MoboReader> Literature > The Works of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. in Nine Volumes

   Chapter 4 ON JAMES CRAGGS, ESQ.

The Works of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. in Nine Volumes By Samuel Johnson Characters: 1773

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


In Westminster Abbey.

JACOBVS CRAGGS,

REGI MAGN? BRITANNIAE A SECRETIS

ET CONSILIIS SANCTIORIBVS

PRINCIPIS PARITER AC POPVLI AMOR ET DELICI?

VIXIT TITVLIS ET INVIDIA MAJOR,

ANNOS HEV PAVCOS, XXXV.

OB. FEB. XVI. MDCCXX.

Statesman, yet friend to truth! of soul sincere,

In action faithful, and in honour clear!

Who broke no promise, serv'd no private end,

Who gain'd no title, and who lost no friend;

Ennobled by himself, by all approv'd,

Prais'd, wept, and honour'd, by the muse he lov'd.

The lines on Craggs were not originally intended for an epitaph; and, therefore, some faults are to be imputed to the violence with which they are torn from the poem that first contained them. We may, however, observe some defects. There is a redundancy of words in the first couplet: it is superfluous to tell of him, who was sincere, true, and faithful,

that he was in honour clear.

There seems to be an opposition intended in the fourth line, which is not very obvious: where is the relation between the two positions, that he gained no title and lost no friend?

It may be proper here to remark the absurdity of joining, in the same inscription, Latin and English, or verse and prose. If either language be preferable to the other, let that only be used; for no reason can be given why part of the information should be given in one tongue, and part in another, on a tomb, more than in any other place, or any other occasion; and to tell all that can be conveniently told in verse, and then to call in the help of prose, has always the appearance of a very artless expedient, or of an attempt unaccomplished. Such an epitaph resembles the conversation of a foreigner, who tells part of his meaning by words, and conveys part by signs.

Free to Download MoboReader
(← Keyboard shortcut) Previous Contents (Keyboard shortcut →)
 Novels To Read Online Free

Scan the QR code to download MoboReader app.

Back to Top

shares