Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > British
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. VI–IX: British
 
Captain Paton’s Lament
By John Gibson Lockhart (1794–1854)
 
From Andrew Lang’s “Life of Lockhart”

TOUCH once more a sober measure, and let punch and tears be shed,
For a prince of good old fellows, that alack-a-day is dead;
For a prince of worthy fellows and a pretty man also,
That has left the salt market in sorrow, grief, and woe.
  Oh, we ne’er shall see the like o’ Captain Paton no mo!        5
 
His waistcoat, coat, and breeches were all cut off the same web,
Of a beautiful snuff-colour or a modest genty drab;
The blue stripe in his stocking round his neat slim leg did go,
And his ruffles of the cambric fine, they were whiter than the snow.
  Oh, we ne’er shall see the like of Captain Paton no mo!        10
 
His hair was curled in order as the rising of the sun,
In comely rows and buckles that about his ears did run;
And before there was a toupee that some inches up did grow,
And behind there was a long queue that did o’er his shoulders flow.
  Oh, we ne’er shall see the like of Captain Paton no mo!        15
 
And whenever we foregathered he took off his wee three-cockit;
And he proffered you his snuff-box, which he drew from his side-pocket;
And on Burdette or Bonaparte he would make a remark or so,
And then along the plainstones like a provost he would go.
  Oh, we ne’er shall see the like of Captain Paton no mo!        20
 
In dirty days he picked well his footsteps with his rattan;
Oh, you ne’er could see the least speck on the shoes of Captain Paton.
And on entering the coffee-room about two, all men did know,
They would see him with his courier in the middle of the row.
  Oh, we ne’er shall see the like of Captain Paton no mo!        25
 
Now and then upon a Sunday he invited me to dine,
On a herring and a mutton-chop which his maid dressed very fine;
There was also a little Malmsey and a bottle of Bordeaux,
Which between me and the captain passed nimbly to and fro.
  Oh, I shall ne’er take the pot-luck with Captain Paton no mo!        30
 
Or if a bowl was mentioned the Captain he would ring,
And bid Nelly run to the West Port and a stoup of water bring;
Then he would mix the genuine stuff as they made it long ago,
With limes that on his property in Trinidad did grow.
  Oh, we ne’er shall taste the like of Captain Paton’s Punch no mo!        35
 
And then all the time he would discourse so sensible and courteous,
Perhaps talking of last sermon he had heard from Dr. Porteous,
Or some little bit of scandal about Mrs. So-and-So,
Which he scarce could credit, having heard the con, but not the pro.
  Oh, we ne’er shall hear the like of Captain Paton no mo!        40
 
Or when the candles were brought forth and the night was setting in,
He would tell some fine old stories, about Mindenfield and Dettingen.
How he fought with a French major and despatched him at a blow,
While his blood ran out like water, on the soft grass below.
  Oh, we ne’er shall hear the like of Captain Paton no mo!        45
 
But at last the Captain sickened and grew worse from day to day,
And all missed him in the coffee-room from which now he stayed away.
On Sabbaths, too, the Wee Kirk made a melancholy show,
All for wanting of the presence of our venerable beau.
  Oh, we ne’er shall see the like of Captain Paton no mo!        50
 
And in spite of all that Cleghorne and Cokingdale could do,
It was plain from twenty symptoms; that death was in his view.
So the Captain made his test’ment and submitted to the foe,
And we laid him by the Ramshorn kirk, ’tis the way we all must go.
  Oh, we ne’er shall see the like of Captain Paton no mo!        55
 
Join all in chorus, jolly boys, and let punch and tears be shed,
For the prince of good old fellows, that, alack-a-day is dead;
For this prince of worthy fellows, and a pretty man also,
That has left the salt market in sorrow, grief, and woe.
  For it ne’er shall see the like of Captain Paton no mo!        60
 
 
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