His stomach fail’d, his case the doctor knew,
But said, “he still might hold a year or two.”
“No more!” he said; “but why should I complain?
A life of doubt must be a life of pain:
Could I be sure—but why should I despair?
I’m sure my conduct has been just and fair;
In youth, indeed, I had a wicked will,
But I repented, and have sorrow still:
I had my comforts, and a growing trade
Gave greater pleasure than a fortune made;
And as I more possess’d, and reason’d more,
I lost those comforts I enjoy’d before,
When reverend guides I saw my table round,
And in my guardian guest my safety found:
Now sick and sad, no appetite, no ease,
Nor pleasures have I, nor a wish to please;
Nor views, nor hopes, nor plans, nor taste have I;
Yet, sick of life, have no desire to die.”
He said, and died: his trade, his name is gone,
And all that once gave consequence to John.
Unhappy Dighton! had he found a friend
When conscience told him it was time to mend —
A friend descreet, considerate, kind, sincere,
Who would have shown the grounds of hope and fear,
And proved that spirits, whether high or low,
No certain tokens of man’s safety show —
Had Reason ruled him in her proper place,
And Virtue led him while he lean’d on grace —
Had he while zealous been discreet and pure,
His knowledge humble, and his hope secure; —
These guides had placed him on the solid rock,
Where Faith had rested, nor received a shock;
But his, alas! was placed upon the sand,
Where long it stood not, and where none can stand.
A brother noble,
Whose nature is so far from doing harms,
That he suspects none; on whose foolish honesty
My practice may ride easy.
Shakespeare, King Lear.
He lets me feed with hinds,
Bars me the place of brother.
As You Like It.
’Twas I, but ’tis not I: I do not
To tell you what I was, being what I am.
As You Like It.
Than old George Fletcher, on the British coast
Dwelt not a seaman who had more to boast:
Kind, simple and sincere—he seldom spoke,
But sometimes sang and chorus’d—“Hearts of Oak:”
In dangers steady, with his lot content,
His days in labour and in love were spent.
He left a Son so like him, that the old
With joy exclaim’d, “’Tis Fletcher we behold;”
But to his Brother, when the kinsmen came
And view’d his form, they grudged the father’s name.
George was a bold, intrepid, careless lad,
With just the failings that his father had;
Isaac was weak, attentive, slow, exact,