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Written at the Request of a Gentleman to whom a Lady had given a Sprig of Myrtle*.
WHAT hopes, what terrors, does thy gift create?
* These verses were first printed in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1768, p. 439, but were written many years earlier. Elegant as they are, Dr. Johnson assured me, they were com posed in the short space of five minutes.
TO LADY FIREBRACE*,
AT BURY ASSIZES.
AT length must Suffolk beauties shine in vain,
TO LYCE, AN ELDERLY LADY,
YE nymphs whom starry rays invest,
By flatt'ring poets given,
Engross not all the beams on high,
Let Lyce share the praise.
Her silver locks display the moon,
Her brows a cloudy show,
Strip'd rainbows round her eyes are seen,
This lady was Bridget, third daughter of Philip Bacon, Esq. of Ipswich, and relict of Philip Evers, Esq. of that town. She became the second wife of Sir Cordell Firebrace, the last Baronet of that name (to whom she brought a fortune of 25,000l.), July 26, 1737. Being again left a widow in 1759, she was a third time married, April 7, 1762, to William Campbell, Esq. uncle to the present Duke of Argyle, and died July 3, 1782.
Her teeth the night with darkness dyes,
But some Zelinda, while I sing,
Yet, spite of fair Zelinda's eye,
ON THE DEATH OF
MR. ROBERT LEVET,
A Practiser in Physic.
CONDEMN'D to Hope's delusive mine,
Well try'd through many a varying year,
Of ev'ry friendless name the friend.
Yet still he fills Affection's eye,
Thy praise to merit unrefin'd.
euntes fr. Hor. Lib. 2. Ep. 2. 5.
When fainting nature call'd for aid,
The pow'r of art without the show.
In misery's darkest cavern known,
No summons mock'd by chill delay,
The toil of ev'ry day supply'd.
His virtues walk'd their narrow round,
The busy day-the peaceful night,
Then, with no fiery throbbing pain,
And freed his soul the nearest way.
EPITAPH ON CLAUDE PHILLIPS,
AN ITINERANT MUSICIAN*.
PHILLIPS! whose touch harmonious could remove
THOMAM HANMER, BARONETTUM.
Honorabilis admodum THOMAS HANMER,
Wilhelmi Hanmer armigeri, è Peregrina Henrici
De Mildenhall in Com. Suffolciæ Baronetți sorore
Johannis Hanmer de Hanmer Baronetti
Antiquo gentis suæ et titulo et patrimonio successit,
These lines are among Mrs. Williams's Miscellanies: they are nevertheless recognised as Johnson's in a memorandum of his hand-writing, and were probably written at her request. Phillips was a travelling fidler up and down Wales, and was greatly celebrated for his performance.
† At Hanmer church, in Flintshire.