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CHATTERTON'S WILL.

1770.

ALL this wrote between 11 and 2 o'clock Saturday in the utmost distress of mind. April 14, 1770.

N. B. In a dispute concerning the character of David, Mr. argued that he must be a holy man, from the strains of piety that breathe through his whole works I being of a contrary opinion, and knowing that a great genius can effect any thing, endeavouring in the foregoing* What Poems Chatterton meant here is uncertain. Poems to represent an enthusiastic Methodist intended to send it to Romaine, and impose it upon the infatuated world as a reality; but thanks to Burgum's generosity, I am now employed in matters of more importance.

Saturday April 20, 1770.

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1 BURGUM I thank thee, thou hast let me see,
2 That Bristol has impress'd her stamp on thee,
3 Thy generous spirit emulates the May'rs,
4 Thy generous spirit with thy Bristols pairs.
5 Gods! what would Burgum give, to get a name
6 And snatch his blundering dialect from shame?
7 What would he give, to hand his memory down
8 To times remotest boundary? A Crown.
9 Would you ask more, his swelling face looks blue;
10 Futurity he rates at two pound two.
11 Well Burgum, take thy laurel to thy brow;
12 With a rich saddle decorate a sow,
13 Strut in Iambics, totter in an Ode,
14 Promise, and never pay, and be the mode.
15 Catcott, for thee, I know thy heart is good,
16 But ah! thy merit's seldom understood;
17 Too bigotted to whimsies, which thy youth
18 Receiv'd to venerate as Gospel truth,
19 Thy friendship never could be dear to me,
20 Since all I am is opposite to thee.
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21 If ever obligated to thy purse
22 Rowley discharges all; my first chief curse
23 For had I never known the antique lore
24 I ne'er had ventured from my peaceful shore,
25 To be the wreck of promises and hopes
26 A Boy of Learning, and a Bard of Tropes;
27 But happy in my humble sphere had mov'd
28 Untroubled, unsuspected, unbelov'd.
29 To Barrett next, he has my thanks sincere,
30 For all the little knowledge I had here.
31 But what was knowledge? Could it here succeed?
32 When scarcely twenty in the town can read.
33 Could knowledge bring in interest to maintain
34 The wild expences of a Poets brain;
35 Disinterested Burgum never meant
36 To take my knowledge for his gain per cent.
37 When wildly squand'ring every thing I got,
38 On Books, and Learning, and the Lord knows what.
39 Could Burgum then, my Critic, Patron, Friend
40 Without security attempt to lend?
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41 No, that would be imprudent in the man;
42 Accuse him of imprudence, if you can.
43 He promis'd, I confess, and seem'd sincere;
44 Few keep an honorary promise here.
45 I thank thee, Barrett, thy advice was right,
46 But 'twas ordain'd by Fate that I should write.
47 Spite of the prudence of this prudent place,
48 I wrote my mind, nor hid the Authors face.
49 Harris ere long, when reeking from the Press
50 My numbers make his self-importance less,
51 Will wrinkle up his face, and damn the day
52 And drag my body to the triple way
53 Poor superstitious Mortals! wreak your hate
54 Upon my cold remains
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THIS is the last Will and Testament of me Thomas Chatterton of the City of Bristol; being sound in body, or it is the fault of my last Surgeon; the soundness of my mind, the Coroner and Jury are to be judges of, desiring them to take notice, that the most perfect Masters of Human Nature in Bristol distinguish me by the title of the Mad Genius; therefore, if I do a mad action, it is conformable to every action of my life, which savour'd of insanity.

Item. If after my death which will happen to-morrow night before eight o'clock, being the Feast of the Resurrection, the Coroner and Jury bring it in Lunacy, I will and direct, that Paul Farr, Esq and Mr. John Flower, at their joint expence, cause my body to be interred in the Tomb of my Fathers, and raise the Monument over my body to the height of four feet five inches, placing the present flat stone on the top, and adding 6 Tablets.

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On the first to be engraved in Old English Characters

Vous qui par ici pasez
* Whatever obsolete spelling or mistakes may be observed here, either in the French or the Latin, the Reader is desired to consider as the Author's, not the Editor's.
Pur l'ame Guateroine Chatterton priez
Le cors di oi ici gist
L'ame receyve Thu Crist. MCCX.

On the second Tablet in Old English Characters

Orate pro animabus Alanus Chatterton, et Alicia
* Whatever obsolete spelling or mistakes may be observed here, either in the French or the Latin, the Reader is desired to consider as the Author's, not the Editor's.
Uxeris ejus, qui quidem Alanus obict x die mensis Novemb. M, CCCCXV, quorum animabus propinetur Deus Amen.
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On the third Tablet in Roman Characters

SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF THOMAS CHATTERTON, Subchaunter of the Cathedral of this City, whose Ancestors were Residents of St. Mary Redcliffe since the year 1140. He died the 7th of August 1752.

On the fourth Tablet in Roman Characters.

TO THE MEMORY OF THOMAS CHATTERTON; Reader judge not; if thou art a Christian believe that he shall be judged by a Superior Power to that Power alone is he now answerable.

On the fifth and sixth Tablets which shall front each other

Atchievements viz. On the one, vest, a fess; or, crest, a mantle of estate, gules, supported[Page 67] by a spear, sable, headed, or, on the other, or, a fess vest, crest, a cross of Knights Templars. And I will and direct that if the Coroners Inquest bring it in felo-de-se, the said monument shall be notwithstanding erected. And if the said Paul Farr and John Flower have souls so Bristolish as to refuse this my request, they will transmit a copy of my Will to the Society for supporting the Bill of Rights, whom I hereby empower to build the said monument according to the aforesaid directions. And if they the said Paul Farr and John Flower should build the said monument; I will and direct that the 2d Edition of my Kew Gardens, shall be dedicated to them in the following Dedication. To Paul Farr and John Flower, Esqrs this Book is most humbly dedicated by the Author's Ghost.

Item. I give all my vigour and fire of youth to Mr. G— C—, being sensible he is most in want of it.

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Item. From the same charitable motive, I give and bequeath unto the Reverend Mr. C—n senior all my humility. To Mr. B—m all my Prosody and Grammar, likewise one moiety of my modesty, the other moiety to any young Lady who can prove without blushing that she wants that valuable commodity. To Bristol all my spirit and difinterestedness, parcels of goods, unknown on her quay since the days of Canning and Rowley! 'Tis true a charitable Gentleman, one Mr. Colston, smuggled a considerable quantity of it, but it being proved that he was a Papist, the Worshipful Society of Aldermen endeavour to throttle him with the Oath of Allegiance. I leave also my Religion to Dr. C— B—, D— of B—, hereby empowering the Sub-Spirit to strike him on the head when he goes to sleep in Church My powers of utterance I give to the Reverend Mr. B—n, hoping he will employ them to a better purpose than reading Lectures on the Immortality of the Soul: I leave the Reverend Mr. C— some little of[Page 69] my free thinking, that he may put on spectacles of reason and see how vilely he is duped in believing the Scriptures literally. I wish he and his brother G— would know how far I am their real Enemy, but, I have an unlucky way of raillery, and when the strong fit of Satire is upon me I spare neither friend nor foe. This is my excuse for what I have said of them elsewhere. I leave Mr. Clayfield the sincerest thanks my gratitude can give, and I will and direct that whatever any person may think the pleasure of reading my Works worth, they immediately pay their own valuation to him, since it is then become a lawful debt to me and to him as my Executor in this case. I leave my Moderation to the Politicians on both sides the question. I leave my Generosity to our present Right Worshipful Mayor, T— H—, Esq. I give my Abstinence to the Company at the Sheriffs Annual Feast in general, more particularly the Aldermen.

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Item. I give and bequeath to Mr. M— M— a mourning Ring with this Motto, "Alas! poor Chatterton!"provided he pays for it himself. Item. I leave the young Ladies all the Letters they have had from me, assuring them that they need be under no apprehensions from the appearance of my Ghost, for I die for none of them. Item. I leave all my debts the whole not Five Pounds to the payment of the charitable and generous Chamber of Bristol, on penalty if refused, to hinder every Member from a good dinner by appearing in the form of a Bailiff. If in defiance of this terrible spectre, they obstinately persist in refusing to discharge my debts, let my two Creditors apply to the Supporters of the Bill of Rights. Item. I leave my Mother and Sister to the protection of my Friends if I have any. Executed in the presence of Omniscience this 14th of April 1770.

THOs. CHATTERTON.
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CODICIL.

It is my pleasure that Mr. Cocking and Miss Farley Print this my Will the first Saturday after my death.

T. C.

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Title (in Source Edition): CHATTERTON'S WILL. 1770.
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Genres: heroic couplet

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Source edition

A Supplement to the Miscellanies of Thomas Chatterton London: printed for T. Becket, in Pall-Mall; Bookseller to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and Their Royal Highnesses the Princes. MDCCLXXXIV., 1784, pp. 60-71. [6],ii,88p.; 8⁰. (ESTC T48948; OTA K045459.000)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

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