l: The Poem

In The Goldbug, Amherst High
Yearbook-1938, this mysterious
line appears beneath your
photo (which made no
sense to me as something
you might pick): “My right
there is none to dispute,” then
hours later, mulling it over,
realizing at last–Yes!–how
well this teacher knew
her charge and found the
words to fit him, this young
man who would earn his
bread with his own two
hands, asking nothing of
others, giving much, taking
life as it came, trusting all,
thinking the best of even
the worst, seeking no
favors, thankful always for
the smallest kindness, and
looking out on his lake
with a right beyond dispute,
monarch of his realm,
with a title to match,
master of the harbor,
our “Sunapee Bill.”

March 29, 2008

II: The Source

I AM monarch of all I survey;
My right there is none to dispute;
From the centre all round to the sea
I am lord of the fowl and the brute.
O Solitude! where are thy charms
That sages have seen in thy face?
Better dwell in the midst of alarms,
Than reign in this horrible place.

  . . . . .

The beast is laid down in his lair;           
Even here is a season of rest,           
And I to my cabin repair.           
There's mercy in every place;           
And mercy–encouraging thought!–           
Gives even affliction a grace,           
And reconciles man to his lot.”
-from The Solitude of Alexander Selkirk,
    W. Cowper, c. 1780


All written material © Bill Schechter, 2016
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