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troulable accumulations of uninstructed human beings, where the letter of the residence acts is complied with, but where one resident curate and one set of parish officers have the nominal charge of duties, which, to perform, is a natural impossibility, and which, in other parts of the country, are intrusted to forty or fifty resident ministers, and as many sets of parish officers.
“ The necessary regulations and enactments of such a law must be expected to interfere with some of the real or supposed interests of individuals. In those instances, just and legal compensations will, of course, be awarded. That some difficulties may occur in the arrangement of boundaries, the purchasing of sites, the valuation of exemptions and privileges, and other minutiæ of detail, can be an objection of no greater weight to a plan conducive and even necessary to the public welfare, than it is to Acts of inclosure: Acts for paving, lighting, and cleansing : Acts for building party-walls : and similar local and district, as well as more general enactments. In all these, certain compulsatory measures are employed, and the owners, landholders, and tenants, the proprietors and occupiers of lands and houses, are placed under a legal necessity of contributing to the public safety and the public conveni
Surely, therefore, similar means may be, and ought to be, resorted to for objects of infinitely higher importance, the moral habits of the people, and consequently the most vital interests, not only of the lower classes, but also of all the superior orders of society.
“ In addition to the prominent difficulty already noticed, another of considerable magnitude may be expected to arise, in regard to a just and respectable maintenance of the ministers to be appointed; and a legal compensation to the present incumbents of those large parishes that it may be necessary to divide, and who, by such division, must be deprived of a great part of their income. This difficulty is the greater, because, in most of the cases, the present ecclesiastical payments are in no sufficient degree proportionate to the numbers of people, or the aggregate worth of the property receiving the protection of the state ; and therefore bound in wisdom and justice to contribute to its preservation. Perhaps the least objectionable, and certainly the most efficient maintenance for the parochial ministers may be found to be the enactment of a small rent-charge in each parochial division, in addition to the established parochial payments and fees, and the rents to be received for a part of the pews in every parish church. Under such an arrangement, the present incumbents might each retain their present church, encircled with a proportionate district, according to its capacity of receiving a congregation; and as this law, if enacted, must be gradual in its operation, the defalcation of income might, under a recommendation from the Honourable House of Commons, be compensated to each of them by one of the cathedral dignities, as vacancies occur, compatible with the parochial duties, and giving a life interest, similar to the present possession.
“ One of the first points requiring attention under the proposed Act, would be, to purchase and convert into parish churches, with districts or bounds of parishes assigned to them, such of the present existing
chapels as may appear to the commissioners suited to that purpose. The proper remuneration to the present proprietors would of course be estimated and awarded according to the legal and usual methods in similar cases. The church duties, and the pastoral care of the allotted district, being assigned to a resident minister appointed under the authority of the Act, parochial communion and connection would be established between the minister and the congregation; and thus would be removed one of the greatest injuries of the present chapel system, the total and absolute separation that now exists between the preacher and his hearers." (P. 130-137).
We must now, for the present at least, take leave of this awfully interesting subject, oppressed by its magnitude, and exhausted by the solicitude which has accompanied us through the course of our hasty composition. It is most probable that we shall feel ourselves called upon to resume it. In the mean time we indulge the expectation, that Mr. Yates's production will appear to have made the general impression which it is so well calculated to produce. Since the commencement of the British Review, a pamphlet of greater intelligence and importance has not attracted its attention. Now that he has put his hand to the plough, we entreat him not to withdraw it. The subject is, in a great measure, his own.
The fervent effectual labours of a pious man will avail much. It is by single efforts that the great deciding impulse has been given to all undertakings of eminent utility and goodness. It is thus that the abolition of the slave trade has been accomplished. One man stood between the living and the dead, and so that plague was stayed. Let Mr. Yates persevere; his prudence will secure him from excess, his sincerity will support his zeal, his intelligence will arın his wishes. While others are cumbered about much serving with respect to the Church, he will be busy about that which is essentially needful. The city of God with its rising glories will in part own him for its founder: and if
any shall hereafter among its new-born structures inquire for his monument, the proper answer will be, CIRCUMSPICE.
ART. XIII.-Roderick, the last of the Goths. By Robert Southey,
Esq. Poet Laureate, and Member of the Royal Spanish Academy. In 2 vols. 12mo. Third Edition. London. Longman and Co.
1815. We live, and let us feel it a privilege that we do so, in times that are signalized by the correction of abuses, and the renewal of a vigorous system of activity in many departments, in which a sleepy torpor seemed established by precedent. The office of
Poet-laureat ranked proverbially high in this list, and we must confess, that the first effort of Mr. Southey's muse, after he had accepted it, rather damped the hopes of practical reform which such an appointment had encouraged, and led us to fear that the mantle of his predecessors must have descended to him, as an heir-loom most unfortunately attached to his office.
We therefore hail with peculiar satisfaction the appearance of a Poem well calculated to dispel this alarm, and to convince us that though “ the cloud-compelling queen” succeeded for a moment in a struggle to maintain her old empire," her dethronement and 'expulsion have at length been fully accomplished.
Mr. Southey began his poetical career with rather an ominous disregard of the rule which Horace, knowing probably the extreme to which his brethren are most addicted, has certainly laid down rather broadly; and we suspect that in several other instances, besides that of the noted six-week's epic, the fruits of his genius have wanted that rich flavour which ensures universal applause, in great measure because they have not been allowed time to ripen. If we add to those volumes which bear his name all the works in which his free and masterly hand may be traced, it will be found that his pen is both versatile and active in the extreme; and the marvel will be, that one, who has written so much, should have written so well. Still, in tenderness to his fame, which must ultimately depend, not on the quantity, but the quality of his literary productions, we have often wished to trace in his works some increasing symptoms of elaboration, and are happy to say that our wish has at length been gratified. Indeed he has, in this instance, so far deviated from his usual practice, as to have kept the public for some time in expectation; the
poçm of which we are about to give some account being, no doubt, the same which was more than once announced as forthcoming in his publishers' prospective list, under the title of
Pelayo, the Restorer of Spain.” Rapidly, however, as Mr. Southey may have written in former instances, his productions have uniformly borne strong and decided marks of a rich and vigorous imagination, an ear nicely tuned to the harmony of eloquence, and an elevated tone of moral sentiment. These, and other praiseworthy qualities, have been counterbalanced in different instances by a puerile affectation of simplicity, a boldness amounting to temerity in the assumption of metrical licence, and a wild extravagance of fiction which has divested his leading characters of that power of exciting the interest of sympathy, which the magic wand of Nature has confined within the circle of human possibilities. If we may be allowed rather to exceed the bounds of our peculiar province, at the impulse of a feeling too pleasurable to be resisted, we would cordially congratulate Mr. Southey on the eminent proofs afforded by his last poem, of his possessing a mind sufficiently humble and sufficiently strong to see and to correct his own deficiencies. In former instances he has reminded us of the bold and graceful but irregular movements of an untrained steed, starting with unrivalled speed, but forfeiting the prize by deviating from the course. Here we see him distancing most of his competitors, and gaining ground upon the foremost, by submitting to the rein, and doing full justice to his powers by a sober and well-disciplined use of them. In “ Thalaba” his skill in producing rhythmical harmony has done much, in spite of his contempt of all metrical rules. But surely the effect, though less striking perhaps, is much more pleasing and satisfactory, when, as in this instance, rhythm and metre combine to gratify the ear. The wild and uncertain, but exquisitely touching notes of an Eolian harp, swept “ leniore halitu sibilantis Euri,” will either soothe or excite the mind, according as it is previously disposed, most pleasingly for a time; but soon pall upon the ear, and produce a sensation of weariness. But give the same notes all the advantage of skilful and harmonious modulation, and we listen to them repeatedly with renovated delight.
Nor is this the only instance in which we can trace the happy result of a combination of two qualities, in one of which our author has formerly seemed deficient. The bold eccentricities of his truly inspired fancy are here chastened by a correct taste; and his characteristic simplicity, though by no means renounced, is elevated and ennobled. But the improvement which strikes us most forcibly is this—that the high tone of moral feeling, which always made a favourable, but yet a vague and indeterminate impression on the mind, and which always seemed to aim at some laudable and exalted end, but failed in the discovery of means adequate to its attainment, now takes a palpable form, and an honourable name. The shapeless though shining vapour of an aspiring philosophy has been condensed into the substance of a defined and efficacious, though, as we shall hereafter show, in some respects imperfect religion. The consequence is, that the man who values eternity too highly to be willing to devote much of his time to any thing that has not some bearing upon it, may take up this poem
with the assurance of never reading many pages in it without being reminded of his highest duties and most important interests, of the themes which most effectually elevate his mind, and most deeply penetrate his heart.
We now proceed to give some account of this Poem, which for sustained depth of interest, for strong and varied character, and for exalted sentiment and diction, may challenge a competition with the first of our day. It is founded on the traditionary account of the first introduction of the Moors into Spain by Count Julian.
“ A private wrong
vengeance for his violated child
Desperate apostate, on the Moors he call’d.”
“Bravely in that eight-days fight
not, the scymitar
Dark as before.” (Vol. I. p. 4, 5.) We have quoted this passage as affording something of a clue to the subsequent history of Roderick. He escapes from the field in a peasant's garment taken from the dead, forsaking his horse and armour, and thus giving rise to a general conviction that he had lost his life in the conflict. He continues his flight during seven days, driven to desperation by the scenes of misery which surround him, by recollections of the past, but most of all by the haunting vision of Florinda ;
That it invok'd from Heaven." At length he reaches a monastery near Merida deserted by all its inhabitants, Romano excepted, an aged monk, who could