1738 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Francis Atterbury

Anonymous, in "The Apotheosis of Milton" Gentleman's Magazine 8 (1738) 522.



I could perceive the President and all the other Members turn their Eyes with a respectful Awe towards the illuminated Apartments, thro' which I saw a venerable Form advancing, attended by my kind Guardian; it was that of a Man, who had reached his great Climacterick, his Air was noble and composed, yet there was a charming Vivacity in his Looks, and the Majesty of his Appearance was temper'd with an unexpressible Benignity. He was dress'd plain in a purple Suit, and he took his Seat in a Chair of the same Form with the President's, but removed from the Table where the rest sat. He was scarcely seated when I found my Conductor again by my Side, who prevented my Impatience to know who this extraordinary Personage was, by saying, That is Francis Atterbury, late Bishop of Rochester. He appears here, continued he, in a Lay Habit, and the particular Honours that are paid him both by the Assembly and myself, are due not only to his extraordinary Parts, but to the generous Cares he bestowed on embellishing this Fabrick. He has always declined to take his Seat at the Table, because he was no profess'd Poet, but the little he has done that Way, shews how easily he might have shined in that Province; in this Dome, where Politics and Faction are buried, he enjoys the Ease he always desired.