Littell's Living Age/Volume 137/Issue 1772/The Good Great Man

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First published in the Morning Post, 23rd September, 1802.


How seldom, friend, a good great man inherits
Honor or wealth, with all his worth and pains!
It sounds like stories from the world of spirits,
If any man obtain that which he merits,
Or any merit that which he obtains.
For shame, dear friend! renounce this canting strain,
What wouldst thou have a good great man obtain?
Place — titles — salary — a gilded chain —
Or throne of corses which his sword hath slain? —
Greatness and goodness are not means, but ends;
Hath he not always treasures, always friends,
The good great man? — three treasures, love and light,
And calm thoughts, regular as infant's breath;
And three firm friends, more sure than day and night —
Himself, his Maker, and the Angel Death.

1809.S. T. Coleridge.