1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Chatterton

Anonymous, "Anecdote of the late Mr. Chatterton" Bristol and Bath Magazine 1 (1782) 353.



The late prodigy of genius, the unfortunate Chatterton, was amusing himself one day in company with a friend, and reading the epitaphs in Pancras Church-yard. He was so deep sunk in thought as he walked on, that not perceiving a grave that was just dug, he tumbled into it. His friend observing his situation, ran to his assistance, and as he helped him out, told him in a jocular manner, he was happy in assisting at the resurrection of Genius.—

Poor Chatterton smiled, and taking his companion by the arm, replied — "My dear friend, I feel the sting of a speedy dissolution — I have been at war with the grave for some time, and find it is not so easy to vanquish it as I imagined — we can find an assylum to hide from every creditor but that." His friend endeavoured to divert his thoughts from the gloomy reflection: but what will not melancholy and adversity combined subjugate? in three days after, the neglected and disconsolate youth put an end to his miseries by poison.