Drunken Charlie Brown

   He has spent his life at sea,
   He has sailed the wide world o'er,
Now a castaway he drifts about the town.
   For his fate no mortal grieves;
   Not a living soul believes
That there's any good in drunken Charlie Brown.

   Hark! the minute gun's loud boom
   Brings a tale of wreck and doom:
To the beach a hundred daring men have flown;
   And the first to leap from shore,
   And the first to grasp an oar,
Is the foolish seaman, drunken Charlie Brown.

   Led by each successive flash,
   Through the darkness on they dash–-
'Tis a gallant little boat of great renown;
   And the hand which guides her right,
   By the cannon's fitful light,
Is the worthless hand of drunken Charlie Brown.

   Soon the listeners on the pier
   Catch and echo back a cheer,
Which the rush of angry waters cannot drown;
   'Tis the lifeboat full in view,
   And she brings a double crew--
But she comes without poor drunken Charlie Brown.

   At the early dawn of day
   Thousands flock to search the bay
Where the shatter'd spars and wreck are widely strewn;
   And no eye withholds a tear
   When, at length, four tars appear
With the dripping corpse of drunken Charlie Brown.

   To his mother's grave hard by,
   He is carried shoulder high,
And the shipwreck'd sailors gentle lay him down--
   Their old captain at the head--
   In his cold and narrow bed,--
So farewell to poor drunken Charlie Brown.

   Now, the erring or unwise
   Doth thou in thy soul despise!
Art thy ready with thy sentence and thy frown!
   Go--its lesson thou dost need--
   Seek the quiet churchyard, and read
There--the Epitaph of Drunken Charlie Brown.

   THE EPITAPH
   A friendly orphan, early left
     Unguarded in his wayward youth,
   He lived in later years, bereft
     Of virtue, temperance and truth.

   The Pharasaic world passed by--
     "I thank thee, God," in every feature--
   And showed its Christianity
     By shunning such a "wretched creature."

   What for him Christians would not do,
     The "Sinner" nobly did for others:
   He died for us, a foreign crew,
     And earned this tribute from his brothers.

poem by Ebenezer Smith, from the book Verses, published in 1871.

(Ran across that while in a Wikipedia discussion of whether it was possible that the Coaster’s song “Charlie Brown” – you know, the one who calls the English teacher “Daddy-o” – was not inspired by Schulz’s work.)

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