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What though 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?
So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name, What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame. How loved, how honour'd once, avails thee not, To whom related, or by whom begot: A heap of dust alone remains of thee: 'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be!
Poets themselves must fall like those they sung, Deaf the praised ear, and mute the tuneful tongue. Even he, whose soul 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 be loved no more!
ROBERT EARL OF OXFORD AND MORTIMER'.
SUCH were the notes thy once-loved poet sung, Till death untimely stopp'd his tuneful tongue. Oh, just beheld and lost! admired and mourn'd! With softest manners, gentlest arts, adorn'd! Bless'd in each science! bless'd in every strain! Dear to the Muse! to Harley dear-in vain!
For him thou oft hast bid the world attend, Fond to forget the statesman in the friend; For Swift and him despised the farce of state, The sober follies of the wise and great; Dexterous the craving, fawning crowd, to quit, And pleased to 'scape from flattery to wit.
Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear, (A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear) Recall those nights that closed thy toilsome days, Still hear thy Parnell in his living lays; Who, careless now of interest, fame, or fate, Perhaps forgets that Oxford e'er was great; Or deeming meanest what we greatest call, Beholds thee glorious only in thy fall.
1 Sent to the Earl of Oxford with Dr. Parnell's Poems, published by our author after the Earl's imprisonment in the Tower, and retreat into the country, in the year 1721.
And sure if aught below the seats divine
In vain to deserts thy retreat is made, The Muse attends thee to thy silent shade: "Tis hers the brave man's latest steps to trace, Rejudge his acts, and dignify disgrace. When Interest calls off all her sneaking train, And all the' obliged desert, and all the vain, She waits, or to the scaffold or the cell, When the last lingering friend has bid farewell. Even now she shades thy evening walk with bays; (No hireling she, no prostitute to praise) Een now, observant of the parting ray, Eyes the calm sunset of thy various day, Through fortune's cloud one truly great can see, Nor fears to tell that Mortimer is he.
JAMES CRAGGS, ESQ.
SECRETARY OF STATE.
A SOUL as full of worth as void of pride,
All this thou wert; and being this before,
WITH MR. DRYDEN'S TRANSLATION OF FRESNOY'S ART OF PAINTING.
THIS verse be thine, my friend! nor thou refuse
Smit with the love of sister-arts we came, And met congenial, mingling flame with flame;
This epistle, and the two following, were written some years before the rest, and originally printed in 1717.
Like friendly colours found them both unite,
How oft in pleasing tasks we wear the day,
Rome's pompous glories rising to our thought!
With thee on Raphael's monument I mourn,
While fancy brings the vanish'd piles to view,
2 Fresnoy employed above twenty years in finishing his poem.