1764 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Charles Churchill

Anonymous, "A Sketch of a Modern Character: To Mr. Hogarth. In the Manner of Mr. C. Churchill" London Chronicle (23 October 1764) 387.



Would you draw C—ll? — Fancy, if you can,
Some rough-hewn figure, 'twixt a Bear and Man,
Half-brute, half-human, for whose doubtful frame,
Adam himself could scarce have found a name,
Scowling beneath a horrid shade of brow,
His eyes askance, their gloomy glances throw,
As jealous, lest, the mirror should impart
The trait'rous purpose brooding in his heart;
Porter in crape, a Buckhorse in a gown,
All Hockley hails the Bruiser for its own;
Whose ruffian features to the view unfold
The rudest cast from Nature's rudest mould;
Rough tho' his form, yet beauteous still the whole
Match'd with the coarser model of his soul.

Scarce born, his tongue (prophetick of its curse)
Poison'd the very nipple of his nurse;
Maternal fondness, in his infant days
Could mark no flatt'ring omen for its praise;
In youth's fair Spring, the Sire, with boding eyes
Beheld each base, each wayward passion rise,
Saw rip'ning years but ripen ev'ry ill,
And what was Instinct, now confirm'd by Will;
Rebel alike to Reason and the rod,
Too bad for any Master, but for — God;
The sacred vestment shrowds the lump of sin,
And the wolf lurks beneath the fleecy skin.

The hallow'd culprit to the altar led,
Not by the call of Grace, but call for Bread,
Scant, holds the pittance of an humble cure,
Of pray'r too proud the drudgery to endure,
Recreant, forsakes the pulpit for the pit,
And from apostate Priest, turns Playhouse Wit;
For half a crown, impell'd by hunger's rage,
Assassinates each Monarch of the Stage;
Nor real Monarchs, for the same reward
Escape a like assassin in the Bard.

Is there in BRITAIN a degenerate race,
Whose want of loyalty is want of place?
Are there, whom places, and no Kings regard,
Can In, displeased; enrag'd, when Out of Pow'r;
Whole ages Courtiers, Patriots of an hour;
For these, their Laureat tunes his factious lay,
Hackneys his hireling Pegasus for pay,
And fattens Swiss-like on his friend's distress;
Sedition's sons in purest colours paints,
Rebels are Martyrs, and Blasphemers, Saints;
Thy festive junto (Wildman!) Sidneys all,
And each dull Mayor a Solon of Guildhall.

Rich in abuse, howe'er in genius poor,
Tho' one good line just glimmers thro' a score;
On faction's wing the Poet's plaudit flies,
And party gives that Fame the Muse denies.