1761 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Richardson

Elizabeth Carter, "Epitaph on Richardson" 1761; Moulton, Library of Literary Criticism (1901-05) 3:432.



If ever warm benevolence was dear,
If ever wisdom gained esteem sincere,
Or genuine fancy deep attention won
Approach with awe the dust — of Richardson.
What though his muse, through distant regions known,
Might scorn the tribute of this humble stone;
Yet pleasing to his gentle shade, must prove
The meanest pledge of Friendship, and of Love;
For oft will these, from venal throngs exiled,
And oft will Innocence, of aspect mild,
And white-robed Charity, with streaming eyes,
Frequent the cloister where their patron lies.
This, reader, learn; and learn from one whose woe
Bids her wild verse in artless accents flow:
For, could she frame her numbers to commend
The husband, father, citizen, and friend;
How would her muse display, in equal strain,
The critic's judgment, and the writer's vein!
Ah, no, expect not from the chiselled stone
The praises, graven on our hearts alone.
There shall his fame a lasting shrine acquire;
And ever shall his moving page inspire
Pure truth, fixt honour, virtue's pleasing lore;
While taste and science crown this favoured shore.