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Most of Mr. Prior's Epigrams are of this delicate cast, and have the thought, like those of Catullus, diffused thro’
'Tis CHLoe's eye, and cheek, and lip, and breast:
See, whilst thou weep'st, fair Chloe, fee
The brooks beyond their limit flow, :
And louder murmurs speak their woe :
The Epigram written on the leaves of a Fan by Dr. Ar.
terbury, late bishop of Rochester, contains a pretty thought,
We shall now felećt fome Epigrams of the biting and fatirical kind, and fuch as turn upon the Pun or Equivoque, as the French call it : in which fort the Point is more confpicuous than in those of the former character.
The following distich, in my opinion, is an admirable Epigram, having all the necessary qualities of one, especially Point and Brevity.
On a company of bad DAN CERs to good Musick.
How ill the motion with the music fuits !
This puts me in mind of another Epigram upon a bad fiddler, which I shall venture to infert merely for the humou of it, and not for any real excellence it contains.
One of Martial's Epigrams, wherein he agreeably rallies the foolish vanity of a man who hired people to make verses for him, and published them as his own, has been thus translated into Engli/%.
Paul fo fond of the name of a poet is grown,
With gold he buys verfes and calls them his own.
They are furely his own for which a man pays.
Another Epigram of the fame Latin poet is very prettily imitated in the following Tetrastic.
Whilst in the dark on thy foft hand I hung,
We have a good Epigram by Mr. Cowley, on Prometheus ill 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 ftolen from heaven, for which crime Jupiter caus'd him to. be chain'd to a rock, where a valture was fet to gnaw his liver, which grew again as fast as it was devoured. On this fiction the Epigram is founded.
PRoMET H EU s drawn by a bad Painter.
How wretched does Prometheus’ state appear,
Some bad writer having taken the liberty to censure Mr. Prior, the poet very wittily lash'd his impertinence in this Epigram.
While faster than his costive brain indites,
But perhaps there are none of Mr. Prior’s little pieces that have more humour and pleasantry than the following,
Helen was just flipt into bed:
Mr. Westley has given us a pretty Epigram alluding to a well-known text of scripture, on the fetting up a monument in Westminster Abbey, to the memory of the ingenious Mr. Dutler, author of Hudibras.
As these Compositions are short, many of them have
| | "HE SE Compofitions generally contain some Elogi-
to the nature of the subject. Their elegance confists in a nervous and expressive brevity; and fometimes, as we have elsewhere observed, they are closed with an epigrammatic point. In these compositions, no mere Epithet (properly fo called) should be admitted; for here illustration would impair the strength, and render the fentiment too diffuse and languid. Words that are synonymous are also to be rejećted. *- :
Tho' the true characteristic of the Epitaph is feriousness and gravity,yet we find many thatarejocofe 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 last fort is generally heighten’d by an apt and judicious Antitbests. We shall give examples of each.
There are in the Spećĩator feveral old Greek Epitaphs very beautifully translated into English verse, one of which I shall take the liberty of transcribing. It is written on Orpheus, a celebrated antient poet and mufician, whose story is well known. He is faid to have been the fon of Apollo and Calliope, one of the Nine Mufes, the Goddess meant in the last line of the Epitaph.
No longer, Orpheus, shall thy facred strains . .
The ingenious translator observes, 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 spirit in the application ; but, if we confider the Point with respect to our present knowledge, it
he believ’d it, may still be more valued than any one who fhould now write with a point of the fame nature. . , ,
- The following Epitaph on Sir Philip Sidney’s fister, the Countess of Pembroke, faid to be written by the famous Ben Johnson, is remarkable for the noble thought with which it concludes.