Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 63.djvu/30

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Wordsworth
Wordsworth
6

appearance and rapid success of the first volume of his autobiographical ‘Annals’ of which a second edition was called for in the month of its publication (October 1891). His charge of 1892 was delivered in his absence by the dean. The last month of his life was cheered by the foundation of the ‘Scottish Church Society’ by his friend Dr. Milligan. He died at St. Andrews on 6 Dec. 1892, and was buried in the cathedral yard. On the memorial tablet, after the dates, follow these words, drawn up by himself: ‘Remembering the prayer of his Divine Lord and Master | for the unity of His Church on earth, | He prayed continually and laboured earnestly | that a way may be found, in God's good time, | For the reunion of the Episcopalian and Presbyterian bodies | without the sacrifice of Catholic principle | or Scriptural Truth.’

Wordsworth left his own communion in a much higher position in public opinion than when he first came to the country, and this change was largely due to his courage, persistent energy, and ability. The diocese developed considerably during the forty years' episcopate. The number of incumbencies increased from sixteen to twenty-six, and new churches or chapels were built in at least twenty-six places. The parsonagehouses increased from two (Dunblane and Kirriemuir) to twenty, including the provost's house at Perth.

Wordsworth was tall and handsome, with a strong and prepossessing countenance, set off by brown curly hair and brightened by a winning smile. He had a taste and a talent for friendship, and numbered among his firmest friends Bishops W. K. Hamilton and T. L. Claughton, and Roundell Palmer, lord Selborne. In disposition he was generous, and free in expense. He was very accurate and orderly, even in trifles, and expected others to be so. His character, as well as his experience as a teacher, made him critical, and he could be occasionally severe, and he was therefore sometimes misjudged. He was on the one side impulsive and eager, on the other sensitive, and subject to fits of depression; but on the whole he was sanguine and resolute, and gifted with much perseverance and consistency. His religious faith was serene and rational, while he had little sympathy for the philosophical and mysterious aspects of religion. He never preached without book, and took great pains with his sermons, which were admirably delivered.

Of the bishop's publications his two small books, a ‘Discourse on the Scottish Reformation’ (1861) and a ‘Discourse on Scottish Church History’ (1881), are both valuable for the earlier periods of their subject. His own life in Scotland is recorded in the two volumes of ‘Public Appeals on behalf of Christian Unity’ (1886), containing his chief writings and addresses on the subject of ecclesiastical polity, especially as regards Scotland, from 1854 to 1885. They are connected by useful summaries and introductions which are indispensable for the history of the period. He published also a commentary on ‘Ecclesiasticus’ in the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge edition of the ‘Apocrypha’ (1880−1), and a ‘Life of Bishop Hall,’ prefixed to the edition of his ‘Contemplations’ issued by the same society in 1872. His edition or twelve of Shakespeare's ‘Historical Plays’ (1883, 3 vols.) deserves to be better known. During the evening of his life at St. Andrews he indulged his taste in Latin verse in a way that rendered his residence there more delightful to his friends. The effect of some of them was heightened by a partnership with Dean Stanley, which began with a translation by the latter of some spirited hexameter lines to Dean Ramsay (1872), and attained its highest point in the version of congratulatory elegiacs to Lord Beaconsfield after the Berlin congress (1878), which Lord Beaconsfield compared (somewhat inaptly) to the partnership of Beaumont and Fletcher. In 1880 he published translations of Keble's hymns relating to the clerical office, reprinting with them, the versions of Ken and Keble published at Winchester in 1845. In 1890 he produced a remarkable tour de force, the whole body of prayer-book collects in Latin elegiacs, the solace of many weary hours of sickness.

The titles of numerous other valuable papers are detailed in the bibliography at the end of the ‘Episcopate,’ among which may be named ‘Papal Aggression in the East’ (1856); various publications on the Scottish communion office and on the eastward position of the celebrant; a Shakespearian sermon, ‘Man's Excellency a Cause of Praise and Thankfulness to God’ (1864); ‘St. Chrysostom as an Orator’ (1884); ‘Archbishop Hamilton's Catechism’ (1885); and ‘Pindar and Athletics Ancient and Modern: an Address to St. Andrews Students’ (1888).

The bishop had twelve children by his second marriage, five sons and seven daughters, of whom three sons and five daughters still survive. His widow died on 23 April 1897.

An engraving from a portrait drawn by G. Richmond about 1840 hangs in the head-