John Langhorne, writing anonymously, answers Charles Churchill's Prophecy of Famine (1763), a burlesque pastoral attacking Scotland and the Bute administration. There is little of pastoral, Scotch or otherwise, in an ode that takes up the cudgels for the government and praises Scotland as was seldom been lauded by English poets. Langhorne's bid for patronage (the corruption Churchill was attacking) was welcome in Scotland but slightly rewarded in England — in 1765 he became an assistant preacher at Lincoln's Inn. Not seen.
Genius and Valour contains two verse catalogues of Scottish poets, one ancient and one modern. While the catalogue of moderns is short — only two poets — it is in some ways the most notable part of the poem. For James Thomson Langhorne creates an allegorical competition between the four seasons that perhaps recalls Spenser's Mutability Cantos. A long address to Beattie's friend John Ogilvie, whom Langhorne evidently regards as the Scotland's most distinguished living poet, enjoins the Caledonian bard to avoid scriptural subjects and compose some great work of national history. This, of course, was the same advice given to John Home in William Collins's Superstitions Ode, written for a similar occasion a few years earlier. The two poems intersect in a number of small ways, though the comparison is decidedly to Collins's advantage. John Bellenden (fl. 1533-1587) and Archibald Scot are Scottish poets.
Dedication: "As a testimony of respect from an impartial Englishman, this Poem is inscribed to the Right Honourable John Earl of Bute, by the Author."
Headnote in Lloyd's Evening Post: "We may venture to pronounced the Piece now before us, to be the production of no mean hand; and, in that opinion, present the following extract to our readers. The whole Pastoral is intended as a Panegyrick on the Scotch nation; how far it may be approved of, seen in that light, at this juncture, we know not; yet the praises of Thomson, cannot but be acceptable" (18 May 1763) 466.
Critical Review: "Whether this poem is really the production of an Englishman desirous of discountenancing the prejudice of the times, and of testifying his respect for the character of the earl of B—e, to whom it is inscribed; or the composition of a Scottish bard, who has thought it convenient to disguise his country, we shall not pretend to determine. This, however, must be owned, that the performance abounds with poetical lines, liberal sentiments, and truly pastoral description" 15 (May 1763) 392.
Monthly Review [for which Langhorne reviewed]: "It is with peculiar pleasure we behold an Englishman stand forth in defence of a sister kingdom, so rudely attacked by another of our Countrymen, in the Prophecy of Famine; to which the present performance is a proper contrast. And if the Author doth not exceed Mr. Churchill in the fire and harmonious flow of his numbers, he is at least equal to him in the easy and harmonious flow of his versification. The piece before us is, in our opinion, one of the most truly poetical productions which hath appeared for some time past. The melodious Bard sets out in strains that are sweetly musical as any we have met with in British pastoral.... Notwithstanding the warm approbation we have sincerely bestowed on this little elegant poem, we must own, we think the ingenious Author has not shewn equal judgment, in addressing it (so unseasonably too) to the Earl of Bute: but, perhaps, it was the more generous in our Poet, and must be regarded as a proof of his disinterestedness, that he has chosen to pay his devoirs, not to the rising but to the setting sun" 28 (1763) 388-99.
Note in Weekly Magazine or Edinburgh Amusement: "We were mistaken when we ascribed this Poem to Mr. Ogilvie. — It was first published in 1763, and the author was then generally supposed to be an Englishman. It was intended as a defence of Scotland against the rude attacks of Churchill in his Prophecy of Famine; and was addressed (though rather unseasonably) to the Earl of Bute, then in the decline of his power; but, perhaps, it was the more generous in our poet, and must be regarded as a proof of his disinterestedness, that he chose to pay his devoirs, not to the rising, but to the setting sun" 43 (27 January 1779) 112.
William Tooke: "The best defence of Scotland that the Prophecy of Famine called forth was one entitled 'Genius and Valour, a Scots pastoral,' with this motto 'Nec tam aversus equos Tyria sol jungit ab urbe'" Poetical Works of Charles Churchill (1804) 1:119n.
Memoir of Langhorne: "Genius and Valour, a pastoral poem, was written to vindicate the honours of Scotland from the false odium that was thrown on that nation by Churchill, in his Prophecy of Famine. In consequence of this publication, he provoked the enmity of that satirist, who afterwards vented his malevolence in a lampoon upon the Author, which can in no wise affect his reputation: for whatever merit Churchill might have as a versifier and a wit, he certainly possessed very little as a critic, being him self the dupe of a faction which he so frequently declaims against, and indiscriminately attaching his cotemporary writers, without paying any regard to the merit of their works. The Author of Genius and Valour was abundantly recompensed by the credit which the poem procured him from the unprejudiced, and the honour conferred on him by the university of Edinburgh, who, by their principal, Dr. Robertson, in the year 1766, wrote him a polite letter, highly complimenting him on his talents, and requesting him to accept of a diploma for the degree of doctor in divinity, by which he was from this period distinguished" Poetical Works (1804) 1:16-17.
Alexander Chalmers: "During Churchill's career, our author endeavoured to counteract the scurrility he had thrown out against Scotland in his Prophecy of Famine, by an elegant poem entitled Genius and Valour. This provoked Churchill to introduce his name once or twice with his usual epithets of contempt, which Langhorne disregarded, and disregarded his own interest at the same time, by dedicating this poem to lord Bute, a minister going out of place! It produced him, however, a very flattering letter, in 1766, from Dr. Robertson, the celebrated historian, and principal of the university of Edinburgh, requesting him to accept a diploma for the degree of D.D. He was farther consoled by the approbation of every wise and loyal man, who contemplated the miseries of disunion, and the glaring absurdity of perpetuating national prejudices" Works of the English Poets (1810) 16:410.
Marion K. Bragg: "Langhorne follows [Ambrose] Philips' panegyric on Spenser and Queen Elizabeth" The Formal Eclogue in Eighteenth-Century England (1926) 93.
Churchill's verses drew a more angry response from James Beattie, On the Report of a Monument to be Erected in Westminster Abbey (1765).
AMYNTOR. CHORUS OF SHEPHERDS.
Where TWEED'S fair Plains in liberal Beauty lie,
And FLORA laughs beneath a lucid Sky;
Long winding Vales where crystal Waters lave,
Where blythe Birds warble, and where green Woods wave,
A bright-hair'd Shepherd, in young Beauty's bloom,
Tuned his sweet Pipe behind the yellow Broom.
Free to the Gale his waving Ringlets lay,
And his blue Eyes diffused an azure Day.
Light o'er his Limbs a careless Robe he flung;
Health raised his Heart, and Strength his firm Nerves strung.
His native Plains poetic Charms inspir'd,
Wild Scenes, where ancient Fancy oft retir'd;
Oft led her Faeries to the Shepherd's Lay,
By YARROW'S Banks, or Groves of ENDERMAY.
Nor only his those Images that rise
Fair to the Glance of Fancy's plastic Eyes;
His Country's Love his Patriot Soul possess'd,
His Country's Honour fired his filial Breast.
Her lofty Genius, piercing, bright, and bold,
Her Valour witness'd by the World of old,
Witness'd once more by recent Heaps of sSain
On CANADA'S wild Hills, and MINDEN'S Plain,
To Sounds sublimer wak'd his pastoral Reed—
Peace, Mountain-Echoes! while the Strains proceed.
No more of TIVIOT, nor the flowery Braes
Where the blythe Shepherd tunes his lightsome Lays;
No more of LEADER'S faery-haunted Shore,
Of SOREL'S Field, and GLEDSWOOD-banks no more.
Unheeded smile my Country's native Charms,
Lost in the Glory of her Arts and Arms.
These, Shepherds, these demand a nobler Strain
Than CLYDE'S clear Fountain, or fair KAIDSLEY'S Plain.
CHORUS OF SHEPHERDS.
Shepherd, to thee sublimer Lays belong
The Force divine of Soul-commanding Song.
These humble Reeds have little learnt to play,
Save the light Airs that chear the pastoral Day.
Of CLYDE'S clear Fountains and fair KAIDSLEY'S Plain
We sing, as Fancy guides the simple Strain.
If then thy Country's sacred Fame demand
The high-ton'd Music of a happier Hand—
Shepherd, to thee sublimer Lays belong,
The Force divine of Soul-commanding Song.
In spite of Faction's blind, unmanner'd Rage,
Of various Fortune and destructive Age,
Fair SCOTLAND'S Honours yet unchang'd are seen,
Her Palms still blooming, and her Laurels green.
Freed from the Confines of her Gothic Grave,
When her first Light reviving Science gave,
Alike o'er BRITAIN shone the liberal Ray,
From ENSWITH Mountains to the banks of TAY.
For JAMES the Muses tun'd their sportive Lays,
And bound the Monarch's Brow with CHAUCER'S Bays.
Arch Humour smil'd to hear his mimic Strain,
And plausive laughter thrill'd thro' every Vein.
When Taste and Genius form the Royal Mind,
The favour'd Arts a happier Era find.
By JAMES beloved the Muses tun'd their Lyres
To nobler Strains, and breath'd diviner Fires.
But the dark Mantle of involving Time
Has veil'd their Beauties, and obscur'd their Rhyme.
Yet still some pleasing Monuments remain,
Some Marks of Genius in each later Reign.
In nervous strains DUNBAR'S bold Music flows
And Time yet spares "the Thistle and the Rose."
O! while his Course the hoary Warrior steers
Thro' the long Range of Life-dissolving Years,
Thro' all the Evils of each changeful Age,
Hate, Envy, Faction, Jealousy, and Rage,
Ne'er may his Scythe these sacred Plants divide,
These Plants by Heaven in native Union tied!
Still may the Flower its social sweets disclose,
The hardy Thistle still defend the Rose!
Hail happy Days! appeased by MARGARET'S Charms,
When rival VALOUR sheath'd his fatal Arms
When kindred Realms unnatural War supprest,
Nor aim'd their Arrows at a Sister's Breast.
Kind to the Muse is QUIET'S genial Day;
Her Olive loves the Foliage of the Bay.
With bold DUNBAR arose a numerous Choir
Of rival Bards, that strung the Dorian Lyre.
In gentle HENRYSON'S unlabour'd Strain
Sweet ARETHUSA'S Shepherd breath'd again.
Nor shall your tuneful Visions be forgot,
Sage BELLENTYNE, and fancy-painting SCOT.
But, O my Country! how shall Memory trace
Thy bleeding Anguish, and thy dire Disgrace?
Weep o'er the Ruins of thy blasted Bays,
Thy Glories lost in either CHARLES'S days?
When thro' thy Fields destructive Rapine spread,
Nor sparing Infant's Tears, nor hoary Head.
In those dread Days the unprotected Swain
Mourn'd on the Mountains o'er his wasted Plain;
Nor longer vocal with the Shepherd's Lay
Were YARROW'S Banks, or Groves of ENDERMAY.
CHORUS OF SHEPHERDS.
Amyntor, cease! the painful Scene forbear,
Nor the fond Breast of filial Duty tear.
Yet in our Eyes our Fathers' Sorrows flow,
Yet in our Bosoms lives their lasting Woe.
At Eve returning from their scanty Fold,
When the long Sufferings of their Sires they told,
Oft we have sigh'd the piteous Tale to hear,
And Infant wonder dropt the mimic Tear.
Shepherds, no longer need your Sorrows flow,
Nor pious Duty cherish endless Woe.
Yet should Remembrance, led by filial Love,
Thro' the dark Vales of old Affliction rove,
The mournful Shades of Sorrows past explore,
And think of Miseries that are no more;
Let those sad Scenes that ask the duteous Tear,
The kind Return of happier Days endear.
Hail, ANNA, hail! O may each Muse divine
With Wreaths eternal grace thy holy Shrine.
Grav'd on thy Tomb this sacred Verse remain,
This Verse more sweet than Conquest's sounding Strain.
"She bade the Rage of hostile Nations cease,
The glorious Arbitress of Europe's Peace."
She, thro' whose bBsom roll'd the vital Tide
Of BRITAIN'S Monarchs in one Stream allied,
Clos'd the long Jealousies of different Sway,
And saw united Sister-Realms obey.
Auspicious Days! when Tyranny no more
Raised his red Arm, nor drench'd his Darts in Gore.
When, long an Exile from his native Plain,
Safe to his Fold return'd the weary Swain.
Return'd, and, many a painful Summer past,
Beheld the green Bench by his Door at last.
Auspicious Days! when Scots, no more opprest,
On their free Mountains bar'd the fearless Breast.
With Pleasure saw their Flocks unbounded feed,
And tun'd to Strains of ancient Joy the Reed.
Then, Shepherds, did your wondering Sires behold
A Form divine, whose Vesture flam'd with Gold;
His radiant Eyes a starry Lustre shed,
And solar Glories beam'd around his Head.
Like that strange Power by fabling Poets feign'd,
From East to West his mighty arms he strain'd.
A rooted Olive in one Hand he bore,
In one a Globe, inscribed with Seas and Shore.
From THAMES'S Banks to TWEED, to TAY he came,
Wealth in his Rear, and COMMERCE was his Name.
Glad INDUSTRY the glorious Stranger hails,
Rears the tall Masts, and spreads the swelling Sails;
Regions remote with active Hope explores,
Wild ZEMBLA'S Hills, and AFRIC'S burning Shores.
But chief, COLUMBUS, of thy various Coast,
Child of the Union, COMMERCE bears his Boast.
To seek the new-found Worlds, the venturous Swain,
His Lass forsaking, left the lowland Plain.
Aside his Crook, his idle Pipe he threw,
And bade to Music, and to Love adieu.
Hence GLASGOW fair, thy Wealth-diffusing Hand,
Thy Groves of Vessels, and thy crowded Strand.
Hence, round his Folds the moorland Shepherd spies
New social Towns, and happy Hamlets rise.
But me not Splendor nor the Hopes of Gain
Should ever tempt to quit the peaceful Plain.
Shall I, possest of all that Life requires,
With tutor'd Hopes, and limited Desires,
Change these sweet Fields, these native Scenes of Ease,
For Climes uncertain, and uncertain Seas?
Nor yet, fair COMMERCE, do I thee disdain,
Tho' Guilt and Death and Riot swell thy Train.
Chear'd by the Influence of thy gladdening Ray,
The liberal Arts sublimer Works essay.
Genius for thee relumes his sacred Fires,
And Science nearer to her Heaven aspires.
The sanguine Rye of Tyranny long clos'd,
By Commerce foster'd, and in Peace repos'd,
No more her Miseries when my Country mourn'd,
With brighter Flames her glowing Genius burn'd.
Soon wandering fearless many a Muse was seen
O'er the dun Mountain, and the wild Wood green.
Soon to the Warblings of the pastoral Reed,
Started sweet Echo from the shores of TWEED.
"Pure parent stream!" where thy fair Current flows,
The Child of Nature, gentle THOMSON rose.
Young as he wander'd on thy flowery Side,
With simple Joy to see thy bright Waves glide,
Thither, in Nature's Negligence array'd,
From Climes remote the sister SEASONS stray'd.
Long each in Beauty boasted to excel,
(For Jealousies in Sister-Bosoms dwell),
But now, delighted with the liberal Boy,
Like Heaven's fair Rivals in the Groves of TROY,
Yield to an humble Swain their high Debate,
And from his Voice the Palm of Beauty wait.
Her naked Charms, like VENUS, to disclose,
SPRING from her Bosom threw the shadowing Rose;
Bar'd the pure Snow that feeds the Lover's Fire,
The Breast that thrills with exquisite Desire;
Assum'd the tender Smile, the melting Eye,
The Breath favonian, and the yielding Sigh.
One beauteous Hand a Wilding's Blossom grac'd,
And one enfolded half her zoneless Waist.
Majestic SUMMER, in gay Pride adorn'd,
Her Rival Sister's simple Beauty scorn'd.
With Purple Wreaths her lofty Brows were bound,
With glowing Flowers her rising Bosom crown'd.
In her gay Zone, by artful Fancy fram'd,
The bright Rose blush'd, the full Carnation flam'd;
Her Cheeks the Glow of splendid Clouds display,
And her Eyes flash insufferable Day.
With milder Air the gentle AUTUMN came,
But seem'd to languish at her Sister's Flame.
Yet, conscious of her boundless Wealth, she bore
On high the Emblems of her golden Store.
Yet could she boast the Plenty-pouring Hand,
The liberal Smile, benevolent and bland.
Nor might she fear in Beauty to excell,
From whose fair Head such golden Tresses fell;
Nor might she envy SUMMER'S flowery Zone,
In whose sweet Eye the Star of Evening shone.
Did WINTER hope the envied Palm to gain?
Yes WINTER hop'd. What Woman is not vain?
"Behold," she cried, with Voice that shook the Ground,
(The Bard, the Sisters trembled at the sound)
"Ye weak Admirers of a Grape, or Rose,
Behold my wild Magnificence of Snows!
See my keen Frost her glassy Bosom bare!
Mock the faint Sun, and bind the fluid Air!
Nature to you may lend a painted Hour,
With you may sport, when I suspend my Power:
But you and Nature, who that Power obey,
Shall own my Beauty, or shall dread my Sway."
She spoke: the Bard, whose gentle Heart ne'er gave
One Pain or Trouble that he knew to save,
No favour'd Nymph extols with partial Lays,
But gives to each her Picture for her Praise.
Mute lies his Lyre in Death's unchearful Gloom,
And Truth and Genius weep at THOMSON'S tomb.
Yet still the Muse's living Sounds pervade
Her ancient Scenes of Caledonian Shade.
Still Nature listens to the tuneful Lay,
On KILDA'S Mountains and in ENDERMAY.
Th' ethereal Brilliance of poetic Fire,
The mighty Hand that smites the sounding Lyre,
Strains that on Fancy's strongest Pinion rise,
Conceptions vast, and Thoughts that grasp the Skies,
To the rapt Youth that mused on SHAKSPEAR'S Grave,
To OGILVIE the Muse of PINDAR gave.
TIME, as he sung, a Moment ceas'd to fly,
And lazy SLEEP unfolded half his Eye.
Too soon he tried one ill-adapted Song,
And the chain'd Numbers faintly toil'd along.
Fit for no youthful, for no rhyming Lay,
Was the dread Pomp of Judgment's aweful Day.
But wake, sweet Bard, the Theban Lyre again;
With ancient Valour swell the sounding Strain;
Hail the high Trophies by thy Country won,
The Wreaths that flourish for each valiant Son.
While Hardyknute frowns red with NORWAY'S Gore,
Paint her pale Matrons weeping on the Shore.
Hark! the green Clarion pouring Floods of Breath
Voluminously loud; high Scorn of Death
Each gallant Spirit elates; see Rothsay's Thane
With Arm of Mountain Oak his firm Bow strain!
Hark! the String twangs — the whizzing Arrow flies:
The fierce NORSE falls — indignant falls — and dies.
O'er the dear Urn, where glorious WALLACE sleeps,
True Valour bleeds, and Patriot Virtue weeps.
Son of the Lyre, what high ennobling Strain,
What Meed from thee shall generous WALLACE gain?
Who greatly scorning an Usurper's Pride,
Bar'd his brave Breast for Liberty and died.
Boast, SCOTLAND, boast thy Sons of mighty Name,
Thine ancient Chiefs of high heroic Fame,
Souls that to Death their Country's Foes oppos'd,
And Life in Freedom, glorious Freedom clos'd.
Where, yet bewail'd, ARGYLE'S warm Ashes lie,
Let Music breathe her most persuasive Sigh.
To him, what Heaven to Man could give, it gave,
Wise, generous, honest, eloquent, and brave.
Genius and Valour for ARGYLE shall mourn,
And his own Laurels flourish round his Urn.
O, may they bloom beneath a fav'ring Sky,
And in their Shade Reproach and Envy die!
When thou, long weary of the Plagues of State,
Fraud, Folly, Falsehood, Prejudice, and Hate,
When thou, O BUTE, shalt yield thy latest Breath,
Become th' unenvied Citizen of Death,
Some happier Muse shall place thy honour'd Name
In the fair Roll of Time-surviving Fame;
All mean Abuse thy injur'd Country scorn,
And glory in the Place where BUTE was born.