1762 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William King of Oxford

William King, "Epitaph of William King" [translated] Lloyd's Evening Post (13 April 1764) 354.



EPITAPH
Of WILLIAM KING,
Composed by himself June 4, 1762,
Being the Anniversary of the Nativity of
GEORGE III.
I once was WILLIAM KING,
From the Year 1719 to 17— Principal of this Hall.
Devoted from my earliest Youth to useful Study,
I cultivated it to my latest Day.
Possessed of Vices as well as Virtues;
I was imprudent and improvident,
Yet humane and benevolent;
Though often too prone to Resentment,
I was scarcely ever implacable.
Luxury as well as Avarice,
(Which last I esteemed rather a Madness than a Vice,)
I held in utter Detestation.
My Countrymen, Friends, and Strangers,
I, at all times, received with Hospitality:
Though in myself moderate in eating,
And in drinking most temperate,
I associated, at times, with all Ranks of Men,
That I might gain a Knowledge of others,
But of myself principally;
Yet, after all, I remained ignorant of either.
I had many Friends, but few of them proved true, stedfast, or grateful.
(This, however, may, perchance, be a national Failing.)
I had a number of Enemies; but they were among the envious, the wicked, and depraved Part of Mankind; and I was much less affected with their Injuries, than my own Failings.
The extreme old Age to which I attained I neither wished for, nor repined at, being never beyond Measure depressed with the Crosses of Life, nor elated with Success.
The Approach of Death I beheld without either Contempt or Fear.
Most Gracious God,
By whose providential Care we live and breathe,
Have Mercy on my Soul.