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Fearing lest this method of song-wiriting should one day grow obsolete, in order to preserve to posterity some idea of it, I have put together the following dialogue as a specimen of the modern manner. I must, however, be ingenuous enough to confess, that I can claim no farther merit in this elegant piece than that of compiler. It is a cento from our most celebrated new songs; from which I have carefully culled all the sweetest flowers of poetry, and bound them up together. As all the lines are taken from different songs set to different tunes, I would humbly propose, that this curious performance should be sung jointly by all the best voices, in the manner of a Dutch concert, where every man sings in his own tune. once some thoughts of affixing marginal references to each line, to inform the reader by note, at what place the song, whence it is taken, was first sung. But I shall spare myself that trouble, by desiring the reader to look on the whole piece as arising from a coalition of our most eminent song-writers at Vauxhall, Ranelagh, Marybone, and Sadler's-Wells: assuring him, that this short dialogue contains the pith and marrow, or rather (to borrow an expression from the fine lady in Lethe) the quintessence and emptity of all our modern songs.
A PASTORAL DIALOGUE
CORYDON AND SUSAN.
AH! whither so fast would my Corydon go?
Cor. They say I'm in love, but I answer no, no;
Once my heart play'd a tune that went pitty pattic.
Now let what will happen, by Jove I'll be free.
Though you bid me begone back again,
The women love kissing as well as the men.
You told me a tale of a cock and a bull;
I swear I meant nothing but playing the fool.
Cor. Come, come, my dear Sukey, to church let us go; No more let you answer be no.
The duce sure is in him to plague a maid so:
CHORUS BY BOTH.
No courtiers can be so happy as we,
Sure this is mutual love.
No. LXXIII. THURSDAY, JUNE 19.
Secernere sacra profanis.
Wherever God erects an house of pray'r,
WALKING the other day in Westminster Abbey, among the many ostentatious monuments erected to kings and warriors, I could not help observing a little stone, on which was this pompous inscription... Eternæ memoriæ sacrum'...Sacred to the eternal memory of.......The name of the person to whom immortality was thus secured, is almost obliterated; and perhaps, when alive, he was little known, and soon forgot by the small circle of his friends and acquaintance. I have been used to look upon epitaphs as a kind of flattering dedications to the dead; in which is set down a long catalogue of virtues that nobody knew they were possessed of while living, and not a word of their vices or follies. The veracity of these posthumous encomiums may, indeed, be fairly suspected, as we are generally told that the disconsolate widow, or weeping son, erected the monument in testimony of their affliction for the loss of the kindest husband, or most affectionate father. But what dowager, who enjoys a comfortable jointure by her good-man's decease, would refuse to set her hand to it on his tombstone, that he was the best of husbands, though perhaps they had parted beds; or what heir would be so ungrateful, as not to give a few good words to a crabbed parent after his death, in return for his estate?
By the extravagant praises, which are thus indiscriminately lavished on the ashes of every person alike, we entirely pervert the original ir.tent of epitaphs, which were contrived to do honour and justice to the
virtuous and the good. But by the present practice, the reputations of men are equally confounded with their dust in the grave, where there is no distinction between the good and the bad. The law has appointed searchers to enquire, when any one dies, into the cause of his death: in the same manner I could wish, that searchers were appointed to examine into his way of living, before a character be given of him on the tomb-stone.
The flatteries, that are paid to the deceased, are undoubtedly owing to the pride of their survivors, which is the same among the lowest as the highest set of people. When an obscure grocer or tallowchandler dies at his lodgings at Islington, the newspapers are stuffed with the same detail of his virtues and good qualities, as when a duke goes out of the world: and the petty overseer of a little hamlet has a painted board stuck up at the end of his wickered turf, with a distich setting forth the godliness of his life, in humble imitation of the nobleman, who reposes under a grand mausoleum erected to his memory, with a long list of his titles and heroic deeds.
The great, indeed, have found means to separate themselves even in their graves from the vulgar, by having their ashes deposited in churches and cathedrals, and covered by the most superb monuments: but the false pomp of the monument, as well as the gross flattery of the inscription, often tends only to make the deceased ridiculous. In my late visit to Westminster Abbey, I could not but remark the difference of taste, which has prevailed in setting up these edifices for the dead. In former times, it was thought sufficient to clap up the bust or statue of the deceased, set round perhaps with the emblems of their merits, their employment, or station of life. Thus, if any lady was remarkable for her virtue and piety, it was pointed out by two or three little chubby
faced cherubims, crying for her death, or holding a crown over her head. The warrior was spread out at full length in a complete suit of armour, with the trophies of war hung round about him; and the bishop was laid flat upon his back, with his coifed head resting on a stone bible, and his hands joined together in the posture of praying.
If Socrates, or any other of the ancient philosophers could revive again, and be admitted into Westminster Abbey, he would now be induced to fancy himself in a Pantheon. The modern taste, not content with introducing Roman temples into our churches, and representing the virtues under allegorical images, has ransacked all the fabulous accounts of the heathen theology to strike out new embellishments for our christian monuments. We are not in the least surprised to see Mercury attending the tomb of an orator, and Pallas or Hercules supporting that of a warrior. If there is not a stop put to this taste, we may soon expect to see our churches, instead of being dedicated to the service of religion, set apart for the reception of the heathen gods. A deceased admiral will be represented like Neptune, with a trident in his hand, drawn in a shell by dolphins, preceded by Tritons, and followed by Nereids lashing the marble waves with their tails. A general will be habited like Mars, bearing an helmit and spear in polished stone; and a celebrated toast will be stuck up naked, like the Venus de Medicis,' cut in alabaster. Our pious forefathers were contented with exhibiting to us the usual emblems of death, the hour-glass, the skull, and the cross-marrow-bones. These emblems, if not very elegant, were at least not indecent: but now the Three Fatal Sisters, mentioned in the heathen mythology, must be introduced spinning, drawing, and cutting the thread of life. Could one of the last century see a winged figure blowing a trumpet on the top