« EdellinenJatka »
to all those who have written in favour of the Jews, of the Arabians, of the Troubadours, and the Sicilians. But to us the fact appears to be simply this: With the Latin language rhyme was transmitted into the jargon half Latin and half barbarous, which originated amongst the French and Italians; and by the means of the same Latin this rhyme became known to the Arabians of Spain”, who cultivated literature and Science, when the rest of Europe had sunk into barbarism. The fervid imagination of the Moors fond of novelty, soon became enamoured of this new species of metre; with their conquest in Sicily, they increased amongst their new subjects this taste for rhyme; and in adopting much of the style and manner of the Saracens, the Troubadours could not fail to adopt also this fashionable rhyme, which was esteemed by their masters, and which must have also pleased their audience. And as the Troubadours and the Sicilians were the first amongst the moderns who wrote verses in their respective languages, so they were also the first who adopted rhyme in their poetry. .
Such appears to us to be the solution of the problem; we shall now take our leave of Mr. Berington for the present, and continue our observations on the volume before us in our next Number.
(To be concluded in our next.)
Art. VI. Memoirs of W. Stevens, Esq. Treasurer of Queen Anne's Bounty. Second Edition..., 8vo. pp. 187. 6s.
To record the actions of the great and good, and to consecrate the memory of departed worth, is a task which requires no
common hand to fulfil. A tedious detail of the tritling occur
rences of domestic life, a dull family genealogy routed with perverse diligence from the musty records of parish registers, a rhetorical display of pompous, panegyric, are each too often mistaken by their readers, no less than by their authors, for the me plus ultra of biography. But not even a junction of the three is by any means sufficient to constitute perfection in the art, or even to answer the end which the writer may propose, whether it be to raise the character of himself or of his subject. Let the talents of the biographer be what they may, let the micest judgment wait upon the most copious and accurate infor
* We are aware that many writers of noteo: that rhyme was known to the Arabians even before the AEgyra, but whether this be or be not the case, the argument remains the same."
5 ". . . mation,
mation, and let both be recommended by the graces of style,
and the ornament of language, there will yet be a certain defi
ciency which it is easier perhaps to discover than to account for. This deficiency, we should conceive, is to be supplied only by that feeling of interest, in the mind of the writer, which a similarity of study and a fellowship in pursuits, will constantly raise. This will seldom fail to give a charm to biography, which no other power either of talent or of information is enabled to produce. Thus, then, supposing the existence of abilities in other respects equal to the task, the life of a military man will be best written by a military man, that of a poet by a poet, that of a statesman by a statesman. Each of these may cherish partialities peculiar to themselves, but impartiality is not the same distinguishing feature in biography, as it is in history. If the warm feelings both of professional and of private life are mot in some measure embodied in the work, it will ever remain both frigid and flat. The biographer must not only enter with spirit into the character of his subject, but with knowledge into the history of his pursuits; his language may thus be sometimes too technical, and his prejudices too prominent, but he will present by these means the more spirited and accurate resemblance of the original, by tracing those lineaments which no common eye could discover, but which, when discovered, give to the portrait both animation and effect. This is the charm which pervades the “Lives of the Poets,” which renders them ever interesting, ever instructive; while other pieces of biography by the same great author, though written with equal graces of language, have passed into oblivion. It is this which gives to Isaac Walton a power over the mind and the affections of his reader, which a more elegant, or a more rhetorical biographer might vainly hope to attain. Could we point out one circumstance more than another, which adds an interest and a charm to the volume before us, it is that similarity of pursuit and identity of purpose, which distinguishes both the biographer and his subject. The biographer, as we understand from a former edition, which was printed only, mot published, is James Allan Park, the King's Counsel; a man not more celebrated for his high legal abilities and extensive practice, than for his ardent co-operation in every good and pious work. His well known publication on the Sacrament is a sufficient evidence of his heartfelt, but sound regard for every religious and devotional duty. It is with no small degree of pleasure that we bear our testimony to the public conduct of this excellent layman, as displaying that deep and affectionate regard for the cause of religion, which arises from a mind pure, - * - - ardent, VOL. IV. SEPTEMBER, 1815.
ardent, and sincere, unencumbered with the artifices and interest . . of a party, and untainted by the low cant of exclusionary fanaticism. The union of the Christian and the layman is not, we trust, uncommon among us; we could only wish that it was in every other instance equally exemplary, genuine, and disinterested. The subject of these memoirs is William Stevens, Treasurer. of Queen Anne's Bounty; a man, by his character and writings, known and respected among every rank of those who were at:
tached to the faith and discipline of our truly primitive, and
apostolic Church. Mr. Stevens was born in the year 1732, and was educated with his friend and cousin, the celebrated Bishop Horne, under Dr. Deodatus Bye, at Maidstone. At fifteen, he was placed as an apprentice in the house of Mr. Hookham, an eminent wholesale Hosier in Broad-street, and by his industry and application raised himself to a partnership in the business, at a very early age. Those hours which are consumed by most young men of his situation in vice and folly, were dedicated by Mr. Stevens to those sacred studies which were the pride of his youth, the ornament of his maturer years, and the source of consolation and hope even in the arms of death. His labours
in every branch of holy learning were animated by a love of his .
subject, . His researches were deep, judicious, and unremitting; insomuch that there was scarcely to be found a Divine of any eminence, with whose works he was unacquainted. Possessed of a considerable skill in the learned languages, he was enabled to master the writings of the Fathers with great success, and to acquaint himself with these neglected sources of ecclesiastical history, criticism, and eloquence, in a degree far above many of those who stand high as professed theologians and scholars:
The rich harvest of his well directed studies was not confined
to the gratification of his own understanding, but displayed itself in many powerful publications. In 1773, he sent into the world an Essay upon the Nature and Constitution of the Chris
tian Church; a work, so highly esteemed, that the Society
for Promoting Christian Knowledge, thirty years after its first appearance, thought it worthy of being placed upon their very select and well chosen catalogue, Its first design, how
ever, was to counteract the dangerous motions which at that . .
time were, too prevalent, even among a part of the clergy, respecting their subscription to the Tiroline Articles of our Church. Our readers are all well acquainted with the “Fea
thers Tavern” petition to Parliament, praying relief from sub
scription to those articles, to which all the petitioners had sub
. scribed; and with the powerful manner in which its fallacies were, combated and overthrown by Edmund Burke, whose
. . . . ... flashes
flashes of wit and eloquence never appeared in more vivid colours. The petition was rejected by a division of 217 to 71. Such was the spirit with which the interests of the Church were supported, and the first attacks of liberalizing infidelity repelled, by a British House of Commons, even in the former years o the present reign, when the helm of the state was guided #: mimistry, who, though in their foreign policy they were sufficiently weak and irresolute, had still too much principle to be seduced, and too much spirit to be intimidated by an heterogeneous mixture of Puritans and Unitarians, of Dissenters and Infidels. , Mr. Stevens displayed as a writer, not only the most pro: found and accurate knowledge of his subječt, but much vivacity and wit, without the slightest admixture of personal scurrility, in exposing the fallacies of his antagonist. In his Reply to a clergyman of the established Church, who published an Address to his Brethren, about the time of the Feathers Tavèrn Petition, .. there is a strain of unaffected pleasantry, which serves as a pleasing foil to the solid argument with which the pamphlet abounded. In 1776, Mr. Stevens published “A Discourse upon the English Constitution,” which was admirably calculate to crush the first germ of that revolutionary anarchy which at that time began to display itself in factious pamphlets and seditious journals. In 1777, Mr. Stevens attacked, with no small success, the Politico-Theological Garagantua of those days, the celebrated Dr. Watson, who had just published two Sermons, preached before the University of Cambridge, in which were inculcated doctrines, which Mr. S. very justly considered as regnant with much danger to the principles of the Constitution. hese, with other political squibs, by the same author, are now forgotten; nor will the learned Bishop be ashamed to discover, that his memory rests, not upon the . squabbles of former days, but on the more solid foundation of a successful reply to the blasphemies of wild and revolutionary infidelity. His Apology for the Bible will be remembered with gratitude and honour by the British nation. * * * -, -- . . . . . . . .
... Mr. Stevens displayed much skill in the Hebrew language, in a publication addressed to Dr. Kennicott, under the title of “A new and faithful Translation of Letters from M. l'Abbé de
, Hebrew Professor in the University of — to the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Kemnicott, &c.,” in which he very forcibly pointed out the very permicious consequences which must result to the integrity of the sacred text by the adoption of the learned Doctor's plan. . . . . . . . . . . . . - - s
At a time when the principles of rebellion and anarchy were transplanted from the shores of France. and were 'striking their root fast among the licentious and profligate of every descrip.
X % - tion,
tion, when most of the periodical works of the day were too.
deeply involved in the dissemination of the most destructive sentiments both in politics and religion, Mr. Stevens, Mr. Jones,
of Nayland, and some others, formed themselves into a society
to withstand the torrent, and to point the attention of the young and inexperienced to those high and commanding principles, on which our glorious constitution in Church and state is founded and supported. By this society was published an admirable Collection of Tracts, compiled for the use of the younger Clergy, entitled “the Scholar Armed,” from this society also, originated that Review, of which we are proud to declare ourselves the immediate successors, and lieirs, if not of the ability and power which once stood displayed in the pages of the British Critic, at least of those sound principles in Church and State, which it has ever been its boast to have vigilantly guarded and dauntlessly maintained. -
All the publications of Mr. Stevens were sent into the world without a uame; he was prevailed upon, however, by some of his friends to collect them into a volume, which he styled, OYAENOX EPTA, the only name which he could be induced to prefix, and by this name of Nobody he was afterwards known amongst his friends. The last literary work in which he was engaged, was an uniform edition of the works of Mr. Jones, of Nayland, who, in the words of Bishop Horsley, quoted by Mr. Park, was “a man of quick penetration, of
extensive learning and the soundest piety, and had, beyond any
other man he ever knew, the art of writing upon the deepest subjects to the plainest understanding.” Charge to the Clergy, 1800. . . . ... . . . . .
With a fortune derived from the profits of his honest industry, and amounting, as it appears to little more than 1200l. per an
num, Mr.Stevens appears to have performed wonders of cha
rity and munificence. He was a leading man in many of the great charitable institutions, contributing both his time and his purse to the advancement of their interests. The account of the expenditure of his income is thus given by his biographer, and cannot fail to prove an useful example to many of those who are blessed with means far surpassing those of Mr. Stevens.
“Being mindful of the apostolical injunction, to lay by in store as God had prospered him, this good man, from the amount of all
his profits and income, annually deducted two several tenth parts.
These he immediately entered in his private books of account, under the heads respectively of Clericus and Pauper; and from the instant of thus appropriating them, he considered himself holding, as a trustee, for these two charitable funds. It sometimes happened, from a want of proper objects presenting themselves, that