1836 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Lewis Bagot

Richard Polwhele, in Reminiscences in Prose and Verse (1836) 2:4-6.



I well recollect, when I was last at Tehidy, his lordship described to me a pleasing incident, which brought Dr. Bagot and himself in contact with each other. Dr. Bagot was then Bishop of St. Asaph; in whose diocese Lord De Dunstanville, whilst on a tour through Wales, taking a walk to the cottage of a distressed family, met the Bishop on a similar errand; which was evidenced by a bottle [of wine] bunching out from Bagot's pocket! And "I suppose (said one of us to Lord De Dunstanville) your pocket was distended by a loaf of bread? you mutually detected each other in doing good by stealth. Did you blush?" — "We laughed," said his lordship. "And so did the Aruspex, (said I) meeting his brother Aruspex! How different from yours was their consciousness! — they should, indeed, have blushed!"

I could tell many more things of Bagot. His disposition, like Lord De Dunstanville's, was most amiable; his sentiments most liberal; his decisions firm and absolute; his Christianity sincere. But he was apt to be angry. Yet "be ye angry and sin not" always occurred to us, for he never "let the sun go down upon his wrath." I will mention an instance of his impatience, in a sudden burst of passion, for which he was heartily sorry, and for which he atoned by a humble confession of his fault. At Collections, I was myself under examination at the high tribunal where Bagot sat, and Smallwell, Randolph, and Jackson (all four afterwards Bishops) when one of our gold-tufts was called up to answer to some question which had been omitted. The question put to him I do not remember; but I remember his answer, — "I neither know, nor care." Bagot's "hasty conscience" could not brook such insolence. "My Lord," said Bagot, "go down; we have done with you." My Lord sneered. "Rascal!" cried the Dean. His lordship turned upon his his heel, and walked down the hall with affected indifference. My examination was resumed. But Bagot uttered not a word. In the evening he wrote a note of apology to his lordship, — a note sufficiently humiliating; with which it was his wish that the whole college should be made acquainted. So quick was his sensibility, that he could not on all occasions command it. At Dr. Wheeler's funeral, he burst into tears before us all.