1858 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Beilby Porteus

Cyrus Redding, in Fifty Years' Recollections (1858) 1:30-31.



At St. Paul's, I heard Dr. Porteous, Imagining "a saint in crape, twice a saint in lawn," a bishop must always, I thought, be something beyond a simple clergyman in merit, or how could he carry a mitre? I had heard many a better sermon from a country curate. This bishop was noted for a poem, "On Death," which had attracted my attention in the country.

I never heard a sermon from a bishop worth anything. Cold, grammatical correctness, a careful, monotonous delivery, and a dread of touching the passions of his hearers, perhaps of being deemed too anti-cardinal and evangelical, as well as a fear of deviating into sound reasoning, make such discourses little better than skimmed milk. It is as if prelates adopted "the foolishness of preaching," to exhibit an emasculated spirituality. How different was the old French episcopalian pulpit. As to Porteous, it is possible he had lost somewhat of "his original brightness," being far advanced in years.