1764 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Charles Churchill

S. Sh—rs, "A Monody, on the Death of Mr. Charles Churchill" Public Advertiser (5 December 1764).



Ye verdant Laurels, and ye gloomy Pines,
Ye fragrant Myrtles, and the mournful Yew;
Your leafy Honours to resign prepare,
That I, with friendly Care,
May deck our Churchill's Tomb; to him they're due.

Occasion sad, sad Office ever dear,
For 'tis the last we ever can bestow:
Since thy harmonious Soul has taken Flight,
Receive from us the Tribute of our Woe.
Curst be Boulogne, there Churchill met his Fate,
There Churchill died, and has not left his Peer:
But shall we bear him silent on the Bier,
While the loud laments stun the adverse Shore;
Shall they still weep, and shall not we do more,
Than barely give him the last parting Tear?
Him, our dear Country's Boast, her fav'rite Son,
Fair Freedom's Patron, and the Muse's Flame,
Who to his Aid, in Haste, to get her came,
Hoping to save, but nothing could be done:
And Nature echo'd, The great CHURCHILL'S dead.

Begin, Melpomene, the Fun'ral Song,
Touch, with bold Hand, the loudly sounding String,
Raise thy sweet Voice, but let it still be strong,
Equal to him to whom it does belong:
For thou of all the nine the Dirge must sing.

Apollo hear, and grant my just Desire,
Since thy own Son, the Genius of our Isle,
Is gone — for ever gone — and never more,
Must he return, to bless this weeping Shore:
Some other Mortal with his Soul inspire,
Lest Vice should triumph and get Head the while.
For he in Virtue's Cause did still engage,
And lovely Freedom all his Soul inspir'd;
Vice felt the Force of his Poetic Rage,
Unable to withstand his Pen, retir'd.
Form'd was his Head, and ready was his Hand,
Nor venal L—ds, nor M—rs, would spare:
To lash the highly Vicious was his Care,
And to expose the Harpies of the Land.

Freedom he sung, in such enchanting Strains,
Freedom, the Hills re-echo'd to the Plains.

Apollo heard, and inward grieving sigh'd,
He greatly mourn'd the Loss of one so dear;
'Till quite o'ercome, he threw his Harp aside,
And down his Cheek stole the ambrosial Tear:
Then sought Britannia, but long sought in vain
Among her Cliffs, and on her rocky Shore,
'Gainst which the Waves, in headlong Fury, drove,
And the loud Winds assaulted from above,
There she had often sat and told her Pain:
But now her Griefs were greater than before,
And she at Dover wasted all her Store
Of Tears; while o'er her Fav'rite's Tomb,
In melancholy Posture long she stood
Quite motionless and dumb.
At length her Grief found Vent, and she began,
In Words like these — the Verse alternate ran.

Now will the Good and Virtuous greatly mourn,
The Fate of him, so lov'd, and so admir'd;
Now will they pour their Sorrows o'er his Urn,
And weep the Bosom quench'd, that Freedom fir'd.

Why should we blush to weep for one so dear,
For one already in the List of Fame?
Why should we shame to drop the tender Tear,
For one whose Works will eternize his Name?

Here must he rest, and here will I remain,
And be the constant Guardian of his Grave;
Here will I vent my Sorrows to the Main,
And wail the Fate of him I could not save.