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ON MR. ELIJAH FENTON,
AT EASTHAMSTED IN BERKS, 1730.
Whom Heav'n kept facred from the Proud and Great:
VER. 9. From Nature's temp'rate feaft, &c.] Wakefield quotes Horace :
Inde fit, ut raro qui fe vixiffe beatum
HIS integrity, his learning, and his genius, deferved this cha racter; it is not in any respect over-wrought. His poems are not fufficiently read and admired. The Epiftle to Southerne, the Ode to the Sun, the Fair Nun, and, above all, the Ode to Lord Gower, are excellent. Akenfide frequently faid to me, that he thought this Ode the best in our language, next to Alexander's Feaft. 66 I envy Fenton," said Pope to Mr. Walter Harte, "his Horatian Epistle to Lambard." Parts of Mariamne are beautiful, and it ought to take its turn on the flage. Juft before he died, Fenton was introduced into Mr. Craggs' family by Pope's recommendation.
ON MR. GAY,
IN WESTMINSTER-ABBEY, 1732.
F Manners gentle, of Affections mild;
VER. 1. Of Manners gentle,] "The eight first lines," says Johnson, “have no grammar; the adjectives are without any fubftantives, and the epithets without a fubje&t.”
It is fomewhat fingular that there fhould be an improper expreffion in Bishop Warburton's own epitaph. His genius and learning are called two talents, but learning is an acquirement. WARTON.
VER. 2. In Wit, &c.] This feems derived from Dryden's Elegy on Mrs. Anne Killegrew:
“Her wit was more than man; her innocence a child.”
VR. 3. virtuous Rage,] Silius Italicus, v. 652, has the fame
Virtutis facram rabiem.
VER. 12. Here lies GAY.] i. e. in the hearts of the good and worthy. Mr. Pope told me his conceit in this line was not generally understood. For, by peculiar ill-luck, the formu'ary expresfion which makes the beauty, misleads the reader into a sense which takes it quite away. WARBURTON.
The conceit in the laft line is certainly very puerile, and a false thought borrowed from Crafhaw:
"Entomb'd, not in this ftone but in my heart."
CRASHAW, Poems, p. 94.
INTENDED FOR SIR ISAAC NEWTON,
Hoc marmor fatetur.
Nature' and Nature's Laws lay hid in Night:
VER. 1. Nature] The antithefis betwixt Mortalem and Immortalem is much unfuited to the subject; and the second English line, "God faid, &c." borders a little on the profane. The magnificent Fiat of Mofes will be always ftriking and admired, notwithstanding the cold objections of Le Clerc and Huct.
VER. 2. Let Newton be!] He was born on the very day on which Galileo died. When Ramfay was one day complimenting him on his discoveries in philofophy, he answered, as I read it in Spence's Anecdotes, "Alas! I am only like a child picking up pebbles on the shore of the great ocean of truth." WARTON.
And all was Light.] It had been better-and there was Light —as more conformable to the reality of the fact, and to the allufion whereby it is celebrated. WARBURTON.
ON DR. FRANCIS ATTERBURY,
BISHOP OF ROCHESTER.
Who died in Exile at Paris, 1732, (his only Daughter having expired in his Arms, immediately after she arrived in France to fee him.)
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,
Dear Shade! I will:
Then mix this duft with thine-O fpotlefs Ghoft!
VER. 1. Yes, we have liv'd-] I know not why this Dialogue fhould be called an Epitaph. Dr. Johnfon fays, "it is contemptible, and should have been fuppreffed for the Author's fake." I fee no reason for this harsh fentence paffed upon it. WAKTON.
Dr. Johnfon fays, "the contemptible Dialogue between He and She,' fhould have been fuppreffed."
Many of our old Epitaphs are written in dialogue. In this inftance, nothing could fo well exprefs the ftory of the Daughter and Father meeting in a foreign country, he exiled, and the dying in his arms!