Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Signor Fido

Returning for a moment to the subject of Stowe, the following is an inscription on the back of the Temple of Worthies, which is now sadly lost but recorded by several early visitors:
To the Memory
of
Signor Fido
an Italian of good Extraction
who came into England
not to bite us, like most of his Countrymen,
but to gain an honest Livelyhood.
He hunted not after Fame,
yet acquir'd it;
regardless of the Praise of his Friends,
but most sensible of their Love.
Tho' he liv'd amongst the Great,
he neither learnt nor flatter'd any Vice.
He was no Bigot,
Tho' he doubted none of the 39 Articles,
And if to follow Nature,
and to respect the Laws of Society
be Philosophy,
he was a perfect Philosopher;
a faithful Friend,
an agreeable Companion,
a loving Husband,
distinguish'd by a numerous Offspring,
all which he liv'd to see take good Courses.
In his old age he retir'd
to the House of a Clergyman in the Country,
where he finished his earthly Race
and died an Honour and an Example to the whole Species.
Reader,
this stone is guiltless of Flattery;
for he to whom it is inscrib'd
was not a Man
but a
Grey-Hound.

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