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1 ACCURS'D the man, whom fate ordains, in spite,
2 And cruel parents teach, to Read and Write!
3 What need of letters? Wherefore should we spell?
4 Why write our names? A mark will do as well.
5 Much are the precious hours of youth mispent,
6 In climbing Learning's rugged steep ascent;
7 When to the top the bold advent'rer's got,
8 He reigns, vain monarch, o'er a barren spot,[Page 2]
9 Whilst in the vale of Ignorance below,
10 FOLLY and VICE to rank luxuriance grow;
11 Honours and wealth pour in on ev'ry side,
12 And proud Preferment rolls her golden tide.
13 O'er crabbed authors life's gay prime to waste,
14 To cramp wild genius in the chains of taste,
15 To bear the slavish drudgery of schools,
16 And tamely stoop to ev'ry pedant's rules,
17 For seven long years debarr'd of lib'ral ease,
18 To plod in college trammels to degrees,
19 Beneath the weight of solemn toys to groan,
20 Sleep over books, and leave mankind unknown,
21 To praise each senior blockhead's thread-bare tale,
22 And laugh till reason blush, and spirits fail,
23 Manhood with vile submission to disgrace,
24 And cap the fool, whose merit is his Place;
25 VICE CHANCELLORS, whose knowledge is but small,
26 And CHANCELLORS, who nothing know at all,
27 Ill-brook'd the gen'rous Spirit, in those days
28 When Learning was the certain road to praise,
29 When Nobles, with a love of Science bless'd,
30 Approv'd in others what themselves possess'd.
31 But Now, when DULLNESS rears aloft her throne,
32 When LORDLY Vassals her wide Empire own,
33 When Wit, seduc'd by Envy, starts aside,
34 And basely leagues with Ignorance and Pride,
35 What Now should tempt us, by false hopes misled,
36 Learning's unfashionable paths to tread;
37 To bear those labours, which our Fathers bore
38 That Crown with-held, which They in triumph wore?
39 When with much pains this boasted Learning's got,
40 'Tis an affront to those who have it not.
41 In some it causes hate, in others fear,
42 Instructs our Foes to rail, our Friends to sneer.
43 With prudent haste the worldly-minded fool,
44 Forgets the little which he learn'd at School;
45 The Elder Brother, to vast fortunes born,
46 Looks on all Science with an Eye of Scorn;
47 Dependent Breth'ren the same features wear,
48 And younger Sons are stupid as the Heir.
49 In Senates, at the Bar, in Church and State,
50 Genius is vile, and Learning out of date.
51 Is this — O Death to think! is this the Land
52 Where Merit and Reward went hand in hand,[Page 4]
53 Where Heroes, Parent-like, the Poet view'd? —
54 By whom they saw their glorious deeds renew'd;
55 Where Poets, true to Honour, tun'd their lays,
56 And by their Patrons sanctify'd their praise?
57 Is this the Land, where, on our SPENCER'S tongue,
58 Enamour'd of his voice, Description hung;
59 Where JOHNSON rigid gravity beguil'd,
60 Whilst Reason thro' her Critic fences smil'd;
61 Where NATURE list'ning stood, whilst SHAKESPEAR play'd,
62 And wonder'd at the Work herself had made?
63 Is this the Land, where, mindful of her charge
64 And Office high, fair Freedom walk'd at large;
65 Where, finding in our Laws a sure defence,
66 She mock'd at all restraints, but those of Sense;
67 Where, health and honour trooping by her side,
68 She spread her sacred empire far and wide;
69 Pointed the Way, Affliction to beguile,
70 And bade the Face of Sorrow wear a smile,
71 Bade those, who dare obey the gen'rous call,
72 Enjoy her blessings, which GOD meant for all?
73 Is this the Land, where, in some Tyrant's reign,
74 When a weak, wicked Ministerial train,
75 The tools of pow'r, the slaves of int'rest, plann'd
76 Their Country's ruin, and with bribes unman'd[Page 5]
77 Those wretches, who, ordain'd in Freedom's cause,
78 Gave up our liberties, and sold our laws;
79 When Pow'r was taught by Meanness where to go,
80 Nor dar'd to love the Virtue of a foe;
81 When, like a lep'rous plague, from the foul head
82 To the foul heart her sores Corruption spread,
83 Her iron arm when stern Oppression rear'd,
84 And Virtue, from her broad base shaken, fear'd
85 The scourge of Vice; when, impotent and vain,
86 Poor Freedom bow'd the neck to Slav'ry's chain;
87 Is this the Land, where, in those worst of times,
88 The hardy Poet rais'd his honest rimes
89 To dread rebuke, and bade controulment speak
90 In guilty blushes on the villain's cheek,
91 Bade Pow'r turn pale, kept mighty rogues in awe,
92 And made them fear the Muse, who fear'd not Law?
93 How do I laugh, when men of narrow souls,
94 Whom folly guides, and prejudice controuls;
95 Who, one dull drowsy track of business trod,
96 Worship their Mammon, and neglect their God;
97 Who, breathing by one musty set of rules,
98 Dote from the birth, and are by system fools;[Page 6]
99 Who, form'd to dullness from their very youth,
100 Lies of the day prefer to Gospel truth,
101 Pick up their little knowledge from Reviews,
102 And lay out all their stock of faith in news:
103 How do I laugh, when Creatures, form'd like these,
104 Whom Reason scorns, and I should blush to please,
105 Rail at all lib'ral arts, deem verse a crime,
106 And hold not Truth, as Truth, if told in rime?
107 How do I laugh, when PUBLIUS, hoary grown
108 In zeal for SCOTLAND'S wellfare, and his own,
109 By slow degrees, and course of office, drawn
110 In mood and figure at the helm to yawn,
111 Too mean (the worst of curses Heav'n can send)
112 To have a foe, too proud to have a friend,
113 Erring by form, which Blockheads sacred hold,
114 Ne'er making new faults, and ne'er mending old,
115 Rebukes my Spirit, bids the daring Muse
116 Subjects more equal to her weakness chuse;
117 Bids her frequent the haunts of humble swains,
118 Nor dare to traffick in ambitious strains;
119 Bids her, indulging the poetic whim
120 In quaint-wrought Ode, or Sonnet pertly trim,[Page 7]
121 Along the Church-way path complain with GRAY,
122 Or dance with MASON on the first of May?
123 "All sacred is the name and pow'r of Kings,
124 "All States and Statesmen are those mighty Things
125 "Which, howsoe'er they out of course may roll,
126 "Were never made for Poets to controul. "
127 Peace, Peace thou Dotard, nor thus vilely deem
128 Of Sacred Numbers, and their pow'r blaspheme;
129 I tell thee, Wretch, search all Creation round,
130 In Earth, in Heav'n, no Subject can be found
131 (Our God alone except) above whose weight
132 The Poet cannot rise, and hold his State.
133 The blessed Saints above in numbers speak
134 The praise of God, tho' there all praise is weak;
135 In Numbers here below the Bard shall teach
136 Virtue to soar beyond the Villain's reach;
137 Shall tear his lab'ring lungs, strain his hoarse throat,
138 And raise his voice beyond the trumpet's note,
139 Should an afflicted Country, aw'd by men
140 Of slavish principles, demand his pen.
141 This is a great, a glorious point of view,
142 Fit for an English Poet to pursue,[Page 8]
143 Undaunted to pursue, tho', in return,
144 His writings by the common Hangman burn.
145 How do I laugh, when men, by fortune plac'd
146 Above their Betters, and by rank disgrac'd,
147 Who found their pride on titles which they stain,
148 And, mean themselves, are of their Fathers vain,
149 Who would a bill of privilege prefer,
150 And treat a Poet, like a Creditor,
151 The gen'rous ardour of the Muse condemn,
152 And curse the storm they know must break on them?
153 "What, shall a reptile Bard, a wretch unknown,
154 "Without one badge of merit, but his own,
155 "Great Nobles lash, and Lords, like common men,
156 "Smart from the vengeance of a Scribbler's pen? "
157 What's in this name of Lord, that we should fear
158 To bring their vices to the public ear?
159 Flows not the honest blood of humble swains
160 Quick as the tide which swells a Monarch's veins?
161 Monarchs, who wealth and titles can bestow,
162 Cannot make Virtues in succession flow.
163 Would'st Thou, Proud Man, be safely plac'd above
164 The censure of the Muse, deserve her Love,[Page 9]
165 Act as thy Birth demands, as Nobles ought;
166 Look back, and by thy worthy Father taught,
167 Who earn'd those Honours, Thou wert born to wear,
168 Follow his steps, and be his Virtue's heir.
169 But if, regardless of the road to Fame,
170 You start aside, and tread the paths of shame.
171 If such thy life, that should thy Sire arise,
172 The sight of such a Son would blast his eyes,
173 Would make him curse the hour which gave Thee birth,
174 Would drive him, shudd'ring, from the face of earth
175 Once more, with shame and sorrow, 'mongst the dead
176 In endless night to hide his rev'rend head;
177 If such thy life, tho' Kings had made thee more
178 Than ever King a scoundrel made before,
179 Nay, to allow thy pride a deeper spring,
180 Tho' God in vengeance had made Thee a King,
181 Taking on Virtue's wing her daring flight,
182 The Muse should drag thee trembling to the light,
183 Probe thy foul wounds, and lay thy bosom bare
184 To the keen question of the searching air.
185 Gods! with what pride I see the titled slave,
186 Who smarts beneath the stroke which Satire gave,[Page 10]
187 Aiming at ease, and with dishonest art
188 Striving to hide the feelings of his heart!
189 How do I laugh, when, with affected air,
190 (Scarce able thro' despite to keep his chair,
191 Whilst on his trembling lip pale anger speaks,
192 And the chaf'd blood flies mounting to his cheeks)
193 He talks of Conscience, which good men secures
194 From all those evil moments guilt endures,
195 And seems to laugh at those, who pay regard
196 To the wild ravings of a frantic bard.
197 "SATIRE, whilst envy and ill-humour sway
198 "The mind of man, must always make her way,
199 "Nor to a bosom, with discretion fraught,
200 "Is all her malice worth a single thought.
201 "The Wise have not the will, nor Fools the pow'r
202 "To stop her headstrong course; within the hour,
203 "Left to herself, she dies; opposing Strife,
204 "Gives her fresh vigour, and prolongs her life.
205 "All things her prey, and ev'ry man her aim,
206 "I can no patent for exemption claim,
207 "Nor would I wish to stop that harmless dart
208 "Which plays around, but cannot wound my heart:
209 "Tho' pointed at myself, be SATIRE free;
210 "To Her 'tis pleasure, and no pain to Me. "
211 Dissembling Wretch! hence to the Stoic school,
212 And there amongst thy breth'ren play the fool,
213 There, unrebuk'd, these wild, vain doctrines preach;
214 Lives there a Man, whom SATIRE cannot reach?
215 Lives there a Man, who calmly can stand by,
216 And see his conscience ripp'd with steady eye?
217 When SATIRE flies abroad on Falshood's wing,
218 Short is her life indeed, and dull her sting;
219 But when to Truth allied, the wound she gives
220 Sinks deep, and to remotest ages lives.
221 When in the tomb thy pamper'd flesh shall rot,
222 And e'en by friends thy mem'ry be forgot,
223 Still shalt Thou live, recorded for thy crimes,
224 Live in her page, and stink to after-times.
225 Hast Thou no feeling yet? Come, throw off pride,
226 And own those passions which Thou shalt not hide.
227 S—, who, from the moment of his birth,
228 Made human Nature a reproach on earth,
229 Who never dar'd, nor wish'd behind to stay,
230 When Folly, Vice, and Meanness led the way,
231 Would blush, should he be told, by Truth and Wit,
232 Those actions, which he blush'd not to commit;[Page 12]
233 Men the most infamous are fond of fame,
234 And those who fear not guilt, yet start at shame.
235 But whither runs my zeal, whose rapid force,
236 Turning the brain, bears Reason from her course,
237 Carries me back to times, when Poets, bless'd
238 With courage, grac'd the Science they profess'd;
239 When They, in Honour rooted, firmly stood
240 The bad to punish, and reward the good;
241 When, to a flame by Public Virtue wrought,
242 The foes of Feedom They to justice brought,
243 And dar'd expose those slaves, who dar'd support
244 A Tyrant plan, and call'd themselves a Court.
245 Ah! What are Poets now? as slavish those
246 Who deal in Verse, as those who deal in Prose.
247 Is there an Author, search the Kingdom round,
248 In whom true worth, and real Spirit's found?
249 The Slaves of Booksellers, or (doom'd by Fate
250 To baser chains) vile pensioners of State;
251 Some, dead to shame, and of those shackles proud
252 Which Honour scorns, for slav'ry roar aloud,
253 Others, half-palsied only, mutes become,
254 And what makes SMOLLET write, makes JOHNSON dumb.[Page 13]
255 Why turns you villain pale? why bends his eye
256 Inward, abash'd, when MURPHY passes by?
257 Dost Thou sage MURPHY for a blockhead take,
258 Who wages war with vice for Virtue's sake?
259 No, No — like other Worldlings, you will find
260 He shifts his sails, and catches ev'ry wind.
261 His soul the shock of int'rest can't endure,
262 Give him a pension then, and sin secure.
263 With laurell'd wreaths the flatt'rer's brows adorn,
264 Bid Virtue crouch, bid Vice exalt her horn,
265 Bid Cowards thrive, put honesty to flight,
266 MURPHY shall prove, or try to prove it right.
267 Try, thou State-Juggler, ev'ry paltry art,
268 Ransack the inmost closet of my heart,
269 Swear Thou'rt my Friend; by that base oath make way
270 Into my breast, and flatter to betray;
271 Or, if those tricks are vain, if wholesome doubt
272 Detects the fraud, and points the Villain out,
273 Bribe those who daily at my board are fed,
274 And make them take my life who eat my bread;
275 On Authors for defence, for praise depend;
276 Pay him but well, and MURPHY is thy friend.[Page 14]
277 He, He shall ready stand with venal rimes
278 To varnish guilt, and consecrate thy crimes,
279 To make corruption in false colours shine,
280 And damn his own good name, to rescue thine.
281 But, if thy niggard hands their gifts with-hold,
282 And Vice no longer rains down show'rs of gold,
283 Expect no mercy; facts, well grounded, teach,
284 MURPHY, if not rewarded, will impeach.
285 What tho' each man of nice and juster thought,
286 Shunning his steps, decrees, by Honour taught,
287 He ne'er can be a Friend, who stoops so low
288 To be the base betrayer of a foe;
289 What tho', with thine together link'd, his name
290 Must be with thine transmitted down to shame,
291 To ev'ry manly feeling callous grown,
292 Rather than not blast thine, he'll blast his own.
293 To ope the fountain, whence Sedition springs,
294 To slander Government, and libel Kings,
295 With Freedom's name to serve a present hour,
296 Tho' born, and bred to arbitrary pow'r,
297 To talk of WILLIAMS with insidious art,
298 Whilst a vile STUART'S lurking in his heart,[Page 15]
299 And, whilst mean Envy rears her loathsome head,
300 Flatt'ring the living, to abuse the dead,
301 Where is SHEBBEARE? O, let not foul reproach,
302 Travelling thither in a City-Coach,
303 The Pill'ry dare to name; the whole intent
304 Of that Parade was Fame, not Punishment,
305 And that old, staunch Whig BEARDMORE standing by,
306 Can in full Court give that report the lye.
307 With rude unnat'ral jargon to support,
308 Half Scotch, half English, a declining Court,
309 To make most glaring contraries unite,
310 And prove, beyond dispute, that black is white,
311 To make firm Honour tamely league with shame,
312 Make Vice and Virtue differ but in name,
313 To prove that Chains and Freedom are but one,
314 That to be sav'd must mean to be undone,
315 Is there not GUTHRIE? Who, like him, can call
316 All Opposites to proof, and conquer all?
317 He calls forth living waters from the rock;
318 He calls forth children from the barren stock;
319 He, far beyond the springs of Nature led,
320 Makes Women bring forth after they are dead;[Page 16]
321 He, on a curious, new, and happy plan,
322 In Wedlock's sacred bands joins Man to Man;
323 And, to complete the whole, most strange, but true,
324 By some rare magic, makes them fruitful too,
325 Whilst from their loins, in the due course of years,
326 Flows the rich blood of GUTHRIE's English Peers.
327 Dost Thou contrive some blacker deed of shame,
328 Something which Nature shudders but to name,
329 Something which makes the Soul of man retreat,
330 And the life-blood run backward to her seat?
331 Dost Thou contrive, for some base private end,
332 Some selfish view, to hang a trusting friend,
333 To lure him on, e'en to his parting breath,
334 And promise life, to work him surer death?
335 Grown old in villainy, and dead to grace,
336 Hell in his heart, and TYBURNE in his face;
337 Behold, a Parson at thy Elbow stands,
338 Low'ring damnation, and with open hands
339 Ripe to betray his Saviour for reward;
340 The Atheist Chaplain of an Atheist Lord.
341 Bred to the Church, and for the gown decreed,
342 'Ere it was known that I should learn to read;[Page 17]
343 Tho' that was nothing, for my Friends, who knew
344 What mighty Dullness of itself could do,
345 Never design'd me for a working Priest,
346 But hop'd, I should have been a DEAN at least;
347 Condemn'd (like many more, and worthier men,
348 To whom I pledge the service of my pen),
349 Condemn'd (whilst proud, and pamper'd Sons of Lawn,
350 Cramm'd to the throat, in lazy plenty yawn)
351 In pomp of rev'rend begg'ry to appear,
352 To pray, and starve on forty pounds a year;
353 My Friends, who never felt the galling load,
354 Lament that I forsook the Packhorse road,
355 Whilst Virtue to my conduct witness bears
356 In throwing off that gown, which FRANCIS wears.
357 What Creature's that, so very pert and prim;
358 So very full of foppery, and whim;
359 So gentle, yet so brisk; so wond'rous sweet,
360 So fit to prattle at a Lady's feet,
361 Who looks, as he the Lord's rich vineyard trod,
362 And by his Garb appears a man of God?
363 Trust not to looks, nor credit outward show;
364 The villain lurks beneath the cassock'd Beau;[Page 18]
365 That's an Informer; what avails the name?
366 Suffice it that the wretch from SODOM came.
367 His tongue is deadly — from his presence run,
368 Unless thy rage would wish to be undone.
369 No ties can hold him, no affection bind,
370 And Fear alone restrains his coward mind;
371 Free him from that, no Monster is so fell,
372 Nor is so sure a blood-hound found in hell.
373 His silken smiles, his hypocritic air,
374 His meek demeanour, plausible and fair,
375 Are only worn to pave Fraud's easier way,
376 And make gull'd Virtue fall a surer prey.
377 Attend his Church — his plan of doctrine view —
378 The Preacher is a Christian, dull but true;
379 But when the hallow'd hour of preaching's o'er,
380 That plan of doctrine's never thought of more;
381 CHRIST is laid by neglected on the shelf,
382 And the vile Priest is Gospel to himself.
383 By CLELAND tutor'd, and with BLACOW bred,
384 (BLACOW, whom by a brave resentment led,
385 OXFORD, if OXFORD had not sunk in same,
386 Ere this, had damn'd to everlasting shame)[Page 19]
387 Their steps he follows, and their crimes partakes,
388 To Virtue lost, to Vice alone he wakes,
389 Most lusciously declaims 'gainst luscious themes,
390 And, whilst he rails at blasphemy, blasphemes.
391 Are these the Arts, which Policy supplies?
392 Are these the steps, by which grave Churchmen rise?
393 Forbid it, Heav'n; or, should it turn out so,
394 Let Me, and Mine, continue mean and low.
395 Such be their Arts, whom Interest controuls;
396 KIDGELL and I have free and honest souls.
397 We scorn Preferment which is gain'd by Sin,
398 And will, tho' poor without, have peace within.
About this text
Author: Charles Churchill
Themes: poetry; literature; writing
Genres: heroic couplet; satire
Text view / Document view
Churchill, Charles, 1731-1764. The author: A poem. By C. Churchill. London: printed for W. Flexney; G. Kearsly; J. Coote; C. Henderson; J. Gardiner; and J. Almon, 1763, pp. -19. ,19,p. ; 4⁰. (ESTC T1713; OTA K020965.000)
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