1764 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Charles Churchill

T. W., "On Mr. Churchill's Death" London Evening Post (24 November 1764).



Farewell, great Bard — ye Sons of Science mourn,
And shed, with me, your Tears o'er Churchill's Urn:
Lament his Death — who, firm to Freedom's Cause,
Unshaken stood amidst the threat'ning Laws;
Whose gen'rous, friendly, all-commanding Soul
No venal Views could move, nor Fear controul;
Whose Pen, when Freedom call'd, was still prepar'd,
To vindicate her Rights — his chief Regard;
To lash with Satire keen the Tools of Pow'r,
Their base degen'rate Actions to explore;
Expose their Follies, drag to public Sight
Each dark Transaction they would hide from Light.

He e'er was faithful to those Friends he chose,
Nor knew what Malice was, e'en to his Foes;
Open to all; sincere without Disguise,
He boldly spoke, to censure, or despise;
Equally bold, of Vices to forewarn;
Fear he detested, Envy was his Scorn:
Virtue he honour'd — and in all his Lays
Gave to superior Merit, Merit's Praise.

His noble Soul disdain'd that wretched State,
That abject Life — Dependance on the Great—
Much worse than Bonds — to his high soaring Mind;
That (free by Nature) scorn'd to be confin'd;
Scorn'd to set forth, as righteous Acts, those Crimes
Which stand Examples to succeeding Times;
Scorn'd Vice to form in Virtue's specious Mould,
Or sell his native Liberty for Gold.
Churchill's no more — Ye Bards, preserve his Name,
High on the Records of poetic Fame,
Let that stand first, your various Lays to grace,
It well deserves the most exalted Place;
Equal to Dryden. — Thro' each nervous Page,
Admir'd, he'll live, to the most distant Age.