1763 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Richard Steele

Charles Churchill, in Epistle to Hogarth (1763); Poetical Works of Charles Churchill, ed. William Tooke (1804) 1:182-83.



Sure 'tis a curse which angry fates impose,
To mortify man's arrogance, that those
Who're fashion'd of some better sort of clay,
Much sooner than the common herd decay.
What bitter pangs must humbled Genius feel,
In their last hours, to view a Swift and Steele!
How must ill-boding horrors fill her breast
When she beholds men mark'd above the rest
For qualities most dear, plung'd from that height
And sunk, deep sunk, in second childhood's night;
Are men, indeed, such things? and are the best
More subject to this evil than the rest,
To drivel out whole years of idiot breath,
And fit the monuments of living death!
O, galling circumstance to human pride!
Abasing thought, but not to be denied.