He Dieth, and Is Chested. Daniel Maclise. Wood-engraving, 4 ¼ x 3 ⅛ inches. Source: The Reliques of Father Prout, facing p. 347. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

The following page on the facing page explains the poem’s caption:

Disengaged from all the ties that bind others to existence, solitary, childless, what occupation more suitable to my remnant of life could I adopt than the exercise of memory and mind of which they are the fruit? When I shall seek my lonely pillow to-night, after “outwatching the bear,” I shall cheerfully consign another document to “the chest,” and bid it go join, in that miscellaneous aggregate, the mental progeny of my old age. This “chest” may be the coffin of my thoughts, or the cradle of my renown. In it my meditations may be matured by some kind editor into ultimate manhood, to walk the world and tell of their parentage; or else it may prove a silent sarcophagus, where they may moulder in decay. In either case I am resigned. I envy not the more fortunate candidates for public favour: I hold enmity to none. For my readers, if I have any, all I expect on their part is, that they may exhibit towards a feeble garrulous old man the same disposition he feels for them” (347).

Presumably, the speaker has a young potential editor who has opened the trunk and read through — or at least looked at — the piles of paper strewn across the floor.

[You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. — George P. Landow]


Yorke, Oliver [Francis Mahoney]. The Reliques of Father Prout, Late P.P. of Watergrasshill, in the county of Cork, Ireland. “With Illustrations by Alfred Croquis, Esq. ([)Daniel Maclise, R.A.)” London, George Bell & Sons, 1886.

Created 7 July 2021