1809 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Beilby Porteus

Samuel Egerton Brydges, Obituary in Censura Literaria 10 (1809) 409-10.



May 14. Beilby Porteus, Bishop of London, aged about seventy-nine, author of several well known works. Few men have enjoyed, so very long and so very justly an equal portion of the public esteem and affection as the late Bishop of London. His rare merits as a scholar, a teacher, an individual in the circles of social life, and a poet, gifted with the finest attributes of fancy and taste, were acknowledged and admired for more than half a century. As a politician he uniformly rallied round the throne, without, however, ever departing from that moderation which should form the chief ornament of a Christian Prelate. As a preacher, he was deservedly popular; his manner was simple and impressive, his style elegant and chaste, and his doctrine sound without undue severity, or still more reprehensible indul gence to the follies and vices of the age. He oftener mounted the pulpit than any of his mitred brethren; as not satisfied with preaching on the Sabbath-day, he commenced, in 1797, on Fridays, a course of lectures at St. James's Church, on the truth of the Gospel, and the Divinity of Christ's Mission, which being delivered in tones of the most simple and persuasive elegance, attracted a vast concourse of auditors. As an author, he published, besides his University prize-works, and the Sermon on the Character of David, a letter, written while Bishop of Chester, addressed to the parishioners of Lambeth, exhorting them to observe Good Friday religiously, two volumes of Sermons, the aforesaid Lectures, and several charges and small religious tracts. As a private character, he was mild and unostentatious, gifted with the most conciliating and amiable qualities, of a cheerful disposition, and ever ready to listen to and relieve the wants and afflictions of his fellow-creatures. His religious moderation, the benevolence of his nature, and his universal philanthropy, procured him the good will of every class, of every sect, of every party, and of every rank and denomination.