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EPITAPH ON SIR WILLIAM WILLIAMS.*
This Epitaph was written at the request of Mr. Frederick Montagu, who intended to have inscribed it on a monument at Bellisle, at the siege of which Sir W. Williams was killed, 1761. See Mason's Memoirs, vol. i. p. 73; and vol. iv. p. 76; and H. Walpole's Lett. to G. Montagu, p. 244. See account of Sir W. P. Williams, in Brydges. Restituta, vol. iii. p. 53; and in Clubs of London, vol. ii. p. 13. "In the recklessness of a desponding mind, he approached too near the enemy's sentinels, and was shot through the body."
"Valiant in arms, courteous and gay in peace,
Hall Stevenson's Poems, ii. p. 49.
HERE, foremost in the dangerous paths of fame, Young Williams fought for England's fair re
His mind each Muse, each Grace adorn'd his frame,
Nor envy dar'd to view him with a frown.
*Sir William Peere Williams, bart. a captain in Burgoyne's dragoons.
V. 3. Εἵνεκεν εὐεπίης πινυτόφρονος, ἣν ὁ μελιχρὸς
ἤσκησεν Μουσῶν, ἄμμιγα καὶ Χαρίτων.
Sophoc. Epit. ed. Brunck. vol. i. p. 10.
Τὸν Μώσαις φίλον ἄνδρα, τὸν οὐ Νυμφαίσιν ἀπέχθη.
Theocr. Idyll. a. 141.
I recollect also the same expression in Gregory Nazianzen's
A. Hill. Poems, vol. iii. p. 60.
At Aix, his voluntary sword he drew,
There first in blood his infant honour seal'd ; From fortune, pleasure, science, love, he flew,
And scorn'd repose when Britain took the field.
With eyes of flame, and cool undaunted breast,
ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY
The manuscript variations in this poem, in the Wharton papers, agree generally with those published by Mr. Mathias, vol. i. p. 65, in his edition of Gray's Works. See Barrington on the Statutes, p. 154. British Bibliog. vol. iii. p. viii.
THE curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea, The ploughman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
V. 5. Sir William Williams, in the expedition to Aix, was on board the Magnanime with Lord Howe; and was deputed to receive the capitulation. This expression has been adopted by Scott:
"Since riding side by side, our hand
Marmion, Introd. to Cant. iv. squilla di lontano
Che paia 'l giorno pianger, che si muore."
Dante, Purgat. 1. 8. Gray.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
"The curfew tolls! the knell of parting day." So I read, says Dr. Warton, Notes on Pope, vol. i. p. 82. Dryden has a line resembling this:
"That tolls the knell of their departed sense."
See Prol. to Troilus and Cressida, ver. 22.
is Shakes. Henry IV. pt. ii. act i. sc. 2:
"a sullen bell
And not dissimilar
Remember'd knolling a departed friend."
V. 2. In the Diosem. of Aratus, this picture is drawn similar to that of the English poet, ver. 387:
Ἤ δ' ὅτε μυκηθμοῖο περίπλειοι ἀγέρωνται
And so Dionys. in his Perieg. ver. 190:
Κείνοις δ' ὄυποτε τερπνὸς ἀκούεται ὁλκὸς ἁμάξης,
See also Hom. Odyss. xvii. 170, pointed out by Wakefield. Add Petrarch, " Veggio la sera, i buoi tornare sciolte, de le campagne e de solcate colli."
V. 3. Spens. F. Q. b. vi. st. 7. c. 39:
"And now she was upon the weary way." Luke. V. 4. A similar expression occurs in Petrarch, p. 124: "Quando 'l sol bagna in mar l' aurato cerco,
E'l aer nostro, e la mia mente imbruna."
"Has paid his debt to justice and to me." Dryd. Ovid.
"E lascia il Mundo al Foscombra." Ariosto. Rogers.
"Ere the bat hath flown
Hath rung night's yawning peal." Macb. act iii. sc. 2.
And so Collins, in his Ode to Evening:
"Or where the beetle winds
His small, but sullen horn;
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r,
The moping owl does to the moon complain 10 Of such as, wand'ring near her secret bow'r, Molest her ancient solitary reign.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade, Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
As oft he rises midst the twilight path, Against the pilgrim borne in heedless hum." W. V. 10. The "ignavus bubo" of Ovid. Met. v. 550. two following passages might supply the images in the Elegy: "Assiduous in his bower the wailing owl
Plies his sad song." Thoms. Winter, 114.
Screams solitary to the mournful moon."
Mallett. Excursion, p. 244.
V. 12. "Desertaque regna pastorum," Virg. Georg. iii. 476. W.
V. 13. De Lille, in his "Jardins," has imitated these stanzas of the Elegy, cant. iv. p. 86.
V. 14. "Those graves with bending osier bound,
That nameless heave the crumbled ground." Parnell. Night Piece, 29. W. V. 15. See Hor. Od. i. iv. 17: "Domus exilis Plutonia." The word domus, which answers to our poet's cell, is often in Latin authors put for sepulchrum; as may be seen by referring to Burmann's Petronius, cap. 71; and Markland's Statius, p. 255: the reason of which is given in Barthelemy. Travels in Italy, p. 349.
V. 17. "And e'er the odorous breath of morn."
"In Eden, on the humid flowers that breath'd
And so Pope. Messiah, ver. 24:
"With all the incense of the breathing spring."
The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn, Or busy housewife ply her evening care;
Var. V. 19. Or] And. мs. M. and W.
V. 18. "Mane jam clarum reserat fenestras,
Auson. ed Tollii, p. 94.
Hesiod gives the swallow a very appropriate epithet: xɛ2dav opopoyón Epy. 567. Wakefield quotes Thomson. Autumn. ver. 835. The swallow-people; - there they twitter cheerful." "Evandrum ex humili tecto lux suscitat alma, et matutini volucrum sub culmine cantus." v. Virg. Æn. viii. 455. When chanticleer with clarion shrill recalls The tardy day." Philips. Cyder, i. 753.
Wakefield cites Par. Lost, b. vii. 443:
"The crested cock, whose clarion sounds
The silent hours."
And Hamlet, act i. sc. 1. L'Allegro, ver. 53. To which add Quarles. Argalus and Parthenia, p. 22:
"I slept not, till the early bugle-horn
Of chaunticlere had summon'd in the morn."
Thomas Kyd has also joined the two images (England's Parnassus, p. 325):
"The cheerful cock, the sad night's trumpeter,
Wayting upon the rising of the sunne.
The wandering swallow with her broken song."
V. 21. Compare Apoll. Rhod. iv. 1062.
"Nam jam non domus accipiet se læta, neque uxor
Lucretius, iii. 907.
Horace has added to the picture an image copied by Gray:
"Quod si pudica mulier, in partem juvet