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While Butler, needy wretch, was yet alive,
No generous patron would a dinner give.
See him when starv'd to death, and turn'd to duft,
Presented with a monumental bust!

The poet's fate is here in emblem shown;
He afk'd for Bread, and he receiv'd a Stone.

As these Compofitions are short, many of them have the reputation of being written extempore, though they are the effect of confideration and ftudy; the following Epigram, however, has that additional merit; for which reafon, and for it's uncommon Thought, we shall prefent it to the Reader.

One day in Chelsea gardens walking,
Of poetry and fuch things talking,
Says Ralph, a merry wag,
An Epigram, if fmart and good,
In all its circumftances fhould

Be like a Jelly-Bag.

The fimile, i'faith, is new;

But how can't make it out? fays Hugh.
Quoth Ralph, I tell thee, friend;

Make it at top both wide and fit
To hold a budget full of wit,
And point it at the End.

We fhall clofe this chapter with an Epigram written on
the well-known ftory of Apollo and Daphne, by Mr. Smart:
When Phabus was am'rous and long'd to be rude,
Mifs Daphne cry'd Pish! and ran fwift to the wood;
And rather than do fuch a naughty affair,

She became a fine laurel to deck the God's hair.
The nymph was, no doubt, of a cold conftitution;
For fure to turn tree was an odd resolution!
Yet in this she behav'd like a true modern spouse,
For fhe fled from his arms to distinguish his brows.


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HESE Compofitions generally contain fome Elogium of the virtues and good qualities of the deceased, and have a turn of seriousness and gravity adapted

to the nature of the fubject. Their elegance confiffs in a nervous and expreffive brevity; and fometimes, as we have elsewhere obferved, they are elofed with an epigrammatic point. In thefe compofitions, no mere Epithet (properly fo called) fhould be admitted; for here illustration would impair the ftrength, and render the fentiment too diffuse and languid. Words that are fynonymous are also to be rejected.


Tho' the true characteristic of the Epitaph is seriousness and gravity, yet we find many that are jocofe and ludicrous; fome likewife have true metre and rhyme, while others are between profe and verfe, without any certain measure, tho' the words are truly poetical; and the beauty of this laft fort is generally heighten'd by an apt and judicious Antithefis. We fhall give examples of each.

There are in the Spectator feveral old Greek Epitaphs very beautifully tranflated into English verfe, one of which I fhall take the liberty of tranfcribing. It is written on Orpheus, a celebrated antient poet and mufician, whofe ftory is well known. He is faid to have been the fon of Apollo and Calliope, one of the Nine Mufes, the Goddess meant in the last line of the Epitaph.


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No longer, Orpheus, fhall thy facred ftrains.
Lead ftones, and trees, and beafts along the plains;
No longer footh the boift'rous wind to fleep,
Or ftill the billows of the raging deep :

For thou art gone; the Mufes mourn'd thy fall
In folemn ftrains, thy mother most of all.

Ye mortals idly for your fons ye moan,
If thus a Goddess could not fave her own.

The ingenious tranflator obferves, that if we take the fable for truth, as it was believed to be in the age when this was written, the turn appears to have piety to the gods, and a refigning fpirit in the application ; but, if we confider the Point with refpect to our prefent knowledge, it will be less esteem'd; though the author himself, because he believ'd it, may ftill be more valued than any one who should now write with a point of the fame nature.

The following Epitaph on Sir Philip Sidney's fifter, the Countess of Pembroke, faid to be written by the famous Ben Johnson, is remarkable for the noble thought with hich it concludes.

On MARY Countess Dowager of PEMBROKE."
Underneath this marble hearse,
Lies the fubject of all verse,
Sidney's fifter, Pembroke's mother:
Death, ere thou haft kill'd another
Fair, and learn'd, and good as fhe,
Time fhall throw a dart at thee.

Take another Epitaph of Ben Johnson's, on a beautiful and virtuous lady, which has been deservedly admired by very good judges.

Underneath this ftone doth lie
As much virtue as could die;
Which when alive did vigour give
To as much beauty as could live.

Mr. Pope has drawn the character of Mr. Gay, in an Epitaph now to be feen on his monument in WeftminsterAbbey, which he has closed with such a beautiful turn, that I cannot help looking upon it as a master-piece in its kind, as indeed are most of the productions of that furprifing genius.

On Mr. GA Y.

Of manners gentle, of affections mild;
In wit, a man; fimplicity, a child :
With native humour temp'ring virtuous rage,
Form'd to delight at once, and lafh the age:
Above temptation in a low eftate,
And uncorrupted, ev'n among the Great :
A fafe companion, and an eafy friend,
Unblam'd thro' life, lamented in thy end.
Thefe are thy honours! not that here thy buft
Is mix'd with heroes, or with kings thy duft;
But that the worthy and the good fhall fay,
Striking their penfive bofoms-Here lies ĜAY.

There is fomething fo tender and moving, and fuch a ftrain of paternal and filial affection in Mr. Pope's Epitaph on Dr. Atterbury, that we fhall give it a place among thefe examples, tho' the Critics, perhaps, will object to its being a true Epitaph.

On Dr. FRANCIS ATTERBURY, Bishop of Rochester, who died in exile at Paris, 1732.

[His only Daughter having expired in his arms, immediately after fhe arrived in France to see him.]


She. Yes, we have liv'd-one pang, and then we part!
May heav'n, dear father! now have all thy heart.
Yet ah! how once we lov'd, remember ftill,
Till you are dust like me.


Dear fhade! I will:
Then mix this duft with thine-O fpotless ghoft!
O more than fortune, friends, or country loft!
Is there on earth one care, one with befide ?
Yes-Save my country, heav'n,
He faid, and dy'd.

I fhall conclude thefe examples of the serious kind with an Epitaph written by Mr. Smart, to the memory of Master ***, who died of a lingering illness, aged eleven.

Henceforth be every tender tear fuppreft,
Or let us weep for joy that he is bleft;

From grief to blifs, from earth to heav'n remov'd,
His mem'ry honour'd, as his life belov'd.
That heart o'er which no evil e'er had pow'r !
That difpofition, fickness cou'd not four !
That fenfe, so oft to riper years deny'd!

That patience, heroes might have own'd with pride!
His painful race undauntedly he ran,

And in th' eleventh winter died a MAN.

Amongst the Epitaphs of a punning and ludicrous caft, I know of none prettier than that which is faid to have been written by Mr. Prior on himself, wherein he is pleafantly fatirical upon the folly of those who value themfelves on account of the long feries of ancestors through which they can trace their pedigree.

Nobles and Heralds, by your leave,

Here lie the bones of Matthew Prior,
The fon of Adam and of Eve:

Let Bourbon or Nassau go higher.

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Of the fame caft is that written by Mr. Pope on one who would not be buried in Weftminfter-abbey.

Heroes, and kings! your distance keep,
In peace let one poor poet fleep,
Who never flatter'd folks like you:
Let Horace blufh, and Virgil too.

The following Epitaph on a Mifer contains a good caution and an agreeable raillery.

Reader, beware immod❜rate love of pelf:

Here lies the worst of thieves, who robb'd himself.

But Dr. Swift's Epitaph on the fame fubject is, I think, a mafter-piece of the kind.


Beneath this verdant hillock lies
Demer, the wealthy and the wife.
His Heirs, that he might fafely reft,
Have put his Carcass in a Cheft:
The very Cheft, in which, they fay,.
His other Self, his Money, lay.
And if his heirs continue kind
To that dear Self he left behind,
I dare believe that four in five
Will think his better Half alive.

We shall give but one example more of this kind, which is a merry Epitaph on an old Fiddler, who was remarkable.

(we may fuppofe) for beating time to his own mufick.

On STEPHEN the Fiddler.

Stephen and Time are now both even;

Stephen beat Time, now Time's beat Stephen..

We are now come to that fort of Epitaph which rejects Rhyme, and has no certain and determinate measure; but where the diction must be pare and strong, every word have weight, and the antithefis be preserved in a clear and direc oppofition. We cannot give a better example of this. fort of Epitaph, than that on the tomb of Mr. Pulteney, in the cloysters of Westminster-Abbey.

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