Chatterton, the Young Poet


This gifted young poet was the son of a schoolmaster at Bristol, where he was born, in 1752. On the 24th of August, 1770, he was found dead, near a table covered with the scraps of writings he had destroyed, in a miserable room in Brook-street, Holborn. In Redcliffe churchyard, Bristol, a beautiful monument has been erected to the memory of the unfortunate poet.

O God! whose thunders shake the sky,

Whose eye this atom globe surveys,

To Thee, my only rock, I fly—

Thy mercy in thy justice praise.

Oh, teach me in the trying hour,

When anguish swells the dewy tear,

To still my sorrows, own Thy power,

Thy goodness love, Thy justice fear.

Ah! why, my soul, dost thou complain,

Why, drooping, seek the dark recess?

Shake off the melancholy chain,

For God created all to bless.

But, ah! my breast is human still:

The rising sigh, the falling tear,

My languid vitals' feeble rill,

The sickness of my soul declare.