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Go, therefore, thou! thy betters went

Long since, and came no more ;
With peals of genial clamour sent

From many a tavern-door,
With twisted quirks and happy hits,

From misty men of letters;
The tavern-hours of mighty wits-

Thine elders and thy betters.

Hours, when the Poet's words and looks

Had yet their native glow : Nor

yet the fear of little books Had made him talk for show; But, all his vast heart sherris-warm'd

He flash'd his random speeches; Ere days, that deal in ana, swarm'd

His literary leeches.

So mix for ever with the past,

Like all good things on earth! For should I prize thee, couldst thou last,

At half thy real worth? I hold it good, good things should pass :

With time I will not quarrel : It is but yonder empty glass

That makes me maudlin-moral.

Head-waiter of the chop-house here,

To which I most resort,
I too must part: I hold thee dear

For this good pint of port.
For this, thou shalt from all things suck

Marrow of mirth and laughter ; And, wheresoe'er thou move, good luck

Shall fing her old shoe after.

But thou wilt never move from hence,

The sphere thy fate allots :
Thy latter days increased with pence

Go down among the pots:
Thou battenest by the greasy gleam

In haunts of hungry sinners,
Old boxes, larded with the steam

Of thirty thousand dinners.

We fret, we fume, would shift our skins,

Would quarrel with our lot;
Thy care is, under polish'd tins,

To serve the hot-and-hot;
To coine and go, and come again,

Returning like the pewit,
And watch'd by silent gentlemen,

That trifle with the cruet.

Live long, ere from thy topmost head

The thick-set hazel dies ;
Long, ere the hateful crow shall tread

The corners of thine eyes :
Live long, nor feel in head or chest

Our changeful equinoxes,
Till mellow Death, like some late guest,

Shall call thee from the boxes.

But when he calls, and thou shalt cease

To pace the gritted floor,
And, laying down an unctuous lease

Of life, shalt earn no more ;
No carved cross-bones, the types of Death,

Shall show thee past to Heaven : But carved cross-pipes, and, underneath,

A pint-pot neatly graven.



“ Cursed be he that moves my bones.”

Shakespeare's Epitap..

You might have won the Poet's name,

If such be worth the winning now,
And gain'd a laurel for


brow Of sounder leaf than I can claim ;

But you have made the wiser choice,

A life that moves to gracious ends

Thro' troops of unrecording friends, A deedful life, a silent voice :

And you have miss'd the irreverent doom

Of those that wear the Poet's crown:

Hereafter, neither knave nor clown Shall hold their orgies at your tomb.

For now the Poet cannot die

Nor leave his music as of old,

But round him ere he scarce be cold Begins the scandal and the cry :

Proclaim the faults he would not show:
Break lock and seal : betray the trust :

Keep nothing sacred : 'tis but just
The many-headed beast should know.”

Ah shameless ! for he did but sing

song that pleased us from its worth ;
No public life was his on earth,
No blazon'd statesman he, nor king.


gave the people of his best : His worst he kept, his best he gave.

My Shakespeare's curse on clown and knave Who will not let his ashes rest!

Who make it seem more sweet to be

The little life of bank and brier,

The bird that pipes his lone desire And dies unheard within his tree,

Than he that warbles long and loud

And drops at Glory's temple-gates,

For whom the carrion vulture waits To tear his heart before the crowd !

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