صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني


On the Monument of the Hon. ROBERT DIGBY, and of his Sister Mary, erected by their Father the Lord Digby, in the Church of Sherborne in Dorsetshire, 1727

Go! fair example of untainted youth,
Of modeít wisdom, and pacifick truth :.
Compos'd in suiferings, and in joy fedate,
Good without noise, without pretension great.
Juft of thy word, in every thought fincere,
Who knew no wishi but what the world might

hear :
Of fofteit manners, unaffected mind,
Lover of peace, and friend of human kind :
Go, live! for Heaven's eternal year is thine,
Go, and exalt thy moral to divine.

And thou, blest maid! attendant on his doom,
Penfive haft follow'd to the filent tomb,
Steer'd the same course to the same quiet fhore,
Not parted long, and now to part no more!
Z 3


[ocr errors]

Go, then, where only bliss fincere is known!
Go, where to love and to enjoy are one !

Yet take these tears, Mortality's relief,
And till we share your joys, forgive our grief:
These little rites, a fione, a verse receive,
'Tis all a father, all a friend can give !

This epitaph contains of the brother only a general indiscriminate character, and of the sister tells nothing but that she died. The difficulty in writing cpitaphs is to give a particular and appropriate praise. This, however, is not always to be performed, whatever be the diligence or ability of the writer; for the

greater part of mankind have no charafter at all, have little that distinguishes them from others equally good or bad, and therefore nothing can be said of them which may not be applied with equal propriety to a thousand more. , It is indeed no great panegyrick, that there is inclosed in this tomb one who was born in one year, and died in another; yer many useful and amiable lives have been spent 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 fometimes 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 necessary to borrow from himfelf. The fourteen epitaphs, which he has written, comprise about an 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. The conclusion is the same with that on Harcourt, but is here inore elegant and better connected.



minfier-Abbey, 1723.

Kneller, by heaven, and not a master taught, Whose art was nature, and whose pictures

thought; Now for two ages, having snatch'd from fate Whate'er was beauteous, or whate'er was great, Lies crown'd with Princes honours, Poets lays, Due to his merit, and brave thirst of praise.

Living, Here, Withers, rest! thou bravest, gentlest


Living, great Nature fear'd he might outvie
Her works ;, and, dying, fears herself may


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, but of very harsh ! construction.


On General HENRY WITHERS. In West

minster-Abbey, 1729.

mind, Thy country's friend, but more of human kind, O! born to arms! O! worth in youth approv’d! 0! soft humanity in age belov'd ! 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 ipirit, or thy social love !


« السابقةمتابعة »