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No Conquest she, but o'er herself, desir'd,
conspicuous consequences, in an even unnoted tenor, required the genius of Pope to display it in such a manner as might attract regard, and enforce reverence. Who can forbear to lament that this amiable woman has no name in the verses?
On the Monument of the Honourable ROBERT DIGBY, and of his Sister MARY, erected by their Father the Lord DIGBY, in the Church of Sherborne in Dorsetshire, 1727.
Go! fair example of untainted youth,
Of softest manners, unaffected mind,
Lover of peace, and friend of human kind :
Go live! for Heav'n's Eternal year is thine,
And thou, blest Maid! attendant on his doom, Pensive hast follow'd to the silent tomb, Steer'd the same course to the same quiet shore, Not parted long, and now to part no more! Go then, where only bliss sincere is known! 15 Go, where to love and to enjoy are one!
Ver. 11. And thou, blest Maid!] Mr. Robert Digby, third son of Lord Digby, who is yet remembered with respect at Sherborne, died of a consumption, and was soon after followed by the amiable and affectionate sister, who hung over his sick bed. The following letter from her sister to Pope, on the subject of their brother's illness, is in the British Museum, with part of the translation of the Odyssey on the back of it:
Sherborne, July 18, 1724.
"I am sure this will want no excuse to you, and it carries good news of a friend. My brother has not had any fit of his ague since Sunday; he has slept a little every night, but with some interruptions by the cramp. Last night he began to drink asses' milk, which had its usual effect, in giving him a good night's rest, and free from pain. I am, dear Sir, in great haste, but with great truth, your friend and servant,
"All here are your servants."
My father, who was an intimate friend and contemporary at Magdalen College, Oxford, with Mr. Robert Digby, was always saying that this excellent character was not over-drawn, and had every virtue in it here enumerated; and that Mr. Digby had more of the mitis sapientia, as Horace finely expresses it, than any man he had ever known. The same said the amiable Mr. Holdsworth, author of Muscipula. They were all three pupils of Dr. Sacheverell, who at that time was the friend of Addison, and was in great vogue as an able tutor, before he entered so violently into those absurd politics that so much disgraced him. Warton.
Yet take these Tears, Mortality's relief, And till we share your joys, forgive our grief: These little rites, a Stone, a Verse receive;
'Tis all a Father, all a Friend can give!
ON SIR GODFREY KNELLER,
IN WESTMINSTER-ABBEY, 1723,
KNELLER, by Heav'n and not a Master taught, Whose Art was Nature, and whose Pictures
Now for two Ages having snatch'd from fate Whate'er was beauteous, or whate'er was great, Lies crown'd with Princes' honours, Poets' lays, 5 Due to his Merit, and brave Thirst of Praise,
Living, great Nature fear'd he might outvie Her works; and, dying, fears herself may die.
Ver. 7. Living, great Nature] Much better translated by Mr. W. Harrison, of New College, a favourite of Swift, communicated to me by Dr. Lowth:
"Here Raphael lies, by whose untimely end
Nature both lost a rival and a friend."
Notwithstanding the partiality of Pope, this artist little deserved
Ver. 7. Imitated from the famous Epitaph on Raphael.
"Raphael, timuit, quo sospite, vinci
Rerum magna parens, et moriente, mori."
to be consulted by our Poet, as he was, concerning the arrangement of the subjects represented on the shield of Achilles. These required a genius of a higher order. Mr. Flaxman, lately arrived from Italy, by a diligent study of the antique, and the force of his genius, has given designs from Homer far beyond any that have yet appeared. Warton.
There are some very good pictures by Kneller, at Donhead Hall, near Shaftesbury, Wilts, the seat of his descendant John Kneller, Esq. particularly a St. Cecilia, and the Conversion of St. Paul; his natural daughter is painted in the character of Cecilia, which, in action and attitude, is very like that of the late Mrs. Sheridan, by Sir Joshua Reynolds. I should have imagined Sir Joshua must have seen it, or perhaps a copy of it. There is a painting by Sir Godfrey, at Donhead Hall, of Pope.
I take this opportunity of explaining a ridiculous anecdote, which Warton has admitted of Kneller's vanity. Walpole has related it in this manner: "Sir Godfrey," says Pope, "if God had consulted you, the world would have been made more perfect." "'Fore God," replies Kneller, "I think so." "I think so." Now the real story is this: When Pope, with an affected and pert superiority, said, "If Sir Godfrey had been consulted, the world would have been made more perfect;" Kneller immediately turned the laugh upon Pope, by looking at his diminutive person, and saying, with a good humoured smile, "'Fore God, there are some little things in it, I think I COULD have mended." This is humourous and pleasant; whereas, as the wits have told the story themselves, Sir Godfrey's stupidity appears equal to his vanity. Bowles.
Pope had made Sir Godfrey, on his death-bed, a promise to write his Epitaph, which he seems to have performed with reluctance. He thought it "the worst thing he ever wrote in his life." Spence's Ancc. 165. Singer's Ed.
ON GENERAL HENRY WITHERS,
IN WESTMINSTER-ABBEY, 1729.
HERE, WITHERS, rest! thou bravest, gentlest mind,
For thee the hardy Vet'ran drops a tear,
WITHERS, adieu! yet not with thee remove
Still leave some ancient Virtues to our age: 10
Here, Withers, rest!] In the early part of his life, Pope associated much with General Withers, and his friend Colonel Disney, commonly called, in Pope's correspondence, Duke Disney, who resided with the General at Greenwich. They are mentioned in Gay's Poem on Pope's supposed return from Greece, in the following
Now pass we Gravesend with a friendly wind,
I see his chimney smoke, and hear him say,