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The following diftich, in my opinion, is an admirable Epigram, having all the neceffary qualities of one, especially Point and Brevity.

On a company of bad DANCERS to good Mufick.
How ill the motion with the mufic fuits!

So Orpheus fiddled, and fo danc'd the brutes.

This puts me in mind of another Epigram upon a bad fiddler, which I fhall venture to infert merely for the humour of it, and not for any real excellence it contains.

To a bad FIDDLER.

Old Orpheus play'd fo well, he mov'd Old Nick ;
But thou mov't nothing but thy fiddle-stick.

One of Martial's Epigrams, wherein he agreeably rallies the foolish vanity of a man who hired people to make verfes for him, and published them as his own, has been thus tranflated into English.

Paul fo fond of the name of a poet is


With gold he buys verses and calls them his own.
Go on, master Paul, nor mind what the world fays,
They are furely his own for which a man pays.

Another Epigram of the fame Latin poet is very prettily imitated in the following Tetraftic.

On an ugly WOMAN.

Whilft in the dark on thy foft hand I hung,
And heard the tempting Syren in thy tongue;
What flames, what darts, what anguish I endui'd !
But when the candle enter'd I was cur'd.

We have a good Epigram by Mr. Coruley, on Prometheus il painted; to understand which, we must remember his ftory. Prometheus is feign'd by the ancient poets to have formed men of clay, and to have put life into them by fire stolen from heaven, for which crime Jupiter caus'd him to be chain'd to a rock, where a vulture was fet to gnaw his liver, which grew again as fast as it was devoured. On this fiction the Epigram is founded.

PROMETHEUS drawn by a bad Painter.
How wretched does Prometheus' state appear,
Whilft he his fecond mis'ry fuffers here!
Draw him no more, left, as he tortur'd ftands,
He blame great Jove's lefs than the painter's hands.
It would the Vulture's cruelty out go,

If once again his liver thus fhould grow.
Pity him, Jove, and his bold theft allow

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The flames he once ftole from thee grant him now.

Some bad writer having taken the liberty to cenfure Mr. Prior, the poet very wittily lash'd his impertinence in this Epigram.

While fafter than his coftive brain indites,
Philo's quick hand in flowing letters writes,
His cafe appears to me like honeft Teague's,
When he was run away with by his legs.
Phabus, give Philo o'er himself command;
Quicken his fenses, or restrain his hand:
Let him be kept from paper, pen, and ink;
So he may ceafe to write, and learn to think.

But perhaps there are none of Mr. Prior's little pieces that have more humour and pleasantry than the following.

A reasonable AFFLICTION.

Helen was just flipt into bed:

Her eye-brows on the toilet lay:
Away the kitten with them fled,

As fees belonging to her prey.
For this misfortune careless Jane,
Affure yourself, was loudly rated;
And madam getting up again,

With her own hand the mouse-trap baited.
On little things, as Sages write,

Depends our human joy, or forrow:
If we don't catch a mouse to-night,

Alas! no eye brows for to-morrow.

Mr. Weftley has given us a pretty Epigram alluding to a well-known text of fcripture, on the fetting up a monument in Westminster Abbey, to the memory of the ingenious Mr. Butler, author of Hudibras.

While Butler, needy wretch, was yet alive,
No generous patron would a dinner give.

See him when ftarv'd to death, and turn'd to duft,
Prefented with a monumental buft!

The poet's fate is here in emblem shown;

He afk'd for Bread, and he receiv'd a Stone.

As thefe Compofitions are fhort, many of them have the reputation of being written extempore, though they are the effect of confideration and ftudy; the following Epigram, however, has that additional merit; for which reafon, and for it's uncommon Thought, we shall prefent it to the Reader.

One day in Chelsea gardens walking,
Of poetry and fuch things talking,
Says Ralph, a merry wag,
An Epigram, if fmart and good,
In all its circumftances fhould
Be like a felly-Bag.
The fimile, i'faith, is new;

But how can't make it out? fays Hugh.

Quoth Ralph, I tell thee, friend;

Make it at top both wide and fit

To hold a budget full of wit,

And point it at the End.

We shall close this chapter with an Epigram written on
the well-known ftory of Apollo and Daphne, by Mr. Smart :
When Phoebus was am'rous and long'd to be rude,
Mifs Daphne cry'd Pish! and ran swift to the wood;
And rather than do fuch a naughty affair,

She became a fine laurel to deck the God's hair.
The nymph was, no doubt, of a cold conftitution;
For fure to turn tree was an odd refolution!
Yet in this she behav'd like a true modern fpoufe,
For fhe fled from his arms to diftinguish his brows.





HESE Compofitions generally contain fome Elogium of the virtues and good qualities of the deceafed, and have a turn of ferioufnefs and gravity adapted

to the nature of the fubject. Their elegance confifts in a nervous and expreffive brevity; and fometimes, as we have elsewhere obferved, they are clofed with an epigrammatic point. In thefe compofitions, no mere Epithet (properly fo called) should be admitted; for here illuftration would impair the strength, and render the sentiment too diffuse and languid. Words that are fynonymous are alfo to be rejected.

Tho' the true characteristic of the Epitaph is seriousness and gravity, yet we find many that are jocofe and ludicrous; fome likewife have true metre and rhyme, while others are between profe and verfe, without any certain measure, tho' the words are truly poetical; and the beauty of this laft fort is generally heighten'd by an apt and judicious Antithefis. We fhall give examples of each.

There are in the Spectator feveral old Greek Epitaphs very beautifully tranflated into English verfe, one of which I fhall take the liberty of transcribing. It is written on Orpheus, a celebrated antient poet and musician, whose ftory is well known. He is faid to have been the fon of Apollo and Calliope, one of the Nine Muses, the Goddess meant in the last line of the Epitaph.


No longer, Orpheus, fhall thy facred ftrains
Lead ftones, and trees, and beasts along the plains;
No longer footh the boift'rous wind to fleep,
Or ftill the billows of the raging deep :

For thou art gone; the Mufes mourn'd thy fall
In folemn ftrains, thy mother most of all.
Ye mortals idly for your fons ye moan,

If thus a Goddefs could not fave her own.

The ingenious tranflator obferves, that if we take the fable for truth, as it was believed to be in the age when this was written, the turn appears to have piety to the gods, and a refigning fpirit in the application ; but, if we confider the Point with refpect to our prefent knowledge, it will be less esteem'd; though the author himself, because he believ'd it, may ftill be more valued than any one who should now write with a point of the fame nature.

The following Epitaph on Sir Philip Sidney's fifter, the Countess of Pembroke, faid to be written by the famous Ben Johnson, is remarkable for the noble thought with which it concludes.

On MARY Countess Dowager of PEMBROKE.
Underneath this marble hearse,
Lies the fubject of all verse,
Sidney's fifter, Pembroke's mother :.
Death, ere thou haft kill'd another
Fair, and learn'd, and good as she,
Time fhall throw a dart at thee.

Take another Epitaph of Ben Johnson's, on a beautiful and virtuous lady, which has been deservedly admired by very good judges..

Underneath this ftone doth lie

As much virtue as could die;
Which when alive did vigour give
To as much beauty as could live.

Mr. Pope has drawn the character of Mr. Gay, in an Epitaph now to be feen on his monument in Weftminfler-. Abbey, which he has closed with such a beautiful turn, that I cannot help looking upon it as a mafter-piece in its kind, as indeed are most of the productions of that furprising genius.

On Mr. GA Y.

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

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

And uncorrupted, ev'n among the Great:
A fafe companion, and an eafy friend,
Unblam'd thro' life, lamented in thy end.
Thefe are thy honours! not that here thy buft
Is mix'd with heroes, or with kings thy duft;
But that the worthy and the good shall say,
Striking their penfive bofoms-Here lies GAY.

There is fomething fo tender and moving, and fuch a ftrain of paternal and filial affection in Mr. Pope's Epitaph. on Dr. Atterbury, that we fhall give it a place among these examples, tho' the Critics, perhaps, will object to its being a true Epitaph.

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