Address to His Elbow-Chair, New Cloath'd, An

by William Somervile

William Somervile


M Y dear companion, and my faithful friend!
If Orpheus taught the listening oaks to bend;
If stones and rubbish, at Amphion's call,
Danc'd into form, and built the Theban wall,
Why should'st not thou attend my humble lays,
And hear my grateful harp resound thy praise?
True, thou art spruce and fine, a very beau;
But what are trappings and external show?
To real worth alone I make my court;
Knaves are my scorn, and coxcombs are my sport.
Once I beheld thee far less trim and gay,
Ragged, disjointed, and to worms a prey;
The safe retreat of every lurking mouse;
Derided, shunn'd; the lumber of my house.
Thy robe how chang'd from what it was before!
Thy velvet robe, which pleas'd my sires of yore!
'Tis thus capricious fortune wheels us round;
Aloft we mount — then tumble to the ground.
Yet grateful then, my constancy I prov'd;
I knew thy worth; my friends in rags I lov'd:
I lov'd thee more; nor, like a courtier, spurn'd
My benefactor when the tide was turn'd.
With conscious shame, yet frankly, I confess
That in my youthful days — I lov'd thee less.
Where vanity, where pleasure call'd, I stray'd,
And every wayward appetite obey'd;
But sage experience taught me how to prize
Myself, and how this world: she bade me rise
To nobler flights, regardless of a race
Of factious emmets; pointed where to place
My bliss, and lodg'd me in thy soft embrace.
Here on thy yielding down I sit secure,
And, patiently, what Heav'n has sent endure;
From all the futile cares of business free,
Not fond of life, but yet content to be:
Here mark the fleeting hours, regret the past,
And seriously prepare to meet the last.
So safe on shore the pension'd sailor lies,
And all the malice of the storm defies;
With ease of body bless'd, and peace of mind,
Pities the restless crew he left behind;
Whilst in his cell he meditates alone
On his great voyage to the world unknown.

Last updated October 28, 2017