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'Tis Chloe's eye, and cheek, and lip, and breast:
Most of Mr. Prior's Epigrams are of this delicate cast, and have the thought, like those of Catullus, diffused throf the whole. Of this kind is his address
To C H L o E weeping.
See, whilst thou weep'st, fair Chloe, see
The Epigram written on the leaves of a Fan by Dr. Attirbury, late bishop of Rocbejler, contains a pretty thought, express'd with ease and conciseness, and closed in a beautisu! manner.
On a F A N.
Flavia the least and slightest toy
We shall now select fome Epigrams of the biting and satirical kind, and such as turn upon the Pun or Equivoque, as the French call it: in which surt the Point is more conspicuous 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 Dancers to good Musick.
How ill the motion with the music suits!
So Orpheus siddled, and fo danc'd the brutes.
This puts me in mind of another Epigram upon a bad siddler, which I shall venture to insert 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;
One of Martiass Epigrams, wherein he agreeably rallies the foolifh vanity of a man who hired people to make verses for him, and publifhed them as his own, has been thus tranflated into English.
Paul fo fond of the name of a poet is grown,
Another Epigram of the fame Latin poet is ver)' prettily imitated in the following Tetrastic.
On an ugly Woman.
Whilst in the dark on tby suft hand I hung,
We have a good Epigram by Mr. Ccwley, on Prometheus ill painted; to understand which, we must remember his story, Prometheus is seign'd by the ancient poetsuo have formed men of clay, and to have put lise into them by sire stolen from heaven, for which crime 'Jufiter caus'd him to. be chain'd to a rock, where a vulture was set to gnaw his liver, which grew again as fast as it was devoured. Oa this siction the Epigram is founded.
Prometheus draiun by a bad Painter.
How wretched does Prometheus' state appear,
Whilst he his second mis'ry suffers here!
Draw him no more, lest, as he tortur'd stands,
He blame great Jove^s less than the painter's hands.
It would the Vulture's cruelty out go,
If once again his liver thus mould grow.
Pity him, Jove, and his bold theft allow;
The flames he once stole from thee grant him now.
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 pleafantry than the following.
A reasonable Affliction.
Her eye-brows on the toilet lay:
As sees belonging to her prey.
Assure yourself, was loudly rated;
With her own hand the mouse-trap baited.
Depends our human joy, or surrow:
Alas! no eyebrows for to morrow.
Mr. Wefiley has given us a pretty Epigram alluding to a well-known text of scripture, on the setting up a monument in Westminster Abbey, to the memory of the ingenious Mr. Eutler, author of Hudibrai.
While Butler, needy wretch, was yet alive, No generous patron would a dinner give. See him when starv'd to death, and turn'd to dust, Presented with a monumental bust! The poet's fate is here in emblem mown; He ask'd for Bread, and he receiv'd a Stone. As these Compositions are short, many os them have the reputation os" being written extempore, though they are the efsect of consideration and study; the following Epigram, howevel-, has that additional merit; for which reafon, and for it's uncommon Thought, we shall present it to the Reader.
Jn Epigram on an E e i c R A M.
Says Ralph, a merry wag,
But how can'st make it out? fays Hugh.
Quoth Ralph, I tell thee, friend;
THESE Compositions generally contain fome Elogium of the virtues and good qualities of the deceased, and have a turn of seriousness and gravity adapted to the nature of the subject. Their elegance consists 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 sentiment too diffuse and languid. Words that are synonymous are alfo to be rejected. I
Tho' the true characteristic of the Epitaph is seriousness and gravity,yet we sind many thatarejocoscand ludicrous; fome likewise have true metre and rhyme, while others are between prose and verse, 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 Antithesis. We mail give examples of each.
There are in the Spectator several old Greek Epitaphs very beautisully translated into English verse, one of which I shall take the liberty of transcribing. It is written on Orpheus, a celebrated antient poet and musician, whose story 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.
On Orpheus. No longer, Orpheus, shall thy facred strains Lead stones, and trees, and beasts along the plains; No longer footh the boist'rous wind to sleep, Or still the billows of the raging deep: For thou art gone; the Muses mourn'd thy fall In folemn strains, thy mother most of all. Ye mortals idly for your fons ye moan, If thus a Goddess could not fave her own. 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 resigning spirit in the application ; but, if we consider the Point with respect to our present knowledge, it will be less esteem'd ; though the author himself, because he believ'd it, may still bsmore valued than any one who should now write with a point of the fame nature.
The following Epitaph on Sir Philip Sidney's, sister, the Countess of Pembroke, faid to be written by the famous Ben Johnson, is remarkable for the noble thought with ^'ch it concludes.