1836 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Jeremiah Holmes Wiffen

I. D. P., in The Literary Gazette (14 May 1836) 317.



Mr. Wiffen, after having been by no means unacquainted with the speculations of various theorists, settled in a firm and cheerful belief in Christianity. He returned to the place from which he had started, but which he had not lost sight of; esteeming it the best on which to build his tower of rest and observation of the skies, and the most satisfactory for the foot of erring and wearied man to repose in. He was also an enlightened student of natural religion. An admirer of all that was beautiful in the magazines of creation, he must have cordially and pleasurably turned, to that "unseen Almighty" who is not far from any one of us. At one period of his life he had an inclination to take a degree at the university; but he subsequently attached himself more closely to the sentiments of his own society, in which he held an office of trust. But he was a very liberal man. The caustic asperity of a Howitt was very alien to the milder spirit of a Wiffen. He had a great respect for the established church, and was an admirer of its choral services — those beautiful and soothing things, which are alike pleasing in cheerfulness and grief, and almost always improving to the heart; and which, we trust, will long survive the acerbity of a Lord Henley, and others of that class, which Chateaubriand has, with curious felicity, designated as "cold enthusiasts."