1854 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Parnell

Leigh Hunt, in Selections from English Authors; Works (1854) 3:85.



Parnell was a gentle clergyman, who, with all his inclucations of patience and retirement, found it difficult to reconcile himself to a desolate spot in Ireland, and impossible (it is said) to bear the loss of his wife. We often preach what we cannot practise, not out of hypocrisy, but from opposing frailties and unavailing desire. Parnell admired his hermit the more, because he could not settle down to his solitude and his bin of water. There is a touching passage about him in one of the letters of Swift. Bolingbroke's second wife was like the one that Parnell had lost. The poor poet saw her, for the first time, on a visit at Bolinbroke's house; and when she came into the room, Swift says, he could not take his eyes off her, and seemed very melancholy.