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LINES ON THE DEATH OF WILLIAM SOTHEBY, ESQ.

1 LEARNING and fancy were combined
2 To stimulate his manly mind;
3 Open, generous and acute,
4 Steady of purpose, in pursuit
5 Ardent and hopeful; all the while
6 In child-like ignorance of guile.
7 There are who say that envy lurks concealed
8 Where genius strives, by slightest traits revealed,
9 A truth, if truth it be, by him forgot,
10 He turned his eyes away and saw it not.
11 Success in others, frank and free,
12 He hailed with words of friendly glee.
13 Praise given to them he could not feel
14 Did aught from his own portion steal;
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15 And when offence, designed and rude,
16 Did on his peaceful path obtrude,
17 He soon forgave the paltry pain,
18 Nor could resentment in his breast retain.
19 His was the charity of right goodwill,
20 That loves, confides, believes and thinks no ill.
21 He, by his Saviour's noble precepts led,
22 Still followed what was right with heart and head.
23 Religion did with lofty honour dwell
24 Within his bosom's sacred cell.
25 But said I learning did in him agree
26 With fancy, union rare! how could it be?
27 His eighteenth year beheld him fondly cheering
28 His warlike steed and on its back careering.
29 A gay dragoon with spur on heel,
30 And brandished blade of flashing steel;
31 With wealth at will, the world before him,
32 To go where whim or fashion bore him.
33 No friendly tutor by his side,
34 His academic course to guide.
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35 No classic honours to invite,
36 No emulation to excite.
37 But, in default of these, his soul
38 With native fire supplied the whole;
39 And neither Hall nor College claim
40 Honour from him whose honoured name
41 Shall henceforth with the highest stand,
42 The most efficient scholars of our land.
43 To him what meed of thanks the unlearned owe!
44 And even the learned, who best his merits know.
45 With Homer, Virgil, Wieland, all converse
46 Like true compatriots in his pliant verse.
47 Pliant but elevated, graceful, bold,
48 And worthy of the Bards of old.
49 Nor will we thanklessly peruse
50 The beauties of his native muse,
51 Where lofty thoughts and feelings sweet,
52 And moral truths commingling meet.
53 Where fancy spreads her absent scene,
54 The flowery mead, the forest green;
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55 The plains, the mountain peaks, the fanes sublime,
56 The ruins long revered of Italy's fair clime.
57 Yea thanks be his, heart-given and kind,
58 For all his pen has left behind!
59 Though bitters in his cup were mixed,
60 And in his heart sharp arrows fixed,
61 The current of his life ran clear;
62 With virtuous love and duteous children blest,
63 He journeyed onward to the Christian's rest,
64 And happy was his long career.
65 Social and joyous to the end,
66 Around him gathered many a friend,
67 Whose minds his dear remembrance hold,
68 Though seventy years and more
69 His head had silvered o'er,
70 As one who ne'er was old.
71 Rejoicing in his well-earned fame,
72 They oft repeat his honoured name,
73 And as their thoughts on all his virtues dwell
74 With sorrow, cheered and sweet, bid him a last farewell.

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Title (in Source Edition): LINES ON THE DEATH OF WILLIAM SOTHEBY, ESQ.
Themes: death
Genres: occasional poem; eulogy

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Source edition

Fugitive Verses. By Joanna Baillie, author of "Dramas on the Passions," etc. London: Edward Moxon, Dover Street. MDCCCXL., 1840, pp. 143-146. 

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