ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION
Rev. Charles Churchill
, Verses occasioned by the Death of the Revd. Mr. Charles Churchill (1765) 1-15.
Rev. Charles Churchill:
1762: An Old Westminster
1762: X. Y.
1762: A Friend
1763: Rev. Charles Churchill
1763: Samuel Johnson
1763: T. L
1763: George Colman
1763: Rev. John Langhorne
1763: Elizabeth Montagu
1763: Robert Lloyd
1763: Horace Walpole
1764: J. C-rr
1764: S. Sh-rs
1764: John Cunningham
1764: Thomas Gray
1764: Horace Walpole
1764: J. C.
1764: Jane Timbury
1764: T. C.
1764: Christopher Crabtree
1764: T. W.
1765: Cuthbert Shaw
1765: James Beattie
1765: J. D.
1765: Edward Cooper
1765: Rev. Evan Lloyd
1765: J. D.
1766: W. J.
1769: Mr. Underwood
1780: Thomas Davies
1781: A Lady
1782: William Cowper
1782: Rev. Joseph Warton
1785: H. S.
1786: William Cowper
1788: Rev. William Mason
1795: Dr. Robert Anderson
1801: Thomas Clio Rickman
1808: Sir Walter Scott
1811: Anna Seward
1812: John Nichols
1812: Charles Caleb Colton
1814: Robert Southey
1816: Lord Byron
1817: John Chalk Claris
1824: William Hazlitt
1824: Bryan Waller Procter
1825 ca.: Henry Mackenzie
1827: William Goodhugh
1830 ca.: Rev. Henry Francis Cary
1834: Robert Aris Willmott
1835: Robert Southey
1845: John Wilson
1848: John Forster
1858: Cyrus Redding
1880: Edward John Payne
1882: Epes Sargent
1895: W. J. Courthope
1759: Samuel Richardson
1760 ca.: Rev. Thomas Blacklock
1763: John Hoole
1765: Rev. Charles Churchill
1765: Thomas Gray
1768: Alexander Ross
1768: Alexander Ross
1770: Dr. John Armstrong
1770: William Collins
1771: Samuel Johnson
1772: Sir William Jones
1773: George Lyttelton
1774: Rev. William Cameron
1774: Lord Chesterfield
1774: Rev. Alexander Gerard
1774: Bp. Beilby Porteus
1775: John Hawkesworth
1775: John Pinkerton
1776: Abraham Cowley
1776: John Dryden
1776: John Milton
1776: Alexander Pope
1776: Allan Ramsay
1776: Rev. Jonathan Swift
1778: James Thomson
1779: Rev. Robert Potter
1780: John Scott of Amwell
1781: Samuel Jackson Pratt
1783: Lord Kames
1784: Elizabeth Montagu
1784: Hannah More
1786: Bp. Richard Hurd
1787: Jane Bowdler
1788: Oliver Goldsmith
1789: Rev. William Wilkie
1791: Horace Walpole
1798: John Pinkerton
1800: Elizabeth Montagu
CHURCHILL begone! with thee may discord's fire,
That hatch'd thy salamander-fame, expire!
Fame, dirty idol of the brainless crowd,
What half-made mooncalf can mistake for good?
Since shar'd by knaves of high and low degree,
Cromwel and Catiline, Guido Fawkes and thee.
By nature uninspir'd, untaught by art,
With not one thought that breathes the feeling heart,
With not one offering vow'd to Virtue's shrine,
With not one pure unprostituted line;
The hireling slave of faction and of spite,
His country's nuisance, and a Wilkes' delight;
Alike debauch'd in body, soul, and lays;—
—For pension'd censure, and for pension'd praise;
For ribaldry, for libels, lewdness, lies,
For blasphemy of all the good and wise;
Coarse virulence in coarser dogrel writ,
Which bawling blackguards spell'd, and took for wit;
For conscience, honour, slighted, spurn'd, o'erthrown;—
Lo, Churchill shines the minion of renown!
Is this the land that boasts a MILTON'S fire,
And magic SPENSER'S wildly-warbling lyre?
The land that owns th' omnipotence of song,
When SHAKESPEAR whirls the throbbing heart along?
The land, where POPE, with energy divine,
In one strong blaze bade wit and fancy shine;
Whose verse, by truth, in virtue's triumph born,
Gives knaves to infamy, and fools to scorn;
Yet pure in manners, and in thought refin'd,
Whose life and lays adorn'd and bless'd mankind?
Is this the land, where GRAY'S unlabour'd art
Soothes, melts, alarms, and ravishes the heart;
While the lone wanderer's sweet complainings flow
In simple majesty of manly woe;
Or while, sublime, on eagle pinion driven,
He soars Pindaric heights, and sails the waste of heaven?
Is this the land o'er SHENSTONE'S recent urn,
Where all the loves and gentler graces mourn?
And where, t' adorn the hoary Bard of night,
The muses and the virtues all unite?
Is this the land, where AKENSIDE displays
The bold, yet temp'rate flame of antient days?
Like the rapt Sage in genius, as in theme,
Whose hallow'd strain renown'd Ilissus' stream:
Or him, th' indignant Bard, whose patriot ire,
Sublime in vengeance, smote the dreadful lyre;
For truth, for liberty, for virtue warm,
Whose mighty song unnerv'd a tyrant's arm,
Hush'd the rude roar of discord, rage, and lust,
And spurn'd licentious demagogues to dust.
Is this the Queen of realms! the glorious isle,
BRITANNIA, bless'd in heav'n's indulgent smile!
Guardian of truth, and patroness of art,
Nurse of th' undaunted soul, and generous heart!
Where, from a base degenerate world exil'd,
FREEDOM exults to roam the careless wild;
Where taste to science every charm supplies,
And genius soars unbounded to the skies!
And shall a Churchill's most polluted name
Stain her bright tablet of untainted fame?
Shall his disgraceful name with their's be join'd,
Who wish'd and wrought the welfare of their kind?
His name accurs'd, who leagued with Wilkes and hell,
Labour'd to rouse, with rude and murderous yell,
Discord the fiend, to toss rebellion's brand,
In rage and ruin whelm a guiltless land;
To frustate virtue's wisdom's noblest plan,
And triumph in the miseries of man.
Driveling and dull when crawls the reptile-muse,
Swoln from the sty, and rankling from the stews,
With poison, spleen, and pestilence replete,
Gorg'd with the dust she lick'd from treason's feet,
Who once, like Satan, rais'd to heaven her sight,
But turn'd abhorrent from the hated light;—
O'er such a muse shall wreathes of glory bloom?
No — Shame and execration be her doom.
Hard-fated Churchill! Could not dullness save
Thy soul from sin, from infamy thy grave!
Blackmore and Quarles, those blockheads of renown,
Lavish'd their ink, but never harm'd the town;
Though this, thy rival in discordant song,
Harass'd the ear, and cramp'd the labouring tongue;
And that, like thee, taught staggering prose to stand,
And limp on stilts of rhyme around the land;
Harmless they doz'd a scribbling life away,
And yawning nations own'd th' innoxious lay.
But from thy graceless, rude, and beastly brain,
What fury breath'd th' incendiary strain!
Did hate to vice exasperate thy style?
No — Churchill match'd the vilest of the vile.
Yet blazon'd was his verse with Virtue's name—
Thus prudes look down to hide their want of shame;
Thus hypocrites to truth, and fools to sense,
And fops to taste, have sometimes made pretence;
Thus thieves and gamesters swear by honour's laws;
Thus pension-hunters bawl their country's cause;
Thus Teague for moderation furious rav'd,
And own'd his soul to liberty enslav'd.
Nor yet, tho' thousand Cits admire thy rage,
Tho' less of fool than felon marks thy page;
Nor yet, tho' here and there one lonely spark
Of wit half-brightens thro' th' involving dark,
To show the gloom more hideous for the foil,
But not repay the drudging reader's toil,
(For who for one poor pearl of clouded ray
Thro' Alpine dunghills delves his desperate way?)
Did genius to thy verse such bane impart.
No. 'Twas the demon of thy venom'd heart,
(Thy heart with rancour's quintessence endow'd)
And the blind zeal of a misjudging crowd.
Thus from rank soil a poison'd mushroom sprung,
Nurseling obscene of mildew and of dung;
By heaven designed on its own native spot
Harmless t' enlarge its bloated bulk, and rot:
But Gluttony the abortive nuisance saw;
It rous'd his ravenous undiscerning maw;
Gulp'd down the tasteless throat, the mess abhor'd,
Shot fiery influence round the maddening board.
O! had thy verse been impotent, as dull,
Nor spoke thy rage of heart, but weight of scull:
Had mobs distinguish'd, while they howl'd thy fame,
The icicle from the pure diamond's flame,
From fancy's soul thy gross imbruted sense,
From dauntless truth thy shameless insolence,
From elegance, confusion's monstrous mass,
And from the lyon's spoils the sculking ass,
From rapture's strain the drawling dogrel line,
From warbling seraphim the grunting swine:—
With gluttons, dunces, rakes, thy name had slept,
Nor o'er her sullied fame BRITANNIA wept;
Nor had the muse, with honest zeal possess'd,
T' avenge her country by thy name disgrac'd,
Rais'd this bold strain for virtue, truth, mankind;
And thy fell shade to infamy resign'd.
When frailty leads astray the soul sincere,
Let mercy shed the soft and manly tear.
When to the grave descends the sensual sot,
Unnam'd, unnotic'd let his carrion rot.
When paltry rogues, by stealth, deceit, or force,
Hazard their necks, ambitious of your purse;
For these the hangman wreathes his trusty gin,
And let the gallows expiate their sin.
But when a ruffian, whose portentous crimes,
Like plagues and earthquakes, terrify the times,
Triumphs thro' life, from legal judgment free,
For hell may hatch what law could ne'er foresee:
Sacred from vengeance shall his memory rest?—
Judas, tho' dead, tho' damn'd, we still detest.