Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AN EPITAPH, by JOHN BYROM



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

AN EPITAPH, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Stay, traveller, the barrington lies here, who left us poor mortals
Last Line: In thee, and so fare thee well.
Subject(s): Epitaphs; Trinity College, Cambridge


STAY, Traveller, the Barrington lies here, who left us poor mortals to
bewail his loss, June 24, 1713.
He was a philosopher of the Plat-onic sect; so true a friend, that
never was any but would let him into their secrets at the first
acquaintance. He was a man of metal, and feared no colours but Browne.
He kept company with learned men, and was a good critic himself, especially
at the filling up of an Hiatus. He could enter into the heart of an
author immediately. He dealt much in fragments. He was an excellent
physician, and could give a man a stool or a vomit, a cordial or a sleepy dose,
just as a man's body required it. He understood anatomy so well, that he could
dissect a man alive, and trace through every part and yet never hurt him. As
well as he was skilled in optics, he never made use of any glasses. He was a
jeweller, and has adorned many a man with carbuncles of his own making.
In short, he was every thing; a man of an excellent taste, though
something frothy. He was of an aspiring temper, and would get to the
head in all company he came into; though he had this check on his ambition,
that always the higher he mounted, the lower he sunk.
He was generally very mild, and never in a passion; and yet, traveller,
would not stick to run through the best friend he had, and so sharp
sometimes, that if a man meddled with him, he would cut his throat. He had a
confounded large mouth and ears, but scarce any of his other members
perfect—not above four feet high, and yet many a one has died for love of
him.
He had such an ingenious way of reprimanding a man, that if he hit you in
the teeth with a thing, you would not take it ill. He was a comical blade
enough; had no eyes himself, but would have made thee stare. He had never a
hand, yet would have knocked thee down. Sometimes he had a head, and sometimes
none; and when he had, what is falsely reported of a certain saint is true of
him, that he carried it in his mouth. When he was drunk he had not a drop of
liquor in him, quite contrary to other men. He would often change his inside,
but never his outside. I could tell thee more wonders, traveller, but thou art
puzzled already. In short, he had that in him, which thou wouldst wish to have
in thee, and so fare thee well.




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