One of my favourite parts of working at the Kent History Centre is searching through the document catalogue for future powerpoint topics. One keyword can unlock hundreds of entries and lead you to the most amazing stories. Following a whim I recently entered the word ‘poem’ and discovered the fabulous tale of Samual Hoole. Sadly, a bad wife, drink and undeserving company led him astray but his Mother loved him all the same and penned the following ode in his memory.
The Kent History and Library Centre have kindly allowed me to reproduce it here and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
To the memory of my eldest son Samuel Hoole, who departed his life the 9 January 1825, in the fifty sixth year of his age. Thy will be done – the Lords Prayer.
‘First offspring of my youthful marriage bed,
Before they father numbered with the Dead!
And though hear thirty years advance I have
Thee _ laid before me in the grave
Yet, in this I nor murmur nor repine;
But bow submission to the hand Divine.
The ways of Heav’n are dark and intricate;
And, what has been denominated hate
Is then, that God by his all knowing will;
Disposes all events both good and ill,
Assigns to every man his s_ on earth
Fixing his Death, ev’n at his hour of birth;
But, in the mean time, leaves his actions free
And therefore man accountable must be.
Many and great, were the maternal cares
That waited on thee in thy infant years
Six weeks ere thou coulds’t take thy mother’s breast,
And, during three years, she had little rest,
Finding thy weak and sickly state as length,
Nature prevailed, and, daily gaining strength
Her care were all dispell’d by ten-fold joy
Seeing thee grow a sweet and lovely boy.
In youth, thy talents native and acquired
Caus’d thee to be esteemed, by some admir’d
Affording hopes of good success in life’
Til evil company, and a bad wife,
Defeated all thy chance of gaining wealth,
Part’d the morals and impair’d thy health.
Falling from bad to worse, thy wretched life
Made thee forsake thy country and thy wife’
And, after seven years wandering on the main
Thou dids’t return upon my hands again;
Infected with a most disgusting vice;
The love of liquor, bad as averice
For drunkenness upon the vitals preys
And quickly shortens man’s unhappy days.
Avarice more preserves than injures health,
It give the miser time to hoard up wealth,
He dies, and leaves his heir his seand (?)stone
Who often wastes it in a golden showr.
Thy squalid garb, and thy disheffulness,
(Through which thy inward worth could not be seen)
Caus’d thee to be rejected ev’n despised,
Some few excepted, who thy ? prized,
Harbour’d by few, forsaken by thy wife,
The last few years thou led a wretched life;
Thy chief dependence on thy father lay
And he the call of nature did obey.
Thy faults were many but thy virtues more;
Kind hearted, courteous, liberal thou poor
Thy to thy promise, faithful to thy trust
And to thy power, uniformly just,
Never, either in malice, or in mirth,
Dids’t thou revile the author of thy birth;
Like ? and ? ? to ?
Thy father’s failings ? ? ? ?
At length, the common ? ?
Nature exhausted, all thy rigour failed
And quietly, by a desired Death
In peace thou dids’t resign thy latest breath.
Now thy immortal part which still survives
‘Returns to Him, who righteous judgement gives’.
I wonder what my mum would say about me!
PS. Apologies for the missing words at the end – if you can make out any of them please do let me know. Thanks
*All images were taken by Rachael Hale and published with the kind permission of the Kent History and Library Centre.