Epitaph to James Craggs
Epitaphs from The Life Of Pope by Samuel Johnson

On James Craggs, Esq., in Westminster Abbey.

JACOBUS CRAGGS,
REGI MAGNAE BRITANNIAE A SECRETIS
ET CONSILIIS SANCTIORIBVS,
PRINCIPIS PARITER AC POPVLI AMOR ET DELICIAE:
VIXIT TITLIS ET INVIDIA MAJOR
ANNOS HEV PAVCOS, XXXV.
OB. FEB. XVI. MDCCXX.
Statesman, yet friend to truth; of soul sincere,
In action faithful, and in honour clear!
Who broke no premise, served no private end,
Who gained no title, and who lost no friend;
Ennobled by himself, by all approved,
Praised, wept, and honoured by the Muse he loved.

The lines on Craggs were not originally intended for an epitaph; and therefore some faults are to be imputed to the violence with which they are torn from the poems that first contained them. We may, however, observe some defects. There is a redundancy of words in the first couplet: it is superfluous to tell of him, who was sincere, true, and faithful, that he was in honour clear.

There seems to be an opposition intended in the fourth line, which is not very obvious; where is the relation between the two positions, that he gained no title and lost no friend?

It may be proper here to remark the absurdity of joining in the same inscription Latin and English or verse and prose. If either language be preferable to the other, let that only be used; for no reason can be given why part of the information should be given in one tongue, and part in another on a tomb, more than in any other place, or any other occasion; and to tell all that can be conveniently told in verse, and then to call in the help of prose, has always the appearance of a very artless expedient, or of an attempt unaccomplished. Such an epitaph resembles the conversation of a foreigner, who tells part of his meaning by words, and conveys part by signs.

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