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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.

London Streets

Bolt Court, Fleet Street

By Samuel Johnson (1709–1784)

Lines on the Death of Dr. Levett

CONDEMNED to hope’s delusive mine,

As on we toil from day to day,

By sudden blast or slow decline

Our social comforts drop away.

Well tried through many a varying year,

See Levett 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,

Nor, lettered arrogance, deny

Thy praise to merit unrefined.

When fainting nature called for aid,

And hovering death prepared the blow,

The vigorous remedy displayed,

The power of art, without the show.

In misery’s darkest caverns known,

His useful care was ever nigh;

Where hopeless anguish poured his groan,

And lonely want retired to die.

No summons mocked by chill delay,

No petty gain disdained by pride,

The modest wants of every day

The toil of every day supplied.

His virtues walked their narrow round,

Nor made a pause, nor left a void;

And sure the eternal Master found

The single talent well employed.

The busy day, the peaceful night,

Unfelt, uncounted, glided by:

His frame was firm, his powers were bright,

Though now his eightieth year was nigh.

Then with no throb of fiery pain,

No cold gradations of decay,

Death broke at once the vital chain,

And freed his soul the nearest way.