« AnteriorContinuar »
Yet with the prospect of seeing her ing French ambition, “ Hitherto again, the privilege meanwhile of shalt thou come, but no further: epistolary intercourse, the company
and here shall thy proud waves be of a good conscience, and the guid- stayed.” ance and blessing of God, he felt
“When he, from towery Malta's yielding that it would be wrong to regard isle, himself as solitary or forsaken. His And the green waters of reluctant Nile,heart beat tenderly towards his three
Th' apostate chief,—from Mizraim's children. His first-born, claimed
To Acre's walls his trophied banners by heaven before he left his native bore; country, he could not name or even When the pale desért mark'd his proud think of, for some time after her array, death, without sighs and tears. She
And desolation hoped an ampler sway;
What hero then triumphant Gaul was present to his mind when, with
dismay'd ? what weeping! he composed the What arm repell’d the victor-renegade ? well-known hymn:
Britannia's champion ! bathed in hostile
blood, “Thou art gone to the grave, etc.” High on the breach the dauntless
seaman stood : Heber was a loyal and patriotic Admiring Asia saw th' unequal fight; Englishman, Proud of his country's E’en the pale crescent bless'd the history, pre-eminence and prospects,
Christian's might.” he early and earnestly sang her In 1803, at home from college praises in his “ Carmen Sæculare.”
for the vacation, he wrote at a In his “ Europe," he apostrophized friend's request, “Honour its own Albion thus :
Reward," to be sung next morning “Child of the sea, whose wing-like sails
at a gathering of some of those are spread,
volunteers who throughout the The covering cherub of the ocean's bed I country were waiting for the French The storm and tempest render peace to
invader. Nor would the hand that thee, And the wild-roaring waves a stern
struck the lyre have refused to strike security.”
the foe. In a corps of infantry When in his “Palestine” he pic- his father's estate, Reginald marched
raised by Richard Heber, Esq., on tured "the red-cross warriors,"
as an officer with the Shropshire “ Their limbs all iron, and their souls
volunteers. He feasted with his all flame,"
soldiers when welcomed back from what nation did he distinguish as
the Continent, and again when called foremost in the Christian host ?
to lay his red coat aside for the
habiliments of the clergyman. Still “Here in black files, advancing firm and he kept all the patriot's soul, and
slow, Victorious Albion twangs the deadly
thenceforth was doubtless regarded bow,
as their martial chaplain by the Albion, still prompt the captive's wrong
Hodnet youths. On his passage to to aid,
India, when he met a homewardAnd wield in freedom's
bound ship, it carried his heart away. freeman's generous blade.”
In his Eastern diocese, whether by He observed that “wide-conquering the red tile or the brick wall, the Edward” and “lion Richard” had beggar's song or the gipsy's tent, a worthy successors in modern Syrian watery road or a cloudy sky, a
In brave Sir Sidney Smith church-tower or the Union flag, a he could hear God saying to swell- friend's voice or a newspaper, or, best of all, letters from fatherland, never allow other studies to interfere he was ever happy to be reminded with his Scripture reading. At of the dear Western isle. In his college he became a subscriber to “ Evening Walk in Bengal,” he the then infant Bible Society, which remarked and reflected,
afterwards he supported, not with “ So rich a shade, so green a sod,
his purse only, but in the pulpit, on Our English fairies never trod !
the platform, and with his pen. He Yet who in Indian bowers has stood, said: “God has given no laws to But thought on England's 'good green- men which are not contained in the
wood I' And bless'd, beneath the palmy shade,
sacred Volume; nothing which is Her hazel and her hawthorn glade,
not grounded on Scripture can be And breath'd a prayer,-how oft in necessary to be believed; nothing vain !
which is contrary to Scripture can To gaze upon her oaks again ?”
safely be taught or practised.” Such Heber's faithful parents pointed a master did he become of its senhim to heaven, and assiduously tences, that his friends loved to helped him in the
thither. The consult him on difficult passages. child's lips uttered pure words. He In unfolding the meaning of Holy would close a book in a moment if Writ, he thought for himself. He he lighted on a passage or expres- urged “that the best means of sion that offended his tender con- understanding any single passage science. He became a communicant of Scripture is to acquire an accurate when about fourteen years of age. and long acquaintance with the His mother missing her "Com- whole of the sacred Volume.” He panion to the Altar,” Reginald pro- was not a gouty expositor, unable duced the manual, confessing that to get up and speak until his humble it had been in his possession for servants the commentators had three weeks, and that he had spent handed the accustomed staff. “ Read many hours in studying it; and, as the Bible attentively yourself," he he now understood and approved its advised, “without the assistance of contents, requested permission to any commentator; first form your accompany her to the Lord's table
own opinion, and then examine those the next Sacramental Sunday. of others.” He was early led into the garden
Heber loved prayer.
While he of inspiration, and, by his father's thought himself unobserved, he was express desire, had the free range often overheard, when a child, enof the holy Volume; and he soon gaged in devotion. In regard to made it his rule and refuge. He
He religious exercises, he held views was not a careless wanderer through which do not find favour with every the sacred pages, but proceeded class of Christians. Even in his regularly, and would stop to con- secret addresses to the Divine Being verse with God.
He was blessedly he used his pen to promote the at home in the shades and walks of preparation of his heart, avoided wisdom, admiring the flowers and formality by framing original forms, living upon the roots and fruits. kept himself, by a thoughtful selecSome daringly refer their dislike or tion of language, from mechanical indifference to the inspired Book to and "vain repetitions." He had a the way in which they were tasked book in which he entered prayers with it when children. To Heber, for immediate use; and from the as he grew in years, it became age of thirty-three it was his " increasingly attractive. He would stant custom to consecrate every
important occurrence of his life by greatly suffered, when a child, from a short prayer” recorded in his inflammatory disorders; but for his private journal of devotions. Of painful seasons of unemployment these brief and pointed petitions, he made up in his precious hours of written in Latin before he left his convaelscence. When six years old, native land, subsequently in English, after a severe attack of typhus, his widow has published fifteen : on desiring some agreeable occupation, his birthday, the death of his infant, while yet unable to leave his bed, a servant's dismissal, his wife's de- he craved permission, as his first parture to the sea-side, her recovery, indulgence, to learn the Latin the prospect of rejoining his family, grammar ; and it is said that twelve the commencement and close of months afterwards he had translated journeys, landing in Bengal, burying Phædrus into English verse. At a fellow-traveller, recovering from school he was remarkably diligent, illness, and thinking of his flock in and at college would tie a wet India. As he felt it his duty to cloth round his head rather than intercede for others, so he regarded lose his hours of study in conit as of the greatest importance that sequence of an evening party. He others should pray for him. When never habitually mocked the darkbidding adieu to his country, he ness, and insulted day-light. By sought the pleadings on his behalf the use of a box for fines, he broke of his personal friends, and the himself, at Oxford, into the practice united supplications of his Hodnet of early rising. The fine-box he congregation,
gave up, when no longer necessary; His piety was practical. As a but to the last he remained an steward of God, he aimed at being early riser, He did not allow counted faithful. He endeavoured amusements to put a stop to mental so to receive good at the hand of application and improvement. His the Lord as not to render its with- books were not laid aside in the drawal necessary. He was a pattern holidays. He was not less busy as of temperance, and strove to make a student, when active as a volunhis earthly comforts a way to higher teer. “Do not,” he wrote, “utterly happiness. In a path comparatively throw aside the gown for the sabre; smooth and flowery, yet-needful I intend to try whether they are medicine, he observed, for his
not very compatible, as I fag and temperhe met with disappoint- drill bý turns.” He would not ments, bereavements, sufferings and forego his soldiering; but neither struggles, which made him look would he miss his academic ordeals up to the hand of God more rever- and honours. ently, and take a firmer hold of His When a country clergyman, he mercy.
guarded against subsiding into As a literary man, Heber
what an acquaintance had defined a reached his eminence by laborious country magistrate to be," a rumiand patient climbing. It may be nating animal busied about turnsaid that, considering his natural pike roads." In every engagement talents and disposition, and the soli- he had an aim.
He said he would citude and judgment with which his avoid the necessity of confessing, education was conducted, he began like Grotius, but with greater the ascent on pleasant and gentle reason, Vitam perdidi operose nihil slopes. Yet there were difficulties agendo.
He spent about seren in his way at the very starting. He hours daily in his study. From
the time he acquired his letters, he zaboo, on the River St. Lawrence, was an eager and attentive reader. in America.” It bore the signature “ Take the little book, and eat it “ Gilderoy”: the author was Regiup," was a commandment which he nald Heber. found no difficulty in obeying. His There was no fortress with that brother said that “ Reginald did name; and, for anything the author more than read books, he devoured knew, no such hero as Vandeleur. them.” So it was at College. “ At The sole merit of the production, if this time,” says an Oxonian who it possesses any, is its amusing reverenced him there," his reading nonsense; and the only beauty of was extensive and miscellaneous. it was that the bard turned out to He was, indeed, a book-devourer ; be a prophet. Taking up the magand in those noble libraries he sat azine, and turning to the monthly for many a solemn and meditative
page of " Select Modern Poetry, hour with the mighty dead." In the wondering uncle of a certain the feast of intellect, he had his Philip Vandeleur, who had been decided tastes and preferences. With missing for some years not only logic, as a science, he was dis- discovered, as he believed, the fact gusted; and he felt no attraction and scene of the young man's death, to mathematical studies. He ad- but an eye-witness's eulogium on mired the dead languages, not in his valour, and was so overjoyed their anatomy, but their complete- that he put his hand in his pocket, ness; and he made himself familiar and sent five-pound note to with most of the living tongues of “Sylvanus Urban, Gent.," — the Europe. He was versed in heraldry, pretended name of the editor,-to an accomplished draughtsman, and be forwarded as a slight acknowan enthusiast in his devotion to ledgment to the sonneteer. natural history. In brief, he was a The prose writings of Heber are thoughtful student, and a philo- various and copious. A college sopher as well as a scholar.
essay on a
A Sense of Honour,” His pen was busy from his boy- for which, the year after he had hood. At school his composi- taken his degree, he gained the tions in prose and verse displayed University's Bachelor's prize, has thought and knowledge beyond his been thought worthy of preservation. years. In some of his first attempts His letters, of the publication of as an author, he wore an unseemly many of which he never dreamed, mask, and playfully tried his skill. bring us into the presence of the For a time, much to the entertain- scholar, gentleman and Christian. ment of the initiated, he kept up a Examples of correct and easy com
correspondence with himself position, unreservedly expressing his in the stately periodical which had opinions, and some of them containadmitted Dr. Johnson's fabricated ing lengthened dissertations, they reports of debates in the Houses furnish pleasant and profitable readof Parliament, “ The Gentleman's ing. As a traveller, he wrote diffuse Magazine.” In the same publi- and interesting journals. That of cation there appeared, in 1804, a his Continental tour, from which ex"Sonnet occasioned by the Death tracts are given as notes in Clarke's of Lieut. Philip Vandeleur, of His “ Travels in Russia," was intended, Majesty's ship Wagtail, who was next to his own advantage, for the killed by the bursting of a bomb- entertainment of his mother and shot at the surprising of Fort Muz- friends; and his “ Indian Journal,"
with an eye to future revision and versity prize for his “Carmen Sæcupublication, was written immediately lare." This Latin poem on the for Mrs. Reginald Heber. Another commencement of the century, not posthumous publication, his “History perfectly Horatian in versification of the Cossacks," owing its existence and language, even in these respects to a request of Gifford, who affirmed was not excelled by the production that the world had gone Cossack of any rival; and it is throughout mad, entitles him to the honour of remarkably lively, and gives the a diligent and faithful chronicler. true Castalian murmur. In the “ Quarterly Review," which success was his “Palestine,” comfrom its commencement he felt in- posed at the age of twenty. On the terested in supporting, eleven articles day for rehearsal, before a crowded from his pen appeared. In 1812, as theatre, two young gentlemen desa relaxation and amusement, to which tined to be Bishops of Calcutta, nevertheless he devoted much time stood, one after the other, on the and study, he began a “Critical rostrum. Daniel Wilson first reand Historical Dictionary of the peated his prose essay on "Common Bible,” which he did not live to Sense.'
Then rose the younger finish. He published, in 1822, a man, but earlier bishop, Reginald “Life of Jeremy Taylor, with a Criti- Heber. His face was pale, but cal Examination of his Writings." sweetly animated. A pure and There have been given to the world honest soul was seen looking forth three series of his sermons : “Parish from its windows. As if reflected Sermons,” other “Sermons in Eng- from the sun that had given its land,” and “ Sermons in India.” day to Judæa, a smile played on his Making the allowance for some of sobered countenance. His voice, them that he prepared them not for slightly melancholy, faltered now the press but the pulpit, they com- and then; for he felt the grandeur mand admiration as being plain, of his situation, and more the subpointed, practical, expository, always limity and inspiration of his theme. lively, and occasionally faultless. In his meaning eye, appropriate His “Bampton Lectures," on “ The tones and natural gestures, his Personality and Office of the Chris- muse, a law to herself, was eloquent. tian Comforter," which he himself Never was a prize poem so successpublished, must be looked upon as ful. It was applauded throughout his most learned and important the university, honoured in the patheological work.
laces of the land, and welcomed in More than Heber the journalist, the homes of the people; it was set essayist or divine, we love the poet to music, and performed before the Heber. Rhymes were now and then public, as an oratorio; it was transaccidentally discovered which the lated into Welsh; it flew to the child Reginald had carefully put cities of India, heralding and intogether, but as carefully put aside, troducing the bishop. The utternever intending that they should ance of one who loved as a student see the light. Exercises in verse,
Bible countries,some of which have been made public, sometimes startling, but never unhe, at school, undertook with plea- natural, in its transitions,-judisure, and accomplished with pains. cious and well-proportioned in its He was a triumphant competitor for parts and plans,-it holds still, the Oxford laurels. In his first and will continue to hold, a reyear at College he gained the Uni- spectable rank in the realm of