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Who broke no Promise, serv'd no private End,
Prais'd, wept, and honour'd, by the Muse he lov'd.
State. Considering the violent state of parties, no one had fewer enemies. His generosity, good-nature, pleasing manners, and liberal heart, were acknowledged by all. Though the friend of Addison, and raised by the Whigs, yet his manly generosity to Pope is well-known. The only thing that has appeared to cast a momentary shade, if I may so say, on his character, was his connection with the unfortunate South-Sea business. According to the Committee of Secrecy, no less a sum than 36,000l. fictitious stock was held for him and his father. Upon the great alarm and subsequent distress of the public, the elder Craggs died suddenly, not without suspicion that he had hastened his own dissolution. Possibly the violent agitation of his spirits produced a fever, which terminated fatally. The late Lord Orford informed Mr. Coxe, that he had an interview with Sir Robert Walpole, just at the time of the rupture of the scheme, and he appeared in such a state of violent agitation and distress, that Sir Robert expressed little surprise when he heard afterwards of his death. He left three daughters, all married, and connected with families whose descendants are at this day as high in station, as most amiable in life.
Craggs, notwithstanding he was a pleasant companion, and a particular favourite, it is said, with the Ladies, was very attentive to business. I have a letter now before me, from Methuen to Doddington, in which he says, "Mr. Walpole minds his hunting "in Norfolk, but Mr. Secretary Craggs, and your humble servant, "with some few of his brethren of the Privy Council, stick close "to business."
Johnson with justice objects to an Epitaph, partly in Latin, and partly in English.
Ver 1. Statesman, yet Friend to Truth!] These verses were originally the conclusion of the Epistle to Mr. Addison on his Dialogue on Medals, and were adapted as an Epitaph by an alteration in the last line, which in the Epistle stood—
"And prais'd unenvied by the Muse he lov'd." Johnson's principal objection to this Epitaph is, what he denominates the absurdity of joining in the same inscription, Latin and English, or verse and prose. "Such an epitaph," says he, sembles the conversation of a foreigner, who tells part of his meaning by words, and conveys part by signs."
No censure can prevent these lines from being considered as a manly, eloquent, and affectionate tribute to the memory of the person whose character they perpetuate.
THY Reliques, RowE! to this sad shrine we trust,
To these, so mourn'd in death, so lov'd in life!
The following is the Epitaph as it was originally written; but which
which was afterwards altered for the Monument in the Abbey, erected to Rowe and his Daughter :
Thy Reliques, Rowe, to this fair Urn we trust,
Ver. 3. Beneath a rude] The tomb of Mr. Dryden was erected upon this hint by the Duke of Buckingham; to which was originally intended this Epitaph:
66 This Sheffield rais'd. The sacred dust below,
Was Dryden once: The rest who does not know?"
which the Author since changed into the plain inscription now upon it, being only the name of that great Poet:
Natus Aug. 9, 1631. Mortuus Maij 1, 1700.
JOANNES SHEFFIELD DUX BUCKINGHAMIENSIS POSUIT.
WHO DIED OF A CANCER IN HER BREAST.
HERE rests a Woman, good without pretence, Blest with plain Reason, and with sober Sense;
* I have always considered this as the most valuable of Pope's Epitaphs; the subject of it is a character not discriminated by any shining or eminent peculiarities, yet that which really makes, though not the splendour, the felicity of life.
Domestic virtue, as it is exerted without great occasions, or
No Conquest she, but o'er herself, desir'd,
Passion and Pride were to her soul unknown,
So unaffected, so compos'd a mind;
So firm, yet soft; so strong, yet so refin'd;
conspicuous consequences, in an even unnoted tenor, required the genius of Pope to display it in such a manner as might attract regard, and enforce reverence. Who can forbear to lament that this amiable woman has no name in the verses?
On the Monument of the Honourable 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 softest manners, unaffected mind,
Lover of peace, and friend of human kind :
Go live! for Heav'n's Eternal year
Go, and exalt thy Moral to Divine.
And thou, blest Maid! attendant on his doom, Pensive hast follow'd to the silent tomb,
Steer'd the same course to the same quiet shore,
Ver. 11. And thou, blest Maid!] Mr. Robert Digby, third son of Lord Digby, who is yet remembered with respect at Sherborne, died of a consumption, and was soon after followed by the amiable and affectionate sister, who hung over his sick bed. The following letter from her sister to Pope, on the subject of their brother's illness, is in the British Museum, with part of the translation of the Odyssey on the back of it:
Sherborne, July 18, 1724.
"Dear Sir, "I am sure this will want no excuse to you, and it carries good news of a friend. My brother has not had any fit of his ague since Sunday; he has slept a little every night, but with some interruptions by the cramp. Last night he began to drink asses' milk, which had its usual effect, in giving him a good night's rest, and free from pain. I am, dear Sir, in great haste, but with great truth, your friend and servant,
"All here are your servants."
My father, who was an intimate friend and contemporary at Magdalen College, Oxford, with Mr. Robert Digby, was always saying that this excellent character was not over-drawn, and had every virtue in it here enumerated; and that Mr. Digby had more of the mitis sapientia, as Horace finely expresses it, than any man he had ever known. The same said the amiable Mr. Holdsworth, author of Muscipula. They were all three pupils of Dr. Sacheverell, who at that time was the friend of Addison, and was in great
vogue as an able tutor, before he entered so violently into those absurd politics that so much disgraced him..