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We hall conclude this fpecies of poetry with a droll and satirical Epitaph written by Mr. Pope, which we tranfcribed from a monument in Lord Cobham's gardens at Stow in Buckinghambire.
To the Memory
Who came into England,
But to gain an honest Livelyhood.
Yet acquir'd it;
but moft sensible of their Love.
Tho' he liv'd amongst the Great,
He was no Bigot,
And, if to follow Nature,
a faithful Friend,
a loving Husband,
In his old Age he retired
where he finished his earthly Race, and died an Honour and an Example to the whole Species.
was not a MAN,
HE Elegy is a mournful and plaintive, but yet a sweet
and engaging kind of poem. It was firit 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, wilhes, prayers, expoftulations, reproaches, admonitions, and almost every other subject, were admitted into Elegy; however, funeral lamentations and affairs of love seem most 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 wbich most 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, satirica', 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 commiserations, complaints, exclamations, addresses to things or persons, short and proper digressions, allufions, comparisons, prosopopeias or feigned perfons, and sometimes with short descriptions, The diction ought to be free from any baroness; neat, easy, perspicuous, 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 ghoft along the moonlight shade Invites my step, and points to yonder glade ?
'Tis the ! —but why that bleeding bosom gor'd ?
Why bade ye else, ye Pow'rs! her soul aspire
From these perhaps (ere nature bade her die)
But thou, false guardian of a charge too good,
So perilh all, whose breast ne'er learnt to glow
What can atone (oh ever-injurd shade !)
So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name,
Poets themselves must fall, like those they sung,
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 justly esteem'd a masterpiece.
An ELEGY. Written in a country church-yard. The curfeu tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea. The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness, and to me.
And all the air a solemn stillness holds ;
Or drowsy tincklings Jull the distant folds.
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Moleft her ancient solitary reign.
Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep. The breezy call of incense breathing morn,
The swallow twitt'ring from the straw-built shed, The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed. For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care : No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knees the envy'd kiss to share. Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke; How jocund did they drive their team a field !
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke! Let not ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and deftiny obscure ; Nor grandeur hear with a disdainful smile,
The short and simple annals of the poor.
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,