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Many of Ovid's stories are very decently imitated
Most of them,' he says, ' have been very well performed by my brother, and published some years since: mine were written in another kingdom, before I knew of his.' In one of his dedications he tells the Lady Olimpia Robartes, - Your Ladyship's father, the late Earl of Radnor, when Governor of Ireland, was the kind patron' to mine: he raised him to the first steps by which he afterwards ascended to the dignities he bore; to those, which rendered his labours more conspicuous, and set in a more advantageous light those living merits, which now make his memory beloved. These, and yet greater temporal honours, your family heaped on him; by making, even me, in some sort related and allied to you, by his intermarriage with your sister, the Lady Araminta *. How impudent a vanity is it in me to boast a father so meritorious! How may I be ashamed to prove myself his son, by Poetry; that only qualification which he so much excelled in, but
yet esteemed no excellence! I bring but a bad proof - of birth, laying my claim in that only thing he would
not own t. These are, however, Madam, but the products of immaturer years; and riper age may, I hope, bring forth more solid works. I have never seen any other of his writings, nor have been able to collect any farther particulars of his life, but have a portrait of him under his poetical name of Sylvius."
[Nichols's Collection of Poems, vol. ii. p. 322.
He assures the ladies, in the Preface to his “ Amasia," that they will meet with nothing which need to cause a blush. This is not strictly true. Some passages might
* It appears from this manner of expression that the sons were children of the first marriage, and not of the second. J.P.
+ If the Bishop published any poetry, it was probably anonymous. I have not been able to discover any under his name. J.P.
not raise a blush in the ladies of his day, but they ought to raise a blush in the ladies of any day.
His genius and elegance are inferior to his brother's, and his style less vigorous. He abounds in points and conceits, and has taken lessons in the metaphysical school of Cowley. His verses often run into a tame description of his feelings. There is scarcely a dignified sentiment, moral or religious, throughout a large volume of Poetry: and it is most lamentable to see inestimable time and promising talents lavished on such follies.
His best pieces are the imitations of Ovid. He has taken most of the subjects which his brother attempted, beside others : his manner is more diffuse than his brother's, and sometimes he excels him. Though he tells us that these were written in another kingdom, before he knew of his brother's ; yet the phraseology is so often similar, that there can be little doubt but he improved his imitations by those of his relative.
The instructions and example of their father were not wholly lost on these young men ; but proved, we may hope, the means of an effectual, though late, imitation of him. Mr. Prince has borne testimony to his religious care of his family : if he were in any degree deficient in this respect, I should conjecture, from circumstances, that it was in strictness of discipline, rather than in an enlightened and affectionate assiduity. To temper the one of these by the other, is the perfection of parental government. The early loss, howeyer, of their father, their own rank in life, and their genius were unfavourable circumstances for these young men; as they seem to have led to injurious connections, While, therefore, their short history offers no just discouragement to parental care, it stands as a beacon to warn the young of the dangers which beset them..
BISHOP HOPKINS’S WRITINGS.
Bihsop HOPKINS is eminent, above most authors, for the combination of clear statements of Doctrinal and Practical Truth, with an eloquent Application of it to the conscience and the heart. Scarcely any other writer has, within an equal compass, so ably discussed and applied with such energy, the whole range of Christian Truth. There are few points on which the reader will not receive from him more satisfaction, than from some voluminous treatises on the same subjects.
Doddridge * says of him, “ His motto, Aut suavitate aut vi, well answers to his works :--yet he trusts most to the latter. He awakens awfully : sometimes there is a little of the bombast: he bends the bow till it breaks.".
Bp. Hopkins has not the elegance and point of Hall; but he is free from his antithesis and his quaintness. Leighton excels him in richness of thought, in tenderness, and in an indescribable devotional sensibility ; but he is surpassed by Hopkins, in sublimity and energy. Reynolds is more condensed and full; but Hopkins is more persuasive and animated. Baxter is copious, eloquent, and often grand; but Hopkins surpasses him in
* Lectures on Preaching. Lect. IV.
CRITICAL REMARKS ON BISHOP HOPKINS'S WRITINGS. lii accuracy of reasoning, and in richness and harmony of style. If Hall may be called our Seneca (which, by the way, is somewhat of a disparagement to him), I should claim for Hopkins the appellation, which Lactantius has obtained before him, of the Christian CICERO. : Four EXCELLENCIES appear to me to be combined in him as a writer. In DOCTRINE, he is sound and discriminating: in style, rich and harmonious: in ILLUSTRATION, apt and forcible: and in APPLICATion, awakening and persuasive.
A predominant judgment and good sense pervade his writings; which abound also with strokes of pathos and, sublimity. The picture of Christ as an example of Patience * may be quoted as a master-piece of the pathetic and sublime; and the Application of the Funeral Sermon on Mr. Grevill, as a fine display of eloquence : though neither of these passages is exempt from considerable blemishes.
The chief DEFECTS of our author's style have been already noticed t. I shall here adduce some examples of that inaccuracy into which he was occasionally betrayed, probably by composing somewhat negligently for the pulpit. The following passage occurs at p. 57 of vol. i.-" whose capacities, at that time, were none of the largest ; as appears in many instances, particularly in the nature of Christ's Kingdom, which he taught them to pray that it might come, which they thought to be temporal and earthly." We find another instance of involved and obscure writing in the last paragraph, p.355 of the same volume. The omission of the marks of parenthesis towards the bottom of p. 191 of vol. iii. left the sense in great obscurity. A few other similar passages might be pointed out.
Our author has sometimes failed in his attempts to impress his reader with views of invisible realities by
high metaphors. An instance occurs in vol. ii. p. 253, in his endeavour to excite horror by his description of the torments of hell. The occasional coarseness of his style, which I have already noticed, might be contracted, as a friend suggests, by his residence among the ruder
part of the Irish nation. .. The writers of the Bishop's day had much improved
on their predecessors, in the arrangement and distribution of their subjects: and there are but few of his contemporaries who run into such minuteness of division as he does. He cannot, however, be charged with making distinctions without a difference. Had he not formally numbered his divisions, they would have been followed, without being counted, by the reader ; but, finding them so numbered, I have thought it right to retain his divisions, while I have endeavoured to render them more distinct.
In his QUOTATIONS the Bishop has sometimes altered the grammatical construction so as to accommodate it to his own purpose. For example, vol. i. p. 534, note, the original in Ρlutarch is ή προς το λυπησαι ενδοσις Expepel perilove gumov x. t. a. which he alters to Malwv gumos H. T. a.
The OCCASIONAL REPETITION OF THE SAME PASSAGES, with slight alterations, in different treatises, is a singular circumstance in our author's writings. This must have arisen from his having collected Common-Places on these points, which Common-Places he interwove in various sermons; and these not having been designed by him for the press, nor having undergone his own revision, the common-places still remain. The following is a list of such passages :. vol. i. 67 with vol. iv. 266.
68...............iv. 269. 91............... iv. 249. 121-133...........ii. 282-289. 172-182............ 207-230. 250...............iv. 503. '