Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
Samuel Johnson. 1709–1784
  
451. On the Death of Mr. Robert Levet,
a Practiser in Physic
  
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 call'd for aid, 
  And hov'ring death prepared the blow, 
His vig'rous 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 disdained by pride; 
The modest wants of every day 
  The toil of every day supplied. 
 
His virtues walk'd their narrow round,  25
  Nor made a pause, nor left a void; 
And sure th' 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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