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PARAPHRASE OF THE ABOVE EPITAPH,
BY DR. JOHNSON.*
THOU who survey'st these walls with curious eye,
Pause at the tomb where HANMER's ashes lie;
His various worth through varied life attend,
And learn his virtues while thou mourn'st his end.
His force of genius burn'd in early youth,
With thirst of knowledge, and with love of truth;
His learning, join'd with each endearing art,
Charm'd ev'ry ear, and gain'd on ev'ry heart.
Thus early wise, th' endanger'd realm to aid,
His country call'd him from the studious shade ;
In life's first bloom his public toils began,
At once commenc'd the senator and man.
In business dext'rous, weighty in debate,
Thrice ten long years he labour'd for the state;
In ev'ry speech persuasive wisdom flow'd,
In ev'ry act refulgent virtue glow'd;
Suspended faction ceas'd from rage and strife,
To hear his eloquence, and praise his life.
Resistless merit fix'd the senate's choice,
Who hail'd him speaker with united voice.
Illustrious age! how bright thy glories shone,
When HANMER fill'd the chair.....and ANNE the throne !
* This paraphrase is inserted in Mrs. Williams's Miscellanies. The Latin is there said to be written by Dr. Freind. Of the person whose memory it celebrates, a copious account may be seen in the appendix to the supplement to the Biographia Britannica.
Then when dark arts obscur'd each fierce debate, When mutual frauds perplex'd the maze of state, The moderator firmly mild appear❜d..... Beheld with love.....with veneration heard.
This task perform'd.....he sought no gainful post,
Nor wish'd to glitter at his country's cost;
Strict on the right he fix'd his steadfast eye,
With temperate zeal and wise anxiety ;
Nor e'er from Virtue's paths was lur'd aside,
To pluck the flow'rs of pleasure, or of pride.
Her gifts despis'd, Corruption blush'd and fled,
And Fame pursu'd him where Conviction led.
Age call'd, at length, his active mind to rest,
With honour sated, and with cares opprest;
To letter'd ease retir'd, and honest mirth,
To rural grandeur and domestic worth;
Delighted still to please mankind, or mend,
The patriot's fire yet sparkled in the friend.
Calm Conscience, then, his former life survey'd,
And recollected toils endear'd the shade,
Till Nature call'd him to the gen❜ral doom,
And Virtue's sorrow dignified his tomb.
BRIGHT Stella, form'd for universal reign,
Too well you know to keep the slaves you gain;
When in your eyes resistless lightnings play,
Aw'd into love our conquer'd hearts obey,
And yield reluctant to despotic sway;
But when your music soothes the raging pain,
We bid propitious Heaven prolong your reign,
We bless the tyrant, and we hug the chain,
When old Timotheus struck the vocal string,
Ambition's fury fir'd the Grecian king;
Unbounded projects lab'ring in his mind,
He pants for room, in one poor world confin'd.
Thus wak'd to rage, by music's dreadful pow'r,
He bids the sword destroy, the flame devour.
Had Stella's gentle touches mov'd the lyre,
Soon had the monarch felt a nobler fire;
No more delighted with destructive war,
Ambitious only now to please the fair;
Resign'd his thirst of empire to her charms,
And found a thousand worlds in Stella's arms.
* These lines, which have been communicated by Dr. Turton, son to Mrs. Turton, the lady to whom they are addressed by her maiden name of Hickman, must have been written at least as early as the year 1734, as that was the year of her marriage; at how much earlier a period of Dr. Johnson's life, they may have been written, is not known.
PARAPHRASE OF PROVERBS, CHAP. VI.
Verses 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.
"Go to the Ant, thou Sluggard."*
TURN on the prudent ant thy heedful eyes,
Observe her labours, sluggard, and be wise;
No stern command, no monitory voice,
Prescribes her duties, or directs her choice;
Yet, timely provident, she hastes away,
To snatch the blessings of the plenteous day;
When fruitful summer loads the teeming plain,
She crops the harvest, and she stores the grain.
How long shall sloth usurp thy useless hours,
Unnerve thy vigor, and enchain thy pow'rs;
While artful shades thy downy couch enclose,
And soft solicitation courts repose ?
Amidst the drowsy charms of dull delight,
Year chases year with unremitted flight,
Till want, now following, fraudulent and slow,
Shall spring to seize thee like an ambush'd foe.
HORACE, LIB. IV. ODE VII.
THE snow, dissolv'd, no more is seen,
The fields and woods, behold! are green;
The changing year renews the plain,
The rivers know their banks again;
* In Mrs. Williams's Miscellanies, but now printed from the original in Dr. Johnson's own hand writing.
The sprightly nymph and naked grace
The mazy dance together trace;
The changing year's successive plan
Proclaims mortality to man;
Rough winter's blasts to spring give way,
Spring yields to summer's sov'reign ray;
Then summer sinks in autumn's reign,
And winter chills the world again;
Her losses soon the moon supplies,
But wretched man, when once he lies
Where Priam and his sons are laid,
Is nought but ashes and a shade.
Who knows if Jove, who counts our score,
Will toss us in a morning more?
What with your friend you nobly share
At least you rescue from your heir.
Not you, Torquatus, boast of Rome,
When Minos once has fix'd your doom,
Or eloquence, or splendid birth,
Or virtue, shall restore to earth.
Hippolytus, unjustly slain,
Diana calls to life in vain;
Nor can the might of Theseus rend
The chains of Hell that hold his friend.