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An EPITAPH on Mr. Dove, an Apothecary; who unfortunatels murdered bimself by canvassing at Elections.
Sequefter'd from the various calamities of life,
The remains of Benjamin Dove,
Doctor, and dealer in politics ;
Whose courage and intrepidity exposed him
to many dangers and difficulties, and at
last to death itself; for on the 26th
of May, 1754, he fell a victim,
not to the sword, but to the glass.
He was in all respects a truly worthy man ;.
A kind and steady friend,
A generous benefactor,
A warm patriot,
An agreeable companion,
A cutter of jokes,
And a great canvasser at elections.
In the most corrupt
and abandon'd age,
He maintain'd his independency,
Disdain'd every bribe ;
Ner cou'd the arts and infinuations of the wicked
Induce him once to play
The part of a Jack-of-both sides ;
But ever fix'd and determin'd in his choice,
And aided by the arms of Bacchus,
He gain’d many profelytes to the cause
For which he died.
He was a good Christian in his day,
And rather inclin'd to the Church than to the Synagogue ;.
A man of Virtue,
Tho' a lover of the Wenches.
Some faults he had,
But none that his friends could see,
Or that his enemies can remember.
Farewel, dear friend, thy glass is run ;
Death has a Finis Fixid to Fun.
Those jokes which o'er the mantling bowl
Regațd the heart, and cheard the souls.
And gain'd thy patriot friend a vote,
Muji, with thy virtues, be forgot :
Yet, of a thousand, one in ten,
May shrug, perbaps, and cry - Poor Ben!
We shall conclude this species of poetry with a droll and fatirical Epitaph written by Mr. Pope, which we tranfcribed from a inonument in Lord Cobham's gardens at Stor in Buckinghamshire.
To the Memory
An Italian of good Extraction ;
Who came into England,
Not to bite us, like most of his Countrymen,
But to gain an honest Livelyhood.
He hunted not after Fame,
Yet acquir'd it;
Regardless of the Praise of his Friends,
but most sensible of their Love.
Tho' he liv'd amongst the Great,
He neither learnt nor flatter'd any Vice.
He was no Bigot,
Tho' he doubted of none of the 39 Articles.
And, if to follow Nature,
and to respect the Laws of Society,
he was a perfect Philosopher ;
a faithful Friend,
an agreeable Companion,
a loving Husband,
distinguish'd by a numerous Offspring,
all which he liy'd to see take good Courses.
In his old Age he retired
to the House of a Clergyman in the Country,
where he finished his earthly Race, and died an Honour and an Example to the whole Species,
This Stone is guiltless of Flattery,
for he to whom it is inscrib'd
was not a MAN,
HE Elegy is a mournful and plaintive, but yet a sweet
and engaging kind of poem. It was first invented to bewail the death of a friend, and afterwards us'd to express the complaints of lovers, or any other doleful and melancholy subject. In process of time not only matters of grief, but joy, wishes, prayers, expoftulations, reproaches, admonitions, and almost every other fubje&, were admitted into Elegy; however, funeral lamentations and affairs of love seem moit agreeable to its character.
The plan of an Elegy, as indeed of all other poems, ought to be made before a line is written ; or else the author will ramble in the dark, and his verses have no dependance on each other. No epigrammatic points or conceits, none of those fine things which moft people are so fond of in every fort of poem, can be allow'd in this, but must give place to nobler beauties, those of Nature and the Passions. Elegy rejects whatever is facetious, satirical, or majestic, and is content to be plain, decent, and unaffected ; yet in this humble state is the sweet and engaging, elegant and attractive. This poem is adorn'd with frequent commiferations, complaints, exclamations, addresses to things or persons, short and proper digrefions, allufions, comparisons, prosopopaias or feigned perfons, and sometimes with short descriptions. The diction ought to be free from any harshness; neat, easy, perfpicuous, expreffive of the manners, tender, and pathetic; and the numbers should be smooth and flowing, and captivate the ear with their uniform sweetness and delicacy.
For an example of a good and mournful Elegy, I shall insert one written by Mr. Pope, which will give the reader a juft idea of the tender and plaintive character of this kind
To the memory of an unfortunate Lady. What beck’ning ghost along the moonlight shade Invites my ftep, and points to yonder glade ?
'Tis she ! - but why that bleeding bosom gorid ?
Why dimly gleams the visionary sword?
Oh ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell,
Is it, in heav'n, a crime to love too well ?
To bear too tender, or too firm a heart,
To act a lover's, or a Roman's part?
Is there no bright reversion in the sky,
For those who greatly think, or bravely die?
Why bade ye elfe, ye Pow'rs! her soul aspire
Above the vulgar Aight of low desire ?
Ambition first sprang from your bleft abodes,
The glorious fault of Angels and of Gods :
Thence to their images on earth it flows,
And in the breasts of kings and heroes glows !
Most souls, 'tis true, but peep out once an age,
Dull, fullen prisoners in the body's cage :
Dim lights of life, that burn a length of years,
Uselefs, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres ;
Like eastern kings a lazy state they keep,
And close confin'd in their own palace sleep.
From thefe perhaps (ere nature bade her die)
Fate snatch'd her early to the pitying sky.
As into air the purer fpirits flow,
And sep'rate from their kindred dregs below ;
So flew the foul to its congenial place,
Nor left one virtue to redeem her race.
But thou, false guardian of a charge too good,
Thou mean deferter of thy brother's blood ?
See on these ruby lips the trembling breath,
These cheeks, now fading at the blaft of death ;
Cold is that breast which warm'd the world before,
And those love-darting eyes must roll no more.
Thus, if eternal justice rules the ball,
Thus Thall your wives, and thus your children fall:
On all the line a sudden vengeance waits,
And frequent herses thall befege your gates.
There passengers thall ftand, and pointing fay,
(While the long fun’rals blacken all the way).
Lo these were they whose fouls the furies steeld,
And curs'd with hearts unknowing how to yield.
Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
The gaze of fools, and pageants of a day !
So perish all, whose breast ne'er learnt to glow
For others good, or melt at others woe.
What can atone (oh ever-injur'd shade !)
Thy fate unpity'd, and thy rites unpaid ?
No friends complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleas'd thy. pale ghost, or grac'd thy mournful bier ;
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were clos'd,
By foreign hands thy decent limbs compos’d.
By foreign hands thy humble grave adornd,
By strangers honourd, and by strangers mourn'd !
What tho' no friends in sable weeds appear,
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year,
And bear about the mockery of woe
To midnight dances, and the public show ;
What tho' no sacred earth allow thee room,
Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb;
Yet shall thy grave with rising flow'rs be drest,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast :
There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow,
There the first rofes of the year shall blow;
While Angels with their filver wings o'ershade
The ground, now facred by thy reliques made.
So peaceful relts, without a stone, a name,
What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame :
How lov’d, how honour'd once, avails thee not,
To whom related, or by whom begot;
A heap of duft alone remains of thee,
'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be !
Poets themselves must fall, like those they sung,
Deaf the prais d ear, and mute the tuneful tongue.
Ev'n he, whose foul now melts in mournful lays,
Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays :
Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part,
And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart :
Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er,
The muse forgot, and thou belov'd no more !
But of Elegies on the subject of death, this by Mr. Gray is one of the best that has appeared in our language, and may be juftly efteem'd a masterpiece.