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ON MR. ELIJAH FENTON,
AT EASTHAMSTED IN BERKS, 1730.
This modest Stone, what few vain marbles can,
Ver. 9. From Nature's temp?rate feast, &c.] Wakefield quotes Horace:
Inde fit, ut raro qui se vixisse beatum
His integrity, his learning, and his genius, deserved this character; it is not in any respect over wrought. His poems are not sufficiently read and admired. The Epistle to Southerne, the Ode to the Sun, the Fair Nun, and, above all, the Ode to Lord Gower, are excellent. Akenside frequently said to me, that he thought this Ode the best in our language, next to Alexander's Feast. “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 stage. Just before he died, Fenton was introduced into Mr. Craggs' family by Pope's recommendation,
Warton, Pope has left another character of Fenton, not inconsistent with the above. “ Fenton is a right honest man. He is fat and indolent; a very good scholar; sits within, and does nothing but read, or compose."-Spence's Anec. p. 19. Singer's Ed.
Calmly he look’d on either Life, and here
ON MR. GAY,
IN WESTMINSTER-ABBEY, 1732
Of Manners gentle, of Affections mild
Ver. 1. Of Manners gentle,] “The eight firs lines," says Johnson, “ have no grammar; the adjectives are whout any substantives, and the epithets without a subject.”
Warton. Ver. 2. In Wit, &c.] This seems derived from Iryden's Elegy on Mrs. Anne Killegrew : “ Her wit was more than man; her innocencia child."
Wakefield. Ver. 3. virtuous Rage,] Silius Italicus, v. 652, ha the same expression : Virtutis sacram rabiem, Wakefield.
Ver. 12. Here lies Gay.] i. e. in the hearts of the good and worthy.—Mr. ?ope told me his conceit in this line was not generally understool. For, by peculiar ill-luck, the formulary expression which makes the beauty, misleads the reader into a sense which takes it quite avay.
Warburton. The conceit n the last line is certainly very puerile, and a false thought borroved from Crashaw: “ Entonb'd, not in this stone but in
heart." Crashaw, Poems, p. 94.
INTENDED FOR SIR ISAAC NEWTON,
Tesantur Tempus, Natura, Cælum:
Hoc marmor fatetur.
Nature and Nature's Laws lay hid in Night: GOD sad, Let Newton be! and all was Light.
Ver. 1. Natre] The antithesis betwixt Mortalem and Immortalem is much insuited to the subject; and the second English line, “ God said, &,” borders a little on the profane. The magnificent Fiat of Moses vill be always striking and admired, notwithstanding the cold objectns of Le Clerc and Huet.
Warton. Ver. 2. Let Jewton be!] He was born on the very day on which
Galileo died. When Ramsay was one day complimenting him on his discoveries in philosophy, 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 Lightas more conformable to the reality of the fact, and to the allusion whereby it is celebrated.
ON DR. FRANCIS ATTERBURY,
BISHOP OF ROCHESTER.
Who died in Exile at Paris, 1732, (his only Daugh
ter having expired in his Arms, immediately after she arrived in France to see him).
Yes, we have liv'd—one pang, and then we part!
you are dust like me.
Dear Shade! I will :
Ver. 1. Yes, we have liv'd-] I know not why this Dialogue should be called an Epitaph. Dr. Johnson says, “ it is contemptible, and should have been suppressed for the Author's sake." I see no reason for this harsh sentence passed upon it. Warton.
O more than Fortune, Friends, or Country lost!
-He said, and dy'd.
Dr. Johnson says, “ the contemptible Dialogue between · He and She,' should have been suppressed.”
Many of our old Epitaphs are written in dialogue. In this instance, nothing could so well express the story of the Daughter and Father meeting in a foreign country, he exiled, and she dying in his arms!
Bowles. Ver. 9. Save My Country, Heav'n,] Alluding to the Bishop's frequent use and application of the expiring words of the famous Father Paul, in his prayer for the state, “ Esto perpetua.” With what propriety the Bishop applied it at his trial, and is here made to refer to it in his last moments, they will understand who know what conformity there was in the lives of the Prelate and the Monk. The character of our countryman is well known; and that of the Father may be told in very few words. He was profoundly skilled in all divine and human learning. He employed his whole life in the service of the State, against the unjust encroachments of the Church. He was modest, humble, and forgiving, candid, patient, and just; free from all prejudices of party, and all the projects of ambition; in a word, the happiest compound of science, wisdom, and virtue.
Warburton. This severe sarcasm would certainly, if he had seen it, been highly displeasing to Pope, who retained for Atterbury the warmest affection and respect. But from the Letters of Atterbury, printed, in three volumes, by Mr. Nicholls, and particularly from those in p. 148, to p. 168, it almost indisputably appears that the Bishop was engaged in a treasonable correspondence, and in the intrigues of the Pretender.