« AnteriorContinuar »
the second edition ; and that he either suffered this blundering editor to insert twenty lines at a time, or that he was without suspicion of such a circumstance; all these suppositions are so highly improbable as to justify the belief that Bentley himself discredited his own hypothesis.
Bentley's edition of Milton is so well known, that, limited as we are, we may be well excused from entering on its defects; yet there is one circumstance brought forward in another part of our author's work, which bears so extraordinary a relation to this exploit of Bentley, that we cannot pass it unnoticed A Mr. Johnson, Master of Nottingham School, whom the Bishop believes to be the same with Richard Johnson, Bentley's contemporary at St. John's, published, in 1717 (fifteen years before the Milton appeared) an attack on the Horace, called “ Aristarchus Antibentleianus.” In this volume, as a sort of interlude between the parts, Johnson inserted a burlesque criticism on the ballad of Tom Bostock, in ridicule of Bentley's Latin style. From this we shall make one short extract, with the view of showing with how extraordinary a tact this writer had anticipated the character of Bentley's English criticism. Had it been caricatured from the living model of the commentary on Paradise Lost, a greater spirit and freshness of imitation could not have been expected.
And now my hand's in, after the example of great authors, and the Doctor in particular, I shall not think much of my labour, for the reader's benefit, the honour of the English nation in general, and the family of the Bostocks in particular, to put down one stanza of a certain English Marine Ode, for so in good truth it is, and so it is intituled in all the parchments, and the first editions ; how in the latter it came to be called a Ballad, I for my part can't tell; let them look to it that were the cause of it. But 'tis high time to put down the place. Why so it run then,
Then old Tom Bostock he fell to the work,
Which nobody can deny, &c. Now you must understand that this Tom Bostock was chaplain, in Latin capellanus, in a sea-fight, a long time ago, and after the enemy had boarded the ship, cut 'em all off to a man. O bravo Tom! Thus much for the interpretation. Now to the reading.
Old. I have a shrewd suspicion that all is not sound at bottom here; how sound a complexion soever the words may seem to have. For why old pray ye? What, he hewed down so many lusty fellows at fourscore, I'll warrant ye? A likely story. I know there is old boy, as well as any of ye : but what then? And I could down with old Tom in another place, but not here.
For once again, I say, why old Tom? What, when he was commending him for so bold an action, would he rather say old Tom, than bold Tom? Was it not a bold action? Is not the word bold necessary in this place? And do you find it any where else? Thou, therefore, ne'er be afraid of being too bold, no, rather boldly read bold Tom, I'll bear thee out; in Latin, me vide. But you'll say, neither edition nor manuscript hath this reading; I thought as much.
What of all that! I suppose we have never a copy under the author's own hand : as for the librarians and editors, what can you expect from such cattle as
they, but such stuff as this? One grain of sense (and God be thanked I don't want that) weighs more with me than a tun of their papers.—Pp. 340, 341.
The last literary effort of Bentley's life was a reformed edition of Homer. This he purposed to effect by a collation of MSS., comparison of scholiasts, quotations in Greek authors, and, most especially, by the insertion of the Digamma. The existence of this letter was known from Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Priscian, Terentian, and others; it had been recently discovered in some ancient inscriptions ; there could be no doubt that it was prevalent in the age of Homer, and the insertion of it explained many metrical paradoxes. Bentley lived to collate the Iliad and Odyssey throughout; but he was never able to complete his notes or publish his text.* He had advanced as far as the Sixth Book of the Iliad, when a paralytic seizure, and the death of his wife, seemed to set bounds to all his intellectual undertakings. He had, however, in 1739, contrived to publish his edition of Manilius. His Lucan was not published until after his death, which took place on the 14th day of July, 1742, in the eightyfirst year of his age.
Having now attended our critic to the close of his conspicuous career, we will add a few words, (they must be very few,) on the “word-catcher, who lives by syllables” in the Edinburgh Review. If he could live on these only, we would not interfere with his livelihood; for, from his sensitive remarks on the Bishop's expression, “ some scribbler writing for bread in a garret,” it is easy to conjecture his predicament. But he has chosen to live by detraction also. We have already noticed his perversion of the Bishop's sentiment respecting " the first wish of a scholar;" we now examine some others equally flagrant. His Lordship is accused of “worldly wisdom ;"-in plain language, of giving inconsistent and unmerited praise to living individuals, with a view to secular advancement. We will not insult Bishop Monk by vindicating him from such a charge against such an adversary ; but we will examine the proofs which the libeller has advanced in favour of his position, that the Bishop of Gloucester (say, if you will, the Dean of Peterborough; but Dr. Monk was Bishop, or elect, at least, when this Number of the Review was pub. lished,) paid court, for preferment, to the Bishops of London and Durham. The biographer observes :
Notwithstanding this frequent abuse of his erudition, such is the power of genius, and so great the preponderance of his solid and unshaken merits, that Bentley has established a school of criticism, of which the greatest scholars since his time have been proud to consider themselves members; and in spite of the envy and opposition of his contemporaries, has attained a more exalted reputation than has hitherto been the lot of any one in the department of ancient literature.-P. 663.
* For a compendious account of the Digamma, we refer our readers to the article under that head in the Lexicographical division of the Encyclopædia Metropolitana, and to the sixth preliminary Essay in Trollope's Homer.
On this passage we have the following sage remark: “Whether this latter clause does not contain a very material exaggeration, we may safely leave to the determination of the learned reader :* but it may not be superfluous to compare this lofty panegyric with another sentiment of the very reverend author, contained in his dedication to the Bishop of London :
“In the first place, there is no one to whom an account of the life and writings of a distinguished scholar can be inscribed with more propriety than to your Lordship, who have obtained the same rank in literature at the present day as was enjoyed during his life-time by Dr. Bentley.-P. v.
“ With what sentiments this passage will be read by many scholars on the continent, and even in England, it is not for us to anticipate." We agree in the concluding sentence; it is not, indeed, for such a scribbler as this to have any “anticipations" on the subject. We will, however, take leave to “anticipate " the fate of his criticism in all literary society. It is almost an insult to common sense to shew that the contradiction here insinuated does not exist. The Bishop makes no comparison between Bentley and Dr. Blomfield; he only states that they held the same station in their respective generations. May not this be true without any derogation from the Bishop's merited eulogium on the former ? It is needless to point out the incapacity of this writer for comprehending the merits either of Bentley or Blomfield, even if he has attempted to read them, which we greatly doubt; but had he even mixed with scholars, he would have known that there was nothing incongruous in this passage of the Bishop's dedication. Our author offends in the same way by classing the Bishop of Durham's Historical Account of Infidelity “among the ablest theological pieces in our language.” This "worldly wisdom" the northern scribbler may not possess; but does this prove (to retort his own words) “the extent of his learning, or the elegance of his taste ?"
The next misrepresentation is yet more grossly offensive: “Dr. Monk is pleased to remark that Atterbury has associated his name with the political history of this country, in a degree which has seldom been the lot of a churchman. After the statement we have now made, the reader may be sufficiently prepared to estimate the value of the commendation which one high churchman sometimes bestows on another." It is here evidently intended to charge the Bishop, or church principles, or both, with an undue connexion with secular politics, if not with treason. For this infamous accusation it must be obvious that the passage here cited affords not the slightest pretext. It is in truth no commendation of Atterbury whatever. It is a simple remark; a remark which every reader, who knows any thing of the time, must allow to be true; and may be fully admitted by those who deprecate most decidedly both the principles and conduct of Atterbury.
* It is much to be regretted that the Boreal luminary did not condescend to illustrate this position.
After this exhibition, our readers would not thank us for disturbing · the grammatical cavils of the blunderer. Some are founded in the
grossest ignorance; but even had he succeeded in pointing out a flaw, we envy little the creature who could read this great, laborious, and most delightful work, with a view to pick out the faults without which no composition would be human. Such there may be :
Verum opere in longo fas est obrepere somnum. With our youthful predilections for the style of architecture in which Trinity College is built, we cannot sympathize with the Bishop's commendations of Bentley's handsome and expensive, but Corinthian stalls and organ gallery of the gothic chapel of Trinity; there may be other points, too, which the Bishop himself might, in a future edition, think fit to revise; but the work is a valuable storehouse of literary, political, and academical information ; a monument which will remain eternal as the genius of him to whose commemoration it is worthily consecrated.
Art. II.— The Insecurity of Salvation in the Church of Rome. A
Sermon, preached in St. Martin's Church, Leicester, before the Venerable the Archdeacon and Clergy, on Tuesday, May 18, 1830. By the Rev. W. L. Fancourt, D.D. Vicar of St. Mary's and All Saints, Leicester. Leicester : T. Combe and Son. London : Ri. vingtons. 1830. Pp. 58. Price 2s. 6d.
The situation in which we place Dr. Fancourt's Sermon, as an article for review, will manifest the place which it justly occupies in our estimation, for it is very rarely that we feel ourselves called upon to assign any thing more than a notice to the occasional discourses which are submitted to our perusal. But the excellent Vicar of St. Mary's challenges our especial regard, whether we weigh the admirable matter of his eloquent sermon, or consider its suitableness to the times in which we live. No longer protected by the law from the machinations of her inveterate foes, who are admitted to the privilege of framing statutory regulations for our spiritual Zion and her disciples, whom they execrate as damnable heretics, and whom to pillage, to exterminate, and to murder, they would hold to be doing God service,—the Church of England needs such honest and intrepid supporters as Dr. Fancourt, to blow the trumpet of alarm, and to rouse men from their bed of sleep and indifference. The Papist has, indeed, made à fearful inroad upon our establishment; and, no longer satisfied
with toleration, “ Etiam in Senatum venit; fit publici consilii particeps ; notat, et designat oculis ad coedem unumquemque nostrum."* We would not speak with unnecessary harshness of him, who has thrown down the walls, by which our Church has been so long protected ; “Sed ex plurimis malis, quæ ab illo reipublica sunt inusta, . hoc tamen boni est, quod didicit jam populus,-quantum cuique crederet, quibus se committeret, a quibus caveret.” And, therefore, it is that we hail the appearance of such Protestant champions as Dr. Fancourt with peculiar satisfaction, at the present alarming crisis, and thank him cordially for the orthodox sermon, which we thus introduce to the favourable regard of our readers.
The preacher takes for his text, Psalm cxxxvii. 5, 6; and, from the example of the captive Israelites, inculcates upon his hearers the necessity of attachment to the service of God. After a suitable exordium, he adduces a variety of motives for our adherence to a Church, “that alone deserves the name of Apostolic."
These motives divide themselves into several branches. The rise and progress of our Church under its reformed state; the insidious machinations of its enemies; the bounden duty of its ministers under existing circumstances; the antiquity of its origin; the purity of its creed and ritual, and the consequent safety of salvation in its communion, compared with that of the Church of Rome. These are the several topics, intermixed with historical events, illustrative of the subject, which, with all deference, I offer to your serious consideration.Pp. 3, 4.
Having sketched the rise and progress of our Church through various vicissitudes of fortune, and multifold opposition, in its separation from that of Rome, and detailed the miserable schisms which were inflicted upon her at her very birth, by the jealousy, the pride, and the fanaticism of those Protestants, who fled to Frank fort during the reign of Mary, of bloody memory, Dr. Fancourt adds the remark
That in all the shifting scenes of politics, from the day that our Church separated from that of Rome; that in all the troubles which, from the reign of Elizabeth to the present period, have convulsed this Protestant country; one and the same evil spirit rode in the whirlwind and guided the storm. The crafty Jesuit,—Tavtoins åtátns uluvnokwv,—well versed in human nature, its foibles, its vanities, and its interests, was ever active in political commotions; an agent, indeed, invisible, but always sensibly present. With the clue of history in our hand, we trace the wily serpent in all his windings of intrigue, under all his Protean forms, and well-chosen masks of character; at one time wrapt in the sombre cloak of a stern republican, at another gliding under the protection of despotic power, and now assuming, like an angel of light, all the amiable and insinuating qualities of gentleness and urbanity, liberality and conciliation. The objects of all the changes and movements of this grand agent of Rome has been, and is, invariably one and the same-THE DOWNFALL OF OUR PROTESTANT Cụurch. With whatever fair speech, with whatever plausible words, it may suit his purpose to soothe the ear of mawkish liberality, and beguile the unwary