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that distinguishes them from others equally good or bad, and therefore nothing can be said of them which may not be applied with equal propriety to a thousand more. It is indeed no great panegyrick that there is inclosed in this tomb one who was born in one year and died in another; yet many useful and amiable lives have been spent which yet leave little materials for any other memorial. These are, however, not the proper subjects of poetry, and whenever friendship or any other motive obliges a poet to write on such subjects, he must be forgiven if he sometimes wanders in generalities and utters the same praises over different tombs.

The scantiness of human praises can scarcely be made more apparent than by remarking how often Pope has, in the few epitaphs which he composed, found it necessary to borrow from himself. The fourteen epitaphs which he has written comprise about an hundred and forty lines, in which there are more repetitions than will easily be found in all the rest of his works. In the eight lines which make the character of Digby there is scarce any thought or word which may not be found in the other epitaphs.

The ninth line, which is far the strongest and most elegant, is borrowed from Dryden'. The conclusion is the same with that on Harcourt, but is here more elegant and better connected.



In Westminster-Abbey, 17232.

'Kneller, by heav'n, and not a master, taught,
Whose art was nature, and whose pictures thought;

to analyse the characters of others,
especially of those whom we love, is
not a common or natural employment
of men at any time.... Least of all
do we incline to these refinements
when under the pressure of sorrow,
admiration, or regret.' WORDS-
WORTH, Works, 1857, vi. 316.

'Thou wilt have time enough for
hymns divine,
Since Heaven's eternal year is


To Mrs. Anne Killigrew, 1. 14.
Pope wrote in 1725:-'My Lady

Kneller has petitioned the Doctors' Commons to pull down my father's monument [in Twickenham Church].' She wished to set up in its stead 'a large one to Sir G. and herself with both their figures.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), x. 177, 201. He adds that Kneller on his deathbed said, "By God, I will not be buried in Westminster." I asked him why? He answered, "They do bury fools there." He desired me to take down my father's monument, for it was the best place in the church to

Now for two ages, having snatch'd from fate
Whate'er was beauteous, or whate'er was great,
Lies crown'd with Princes' honours, Poets' lays,
Due to his merit, and brave thirst of praise.

'Living, great Nature fear'd he might outvie
Her works; and dying, fears herself may die '.'

Of this epitaph the first couplet is good, the second not bad, 419 the third is deformed with a broken metaphor, the word crowned not being applicable to the honours or the lays, and the fourth is not only borrowed from the epitaph on Raphael, but of very harsh construction 2.

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Down with more monuments! more room (she cried),

For I am very large and very wide.'

Pope's Works (E. & C.), x. 179. 'Being unable to get the spot in Twickenham Church which he desired, Kneller left money for his monument in Westminster Abbey.' Dict. Nat. Biog. xxxi. 242. ['He is said to have been buried in the garden of his manor at Whitton, now Kneller Hall (in the parish of Twickenham); but of the place of his interment there is no trace.' Cobbett's Hist. of Twickenham, pp. 65, 386. His burial appears in the Twickenham Parish Church Register, Nov. 7, 1723. Ib. P: 64.]

I 6

'Pope laid a wager that there was no flattery so gross but Kneller would swallow. To prove it, Pope said to him as he was painting: "Sir Godfrey, I believe if God Almighty had had your assistance the world would have been formed more perfect." "Fore God, Sir," replied Kneller, "I believe so." WALPOLE,

Anecdotes of Painting, 1782, iii. 207. For other versions of this story see Warton's Essay on Pope, ii. 463 and his Pope's Works, ii. 357.

Pope wrote to him on Feb. 18, 1717-8: 'I really believe (from the conviction I have how much better you make things than Nature herself) that even a Man in love would think his Mistress improved by you.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), ix. 511.

Gay laughed at him in Mr. Pope's Welcome from Greece:

'Kneller amid the triumph bears his part,

Who could (were mankind lost)

anew create;

What can th' extent of his vast soul confine?

A painter, critic, engineer, divine!'
Ib. v. 176.

2 In The Universal Visiter, p. 215, the sentence ran :-' the fourth wants grammatical construction, the word dying being no substantive.'

According to Hawkins (Life o Johnson, p. 539), Johnson's criticism was productive of the total erasure of the epitaph, which had long been objected to as being a very indifferent imitation of Cardinal Bembo's distich on Raphael:

"Ille hic est Raphael, timuit quo sospite vinci

Rerum magna parens, et mo

riente mori."'

[The monument, now in the south aisle of the choir, is placed so high, that the inscription cannot be read.]







In Westminster-Abbey, 1729'.

'Here, Withers, rest! thou bravest, gentlest mind,
Thy country's friend, but more of human kind.
O! born to arms! O! worth in youth approv'd!
O! soft humanity in age belov'd 2!

For thee the hardy vet'ran drops a tear,
And the gay courtier feels the sigh sincere.

'Withers, adieu! yet not with thee remove
Thy martial spirit, or thy social love!
Amidst corruption, luxury, and rage,
Still leave some ancient virtues to our age:
Nor let us say (those English glories gone)
The last true Briton lies beneath this stone 3'

The epitaph on Withers affords another instance of commonplaces, though somewhat diversified by mingled qualities and the peculiarity of a profession.

The second couplet is abrupt, general, and unpleasing; exclamation seldom succeeds in our language, and I think it may be observed that the particle O! used at the beginning of a sentence always offends *.

The third couplet is more happy; the value expressed for him by different sorts of men raises him to esteem: there is yet something of the common cant of superficial satirists, who suppose that the insincerity of a courtier destroys all his sen

'The prose epitaph in the Abbey on his monument [east cloister] is an expansion of these lines.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), iv. 387.

"In The Tatler, No. 46, it is said that Mr. Withers gives his orders with the familiarity, and enjoys his fortune with the generosity of a fellowsoldier.'

'Now pass we Gravesend with a

friendly wind, [Blackwall,
And Tilbury's white fort, and long
Greenwich, where dwells the friend
of human kind,
More visited than either park or
Withers the good.'

GAY, Mr.Pope's Welcome from Greece,

Pope's Works (E. & C.), v. 171. [See also Luttrell's Relation, vi. 234, 715; Journal to Stella, Jan. 25, 1712, Ap. 2, 1713; Dalton's Army Lists, 1661-1714.]

3 Here, last of Britons! let your names be read;

Are none, none living? let me praise the dead.'

Epil. Sat. ii. 250. Swift would have objected to Britons. Mentioning England in a letter to Stella (Nov. 23, 1711) he continues: -'I never will call it Britain, pray don't call it Britain. Works, ii.

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sations, and that he is equally a dissembler to the living and the dead'.

At the third couplet I should wish the epitaph to close, but 424 that I should be unwilling to lose the two next lines, which yet are dearly bought if they cannot be retained without the four that follow them.



At Easthampsted in Berkshire, 1730.

'This modest stone, what few vain marbles can, May truly say, Here lies an honest man:

A poet, blest beyond the poet's fate,

Whom Heav'n kept sacred from the Proud and Great:

Foe to loud praise, and friend to learned ease3,
Content with science in the vale of peace.

Calmly he look'd on either life; and here

Saw nothing to regret, or there to fear;

From Nature's temp'rate feast rose satisfy'd^;

Thank'd heav'n that he had liv'd, and that he dy'd.'


The first couplet of this epitaph is borrowed from Crashaw 5. 426 The four next lines contain a species of praise peculiar, original, and just. Here, therefore, the inscription should have ended; the latter part containing nothing but what is common to every man who is wise and good. The character of Fenton was so amiable that I cannot forbear to wish for some poet or biographer to display it more fully for the advantage of posterity. If he did not stand in the first rank of genius he may claim a place in the second; and, whatever criticism may object to his writings, censure could find very little to blame in his life ❝.

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be fed with a spoon." Ante, FENTON,

4 'Poor Fenton died of a great chair and two bottles of port a day.' Ante, FENTON, 18 n. 5.

5 Ante, FENTON, 17.

'The modest front of this small floor,
Believe me, reader, can say more
Than many a braver marble can:
Here lies a truly honest man.'
CRASHAW, Epitaph on Mr. Ashton,
Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope),
iv. 388.

"Ante, FENTON, 19 n.



On Mr. GAY.

In Westminster-Abbey, 1732 1.

'Of manners gentle, of affections mild;
In wit, a man; simplicity, a child:

With native humour temp'ring virtuous rage,
Form'd to delight at once and lash the age:
Above temptation, in a low estate,

And uncorrupted, ev'n among the Great: A safe companion, and an easy friend, Unblam'd thro' life, lamented in thy end. These are thy honours! not that here thy bust Is mix'd with heroes, or with kings thy dust; But that the Worthy and the Good shall say, Striking their pensive bosoms 2-Here lies GAY.' 428 As Gay was the favourite of our author3 this epitaph was probably written with an uncommon degree of attention; yet it is not more successfully executed than the rest, for it will not always happen that the success of a poet is proportionate to his labour. The same observation may be extended to all works of imagination, which are often influenced by causes wholly out of the performer's power, by hints of which he perceives not the origin, by sudden elevations of mind which he cannot produce in himself, and which sometimes rise when he expects them least *.



The two parts of the first line are only echoes of each other; gentle manners and mild affections, if they mean anything, must

mean the same.

That Gay was a man in wit is a very frigid commendation; to have the wit of a man is not much for a poet. The wit of man and the simplicity of a child make a poor and vulgar

Ante, GAY, 24. In 1729 Gay
asked Pope to have 'these words put
upon his tombstone :-

"Life is a jest, and all things show it.
I thought so once, but now I know it,"
with what more you may think proper.'
Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope),
vii. 435.
For some variations in
Pope's epitaph see ib. iv. 389 n.

2 For pensive Pope had at first
written aching. Swift wrote to him :-
'I have nothing against your epitaph

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