Sunday, September 30, 2012


After the Death of a Bachelor

James Hurnard (1808-1881), The Setting Sun, 3rd ed. (London: Saml. Harris & Co., 1878), pp. 59-60; rpt. in James Hurnard: A Victorian Character. Being Passages from The Setting Sun. Selected and Arranged by G. Rostrevor Hamilton (Cambridge: At the University Press, 1946), pp. 23-24:
To die, and have an end of all one's troubles,
And find admittance to a better world,
May soothe the pillow of a sinking man;
But to have eager, prying relatives
Ransack out all one's precious drawers and boxes,
Read one's most valued, sacred, secret letters,
Laugh at one's little tear be-sprinkled keepsakes,
Disarrange all one's chosen books and papers,
And have one's treasures cast aside as rubbish;
To have one's old apartments desecrated
By an unfeeling, prying auction-crowd—
To have a flippant, callous auctioneer
Make jokes upon one's dear familiar chairs,
Selling one's loved inanimate old friends,
The furniture that we have used from childhood,
Fondly associated with our daily life;
To have one's very garments chaffered for,
By our relations, with a clothes'-dealer—
This seems to me one of the saddest pictures
A poor old dying bachelor can ponder.

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