which yet leave little materials for any other memorial. These are however not the proper subjects of poetry; and whenever friendship, or any other motive, obliges a poet to write on such subjects, he must be forgiven if he sometimes wanders in generalities, and utters the same praises over different tombs.

The scantiness of human praises can scarcely be made more apparent than by remarking how often Pope has, in the few epitaphs which he composed, found it neces. sary to borrow from himself. The fourteen epitaphs which he has written comprise about a hundred and forty lines, in which there are more repetitions than will easily be found in all the rest of his works. In the eight lines which make the character of Digby there is scarce any thought or word which may not be found in the other epitaphs. The ninth line, which is far the strongest and most elegant, is borrowed from Dryden. The conclusion is the same with that on Harcourt, but is here more elegant and better connected.


0.1 Sir GODFREY KNELLER, in Westminster Abbey, 1723.

Kneller, by Heaven, and not a master, taught,
Whose art was Nature, and whose pictures thought;
Now for two ages, having snatched from fate
Whate'er was beauteous, or whate'er was great,
Lies crowned with Princes, honours, Poets, lays,
Due to his merit, and brave thirst of praise.

Living, great Nature feared he might outvie
Her works; and dying, fears herself may die.

Of this epitaph the first couplet is good, the second not bad, the third is deformed with a broken metaphor, the word crowned not being applicable to the honours or the lays, and the fourth is not only borrowed from the epitaph on Raphael, but of a very harsh construction.

On General HENRY WITHERS, in Westminster Abbey,

Here, Withers, rest! thou bravest, gentlest minh,
Thy country's friend, but more of human kind.
O born to arms! O worth in youth approved !
O soft humanity in age beloved !
For thee the hardy veteran drops a tear,
And the gay courtier feels the sigh sincere

Withers, adieu! yet not with thee remove
Thy martial spirit, or thy social love !
Amidst corruption, luxury, and rage,
Still leave some ancient virtues to our age:
Nor let us say (those English glories gone)
The last true Briton lies beneath this stone.

The epitaph on Withers affords another instance of commonplaces, though somewhat diversified by mingled qualities, and the peculiarity of a profession. The second couplet is abrupt, general, and unpleasing ; exclamation seldom succeeds in our language; and, I think, it may be observed that the particle 0! used at the beginning of a sentence, always offends. The third couplet is more happy; the value expressed for bim, by different sorts of men, raises him to esteem; there is yet something of the common cant of superficial satirists, who suppose that the insincerity of a courtier destroys all his sensations, and that he is equally a dissembler to the living and the dead. At the third couplet I should wish the epitaph to close, but that I should be unwilling to lose the two next lines, which yet are dearly bought if they cannot be retained without the four that follow them.

On Mr. ELIJAH FENTON, at Easthamstead in Berkshire,

This modest stone, what few vain marbles can,
May truly say, Here lies an honest man:

A poet, blest beyond the poet's fate,
Whom Heaven kept sacred from the Proud and Great:
Foe to loud praise, and friend to learned ease,
Content with science in the vale of peace.
Calmly he looked on either life, and here
Saw nothing to regret or there to fear;
From Nature's temperate feast rose satisfied,
Thanked Heaven that he lived, and that he died.

The first couplet of this epitaph is borrowed from Crashaw. The four next lines contain a species of praise peculiar, original, and just. Here, therefore, the inscription should have ended, the latter part containing nothing but what is common to every man who is wise and good. The character of Fenton was so amiable, that I cannot forbear to wish for some poet or biographer to display it more fully for the advantage of posterity. If he did not stand in the first rank of genius, he may claim a place in the second ; and, whatever criticism may ob. ject to his writings, censure could find very little to blame in his life.

On Mr. Gay, in Westminster Abbey, 1732.

Of manners gentle, of affections mild ;
In wit, a man ; simplicity, a child :
With native humour tempering virtuous rage,
Formed to delight at once and lash the age:
Above temptation, in a low estate,
And uncorrupted, ev'n among the Great :
A safe companion and an casy friend,
Unblamed through life, lamented in thy end,
These are thy honours ! not that here thy bust
Is mixed with heroes, or with kings thy dust;
But that the Worthy and the Good shall say,
Striking their pensive bosoms-Here lies GAY..

As Gay was the favourite of our author this epitaph was probably written with an uncommon degree of attention, yet it is not more successfully executed than the

rest, for it will not always happen that the success of a poet is proportionate to his labour. The same observation may be extended to all works of imagination, which are often influenced by causes wholly out of the performer's power, by hints of which he perceives not the origin, by sudden elevations of mind which he cannot produce in himself, and which sometimes rise when he expects them least. The two parts of the first line are only echoes of each other; gentle manners and mild affections, if they mean anything, must mean the same.

That Gay was a man in wit is a very frigid commendation; to have the wit of a man is not much for a poet. The wit of man and the simplicity of a child make a poor and vulgar contrast, and raise no ideas of excellence, either intellectual or moral.

In the next couplet rage is less properly introduced after the mention of mildness and gentleness, which are made the constituents of his character ; for a man so mild and gentle to temper his rage was not difficult. The next line is inharmonious in its sound, and mean in its conception; the opposition is obvious, and the word lash used absolutely, and without any modification, is gross and improper. To be above temptation in poverty and free from corruption among the Great is indeed such a peculiarity as deserved notice. But to be a safe companion is a praise merely negative, arising not from possession of virtue but the absence of vice, and that one of the most odious.

As little can be added to his character by asserting that he was lamented in his end. Every man that dies is, at least by the writer of his epitaph, supposed to be lamented, and therefore this general lamentation does no honour to Gay.

The first eight lines have no grammar ; the adjectives are without any substantive, and the epithets without a subject. The thought in the last line, that Gay is

buried in the bosoms of the worthy and good, who are distinguished only to lengthen the line, is so dark that few understand it, and so harsh, when it is explained, that still fewer approve.


Intended for Sir ISAAC NEWTON, in Westminster Abbey.


Quem Immortalem
Testantur, Tempus, Natura, Colum:

Mortalem hoc marmor fatetur.
Nature, and Nature's laws, lay hid in night :
God said, Eet Newton be! And all was light.

On this epitaph, short as it is, the faults seem not to be very few. Why part should be Latin and part English it is not easy to discover. In the Latin the opposition of Immortalis and Mortalis is a mere sound, or a mere quibble; he is not immortal in any sense contrary to that in which he is mortal. In the verses the thought is obvious, and the words night and light are too nearly allied.

On EDMUND Duke of BUCKINGHAM, who died in the 19th

Year of his Age, 1735.
If modest youth, with cool reflection crowned,
And every opening virtue blooming round,
Could save a parent's justest pride from fate,
Or add one patriot to a sinking state ;
This weeping marble had not asked thy tear,
Or sadly told how many hopes lie here !
The living virtue now had shone approved,
The senate heard him, and his country loved.
Yet softer honours, and less noisy fame,
Attend the shade of gentle Buckingham:
In whom a race, for courage famed and art,
Ends in the milder merit of the heart;

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