Epitaph to Simon Harcourt
Epitaphs from The Life Of Pope by Samuel Johnson

On the Hon. Simon Harcourt, only son of the Lord Chancellor Harcourt, at the Church of Stanton-Harcourt in Oxfordshire, 1720.

To this sad shrine, whoe'er thou art, draw near,
Here lies the friend most loved, the son most dear;
Who ne'er knew joy, but friendship might divide,
Or gave his father grief but when he died.
How vain is reason, eloquence how weak!
If Pope must tell what Harcourt cannot speak.
Oh let thy once-loved friend inscribe thy stone,
And with a father's sorrows mix his own!

This epitaph is principally remarkable for the artful introduction of the name, which is inserted with a peculiar felicity, to which chance must concur with genius, which no man can hope to attain twice, and which cannot be copied but with servile imitation.

I cannot but wish that, of this inscription, the two last lines had been omitted, as they take away from the energy what they do not add to the sense.

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