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The Works of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. in Nine Volumes By Samuel Johnson Characters: 942

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

On the honourable Simon Harcourt, only son of the lord chancellor Harcourt, at the church of Stanton-Harcourt, in Oxfordshire, 1720.

To this sad shrine, whoe'er thou art, draw near,

Here lies the friend most lov'd, the son most dear:

Who ne'er knew joy, but friendship might divide,

Or gave his father grief but when he died.

How vain is reason, eloquence how weak!

If Pope must tell what Harcourt cannot speak.

Oh! let thy once-lov'd friend inscribe

thy stone,

And with a father's sorrows mix his own!

This epitaph is principally remarkable for the artful introduction of the name, which is inserted with a peculiar felicity, to which chance must concur with genius, which no man can hope to attain twice, and which cannot be copied but with servile imitation.

I cannot but wish that, of this inscription, the two last lines had been omitted, as they take away from the energy what they do not add to the sense.

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