« AnteriorContinuar »
If thou art a BRITON,
Behold this Tomb with Reverence and Regret:
The kindest Relation, the trueft Friend,
He gain'd a complete Knowledge of the State of Britain,
In moft the backward Fruit of tedious Experience,
Abroad, in the aufpicious Reign of Queen Anne, At home, in the Reign of that excellent Prince K. George the first. He ferved his Country always, At Court independent, In the Senate unbiass'd, At every Age, and in every Station : This was the bent of his generous Soul, This the Bufinefs of his laborious Life.
Public Men, and Public Things,
Gentle, humane, difinterested, beneficent,
He feared none he could create in the Caufe of Britain.
In this Misfortune of thy Country lament thy own :
The Lofs of fo much private Virtue
That poignant fatire, as well as extravagant praife, may be conveyed in this manner, will be feen by the following Epitaph written by Dr. Arbuthnot on Francis Chartres; which
is too well known, and too much admired, to need our commendation.
HERE continueth to rot
The Body of FRANCIS CHARTRES,
In fpite of AGE and INFIRMITIES,
In the undeviating Pravity of his Manners,
In Accumulating WEALTH:
For, without TRADE OF PROFESSION,
He was the only Person of his Time
Who could CHEAT without the Mask of HONESTY,
When poffefs'd of TEN THOUSAND a year;
And having daily deserved the GIBBET for what he did, Was at laft condemn'd to it for what he could not do. Oh Indignant Reader !
Think not his Life ufelefs to Mankind;
PROVIDENCE Conniv'd at his execrable Designs,
A confpicuous PROOF and EXAMPLE,
By his bestowing it on the moft UNWORTHY OF ALL
This fort of Epitaph may alfo admit of humour and ridicule, as will appear by the following on a boon companion who is fuppofed to have loft his life to obtain his friend a borough.
An EPITAPH on Mr. Dove, an Apothecary; who unfortunately murdered himself by canvaffing at Elections.
Sequefter'd from the various calamities of life,
In the most corrupt and abandon'd age,
Nor cou'd the arts and infinuations of the wicked
The part of a Jack-of-both fides;
But ever fix'd and determin'd in his choice,
He was a good Chriftian in his day, And rather inclin'd to the Church than to the Synagogue;
A man of Virtue,
Tho' a lover of the Wenches.
Some faults he had,
But none that his friends could fee,
We fhall conclude this fpecies of poetry with a droll and fatirical Epitaph written by Mr. Pope, which we transcribed from a nonument in Lord Cobham's gardens at Stow in Buckinghamshire.
To the Memory
An Italian of good Extraction;
Not to bite us, like most of his Countrymen,
Regardless of the Praife of his Friends,
"Tho' he doubted of none of the 39 Articles.
and to refpect the Laws of Society,
he was a perfect Philofopher;
a faithful Friend,
diftinguish'd by a numerous Offspring,
all which he liv'd to fee take good Courses.
to the House of a Clergyman in the Country,
and died an Honour and an Example to the whole Species.
for he to whom it is infcrib'd
was not a MAN,
but a GREY-HOUND.
Of the ELEGY.
HE Elegy is a mournful and plaintive, but yet a sweet and to bewail the death of a friend, and afterwards us'd to exprefs the complaints of lovers, or any other doleful and melancholy subject. In process of time not only matters of grief, but joy, wifhes, prayers, expoftulations, reproaches, admonitions, and almost every other fubject, were admitted into Elegy; however, funeral lamentations and affairs of love seem most agreeable to its character.
The plan of an Elegy, as indeed of all other poems, ought to be made before a line is written; or else the author will ramble in the dark, and his verses have no dependance on each other. No epigrammatic points or conceits, none of thofe fine things which moft people are fo fond of in every fort of poem, can be allow'd in this, but must give place to nobler beauties, thofe of Nature and the Paffions. Elegy rejects whatever is facetious, fatirical, or majestic, and is content to be plain, decent, and unaffected; yet in this humble state is the fweet and engaging, elegant and attractive. This poem is adorn'd with frequent commiferations, complaints, exclamations, addresses to things or perfons, fhort and proper digreffions, allufions, comparisons, prosopopaias or feigned perfons, and fometimes with fhort descriptions. The diction ought to be free from any barfbnefs; neat, eafy, perfpicuous, expreffive of the manners, tender, and pathetic; and the numbers fhould be smooth and flowing, and captivate the ear with their uniform fweetness and delicacy.
For an example of a good and mournful Elegy, I fhall infert one written by Mr. Pope, which will give the reader a juft idea of the tender and plaintive character of this kind of poem.
To the memory of an unfortunate LADY.
What beck'ning ghoft along the moonlight shade Invites my step, and points to yonder glade?