1788 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Richardson

Anonymous, "Epitaph on Samuel Richardson" European Magazine 14 (November 1788) 375.



If ever warm Benevolence were dear;
If ever Wisdom gain'd esteem sincere;
Or genuine Fancy deep attention won,
Approach with awe the dust of RICHARDSON.

What tho' his muse, thro' 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 shall these, from venal throngs exil'd;
For oft shall Innocence, of aspect mild;
And white-rob'd Chastity, 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, or the writer's vein?
Ah no! expect not from the chissel'd 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 favour'd shore.