Imágenes de páginas

the classical shades of Cambridge. This amusing parody on Lochinvar appeared in November, 1820. Mr. Parkinson often mentioned as a curious circumstance that the first article in the next number was written by Mr. James Crossley, then unknown to him, but afterwards his firm friend. Still more curious is it to find that whilst the layman was weighing the respective merits of Bishop Warburton and Dr. Johnson, the future dignitary of the church was inditing a facetious ballad. It refers to Sir J. E. Smith's contest at Cambridge, and may be worth quoting,



O gallant Sir James is come out of the North,
Through all that wild region his fame had gone forth;

Yet save the Vice-Chancellor, friend he had none;

He came all unask'd, and he came all alone.

So daring in heart and so dauntless in pith,

There ne'er was professor like Professor Smith.

He staid not for frown, and he stopp'd not for groan ;
He put in his clamour where claim he had none;
But ere he arrived at a Lecturer's state,

The tutors conspir'd—and the lectures came late.
For a churchman, God wot! and a botanist too,
Was to sit in the chair that Sir James had in view,
In a rage then he stalked into College and Hall,
Among Bedmakers, Bachelors, Doctors and all;
Then spoke Mr. Marsh in a civilish way
(For some of the Tutors had little to say),
"O come ye in peace here, or come ye in war,

Or to dine with the Fellows, or what come ye for?"
"I long wish'd to lecture, my suit you denied,

I know you'd have lik'd them, if once you had tried ;
And now I am come with this Pamphlet of mine,
To try a last measure, then leave you to pine;
There are students in London more civil by far,
That would gladly have welcomed so brilliant a star.”*

Sir James shew'd his Pamphlet, and Monk read it through;
He gulped the hard bits, but he saw 't would not do ;

He looked down to laugh and pretended to sigh,

With a smile on his lip, and a sneer in his eye.

Then down comes the rogue with an "Answer" forthwith-
"This is dealing hard measure!" says President Smith.

* This luminary is not a fixed star, but a comet having taken "a free and lofty range in the world at large."-Vide his pamphlet,

So stately the tone, and so lovely the print,

Even Freshmen conceiv'd there must something be in 't.
While Socinians did fret, and Professors did clap,

And Webb tore the tassel that decked his new cap;

And Reviewers did whisper, "Twere better by far

To have match'd your brave Knight in some gooseberry war."

A hint such as this had just rung in his ear,

When he reached the stage coach,* and the coachman stood near;
So light to the box that tight coachman he sprung,

So snugly the reins o'er the dickey were flung

We are off! we are off! over bank and o'er hill,

"Your Pamphlet may follow," cried James, "if it will."

There is quizzing 'mong wags of the Trinity clan :

King's, Queen's men, and Johnians, they all laugh that can ;
There is joking and smoking in Norwich citiè,

But the lost Knight of Botany ne'er do we see,

So daring in heart and so dauntless in pith :

Was there e'er such a callant as President Smith ?

In 1830 he obtained the Seatonian Prize for his poem on the "Ascent of Elijah," although amongst his competitors was W. M. Praed. The quality of the poem is about the average of the prize compositions which are turned out of the universities.

Mr. Parkinson's first appointment upon leaving the university was that of master of Lea School, near Preston. During his brief residence he became the editor of the short-lived Preston Sentinel. The ability of the editor and the Conservative principles of the paper did not succeed in keeping it alive for more than a year. He was also a frequent contributor to the Preston Pilot, which was in some measure a successor to the Sentinel. He was ordained to the curacy of St. Michael's-on-Wyre, under the Rev. Hugh Hornby, in 1823. Whilst here he published a volume of sermons-Points of Doctrine and Rules of Practice— followed in 1838 by a second series, both of which were favourably received and extensively circulated. He was presented by the Rev. Mr. Hornby to the perpetual curacy of Whitworth, near Rochdale. In 1826 he became theological lecturer in the college of St. Bees. This appointment was made by the late Dr. Ainger, with the approval of the late Bishop Blomfield, whose judgment was usually of the most discriminating character. During his tutorship at St. Bees the Rev. John Clowes resigned his

* The cheap-and-nasty.

fellowship in the Collegiate Church. The filling of this vacancy led to considerable division between Dr. Calvert, the warden, and some of the fellows, led by the Rev. John Gatliffe. At this juncture occurred the triennial visitation. Dr. Sumner, then Bishop of Chester and afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, appointed Mr. Parkinson to preach the sermon. His masterly exposition of liturgical preaching greatly impressed Mr. Gatliffe, and at the conclusion he rushed into the vestry, rapped his hand on the table, and declared loudly and emphatically, "That's the man for us." In consequence Mr. Parkinson was unanimously elected a fellow, although previously for the most part unknown to his future colleagues.

It was perhaps his success in carrying off the Seatonian Prize which led him to publish, in 1832, whilst a tutor at St. Bees, a volume of Poems, Sacred and Miscellaneous. It was enlarged and reissued in 1845. He has not produced any poetry approaching the highest order, and if his own candid judgment had been canvassed there can be no doubt that he would, with the usual merry twinkle in his eye, have placed himself amongst the minors of the minors. His verse, however, is distinguished by much that is pleasing and pure. His songs are crisp and graceful. The "Legend of S. Bega's Abbey" is an interesting story, admirably rendered in musically tripping verse. The miracle of the snow falling on midsummer day is thus disposed of by the matter-offact poet:

The legend upon which the following poem is founded, and from which none of the facts mentioned in it will be found to deviate, is still very prevalent in the neighbourhood. It may be observed that one of the most extraordinary of these facts-that of the snow falling on Midsummer-day-possesses a degree of verisimilitude which can be claimed by few other legends of a similar nature; for the parish of St. Bees contains so many detached portions, and those portions occupy so remarkably the wild and exposed districts of the lake country (Ennerdale, Wastdale, Eskdale, and part of Loweswater being included within its boundaries), that if snow should condescend to fall anywhere on Midsummer-day, it would doubtless be in those very places to which the legendary narrative has confined it. This proves one of two things,—either the truth of the story, or what some, perhaps, may think quite as probable, the ingenuity of the inventor.

As an illustration of the canon's degree as a poet, one short piece must suffice; it is entitled "The Host of God," and is a

[ocr errors]

paraphrase upon a passage in Genesis: "And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw them he said, 'This is God's Host.""


"The Host of God!" From whence came they?

And whither are they bound?
Are they of those who watch by day,

And keep their nightly round?
Come they from realms celestial, sent

On God's high message here?
Guard they the mighty firmament?
Guide they the rolling year?

"The Host of God!" How seemed that show?
In heavenly pomp arrayed?
March'd they in bright angelic row,

With glittering wings displayed?
Or were they clad in flesh and bone,
Like children of the earth?

While but their stately step and tone
Betray'd their glorious birth?

"The Host of God!" How did they greet
Our faint and wand'ring sire?
Pass'd they his train with flying feet,

And chariot wheels like fire?

Or did they cheer his spirits there,

Amid that desert lone

Tell him that granted was his prayer,

His secret sorrows known?

"The Host of God !" How wild the thoughts
That lowly man should meet,

'Mid the drear realms of wolf and goat,
The step of holy feet.

Whence come they-whither go-is dark;

Their purpose all unknown;

Yet shine they as a meteor spark

Through midnight darkness thrown.

Still they may wheel their bright career

By lonely rock or tree,

Had we the patriarch's ear to hear,

His holy eye to see !

The desert wild, the crowded way,

By heavenly step is trod ;

Through earth and air-by night—by day—

Walks still "The Host of God !"

He received, in 1837 and 1838, the gratifying appointment from his Alma Mater of Hulsean Lecturer. He chose for his subject Rationalism and Revelation. The printed edition has, prefixed, an interesting memoir of the Cheshire worthy who was the founder of this well-known lecture. The Rev. John Hulse was a native of Middlewich, where he was born in 1708. Mr. Parkinson's second series is devoted to the Constitution of the Visible Church of Christ. Of these lectures Mr. Crossley says:-"The arguments are worked out with great power and skill, and the most unreflecting can hardly fail to be convinced by the removal of apparent difficulties and the lucid establishment of truth." Amongst other works belonging to this period is his work on the Moderation of the Church of England, a calm, comprehensive, and thoroughly liberal exposition recommending itself to all men. It might be republished now to the advantage of the Church.

From 1833 to 1846 was probably the best, as it was the most active period of his career. He was a popular man in the cotton metropolis, and naturally so. Not only was he an attractive preacher whose life was in decorous consonance with his professions, but his manners were amiable and cordial, his benevolent disposition was unquestioned, he had a kindly presence, a fine temper, a vigorous mind, and a ready wit. These are qualities that will inevitably endear their fortunate possessor to a large circle of friends and admirers of every class. He was fond of a good joke, and one is recorded of a meeting of operatives over which he presided. After an antinomian harangue the orator was greeted with the pithy remark, "That's right, Jim, thee stick to faith; the less thou says about works and the better."*

Although his career lay apart from the homes and habits of his early friends and kinsmen, he revisited with keen enjoyment the home of his boyhood, and always desired to have everything in the old way. When the Rev. Hugh Stowell was chaplain to the High Sheriff of Lancashire (Mr. William Garnett, of Bleasdale Tower) he preached in the little church in Bleasdale Forest. He observed to Canon Parkinson, who took part in the service, that he did not remember ever preaching to a poorer congregation, but the canon replied that in all probability Mr. Stowell had never preached to a richer assembly, for they were homespun,

* Dr. Ainger.

« AnteriorContinuar »