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E’en from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
E'en in our ashes live their wonted fires.
For thee,39 who, mindful of th' unhonour'd dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
If, chance,40 by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,-
Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
“ Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn;
" There, at the foot of yonder nodding beech,
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
His listless length at noon-tide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by.
“Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove;
Now drooping, woeful-wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or cross'd in hopeless love.
“ One morn I miss'd him on the 'custom’du hill,
Along the heath, and near his favourite tree;
Another came; nor yet beside the rill,

up the lawn, nor at the wood was he; “ The next, with dirges due, in sad array, Slow through the church-way path we saw him borneApproach and read (for thou canst read) the lay Graved on the stone beneath yon agèd thorn.”

40 chance, perchance. 41 Accustomed.

39 The poet here introduces himself,

and fancies what will be said of him after his death, by “some hoary-headed swain."


There, scattered oft, the earliest of the year,
By hands unseen, are showers of violets found;
The redbreast loves to build and warble there,
And little footsteps lightly print the ground. 49

Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth,
A Youth, to Fortune and to Fame unknown;
Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.
Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heaven did a recompense as largely send :
He gave to misery (all he had) a tear,
He gained from Heaven ('twas all he wished) a friend.
No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
(There they, alike, in trembling hope repose)
The bosom of his Father and his God.

42 This verse was printed in the first

editions. 43 The epitaph which the poet ima

gines may be written on his own

tombstone. It is, of course, conceived in reference to an imaginary personage.




McCorquodale & Co., Printers, “ The Armoury," Southwark.

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James Merrick was a Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford; a fine scholar, and “one of the best of men.” He entered Holy Orders, but could not take a charge, from pains in the head, to which he was subject. A poetical version of the Psalms was his chief poetical work



Oft has it been my lot to mark
A proud, conceited, talking spark,
With eyes that hardly served at most
To guard their master ’gainst a post;
Yet round the world the blade has been,
To see whatever could be seen.
Returning from his finished tour,
Grown ten times perter* than before,

on the

I This clever fable turns

popular belief, which is, perhaps, in some measure correct, that it changes colour from time to time, and on the wild fancy that, because it inflates itself with air,

it feeds on it. The chameleon is a lizard, most plentiful in northern

Africa and Arabia. 2 spark, a brisk, showy, gay man. 3 blade, a brisk, forward, bold man.

4 more assuming, or forward.

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Whatever word


chance to drop, The travelld fool your mouth will stop; “Sir, if my judgment you'll allowI've seen—and sure I ought to know”. So begs you'd pay a due submission, And acquiesce in his decision.

Two travellers of such a cast,
As o'er Arabia's wilds they pass’d,
And on their way, in friendly chat,
Now talk'd of this, and now of that,
Discours'd awhile, 'mongst other matter,
Of the chameleon's form and nature.

"A stranger animal," cries one,
6 Sure never lived beneath the sun :
A lizard's body, lean and long,
A fish's head, a serpent's tongue,
Its foot, with triple claw disjoin'd,6
And what a length of tail behind !
How slow its pace! and then its hue!
Who ever saw so fine a blue?”

“ Hold there!” the other quick replies, 56 'Tis green-I saw it with these eyes, As late, with open mouth, it lay And warm'd it, in the sunny ray; Stretch'd at its ease the beast I view'd, And saw it eat the air for food.”

" I've seen it, Sir, as well as you, And must again affirm it blue ;

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5 acquiesce, silently accept.

6 It has three toes.

? it, for itself.

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At leisure I the beast survey'd,
Extended in the cooling shade."

6 'Tis green ! 'tis green! Sir, I assure ye"

“Green !” cries the other, in a fury6 Why, Sir, d'ye think I've lost my eyes ? ”

6 'Twere no great loss,” the friend replies ; “For if they always serve you thus, You'll find them but of little use.”

So high, at last, the contest rose,
From words they almost came to blows:
When luckily came by a third.
To him the question they referr'd
And begg’d he'd tell them, if he knew,
Whether the thing was green or blue.

“Sirs," cries the umpire, 8 " cease your pother
The creature's neither one nor t’other.
I caught the animal last night,
And view'd it o'er by candle-light:
I mark'd it well—'twas black as jet-
You stare-but Sirs, I've got it yet,
And can produce it.” “Pray, Sir, do;
I'll lay my life the thing is blue.”

“ And I'll be sworn, that when you've seen The reptile, you'll pronounce him green."

“Well, then, at once to ease the doubt," Replies the


66 I'll turn him out; And when before your eyes I've set him, If

you don't find him black, I'll eat him.” He said; then full before their sight,

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8 umpire, a third person called in

to decide a dispute.

9 pother, lit., powder-or dust.

Hence, confusion, noisy disputing.

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