Monday, December 28, 2009

Throw Mr Wesley's Hymns Overboard

Mon 28 1789: I retired to Peckham; and at leisure hours read part of a very pretty trifle, the Life of Mrs. Bellamy. Surely never did any, since John Dryden, study more to make vice pleasing, and damnation shine, than this lively and elegant writer. She has a fine imagination; a strong understanding; an easy style, improved by much reading; a fine, benevolent temper; and every qualification that could consist with a total ignorance of God. But God was not in all her thoughts. Abundance of anecdotes she inserts, which may be true or false. One of them, concerning Mr. Garrick, is curious. She says, "When he was taking ship for England, a lady presented him with a parcel, which she desired him not to open till he was at sea. When he did he found Wesley’s Hymns, which he immediately threw overboard." I cannot believe it. I think Mr. G had more sense. He knew my brother well; and he knew him to be not only far superior in learning, but in poetry, to Mr. Thomson, and all his theatrical writers put together: None of them can equal him, either in strong, nervous sense, or purity and elegance of language. The musical compositions of his sons are not more excellent than the poetical ones of their father.
In the evening I preached to a crowded congregation, some of whom seemed a good deal affected

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