Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald
   English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
306. On the Death of Dr. Robert Levet
Samuel Johnson (1709–1784)
CONDEMN’D to Hope’s delusive mine,
  As on we toil from day to day,
By sudden blasts or slow decline
  Our social comforts drop away.
Well tried through many a varying year,        5
  See Levet to the grave descend,
Officious, innocent, sincere,
  Of every friendless name the friend.
Yet still he fills affection’s eye,
  Obscurely wise and coarsely kind;        10
Nor, letter’d Arrogance, deny
  Thy praise to merit unrefined.
When fainting nature called for aid,
  And hovering death prepared the blow,
His vigorous remedy display’d        15
  The power of art without the show.
In misery’s darkest cavern known,
  His useful care was ever nigh,
Where hopeless anguish pour’d his groan,
  And lonely want retired to die.        20
No summons mock’d by chill delay,
  No petty gain disdain’d by pride;
The modest wants of every day
  The toil of every day supplied.
His virtues walked their narrow round,        25
  Nor made a pause, nor left a void;
And sure the eternal Master found
  The single talent well employ’d.
The busy day, the peaceful night,
  Unfelt, uncounted, glided by;        30
His frame was firm—his powers were bright,
  Though now his eightieth year was nigh.
Then with no fiery throbbing pain,
  No cold gradations of decay,
Death broke at once the vital chain,        35
  And freed his soul the nearest way.


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