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I must add, as consonant to the tenor of this Essay, the following Epitaph, written hy the amiable Author himself with singular felicity, and beauty.
EPITAPH1UM VIVI AUTOR1S.
"Hie, 0 Viator, sub hare parvulo
Sorte, supervacudifie vitd.
Non indecord pauperie nitens,
Vanoque dilectis popello
Divitiis animosus hnstis.
Possis ut ilium dicere mortuum,
Terra sit ilia levis, precare.
Hie sparge fiores, sparge breves rosas,
Vatis adhuc Cinerem Calentem.
THE AUTHOR S EPITAPH
Upon himsslf, yet alive, but withdrawn from the busy world to a country life; to be supposed written Oh his house.*
"Here, Passenger, beneath this shed
c I presume this translation is by N. Tate.
Who in his poverty is neat,
Can you not say, he has resign'd
Strew roses here, as on his hearse,
Of this great Poet, so unjustly neglected in modern times, Pope happily and justly said:
"Forgot his Epic, nay Pindaric art,
The following pleasing lines are on his monument, erected by the Duke of Buckingham.
"Aurea dum volitant laie lua scripta per orbem,
Aug. 42, 1815.
In the defence of Poetry, its strong holds are too often abandoned; and its merits are foolishly placed on some of its minor and incidental appendages. It is assumed to be a mere Art of Amusement, and consequently degraded beneath that which conveys instruction. Then its detractors insist triumphantly on the motto, Prodesse quam delect are, and, shrugging up their ridiculous shoulders, think themselves profound, and wise!
These half-witted prosers are ignorant, that real poetry is most distinguished as the vehicle of instruction of the highest kind. It paints the most brilliant associations of the mind; the noblest emotions of the heart; and the most amiable and virtuous moral impressions, which are the mingled result of intellect and native sensibility. Whether these, or even the most ingenious discoveries of any particular branch of what is called Science, are most conducive to the improvement and happiness of the generality of mankind, will admit of little doubt. "We are perpetually moralists," says Johnson, " we are geometricians only by chance. Our intercourse with intellectual nature is necessary; our speculations upon matter are voluntary, and at leisure: physiological learning is of such rare emergence, that one may know another half his life, without being able to estimate his skill in hydrostatics, or astronomy; but his moral and prudential character immediately appears. Those authors, therefore, are to be read at schools, that supply most axioms of prudence, most principles of moral truth, and most materials for conversation; and these purposes are best served by Poets, Orators, and Historians." d
Of the same opinion was the great Lord Bacon, a man whose true and profound genius in real science cannot be questioned. "I find," says he, " some particular writings of an elegant nature, touching some of the affections, as of anger, of comfort, upon adverse accidents, of tenderness of countenance, and other. But the poets, and writers of histories, are the best doctors of this knowledge; where we find painted forth with the life, how affections are kindled and incited, and how pacified and restrained: and how again contained from act and farther degree: how they disclose themselves; how they work; how they vary; how they gather, and fortify; how they are enwrapped one within another; and how they do fight and encounter one with another, and other the like parti
cularities; amongst the which this last is of special use in moral and civil matters."
"So then it appeareth," he adds in another place, "that Poesy serveth, and conferreth to magnanimity, morality, and delectation; and therefore it was ever thought to have some participation of divineness, because it doth raise and erect the mind, by submitting the shews of things to the desires of the mind; whereas reason doth humble and bow the mind to the nature of things"e
The human mind is endowed with degrees of richness so numerous and extended, that Nature must appear to it in every variety, from the mere nakedness of materiality to a scene peopled with invisible spirits, and aerial inhabitants. It is the business of the Poet, to hold a mirror to the powers which are thus implanted in us; to encourage the brilliant; to assist the dim; and to awaken the dull. For what is life without these illusions? And how little above the brute beasts of the field, he, who can only behold that, which exists in actual and substantial form, before his eyes! To teach us with what sentiments to survey the beautiful prospects of the Creation; to embody the lleeting visions of light, which are permitted occasionally to glance across the darkened vallies we are destined to tread, is neither lightly performed, nor unimportant in its end!
The disgrace, or trifling name, which, in the
« See Dr. Johnson's noble description of "the business and requisites of a Poet,-' in the teuth chapter of Rassdai.