1765 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Charles Churchill

Cuthbert Shaw, in The Race (1765; 1766) 24-25.



Next Churchill came — his face proclaim'd a heart,
That scorn'd to wear the smooth address of art,
Srongly mark'd out that firm unconquer'd soul,
Which nought on earth could bias or controul.
He bow'd — when all sneer at his want of grace,
An uncouth form, ill-suited to the Race;
Whilst he contemptuous smil'd on all around,
And thus addrest her in a voice profound.

"Goddess, these gnatlings move not me at all,
I come by just decrees to stand or fall.
When first the daring bard aspires to sing,
To check the follies of his infant wing,
Critics not only try (your pardon, Fame,
To you a stranger is the Critic's name)
But every blockhead, who pretends to write,
Would damp his vigour, and retard his flight.
Critics, oh Fame! are things compos'd between
The two ingredients, Ignorance and Spleen;
Who, like the Daw, wou'd infamously tear
The shining plumes they see another wear,
That thus unfeather'd by these wretched elves,
All may appear as naked as themselves.

"Hard is the task in such a cause t' engage
With fools and knaves eternal war to wage,
By fears or partial feelings unsubdu'd,
To hurl defiance at so vast a croud;
To stand the teizing of their little spleen,
So oft to clear the witling-crouded scene;
From vice and folly tear the foul disguise,
And crush at once the Hydras as they rise.
Yet on I will — unaw'd by slavish fears,
Till gain'd the glorious point, or lost my ears."