1795 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Samuel Bishop

Anonymous, "Verses on Mr. Bishop's Death" Gentleman's Magazine 65 (December 1795) 994-95.



Dec. 12.
Mr. Urban,
By the death of the late excellent Master of Merchant-Tailors School, whilst conjugal affection and filial piety are weeping for the husband and the father, indigence is lamenting a benefactor, and genius is sorrowing over a favourite son.

O suffer not, ye learned friends! his bier
To pass, his sacred corse to sink i' th' earth,
"Without the meed of some melodious tear!"
Yet, who can wake apt strains of woe for HIM
Who sang so sweet "who hath not left his PEER?"
Vain the attempt! then be the song his own.
With looks that mark "the sad occasion dear,"
Some fav'rite youth, child of his learned care,
In accents low, with falt'ring grief, shall say—

"On this same spot the Muses first
His infant dawn of genius nurs'd;
On the same spot they soon confess'd
His toils to public use address'd;
His care, coercive, yet benign,
Endearing stricter discipline,
And blending in the teacher's part
The Censor's eye, the Parent's heart.
"In priestly character his zeal
Was what conviction ought to feel,
Inflexibly severe, to tread
Where personal duty's limits led;
And live in act, and be in thought,
A comment in the truths he taught.
"His social hours' conspicuous merit
Was cheerful, yet corrected, spirit,
That rais'd in each surrounding breast
The same good-humour it express'd.
"His judgement was a ray, that glow'd
To light strong Sense through Reason's road;
Trac'd Worth's true price, and left Deceit
To work at will its own defeat.
"His charity had a double drift
To give — and to conceal the gift;
Anxious to see the good it dealt
Not number'd, not describ'd, but felt.
"Goodness so rare, from human view,
With him, you lov'd so long, withdrew.
But why the fallen star deplore?
Heaven gains one luminary more.
The light his life has ceas'd to give
Will e'en in his example live;
And Memory's grateful incense burn,
Dispersing radiance from his urn."