1763 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Charles Churchill

Anonymous, "To the Rev. Mr. Churchill" St. James's Chronicle (26 July 1763).



"Non ut pictura poesis"

Dear Churchill! What ill-fated Hour
Has put thee into Hogarth's Power?
Your Railing shews how much you're hurt,
While Hogarth only was in Sport;
Transmitting unto future Times,
What might not live in Churchill's Rhimes;
The perfect Hero, Patriot, Sage,
The Pride, the Wonder of the Age.
That Form, which eating Peers admir'd,
Which Liberty itself inspir'd,
Which keeps our Ministers in Awe,
And is, from Justice, screen'd by Law.

Could such a Master's Pencil fail in
Exciting Churchill's Savage Railing!
It touches, like Ithuriel's Spear,
And instantly shows what you are:
He surely, who complains so much,
Must feel, and tremble at, it's Touch.

To what a strange Resource you're driven,
Appears by this Appeal to Heaven,
A Place ne'er thought on once before:
Withdraw the Appeal, and give it o'er.
You must proceed by different Ways;
Your only Court's the Common Pleas.

Epistles: Pho! they're tedious Things,
Their very Length disarms their Stings.
They ask, before they reach the Head,
The Task, the Labour, to be read,
And Readers may mistake the Matter,
Who have not Sense to find the Satire.
Horace was out, who vainly said,
Hogarth and he were of a Trade:
No varying Verse, though most Divine,
Can match with Raphael's stronger Line;
The Pencil, like contracted Light,
Strikes with superior Force the Sight;
Takes every careless Eye, that passes,
Which without reading sees its Lashes.

Churchill be wise, in Time retire,
While Hogarth yet suspends his Fire.
There's something in thee like a Spell,
Tho' we don't love, we wish thee well.
What! would you chuse to purchase Shame,
By pushing on a losing Game?
His feeble Hand, whate'er you reckon,
Will beat thee at thy favorite Weapon.
His Fancy has already hit on,
A Frontispiece for the North Briton;
Where in full View, the virtuous Pair,
Shall their united Merits share.

Thy Rose — thy Bible thrown a-side,
And the long Cassock's tatter'd Pride;
His liberal Hand shall in their Stead,
Place Nettles circling round thy Head,
Entwin'd with Thistles fully Blown,
To wear these Honours for thy own.

Then Wilkes, to make fresh Ardour come,
With the same Plants shall ply thy Bum,
Concluding, they'll improve his Schemes,
Administer'd at both Extremes,
As their instinctive Virtues pass,
Quite from the Brawn up to the Brass.

Next, round thy Friend, and all in Taste,
See every social Virtue plac'd:
Fair Truth, and modest Candour join'd,
Those sister Emblems of the Mind;
Faction expiring by his Pen,
And Loyalty restor'd again,
Whilst he regards nor this, nor that,
Secure of J. and of P—.

The Piece thus finished for our View,
The Lines correct, the Likeness true,
Hogarth, insur'd of future Fame,
Shall consecrate to Churchill's Name.
Brighthelmstone, July 9, 1763.