the mellifluous cadence or the Miltonic energy is most to be admired. It reminds us forcibly of the “Botany-Bay Eclogues," and is in complete unison with a very large proportion of Roderick, the last of the Goths.'
Let us not, however, be unjust, nor visit on Mr. Southey's Muse the sins of his Laureateship. To leave, then, " this prophane jesting,” and to speak of Roderick with all the seriousness that befits our high office, we have no scruple in declaring our opinion that this production will contribute to the advancement of the author's legitimate fame more largely than any
of his former poems. Its principal faults are that it is too long * The Opposition-leaders.
by half, too declamatory, and consequently often cold and spiritless where it ought to be most impassioned, and that it' is incumbered by a pervading affectation of scriptural phraseology: -- but these defects are counterbalanced by a well chosen subject, happily suited to the prevailing enthusiasm of, the author's mind in favour of Spanish liberty, by a deep tone of moral and religious feeling, by an exalted spirit of patriotism, by fine touches of character, by animated descriptions of natural scenery, (the effect of which is often injured, however, by a too great minuteness of detail,) and by an occasional excellence of versification worthy of the best and purest age of English poetry. We are sorry to be obliged to qualify this praise by repeating that it applies to the work before us only in part, the remainder being mere prose, divided off into feet, and not unfrequently by a very blundering measure..
The poem opens with the Invasion of the Moors, who are led into Spain by Count Julian in vengeance for the ravishment of his daughter by Roderick, and with the fatal battle in which the Gothic empire was overthrown. A mystery is cast by contemporary annals over the fate of the monarch, similar to that which in more modern times hung round the fate of Sebastian King of Portugal after the battle of Alcazar : but the legends of superstition and of romance have pretended to supply the void of history, and with a degree of poetical probability fully sufficient to justify the use which is here made of them.
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Bravely in that eight days' fight