The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 17/Epitaph on Francis Chartres

While this work is included within The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift and is not attributed to anyone other than Jonathan Swift, it may have been written by another member of the Scriblerus Club. The club, which was founded in 1714, included Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, John Gay, John Arbuthnot, Henry St John, and Thomas Parnell.

EPITAPH.


HERE continueth to rot
The body of FRANCIS CHARTRES;
Who, with an inflexible constancy,
and inimitable uniformity of life,
persisted,
In spite of age and infirmities,
In the practice of every human vice,
Excepting prodigality and hypocrisy:
His insatiable avarice exempted him from the first;
His matchless impudence from the second.


Nor was he more singular in the undeviating pravity
of his manners, than successful in accumulating
wealth:
For, without trade or profession,
Without trust of publick money,
And without bribe-worthy service,
He acquired, or more properly created,
a ministerial estate.


He was the only person of his time,
Who could cheat without the mask of honesty;
Retain his primeval meanness when possessed of
ten thousand a year;
And, having daily deserved the gibbet for what he did,
Was at last condemned to it for what he could
not do.


O indignant reader!
Think not his life useless to mankind!
Providence connived at his execrable designs,
To give to after ages a conspicuous proof and
example
Of how small estimation is exorbitant wealth in
the sight of
GOD,
By his bestowing it on the most unworthy of
all mortals.


JOHANNES jacet hìc Mirandula — cætera nórunt
Et Tagus et Ganges - forsàn et Antipodes.

Applied to F. C.

HERE Francis Chartres lies[1] — be civil!
The rest God knows — perhaps the Devil.


  1. Thus applied by Mr. Pope: "Here lies lord Coningsby."