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To this empty show and chatter ;
Come, time wears; by way of change, My advice won't mend the matter. To the Upper Rooms we'll range,
Double, double, toil and trouble, Where yon single yelping fiddle,
Calls the beau-monde universal
Sundry bodies, legs, and arms,
Jostle with a grave discretion, Greybeard Billies, tottering Jackies, Fit to grace a state-procession, Furbish'd up by careful lacqueys. While their owners' eyes pore hard By the palsy-shaken noddle,
O'er the well-conn'd figure-card,
Needful as didactic aid
Weary is the task, I wot,
But the proud hope, ne'er forgot, At the distance of a rood.
Of distinction and display, Morning saw them wan and wheezy, Charms incipient yawns away. Face unwash'd, forlorn, and queasy, Bunbury's “ Long Minuet” scarce Unshorn beard, eyes dead and ropy, Could outdo this glorious farce. Tout ensemble sad and mopy,
There, tough elders, with bald head, Moving as on rusty wires,
And bottle-nose bespectacled, To where subterranean fires
Caper light, while others pace, Boil the pot of Bath's Hygeia,
Striving by superfluous grace Rivalling thy broth, Medea,
Time's grim ravages to hide, In the power, by bards oft sung,
Cramp and corns alike defied.
Dapper Jacky there, the pet
Moulting jaoket for long coat,
Threads the maze of dos-a-dos, Next discuss'd en dishabille,
Glancing with disdainful joy With plaster, wash, and fragrant oil, At yon full-grown burly boy, John begins the Augëan toil.
Late his tyrant
Views the scene of gaiety,
Wearing the blank dismal eye Grown too tough for tooth of fox, Of a great cod out of water; Skewer'd and truss'd up for the mart, Missing sore his master's daughter, By the skilful poulterer's art.
And the undisputed rule These, with gay and conscions air, Of his little private school. Court the glance of ladies fair,
There, new-rigg'd, Squire Richard too Vanity not yet firk'd out
Makes at Bath his first debut, By lumbago, bile, and gout,
From some wild back settlement To the last still feebly jolly,
Near Land's-End, or Dartmoor, sent. Closing useless lives in folly.
Awkward as a callow hern, --Truce to moralizing note ;
When his lank supporters learn Momus twitches at my coat.
First to lobble on dry land, Mark, exclaims the restless imp,
With such grace doth Dickon stand, Yon brave old boy, whose very limp Legs and limbs in posture set, Smacks of gentlemanly ease,
By some waning dandyzette,
Pays the debt of gratitude.
Shelter'd by her guardian care, Counting age no heinous shame
He defies the freezing stare In the eye of lovely dame,
Aim'd by boobies more mature, Proudly he the burthen bears,
And the frown of Miss demure, Wrinkle-stamp'd, of toilsome years Whose torn flounce is doom'd to rue In campaigns or cruizes spent;
The slips of his unlucky shoc, With honour and a chop content,
Or the spur, more ruthless yet, And his pint, to oil life's hinges ;
Of the high-heel'd prim cadet, Still content, save when the pain Whose eye, well-train'd by line and Of his lurking gun-shot twinges
With new virtues may they bubble, Deigning no concern to show
Lo, anon the master swells
In a summary debate;
Then, with looks sublimely stolid,
Their discussions sage resume In North Wilts or Gloucester French; On each pasteboard monarch's doom, Part a tedious hour diverting
Undisturb'd from their still mood, With the frisks-uncouthly odd
Save by calls of rest and food. Of th' aforesaid awkward squad.
So Dame Partlet, to whose song Hubble-bubble, hubble-bubble,
Barn and yard have echo'd long; Pleasure costs a world of trouble. Ceasing her eternal cluck,
Sits in one grave posture stuck, Peep into yon solemn room
Never leaving once her station As you pass, but don't presume
And her task of incubation, Aught to smile at, or remark;
Save perhaps at eve and morn, Here no dog must dare to bark:
Just to pick a barley-corn. Hush'd be every wicked wit,
Thus, with rational employment Where, in awful 'conclave, sit,
Blending sociable enjoyment, Peter Popkin, Simon Coddle,
(As themselves would wisely say,) Quidnunc Quackling, Pogy Poddle, They beguile the live-long day.” With more worthies nine or ten
Cease we here this slipshod rhyme, “ What, the Mayor and Aldermen, Momus cries again, “'Tis time; Deep, it seems, in close divan,
Come, the theme's worn out; more low On grave matters"
In the scale you cannot go." Bless ye, man,
Shall not one redeeming word They, good folks, are on th' alert, In the praise of Bath be heard ?' Wielding* lancet, probe, and squirt, -“ Prithee let the subject rest, Peppering dowagers with pills,
Praise is mawkish at the best ; Pounding senna, bark, and squills.
Such ram-cats and dummies none can These, an ancient fish-like race,
Couple with my friend J*** ****** Quite peculiar to the place,
Grant that these fair walls give birth Grave as new-created deans,
To men, like him, of wit and worth, Are our high-caste mandarins;
Frank and courteous, wise and merry, Men of method, sapient sirs,
And sound-hearted as old sherry ;, Call’d by gods, cock-dowagers,
To whom daily works of good And by men profane, tom-tabbies ; Are familiar as their food. Who, despising, as grown babies,
Let it pass, such names belong All the dandies, old and young,
To a sermon, not a song ; Whom my muse erewhile hath sung, Nought have I with such to do; Ponder o'er no meaner things
Grant that Bath can muster too Than the fate of queens and kings,
Circles polish'd and select, Which, by their sole nod controllid, Holding all yon motley crew In their potent hands they hold.”
Just as cheap as I or you; “Do they never more than talk ?” 'Tis but what one might expect ;
-“ See them in their morning walk, These, in fact, I often court Wrangling with each foul-mouth'd shrew To enjoy with me the sport In the market's wide purlieu,
Which my Bath preserves, well-stored, Politiques des râves et choux,
To a knowing shot afford. Cavilling at weights and scales,
Game's abundant in this place; Sniffing geese and rabbits' tails,
Still the wandering woodcock race, In each pigeon-basket paddling,
Whom in swarms each winter brings Cheapening, chiding, fiddle-faddling, To these valleys and warm springs, Hunting maggots in fresh meats,
Known by folly and long bills, Banning honest folk for cheats,
Well mark'd down, my game-bag fills; Pests of butter-women's lives,
Mine the task to trap and scare Cursed by butchers, fisher-wives,
Native vermin harbouring there, And the cook they dare not trust :
Satyrs, owls, and doleful creatures,' You may stare, the picture's just. Of foul habits and coarse features, These domestic duties done,
Destined still the sport to trouble, Here they meet at twelve or one;
Till its waters cease to bubble." Settle all affairs of state
* Nearly the whole of the Corporation of Bath are medical men. Vide Win Jenkins's complaint of “ The Cuck," who appealed to the protection of her potticary the mare," on being detected in malpractices. Far be it, however, from us to suspect, that this respectable body would in the present day sacrifice to Esculapius one iota of the interests of Themis, even so far as to weigh rhubarb with her scales, or borrow, to spread plasters, that sword which she brandishes so imposingly over their town. hall,
LETTERS FROM THE VICARAGE.
In my former letter I ventured to a synod, or convocation of her clergy. assert, that ever since the accession of In ancient times many privileges were the House of Hanover to the throne of claimed, and many rights asserted, by these realms, the Church of England that body, the possession of which was has gradually undermined herself, by clearly incompatible with the political yielding to the variable taste of the welfare of the commonwealth ; such times in matters where she ought not as that no act of parliament should be to have yielded ; and by pertinacious. valid, till it had first of all obtained ly struggling against that taste, when the sanction of the third estate ; and she ought quietly to have given way to that the clergy should not be liable to it. In proof of the justice of my as- taxation, except by a vote of their own sertion, i directed the attention of your representatives. Since the year 1665, readers to the actual condition of the however, when the last of these priviEnglish Church, throughout which leges was abandoned, and the clergyobthere appears to be no common bond tained, in return, the right of voting at of union—no rallying point round the election of members of the House which her sons can muster, and say, of Commons, the Convocation claimed ~ This is the doctrine which we feel no right of interference in state affairs, ourselves bound to maintain.” Among and filled, up to the moment of its virber lay-members, indeed, it is well tual dissolution, the place which every known that there are few, if any, who ecclesiastical assembly ought to fill, so much as profess to adhere to her namely, that of a spiritual body, met communion on other grounds than be together, by permission of the civil macause she forms an essential part of the gistrate, to investigate affairs purely political constitution of the country, spiritual, and for no other purpose. and conducts her public worship in an From the year 1665, therefore, up orderly and decent manner ; whilst of to the hour of its last meeting, the her clergy, one half, or perhaps more Convocation stood towards the Church than one half, can assign no better rea- of England in exactly the same relason for their personal service at her al- tion in which the General Assembly tar, than that by serving there they now stands towards the Established obtain a comfortable independence Church of Scotland. The two bodies an object which very possibly they mutually represented their respective might have failed in obtaining, had Churches, and represented them, each they sought it in any other walk of after its own peculiar fashion. Thus, life.
whilst the Scottish Kirk, acknowledThis is a sad condition for a spiritual ging no distinctions of rank among her community to be placed in ; but the clergy, causes the whole of her deleChurch of England attained not to it all gates to meet under the same roof, and at once. The singularly loose opinions, to discuss, with the perfect equality of or rather the total absence of all fixed a popular assembly, such questions as principle, which now prevails among may be brought before them, the her members, has, on the contrary, Church of England, in accordance with been the growth, and the progressive her aristocratic form of government, growth, of a whole century; and its divided her synod into an Upper and commencement may, I think, be very a Lower House. In the Upper House easily traced back to the period in our sat the Bishops and Archbishops, by national history to which I have just virtue of their office ; being to the alluded.
body at large what the House of Peers Most of your readers are probably is to the Imperial Parliament: whilst aware, that previous to the reign of in the Lower, the inferior clergy were George the First, and for some little represented by the Proctors, consisting while after his accession, the Church of all the deans and archdeacons, of of England, though as perfectly allied one Proctor from every chapter, and to the state as she is at present, enjoy- of two from the clergy of each dioel the privilege of regulating her own cese. The total number of divines asaffairs, through the instrumentality of sembled in the Lower House of Convo
cation was thus 148 ; and they chose ought to acknowledge) the supremacy their prolocutor as the House of Come of the Sovereign in every matter, spimons chooses its speaker, to enforce ritual, as well as temporal; and thence the attendance of members, to regulate her Synod presumed not to assemble the debates, to collect their votes, and without having previously received a carry them to the Upper House. summons from the Crown ; nor could
I have said that the legitimate office any of its resolutions obtain the force of the Convocation was to regulate all of canon law till they had been consuch affairs as had reference to the spia firmed by sanction of the royal assent. ritual concerns, and to the spiritual This was exceedingly proper ; it was, concerns only, of the Church which it indeed, the only method which could represented. By spiritual concerns, I be devised to hinder the growth of an mean those over which the state has imperium in imperio within the nano right of direct control, and which tion ; for, had the church been perit cannot seem directly to control, mitted to exercise even her legitimate without falling into the Erastian he- functions, independently of the civil resy. Thus, it rests not with the state magistrate, an authority would bave in any country to determine by what existed in the state commensurate means, or by what authority, the spi. with his, if not absolutely superior. ritual character shall be conferred upon In like manner, the Church of Enga layman; neither can the state decree land has never questioned the right of what shall, or what shall not, be an the civil power to confer temporal digarticle of faith among its subjects. nities or preferments on whomsoever These are matters, the management of it will. All these she accordingly conwhich has been entrusted, by the di- fesses that she derives from the state ; vine Founder of the Church, to her, and nor has Convocation at any period asto her alone; nor can she resign them sumed the privilege of interference in into the hands of the civil ruler, with- any way, either directly or indirectly, out betraying the trust which He has with their disposition. As I have alconfided to her.
ready said, the legitimate powers of As long as the Convocation existed, Convocation were purely spiritual ; to superintend these, and other simi- they extended only to the coguizance lar affairs, was therefore its exclusive of spiritual affairs; and even over these business, though its powers were by they were not exercised without the no means bounded altogether here. In direct sanction and approbation of the its capacity of representative of the chief magistrate. Church, it first exercised a right of de- It has always appeared to me one of ciding such disputes or controversies the most unaccountable things in the as might arise among the clergy, whe- history of British legislation, why a ther they related to matters of general Synod, thus constituted, and thus effaith, or to ecclesiastical discipline fectually restrained from interfering only; it took cognizance of all offences with matters which lay not within its against established usages, whereson province, should have been dissolved ; ever, or by whomsoever, committed; for the continual prorogation of the it had the power of revising and cor- body virtually amounts to an utter recting, as they might appear to stand dissolution. There is surely no good in need of revision and correction, all political reason to be assigned for it; public formularies ; it could enact new whilst there are many ecclesiastical canons, abolish old ones, remodel, if reasons, if we may so speak, against it. necessary, the very articles them
" It is a great error,” says Bishop Warselves; and, above all, it composed a burton, a prelate whom no one will court of surveillance, to which every accuse of carrying high-church notions public functionary, as well of the to a faulty extreme,“ to imagine such Episcopal as of the Presbyterian order, assemblies, when legally convened, to was, to a certain extent, amenable. be either useless or mischievous. For
All this authority, Convocation, ne- all Churches, except the Jewish and vertheless, exercised in strict subser. Christian, being human-policied soviency to the civil power. In return cieties, of the nature of which, even for the advantages which she obtained, the Christian in part partakes ; and all by being preferred to the rank of the societies, without exception, being adestablishment, the Church of England ministered by human means, it must acknowledged (asevery national church needs happen that religious societies, as well as civil, will have frequent 00- other measure required to allay these casion to be new-regulated and put in dissensions for ever, except an accuorder. Now, though by this alliance rate understanding on that head. This, of church and state no new regulations no doubt, would have been obtained can be made for church government, in time; exactly as the two Houses of but by the state's authority, yet still Parliament have arrived at length, there is reason that the Church should and that too only of late, at tolerably be previously consulted, which we correct notions touching their respec: must suppose well skilled, (as in her tive privileges ; so that it cannot be proper business,) to form and digest doubted, that Synods, convened and new regulations before they come be- meeting on proper principles, would fore the consideration of the civil le- have proved the reverse of pernicious gislature. Acting otherwise is chan- to the state, or fruitless to the church. ging this, which is a federate alliance, So at least thought Hooker, no bad into an incorporate union.”
authority on these matters, who cha. I am well aware of the reasons which racterizes religious councils or synods are usually given for the dissolution of as" a thing whereof God's own blessed Convocation. Its own turbulence; the spirit was the author; a thing praccontinual disputes which were carried tised by the holy apostles themselves; on between the two Houses; these, to- a thing always afterwards observed, gether with the extreme anxiety of the and kept throughout the world ; a Kingand his ministers that the Church thing never otherwise than most highshould not ruin herself by internal di- ly esteemed of, till pride, ambition, visions, are the causes which ostensi
and tyranny began, by fáctious and bly led to that effect. Now, granting vile endeavours, to abuse that divine that the Convocations which sat du- invention, unto the furtherance of ring the last years of Queen Anne, and wicked purposes. But, as the first authe first of King George, were as tur- thority of civil courts and parliaments: bulent and pugnacious as they are re- is not therefore to be abolished, bepresented to have been, does their tur- cause sometimes there is cunning used, bulence furnish any sufficient reason to frame them, according to the priwhy the privilege of holding Synods vate intentions of men over-potent in should be for ever taken away from the commonwealth, so the grievous the Church of England ? The last abuse which hath been of councils years of Queen Anne, and the first of should rather cause men to study how King George, were distinguished by so gracious a thing may again be rean extraordinary degree of turbulence duced to that first perfection, than in in every public body. In the English regard of stains and blemishes sithens Parliament, the Houses of Lords and growing, to be held for ever in exof Commons were at open war, whilst treme disgrace.” the Scottish Parliament, as long as it There is, indeed, an argument, which lasted, was little better than a hot- I have sometimes heard urged against bed of faction. But because Parlia- the existence of any synodical body in ment was somewhat divided against the Church of England, and which, itself, would this have furnished the as it carries great weight with the few vereign with sufficient grounds for professed high-churchmen of which pensing with the service of Parliam our ecclesiastical society can still boast, ats in all time coming ? or would deserves to be noticed. It is this—The people of England submit to be Church of England being purely Episrived of that legislative assembly? copal in its constitution, supports a The heats and animosities which distinct order of officers, whose pecu
vailed in Convocations, therefore, liar business it is to direct and govern mmediately previous to the virtual the society ; but as long as Convoca annihilation of the body, supply no tions lasted, much, if not the whole kind of argument why Convocations governing power, was assumed by the should not be restored to life after a inferior clergy, in direct violation of short dissolution. As appears from the the rights of the Episcopals. Now, constant subject of these quarrels, the not to eat the quotation just exdissensions between the two Houses tracted from Hooker, I would ask the arose from not having had their re- divines who thus argue, whether the spective rights and privileges defined Church of Christ was not Episcopal with sufficient accuracy ; nor was any in the days of the Apostles ?-whether