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the quarrelsome consider this, they ought to blush at their little hatreds, and grow ashamed to let their souls be divided by animosity, when death may crumble their bodies together, and incorporate them with their most malicious enemy!
There is no fortune so exalted, but it may find a check in this dark mansion; nor any condition so dejected, but that it may be sure of a comfort: every stone that we look upon, in this repository of past ages, is an entertainment and a monitor. I never leave its venerable gloom, without finding my mind cooler and more composed than when I entered. I sink deep into myself, and see my heart without disguise, in its good or evil propensities ; and I gather power from these strong impressions to resist pleasure, pride, ambition, or low avarice; and to fortify the impulses of humility, forgiveness, charity, and the virtues of content and quietude.
There was published, a few years since, a poem called “ Westminster Abbey.” I am sorry the author's name was not printed with it.There is something highly elevated in his genius, that is sweetly serious, and sublimely melancholy.—The verses inserted above I am in= debted for to that poem; and I shall borrow from the same piece these following, which, I will take the liberty to affirm, are as fine ones as were ever written. I ask pardon for a transposition, and alteration or two, which I have only made, that I might have the pleasure of collecting into one view as many of the beauties as could possibly be drawn together in the narrow compass
Lead on, my Muse! while, trembling, I essay
Seize Time, and by the pinions, urge his stay;
To mount their throne, here monarchs bend their way
Though firm the chequer'd pavement seems to be,
While crowding lords address their duties near,
I am ignorant what reception this excellent performance met with in the world; but, I hope, for the honour of my country, that it was not a
The whole poem is full of beauties; but if it had no other merit than appears in what I have copied from it, every candid judge of poetry must allow it to have deserved the highest applause and admiration.
PLAIN-DEALER, No. 42, Aug. 14, 1724,
Though this paper has no small share of merit, and seems principally to have been written with a view of recommending the verses introduced; yet must it be considered as a daring attempt, when we recollect the twenty-sixth number of the Spectator, by Addison, to which not only this, but probably every other essay on the subject, will be deemed inferior. The paragraph commencing with “ Let him walk
with me in this instructive circle,” is a copy of the admirable close of Addison's reflections, which never can be too often reprinted: “When I look upon the tombs of the great (says this exquisite writer), every emotion of envy dies in me; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes out; when I meet with the grief of parents upon a tomb-stone, my heart melts with compassion; when I see the tomb of the parents themselves, I consider the vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly follow. When I see kings lying by those who deposed them; when I consider rival wits placed side by side; or the holy men that divided the world with their contests and disputes; I reftect with sorrow and astonishment on the little competitions, factions, and debates of mankind. When I read the several dates of the tombs, of some that died yesterday, and some six hundred years ago, I consider that great day when we shall all of us be contemporaries, and make our appearance together.”
Of the import of both these passages the Bard of Marmion has beautifully availed himself in his introduction to canto the first of that poem, when deploring the loss of the rival states. men, Pitt and Fox:
Here, where the end of earthly things
The solemn echo seems to cry-
I cannot here avoid remarking, that this introduction contains a very striking and poetical imitation of the pensive lines of Moschus on the death of his brother bard:
To mute and to material things