ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION
Thomas Ellwood, "On the excellently learned John Milton. An Epitaph" Daily Gazetteer (30 October 1738).
1674: Andrew Marvell
1674 ca.: Thomas Ellwood
1688: John Dryden
1690: Thomas D'Urfey
1693: Rev. Samuel Wesley
1694: Joseph Addison
1694: Matthew Prior
1699: Samuel Say
1700: Henry Hall
1700: Samuel Cobb
1701: Matthew Prior
1708: Rev. Thomas Yalden
1709: Rev. Isaac Watts
1712: Rev. Thomas Newcomb
1712: Bezaleel Morrice
1713: Rev. Henry Felton
1714: John Hughes
1717: Bp. Francis Atterbury
1720 ca.: Ambrose Philips
1721: Judith Cowper Madan
1725 ca.: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
1728: James Ralph
1730: Aaron Hill
1731: Isaac Thompson
1736: G. W.
1737: Alexander Pope
1740: William Shenstone
1745: Rev. Sneyd Davies
1746: William Collins
1747: William Collins
1748: T. F.
1749: F. W.
1750 ca.: William Oldys
1752: S. S. S.
1755: Robert Lloyd
1756: Rev. Joseph Warton
1756: J. H.
1758: G. G.
1759: M. M.
1762: William Whitehead
1766: Rev. Richard Graves
1766: Robert Andrews of Bridgenorth
1770 ca.: Sir William Jones
1773: Rev. William Hayward Roberts
1773: Hester Mulso Chapone
1774: W. H.
1776: James Beattie
1777: N. N. D.
1782: William Hayley
1785: John Pinkerton
1785: A Lady
1790: Helen Maria Williams
1792: John Bennet
1793: William Cowper
1793: J. Laws
1795 ca.: John Blair Linn
1798: A. M.
1799: William Seward
1799: William Roscoe
1800: Thomas Green
1802: William Wordsworth
1803: George Dyer
1806: Dr. John Aikin
1807: Rev. Percival Stockdale
1807: Rev. Percival Stockdale
1808: Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges
1810: R. Rylance
1810: Rev. S. B
1810: James Jennings
1812: William Henry Ireland
1813: Rev. William Cameron
1815: Robert Southey
1817: Richard Hatt
1819: Lord Byron
1819: Thomas Mulock
1819: Thomas Campbell
1822: W. W.
1824: William Hazlitt
1824: Rev. Thomas Frognall Dibdin
1824: John Abraham Heraud
1824: Bryan Waller Procter
1825: Thomas Babington Macaulay
1825: Bryan Waller Procter
1826: James Gates Percival
1827: F. S. E.
1828: Dr. David Macbeth Moir
1830: Rev. George Barrell Cheever
1830: George Wallingford Clarke
1830: John Abraham Heraud
1830 ca.: Rev. John Mitford
1830: Jeremiah Holmes Wiffen
1833: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
1842: C. H. Timperley
1843: John Holland
1863: George Daniel
1880: Mark Pattison
1882: Epes Sargent
1899: Henry A. Beers
1674 ca.: John Milton
The Honours lately paid to MILTON by Mr. Auditor Benson, and the Verses in his praise inserted in your last, brought to my Remembrance a manuscript Epitaph, made by an eminent Author, and one of MILTON'S Pupils, which I have had in my Custody many Years. On looking it o'er, I thought many of the Sentiments were just and noble in the Praise of that Great Man; and at the same time could not help thinking, (some small Allowance being made for their Dress) that they would yield an agreeable Entertainment to the Publick. Of this be assured, you are the first that has had the Offer of it.
Your constant Reader,
Witney, Oct. 23, 1738.
Within this Arch embalm'd doth lie
One whose high Fame can never die;
MILTON, whose most ingenious Pen
Obliged has all Learned Men;
Great his Undertakings were
(None greater of their Kind)
Which sufficiently declare
The Worth and Greatness of his Mind.
Mean Adversaries he declin'd
And Battle with the Chiefest join'd.
Not e'en the Royal Pourtraicture
Securely could before him stand;
But fell and broke
Not able (as it seems) t' indure
The heavenly Stroke
Of this Iconoclastes' Hand.
Thus the so-fam'd EIKON BASILIKE
Became the Trophy of his Victory.
On his Triuimphant Chariot too did wait
One who had long the Crown of Learning wore,
And of Renown had treasur'd up good Store;
But never found an equal Match before,
Which puff'd him up, and made him too elate.
This was the Great Salmasius, he, whose Name
Had tow'r'd so high upon the Wings of Fame;
And never knew till now
What 'twas (alas!) to bow:
For many a gallant Captive (by the Heel)
Had he in Triumph drag'd at's Chariot Wheel,
But now is faln to stoop, and see the Bough
Torn from his own, to deck another's Brow:
This broke his Heart; for (having lost his Fame)
He dy'd, 'tis hard to say, whether thro' Grief or Shame.
Thus Great Salmasius, in his Winding Sheet
Lies prostrate at far Greater MILTON'S Feet,
MILTON! in whom all brave Indowments meet.
The Majesty of Po'sy he reviv'd,
The common Road forsaking,
And unto Helicon a new Way making
To write in Measures without Rhyme contriv'd.
He knew the Beauty of a Verse well made,
Doth in a just and due Proportion lie
Of Parts, true Feet, right Cadence, Symphony
(A thing by vulgar Poets, lightly weigh'd);
Not in the tinkling Chime
Of harsh and far-fetch'd Rhyme.
Two great Examples of this kind he left,
The nat'ral Issue of his teeming Brain,
Th' one, shews how Man of Eden was bereft;
In t' other, Man doth Paradise regain,
So far as naked Notion can attain.
Nature in him a large Foundation laid,
And he had also super-built thereon
A Structure great, indeed, and fair enough,
Of well-prepar'd and finely polish'd Stuff;
Admir'd by all, but equall'd by none.
So that of him it might be said,
And that most truly too,
Nature and Art
Had plaid their Part,
As if they had a Wager laid
Which of them most for him should do.
His natural Abilities
Were doubtless of the largest Size,
And thereunto he surely had acquir'd
Learning as much as could be well desir'd,
More known his Learning was not than admir'd.
Profound his Judgment was, and clear
His Apprehension of the highest Strain;
His Reason all before him down did bear,
So forcible, demonstrative and plain
It did appear.
Lofty Fancy, deep Conceit,
Stile concise, and Language great,
Render'd his Discourse compleat.
Invention never higher rose
In Poetic Strains, or Prose:
In Tongues he so much Skill had got,
He might be call'd the Polyglot.
Ever they 'gainst whom he writ,
Could not but admire his Wit;
And were forced to confess
(For indeed it was in vain
To deny a thing so plain)
That their Parts than his were less.
Unto him the Muses sent,
And that too, not in Compliment,
(For doubtless 'twas his Due,
As all that knew him, knew)
The Title of Most Excellent.
Of which Title may he rest
Now, and ever more possest.