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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

Epitaph, Intended for Himself

James Beattie (1735–1803)

ESCAPED the gloom of mortal life, a soul

Here leaves its moulding tenement of clay,

Safe, where no cares their whelming billows roll,

No doubts bewilder, and no hopes betray.

Like thee, I once have stemm’d the sea of life;

Like thee, have languish’d after empty joys;

Like thee, have labour’d in the stormy strife;

Been griev’d for trifles, and amus’d with toys.

Yet, for a while, ’gainst Passion’s threatful blast

Let steady Reason urge the struggling oar;

Shot through the dreary gloom, the morn at last

Gives to thy longing eye the blissful shore.

Forget my frailties; thou art also frail;

Forgive my lapses, for thyself may’st fall;

Nor read, unmov’d, my artless tender tale;

I was a friend, O man, to thee, to all.