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ON MR. ELIJAH FENTON,
AT EASTHAMSTED IN BERKS, 1730.
HIS modeft Stone, what few vain marbles can,
May truly fay, Here lies an honeft Man:
A Poet, bleft beyond the Poet's fate,
Whom Heav'n kept facred from the Proud and Great:
Saw nothing to regret, or there to fear;
HIS integrity, his learning, and his genius, deferved this characer; it is not in any respect over-wrought. His poems are not fufficiently 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. Akenfide frequently faid to me, that he thought this Ode the best in our language, next to Alexander's Feast. "I envy Fenton," faid Pope to Mr. Walter Harte, "his Horatian Epiftle to Lambard." Parts of Mariamne are beautiful, and it ought to take its turn on the ftage. Just before he died, Fenton was introduced into Mr. Cragg's family by Pope's recommendation.
Not only the fecond line, but almoft the whole of this epitaph, is borrowed from Crafhaw, an imitator of Marino, and a writer of whom Pope, and indeed Cowley, were fond. He translated a book of Marino's Strage de gli Innocente.
ON MR. GAY,
IN WESTMINSTER-ABBEY, 1732.
F Manners gentle, of Affections mild;
In Wit, a Man; Simplicity, a Child:
With native Humour temp'ring virtuous Rage.
VER. 1. Of Manners gentle,] "The eight first lines," fays Johnfon, "have no grammar; the adjectives are without any fubftantives, and the epithets without a fubject."
It is fomewhat fingular that there should be an improper expreffion in Bishop Warburton's own epitaph. His genius and learning are called two talents, but learning is an acquirement.
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 formulary expreffion which makes the beauty, misleads the reader into a sense which takes it quite away.
The conceit in the last 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,
Teftantur Tempus, Natura, Coelum :
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 fubject; and the fecond English line, "God faid, &c." borders a little on the profane. The magnifi cent Fiat of Mofes will be always ftriking and admired, notwithftanding the cold objections of Le Clerc and Huet.
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 philosophy, he answered, as I read it in Spence's Anecdotes, "Alas! I am only like a child picking up pebbles on the fhore of the great ocean of truth."
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.
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.)
Es, we have liv'd-one pang, and then we part!
May Heav'n, dear Father! now have all thy
Yet ah! how once we lov'd, remember still,
Till you are duft like me.
Dear Shade! I will:
Then mix this duft with thine-O fpotless Ghost! O more than Fortune, Friends, or Country loft!
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 fhould have been fuppreffed for the author's fake." I fee no reason for this harsh fentence passed upon it.
Is there on Earth one care, one wish befide?
-He faid, and dy'd.
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, " Efto 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, againft the unjuft encroachments of the Church. He was modeft, humble, and forgiving, candid, patient, and juft; free from all prejudices of party, and all the projects of ambition; in a word, the happiest compound of science, wisdom, and virtue.
This severe sarcasm would certainly, if he had feen it, been highly displeasing to Pope, who retained for Atterbury the warmest affection and refpect. But from the Letters of Atterbury, printed, in three volumes, by Mr. Nicholls, and particularly from those in p. 148. to p. 168. it almoft indifputably appears that the Bishop was engaged in a treasonable correfpondence, and in the intrigues of the Pretender.