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Boccaccio. When Cowper was forty-five he was induced by Mrs. Unwin to write a poem, that lady giving him for a subject The Progress of Error. The author of The Castle of Otranto says in a letter, now in the British Museum, that it was suggested to him by a dream, in which he thought himself in an ancient castle, and that he saw a gigantic hand in armor on the uppermost banister of the great staircase. Defoe is supposed to have obtained his idea of Robinson Crusoe by reading Captain Rogers' Account of Alexander Selkirk in Juan Fernandez. Dr. Beddoes' Alexander's Expedition down the Hydaspes and the Indus to the Ocean originated in a conversation in which it was contended that Darwin could not be imitated. Dr. Beddoes, some time afterwards, produced the MS. of the above poem as Darwin's, and completely succeeded in the deception.


The following is a real epitaph. It was written by Dr. Greenwood on his wife, who died in childbed, and it is in all probability still to be seen, where it was originally set up, in Solyhull churchyard, Warwickshire. The most amusing point in it is, that the author seriously intended the lines to rhyme. There is wonderful merit in the couplet where he celebrated her courage and magnanimity in preferring him to a lord or judge :

Which heroic action, join'd to all the rest,
Made her to be esteem'd the Phenix of her sex!

Go, cruel Death, thou hast cut down
The fairest Greenwood in all this kingdom !
Her virtues and her good qualities were such
That surely she deserved a lord or judge :
But her piety and great humility
Made her prefer me, a Doctor in Divinity;

Which heroic action, join'd to all the rest,
Made her to be esteem'd the Phoenix of her sex;
And like that bird a young she did create,
To comfort those her loss had made disconsolate.
My grief for her was so sore
That I can only utter two lines more.
For this and all other good woman's sake,
Never let blisters be applied to a lying-in woman's back.

The following lines may be seen on a gravestone in the churchyard at Kinver, Staffordshire :

Tired with wand'ring thro' a world of sin,
Hither we came to Nature's common Inn,
To rest our wearied bodys for a night,
In hopes to rise that Christ may give us light.

A Leicestershire poet has recorded, in the churchyard of Melton Mowbray, a very different conception of our "earthly Inn." He says:

This world's an Inn, and I her guest :
I've eat and drank and took my rest
With her awhile, and now I pay
Her lavish bill, and go my way.

This is in the churchyard of Crayford, Kent :

To the memory of PETER IZOD, who was thirty-five years clerk of this parish, and always proved himself a pious and mirthful man.

The life of this clerk was just three score and ten,
During half of which time he had sung out Amen.
He married when young, like other young men;
His wife died one day, so he chaunted Amen.
A second he took, she departed, --what then?
He married, and buried a third with Amen.
Thus his joys and his sorrows were treble, but then

His voice was deep bass, as he chaunted Amen.
On the horn he could blow as well as most men,
But his horn was exalted in blowing Amen.
He lost all his wind after threescore and ten,
And here with three wives he waits till again
The trumpet shall rouse him to sing out Amen.

Tradition reports these verses to have been composed by some curate of the parish.

The following inscription is on the tombstone of one Margaret Scott, who died in the town of Dalkeith, February 9, 1738, aged one hundred and twenty-five years :

Stop, passenger, until


life you read;
The living may get knowledge by the dead.
Five times five years I lived a virgin's life;
Ten times five years I was a virtuous wife;
Ten times five years I lived a widow chaste;
Now, weary'd of this mortal life, I rest.
Between my cradle and my grave have been
Eight mighty kings of Scotland and a queen.
Four times five years the Commonwealth I saw;
Ten times the subjects rose against the law.
Twice did I see old Prelacy pull'd down;
And twice the cloak was humbled by the gown.
An end of Stuart's race I saw; nay, more!
My native country sold for English ore,
Such desolations in my life have been,
I have an end of all perfection seen.

The following is very beautiful. It is copied from an inscription in All Saints Church, Cambridge:

In Obitum Mri. Johannis Hammond Oenopolæ Epitaphium.

Spiritus ascendit generosi Nectaris astra,

Juxta Altare Calix hic jacet ecce sacrum.
Corporū ayaoTaoEL Cū fit Communia magna

Unio tunc fuerit Nectaris et Calicis.

The following very beautiful epitaph is inscribed on a tablet in the parish church of Bardsey, near Leeds :

Hic Jacet
Carolus Lister in utraque
Acad: Med: Stud: Qui ipse, paulo

Ante mortem, suam cecinit

Cygnæam cantionem.
1 Cor. xv. 55.

Phil. i. 23.
Ubi mors aculeus tuus,

Cupio dissolvi,

Grata venis, mors,

Mens mea mundum,
Grata venis, nec

Vanaque vitæ
Me tua terrent

Somnia et umbras
Spicula quæ nunc

Læta relinquit,
Sentio in ægro

Et cupit alis
Corpore fixa.

Nixa duabus
Mors etenim agni

Speque, fideque,
In cruce cæsi

Scandere summas
(O amor ingens !)

Ætheris oras,
Undique mentem

Merset ubi se
Munit, et illam

Flumine puri
Servat ab omni

Gaudii, Jesu,
Vulnere tutam,

Teque fruatur

Omnia in æva.
Obiit die 5 Aug. Æt. 23, Sal. 1684.

The following epitaph may be found on an old gravestone in the burying-ground of the parish church of Brighton :

In Memory of

who was born at Stepney

in the year 1713. She served for many years as a private Soldier in the 5th Regiment of foot

in different parts of Europe, and in the year 1745 fought under

the command of the

Duke of Cumberland
at the battle of Fontenoy, where she received a
bayonet wound in her arm. Her long life, which
commenced in the time of Queen Anne, extended
to the reign of George IV., by whose munificence
she received comfort and support in her latter

She died at Brighton, where she had
long resided, Dec. 12th, 1821.

Aged 108 years.

In the churchyard of St. Edmund's, at Salisbury, is the following epitaph, written by a Swedenborgian of the name of Maton, on his children :

Innocence embellishes divinely complete
To prescience co-egent now sublimely great
In the benign, perfecting, vivifying state.
So heav'nly guardian occupy the skies
The pre-existent God, omnipotent, all-wise ;
He shall surpassingly immortalise thy theme
And permanent thy bliss, celestial supreme.
When gracious repulgene bids the grave resign,
The Creator's nursing protection be thine;
Then each perspiring ether shall joyfully rise
Transcendently good, supereminently wise.

Here is an inscription on a tablet in Limerick Cathedral:

Mementi Mory. Here lieth Littele Samuell Barinton, that great Under Taker, of Famious Cittis Clock and Chime Maker; He made his one Time goe Early and Latter, But now He is returned to God his Creator.

The 19 of November Then He Seest, And for His Memory this Here is Pleast, By His Son Ben 1693.

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