Rev. Charles Churchill

Christopher Crabtree, Esq., "A Pastoral Elegy. To the Memory of Mr. Charles Churchill" London Chronicle (17 November 1764) 476.

Ye echoes my sentiments hear,
While CHURCHILL I truly deplore;
And now wet his grave with a tear,
Whom I freely have censur'd before.

With candor not enmity fraught
I sometimes deny'd him the bays;
So if sensible e'er of a fault,
O let me be just to his praise.

By GENIUS mark'd out from the throng,
The Goddess beheld him and smil'd:
And FAME still beam'd thro' his song,
Tho' rough, inharmonious, and wild.

'Twas his thro' the musical maze
With a perfect indiff'rence to steer;
And teach e'en the harshest of lays
To please the most difficult ear.

In a burst of the noblest flame
His sentiments frequently ran:
Yet oft has the BARD bought a name
At the total expence of the MAN.

The vicious still shrunk at his pen
Where'er it appear'd to their view:
Yet O the most worthy of men
Have oftentimes dreaded it too.

His Muse with a fury would glow
Too partial for sense to commend;
O'erlook all the worth of a foe,
And forget all the faults of a friend.

Hence black as the vestments of night
A BUTE has he studied to shew;
And painted his WILKES in a light
That washes him wholly to snow.

Hence ev'ry engagement of pow'r,
He censur'd as national wrong:
And bid SCOTLAND eternally lour
All barren and dreary in song.

But who, if a stricture is made,
Can justice with certainty name,
That never has deviously stray'd
Nor once been to pity, or blame!

That CHURCHILL had errors we know;
But then he was frank and sincere;
And never was told of a woe,
But he gave it his purse, or his tear.

Too proud, when his fortune he met
By far, to a Statesman to bend;
And too humble by much to forget
The name of the shabbiest friend.

Then round the poor spot where he's laid
May the laurel eternally bloom;
And nought but his virtues be made
An epitaph e'er for his tomb.

If a fault is unhappily shewn
Let us place it to nature and man;
And engag'd by his merit alone
Strive to imitate that if we can.