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THERE is a humble, unpretending yard, Surrey, seems to be composed kind of poetry, limited in its subject on the judicious precept of Butler : -the production alike of the learned
For brevity is very good, and the ignorant, the high and low,
Where we are, or are not, understood. the rich and poor-which, alike in
It is as follows: teresting to all, has failed to obtain much regard from those to whom it
Live well, die never, addresses instruction: I mean Epi
Die well, and live for ever. taphs. The living naturally wish to Many wretched conceits, middling shun all intercourse with the dead; jokes, obscure compliments, as well and though the latter, in many a as innumerable lies, are cut in stone. warning line, lift up their voice, and The following, on a child six months call aloud from the ground, we heed old, will be found at Brighton: not the posthumous counsel, but tread over the gravel, or the green
He tasted of life's bitter cup,
Refused to drink the potion up; sod, which covers our ancestor's dust,
But turn'd his little head aside, without even whistling to keep our
Disgusted with the taste, and died. courage up. In the course of a long and busy life, I have read many epi
Those who die at peace with the taphs in various parts of England; world, and leave rich legacies to and, though many of these are the their relations, commonly come in avowed productions of men of learn- for a very reasonable share of good ing and genius, yet by far the great- qualities in their epitaphs. There is est number, like the songs of the some bitterness contained in two peasantry, are the production of lines on a tomb-stone at Pentonville: humble and nameless persons. I have not failed to observe, that the Death takes the good—too good on earth inscriptions which spoke the plainest And leaves the bad—too bad to take away. sense, expressed the happiest sentiments, contained the richest poetry, An inscription at Islington is in and gave the most original and vivid better taste and gentler feeling. It portraiture of past beauty or worth, is on a child some months old; and, were generally the works of obscure brief as it is, contains a fine sentipersons, whose names are unknown ment: to literature; and who, probably Here virtue sleeps-restrain the pious tear ! both before and after, sought no in. He waits that judgment which he cannot tercourse with the muse. I shall
fear. only transcribe now a few of these epitaphs, which seem not generally The good people of Newcastle known, and confine myself rather to seem a facetious generation; and it is the curious than the beautiful. The a blessing worth coveting, to die in following very simple and affecting their neighbourhood, should the bard epitaph expresses more in few words still live who wrote this epitaph : than we usually observe in this kind Here lies Robin Wallis, the king of good of composition:
Clerk of Allhallows, and a maker of bel-
He bellows did make to the day of his
But he that made bellows, could never The brevity of the following is of
make breath. a different nature, and approaches We wish the people of Manchester too close to the epigrammatic: had as little malice in their mirth as Life is uncertain, death is sure ;
the people of Newcastle. Who Sin is the wound, and Christ the cure.
would wish to live in that region of
yarn windles and spinning jennies, An inscription in Kingston church- and go down to the grave with an
epitaph such as they have cut on the his castle of Caverswell-lately built even tomb-stone of honest John Hill : unto beauty by Mathew Cradock his father
who lies interred near this place--and Here lies John Hill, a man of skill, dying of ye small pox 1643, betooke himHis age was five times ten,
selfe to ye private mansion of this Tombe He never did good, nor never would, erected for him at ye expense of Dorothy Had he lived as long again.
his obsequious wife, where he now rests The merry people of Cheshire min- shall be summond to appear at ye last
under ye protection of an essoinee until he gle no gall in their remembran of
great and general assize. their benefactors. We have, ourselves, always loved the calling of a In the same church, is the followtailor, and thought, with the old ing simple and curious memorial of Scottish poet, that he is more than a very respectable name, which the man, rather than less. The inha- reader will be apt to contrast with bitants of Cheshire seem of the same its more elaborate companion : opinion; and we hope all the tailors
Ano domi. 1670. of the district lay the virtues of Beest here and neer their righteous brother to heart, and
in peace doe rest seek to practise them in their lives :
All they of these
that are deceast Here lies entomb'd, within this vault so Thomas Browne and Marjery dark,
Ralph Browne and Mary A tailor, soldier, cloth-drawer, and clerk ;
Ralph Browne and Dorothy Death snatch'd him hence, and also from Ralph Browne and Joyce him took
Ralph Browne His needle, thimble, sword, and prayer Ralph Browne book.
John Browne He could no longer work nor fight: what The two first Brownes then ?
of Carsewell were He left the world, and faintly cried, Amen. But all the rest
were of the Meere The conceit and unnatural taste so
The fourth made this in memorie common to inscriptions, will be found
of parents to posteritie. in full strength in the church of Caverswell, in Staffordshire, on a mo
There is some conceit in this plain nument belonging to the ancient epitaph at Southampton, but it will name of Cradock. One is sorry to be forgiven for the sake of the comread such a memorial ; it impairs the mencing line : charm which the singular and sweet A plain rough man, but without guile or romance of the Page and Enchanted pride, Mantle, has thrown around the name Goodness his aim, and honesty his guide ; of Cradock; and we wish some one Could all the pomps of this vain world dewho claims connexion with this fa
spise, vorite name in chivalry would, with- And only after death desired to rise. out wholly destroying the original strain of thought, abate its extrava
One on a young man at Chichester
will not be read without emotion : gance :
George Cradock Esqr. for his great pru. Art thou in health and spirits gay? dence in ye common Lawes well worthy to I too was so the other day ; be Beav-clerk of ye assizes for this circuit, And thought myself of life as safe, did take to wife ye most amiable and most As thou who read'st my epitaph. loving Dorothy yo Daughter of John Saunders doctor of Physicke, by whom he had a The humble and meritorious lapair-royale of incomparable daughters, viz. bours of Mistress Anne, the wife of Dorothy, Elizabeth and Mary. It is easie Matthew Garland, of Deptford, a to guess that he lived in splendid degree if I shall but recount unto you that Sir Tho- special mid wife, have not been fora mas Slingsby Baronet, R. Hon. Richard gotten; and though recorded in the Lord Cholmondeley, Sir George Bridge- remembrance of many a rosy lass man Baronet married Dorothy, Elizabeth, and strapping lad, as well as on good Mary, Coheir. Bot! bot! to our grief durable stone, I shall endeavour to George Cradock is assaulted by death in extend her fame by transcribing her the meridian of his age, not far off from epitaph:
Forty-two years the Almighty gave me Plain in their form, but rich they were in power
mind: To aid my sex in nature's trying hour ; Religious, quiet, honest, meek, and kind. Through heat and cold, by day, by dreary
Nor do I dislike the lines on Sophia night, To save the hapless was my chief delight; Bovil, a child of two years old : My toils are past: my weeping friends, Rest soft thy dust, wait the Almighty's adieu !
will, I'm call'd to Heaven, and hope to welcome Rise with the just, and be an angel still. you.
The following ludicrous verse,
Here fast asleep, full six feet deep,
And seventy summers ripe,
George Thomas lies in hopes to rise,
And smoke another pipe.
It was almost one of the last acts chester, the writer has made an adroit turn from mortal to spiritual of Horne Tooke to cause a vault to warfare. There are many military
be made in his garılen, surmounted inscriptions scattered about the coun
by a slab of black marble, for which try, but few of them are very happy: and caused it to be engraved with
he wrote the following inscription, Here lies a true soldier, whom all must ap- directions that his executors shouki plaud ;
up the blank: Much hardship he suffer'd at home and
John Horne Tooke, abroad,
late proprietor, now occupier of this spot, But the hardest engagement he ever was in,
born in 1736, died in Was the battle of Self in the conquest of
Contented and grateful. Sin. A soldier died suddenly in Hamp- in his own garden was not complied
His singular request to be buried shire from drinking small beer after with : he was interred at Ealing ; the a hot march, and this is his epitaph : tomb-stone was removed from the Here sleeps in peace a Hampshire grona- garden, the old inscription effaced, dier,
and its place supplied by an epitaph Who caught his death by drinking cold from another hand. small beer.
In the church-yard of Bayswater, Soldiers, be wise, from his untimely fall; And when you're hot, drink strong, or none left hand, leaning against the wall,
mid-way down the ground on the at all.
obscured by nettles and rank grass, The following ludicrous addition unnoticed, and perhaps unknown, was made by the officers in garrison stands a rude memorial of common when they restored the decayed mo- rough stone, indebted to no gifted nument :
and cunning hand for beauty of An honest soldier never is forgot, form, and to no elegant mind for the Whether he died by musket or by pot. inscription with which it is covered.
It is the tomb-stone of Laurence An old fisherman of Kent is thus
Sterne. Perhaps his countrymen remembered in the church-yard of who are so patriotic, so witty, when Hythe:
the wine is good, so affectionate in His net old fisher George long drew, their remembrances, so fond of numShoals shoals he caught,
bering Sterne among those steady Till Death came hauling for his due, lights which contribute to the fixed
And made poor George his draught. splendourof Ireland, may reflect, while Death fishes on through various shades ; they laugh and wonder, and weep over
In vain it is to fret;
his pages, that he sleeps among the Death's all-enclosing net.
vulgar dead, and have the grace to
propose to honour themselves by I like the unassuming epitaph of erecting a monument to his memory. John and Martha Wright;-it says That the noble, the wealthy, the much in small space:
witty, and the gay, left the interment
of Sterne and the erection of his incomparable performances evidently grave-stone, to mechanics and stran- prove him to have acted by rule and gers, is a reproach that can never be square. They rejoice in this opportunity removed.
of perpetuating his high and irreproach
able character to after ages. Near this place lies the body of The Reverend Laurence Sterne, A. M.
What did it boot him, ridiculed, abused, Died Sept. 13, 1768, aged 53 years.
By fools insulted, and by prudes accused ;
In him, mild reader, view thy future fate; This monumental stone was erected to the Like him, despise what were a sin to hate, memory of the deceased by two brother
w. & S. Masons ; for although he did not live to be a member of their society, yet all his Cumberland, Aug. 1821.
MÉDITATIONS POÉTIQUES, PAR M. ALPHONSE DE LAMARTINE.
These poems have been much Cependant, s'élançant de la flèche gothique, read and admired in France. The Un son religieux se répand dans les airs, copy that lies before us bears the Le voyageur s'arrête, et la cloche rustique fourth edition on its title-page.
Aux derniers bruits du jour mêle de saints Those that preceded it, we are informed, appeared also in the course Yet lingering on this mountain's woody of last year, and several more have crest, since followed. The author is said The last faint beams of parting twilight to be a very amiable man, who, in rest; his complaints that death has be- And, whitening on the horizon's edge afar, reaved him of the object of his ten- The queen of shadows guides her vapoury derest affections, and that he has been himself on the brink of the Meanwhile, slow-spreading from the gothic grave, does not impose on the com
fane, miseration of his readers by the The pious anthem breathes a holy strain ; recital of imaginary evils. It will, And pausing pilgrim hears the village bell therefore, we trust, not be unwel With day's last murmurs mix its solemn
knell, come information to them, if we add, that he has not only been re
Here he is placed, and employed stored to health, but is fortunate exactly as a young poet of his disenough to be now united to one of position ought to be." But when in our own countrywomen, who has the following meditation, addressed had the discernment to perceive and to Lord Byron, he compares his reward his merit, and that he has Lordship to an eagle launching been sent out as secretary to the forth from the horrible summit of French embassy at Naples.
Mount Athos, and suspending his Whenever, in these · Poetical Me- aerie over the abyss that yawns at ditations," as he calls them, the wri- its side; where, surrounded with ter expresses what appear to be his palpitating limbs, and with rocks own unpremeditated thoughts, and incessantly dripping with black gore, spontaneous feelings, without forcing delighted with the shrieks of his himself into a state of excitement for prey, and, cradled by the tempest, the occasion, he is, for the most part, he falls to sleep in his joy ; very pleasing. In some of his al- L'aigle, roi des déserts, dédaigne ainsi la titudes, it must be owned, we have
plaine ; followed him with much less satisfaction. Thus, in the first poem, where he describes himself seated on Lui, des sommets d'Athos franchit l'hor, an eminence, at the foot of an old rible cime, oak, “watching with wistful gaze Suspend aux flancs des monts son aire sur the setting sun:
Et là, seul, entouré de membres palpitans, Au sommet de ces monts couronnés de bois De rochers d'un sang noir sans cesse désombres,
gouttans, Le crépuscule encor jette un dernier rayon, Trouvant sa volupté dans les cris de sa Et le char vaporeux de la reine des ombres proie, Monte, et blanchit déja les bords de l'horizon. Bercé par la tempête, il s'endort dans sa joie ;
and when, not contented with this, Ce qu'on appelle nos beaux jours, and a good deal “ of the like stuff,” N'est qu'un éclair brillant dans une nuit he perseveres in his compliment to
d'orage, the noble bard so far as to put him
Et rien, excepté nos amours,
N'y mérite un regret du sage; on a par with his Satanic majesty
Mais, que dis-je ? on aime à tout âge himself;
Ce feu durable et doux, dans l'âme ren.
fermé, Ton wil, comme Satan, a mesuré l'abyme, Et ton âme, y plongeant loin du jour et de Donne plus de chaleur en jetant moins de Dieu,
C'est le souffle divin dont tout l'homme est A dit à l'espérance un éternel adieu !
Il ne s'éteint qu'avec son âme. ta voix, sur un mode infernal, This is not less philosophically Chante l'hymne de gloire au sombre dieu true, than it is poetically beautiful. du mal ;
In the wish for his friend's happiwe begin to lose all sympathy with ness, which concludes this same the poet, and most heartily wish our- little poem, the writer seems to us selves away from such perilous com- just to have hit that tone to which pany, and safe back again under the the French poetry is best suited. old oak, ready to forswear all illu- Soyez touché, grand Dieu, de sa reconnaissions of the imagination for the future, and to cry out in the most Il ne vous lasse point d'un inutile væu ; confined sense of the words,
Gardez-lui seulement sa rustique opulence,
Donnez tout à celui qui vous domande peu. Le vrai seul est beau, le vrai seul est ai
Des doux objets de sa tendresse, mable.
Qu'à son riant foyer toujours environné, In the third Meditation we are,
Sa femme et ses enfans couronnent sa vieil
lesse, therefore, well satisfied to find ourselves at the side of M. de Lamartine Comme de ses fruits murs un arbre est
couronné: once more, in the silence of an even
Que sous l'or des épis ses collines jaunising landscape : Le soir ramène le silence.
Qu'au pied de son rocher son lac soit touAssis sur ces rochers déserts,
jours pur: Je suis dans la vague des airs
Que de ses beaux jasmins les ombres s'épai
sissent : Le char de la nuit qui s'avance :
Que son soleil soit doux, que son ciel soit Vénus se lève à l'horizon ;
d'azur: 'A mes pieds l'étoile amoureuse Et que pour l'étranger toujours ses vins De sa lueur mystérieuse
mûrissent. Blanchit les tapis de gazon :
May our lively neighbours on the and so far forget our late resolution Continent long continue to pursue as to fall into a douce rêverie, and the peaceable pleasures which are believe that something in the shape here described ; may strains, as tenof a gentle spirit is, indeed, gliding der and as blameless as these, long to us on a beam of the evening star. add a zest to their enjoyment of But we will not pursue the Medi- them; and now that we are about tator through all his moods and wishing, not to leave ourselves out of musings ; but content ourselves the question, may M. de Lamartine's with observing, that the sixth, en- prayer, that “ their vines may ripen titled “ Le Désespoir,” is the least to for the stranger," be granted so far our taste, as the tenth, called “ La beyond the limits in which he inRetraite,” is the most so. It is much tended it, that we may be allowed pleasanter to point out beauties than to cheer our own firesides with their faults; and we shall accordingly in- produce, and to send his countrydulge ourselves with making one or men whatever of ours they most two extracts from the latter of these covet (if they think any thing of ours poems.
worth having) in return.