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no little power. )

THE CONFERENCE

GRACE said in form, which sceptics must agree,
When they are told that grace was said by me ;
The servants gone, to break the scurvy jest
On the proud landlord, and his thread-bare guest j



84 Charles Churchill

The ' King ' gone round, my lady too withdrawn,

My lord in usual taste began to yawn,

And lolling backward in his elbow-chair,

With an insipid kind of stupid stare,

Picking his teeth, twirling his seals about

' Churchill, you have a poem coming out.

You've my best wishes ; but I really fear

Your Muse in general is too severe ;

Her spirit seems her int'rest to oppose,

And where she makes one friend, makes twenty foes.'

C. Your lordship's fears are just, I feel their

force,

But only feel it as a thing of course.
The man whose hardy spirit shall engage
To lash the vices of a guilty age,
At his first setting forward ought to know,
That ev'ry tongue he meets must be his foe ;
That the rude breath of Satire will provoke
Many who feel, and more who fear the stroke.
But shall the partial rage of selfish men
From stubborn Justice wrench the righteous pen,
Or shall I not my settled course pursue,
Because my foes are foes to Virtue too ?

L. What is this boasted Virtue, taught in Schools,
And idly drawn from antiquated rules ?
What is her use ? Point out one wholesome end :
Will she hurt foes, or can she make a friend ?
When from long fasts fierce appetites arise,



The Conference 85

Can this same Virtue stifle Nature's cries ?
Can she the pittance of a meal afford,
Or bid thee welcome to one great man's board ?
When northern winds the rough December arm
With frost and snow, can Virtue keep thee warm ?
Can'st thou dismiss the hard unfeeling dun
Barely by saying, thou art Virtue's son ?
Or by base blund'ring statesmen sent to jail,
Will Mansfield take this Virtue for thy bail ?
Believe it not, the name is in disgrace,
Virtue and Temple now are out of place.

Quit then this meteor, whose delusive ray
From wealth and honour leads thee far astray.
True Virtue means, let Reason use her eyes,
Nothing with fools and int'rest with the wise.
Would'st thou be great, her patronage disclaim,
Nor madly triumph in so mean a name :
Let nobler wreaths thy happy brows adorn,
And leave to Virtue poverty and scorn.
Let Prudence be thy guide ; who doth not know
How seldom Prudence can with Virtue go ?
To be successful try thy utmost force,
And Virtue follows as a thing of course.

Hirco, who knows not Hirco? stains the bed
Of that kind master who first gave him bread,
Scatters the seeds of discord through the land,
Breaks ev'ry public, ev'ry private band,
Beholds with joy a trusting friend undone,



86 Charles Churchill

Betrays a brother, and would cheat a son :

What mortal in his senses can endure

The name of Hirco, for the wretch is poor !

' Let him hang, drown, starve, on a dunghill rot,

By all detested live, and die forgot ;

Let him, a poor return, in ev'ry breath

Feel all Death's pains, yet be whole years in death/

Is now the gen'ral cry we all pursue :

Let Fortune change, and Prudence changes too ;

Supple and pliant a new system feels,

Throws up her cap, and spaniels at her heels ;

' Long live great Hirco,' cries, by int'rest taught,

'And let his foes, though I prove one, be naught.'

C. Peace to such men, if such men can have

peace,

Let their possessions, let their state increase ;
Let their base services in courts strike root,
And in the season bring forth golden fruit ;
I envy not : let those who have the will,
And with so little spirit, so much skill,
With such vile instruments their fortunes carve ;
Rogues may grow fat, an honest man dares starve.

L. These stale conceits thrown off, let us advance
For once to real life, and quit romance.
Starve ! pretty talking ! but I fain would view
That man, that honest man, would do it too.
Hence to yon mountain which outbraves the sky,
And dart from pole to pole thy strengthen'd eye,



The Conference 87

Through all that space you shall not view one man,
Not one, who dares to act on such a plan.
Cowards in calms will say, what in a storm
The brave will tremble at, and not perform.
Thine be the proof, and, spite of all youVe said,
You'd give your honour for a crust of bread.

C. What proof might do, what hunger might

effect,

What famish'd Nature, looking with neglect
On all she once held dear, what fear, at strife
With fainting Virtue for the means of life,
Might make this coward flesh, in love with breath,
Shudd'ring at pain, and shrinking back from death,
In treason to my soul, descend to bear,
Trusting to Fate, I neither know nor care.

Once, at this hour whose wounds afresh I feel,
Which nor prosperity nor time can heal,
Those wounds, which Fate severely hath decreed,
Mentioned or thought of, must for ever bleed,
Those wounds, which humbled all that pride of man,
Which brings such mighty aid to Virtue's plan ;
Once, aw'd by Fortune's most oppressive frown,
By legal rapine to the earth bow'd down,
My credit at last gasp, my state undone,
Trembling to meet the shock I could not shun,
Virtue gave ground, and black despair prevail'd ;
Sinking beneath the storm, my spirits fail'd,
Like Peter's faith ; till one, a friend indeed,



88 Charles Churchill

May all distress find such in time of need !
One kind good man, in act, in word, in thought,
By Virtue guided, and by Wisdom taught,
Image of him whom Christians should adore,
Stretch'd forth his hand, and brought me safe to
shore.

Since, by good fortune into notice rais'd,
And for some little merit largely prais'd,
Indulg'd in swerving from prudential rules,
Hated by rogues, and not belov'd by fools,
Plac'd above want, shall abject thirst of wealth
So fiercely war 'gainst my soul's dearest health,
That, as a boon, I should base shackles crave,
And, born to freedom, make myself a slave ;
That I should in the train of those appear,
Whom Honour cannot love, nor Manhood fear?

That I no longer skulk from street to street,
Afraid lest duns assail, and bailiff's meet ;
That I from place to place this carcase bear,
Walk forth at large, and wander free as air ;
That I no longer dread the awkward friend,
Whose very obligations must offend,
Nor, all too forward, with impatience burn,
At sufFring favours which I can't return ;
That, from dependence and from pride secure,
I am not plac'd so high to scorn the poor,
Nor yet so low, that I my lord should fear,
Or hesitate to give him sneer for sneer ;



The Conference 89

That, kind to others, to myself most true,
Feeling no want, I comfort those who do,
And with the will have power to aid distress :
These, and what other blessings I possess,
From the indulgence of the public rise ;
All private patronage my soul defies.
By candour more inclin'd to save, than damn,
A gen'rous Public made me what I am.
All that I have, they gave ; just Mem'ry bears
The grateful stamp, and what I am is theirs.

Z. To feign a red-hot zeal for Freedom's cause,
To mouth aloud for liberties and laws,
For public good to bellow all abroad,
Serves well the purposes of private fraud.
Prudence by public good intends her own ;
If you mean otherwise, you stand alone.
What do we mean by country and by court ?
What is it to oppose, what to support ?
Mere words of course, and what is more absurd
Than to pay homage to an empty word ?
Majors and minors differ but in name ;
Patriots and ministers are much the same ;
The only difference, after all their rout,
Is, that the one is in, the other out.

Explore the dark recesses of the mind,
In the soul's honest volume read mankind,
And own, in wise and simple, great and small,
The same grand leading principle in all.



90 Charles Churchill

Whatever we talk of wisdom to the wise,
Of goodness to the good, of public ties
Which to our country link, of private bands
Which claim most dear attention at our hands,
For parent and for child, for wife and friend,
Our first great mover, and our last great end,
Is one, and, by whatever name we call
The ruling tyrant, Self, is all in all.
This, which unwilling Faction shall admit,
Guided in diff'rent ways a Bute and Pitt,
Made tyrants break, made kings observe the law,
And gave the world a Stuart and Nassau.

Hath Nature (strange and wild conceit of pride)
Distinguished thee from all her sons beside ?
Doth Virtue in thy bosom brighter glow,
Or from a spring more pure doth action flow ?
Is not thy soul bound with those very chains
Which shackle us ; or is that Self, which reigns
O'er kings and beggars, which in all we see
Most strong and sov'reign, only weak in thee ?
Fond man, believe it not, experience tells
'Tis not thy virtue, but thy pride rebels.
Think (and for once lay by thy lawless pen)
Think, and confess thyself like other men ;
Think but one hour, and, to thy conscience led
By Reason's hand, bow down and hang thy head ;
Think on thy private life, recal thy youth,
View thyself now, and own with strictest truth,



The Conference 91

That Self hath drawn thee from fair Virtue's way
Further than Folly would have dar'd to stray,
And that the talents lib'ral Nature gave
To make thee free, have made thee more a slave.

Quit then, in prudence quit, that idle train
Of toys, which have so long abus'd thy brain,
And captive led thy pow'rs ; with boundless will
Let Self maintain her state and empire still,
But let her, with more worthy objects caught,
Strain all the faculties and force of thought
To things of higher daring ; let her range
Through better pastures, and learn how to change ;
Let her, no longer to weak Faction tied,
Wisely revolt, and join our stronger side.

C. Ah ! what, my lord, hath private life to do
With things of public nature ? Why to view
Would you thus cruelly those scenes unfold,
Which, without pain and horror to behold,
Must speak me something more or less than man ;
Which friends may pardon, but I never can ?
Look back ! a thought which borders on despair,
Which human nature must, yet cannot bear.
'Tis not the babbling of a busy world,
Where praise and censure are at random hurl'd,
Which can the meanest of my thoughts control,
Or shake one settled purpose of my soul.
Free and at large might their wild curses roam,
If all, if all, alas ! were well at home,



92 Charles Churchill

No 'tis the tale which angry Conscience tells,

When she with more than tragic horror swells
Each circumstance of guilt ; when stern, but true,
She brings bad actions forth into review ;
And, like the dread hand-writing on the wall,
Bids late Remorse awake at Reason's call ;
Arm'd at all points bids scorpion Vengeance pass,
And to the mind holds up Reflection's glass ;
The mind, which, starting, heaves the heartfelt groan,
And hates that form she knows to be her own.

Enough of this let private sorrows rest
As to the public I dare stand the test ;
Dare proudly boast, I feel no wish above
The good of England, and my country's love.
Stranger to party-rage, by Reason's voice,
Unerring guide, directed in my choice,
Not all the tyrant pow'rs of Earth combin'd,
No, nor of Hell, shall make me change my mind.
What ! herd with men my honest soul disdains,
Men who, with servile zeal, are forging chains
For Freedom's neck, and lend a helping hand,
To spread destruction o'er my native land.
What ! shall I not, e'en to my latest breath,
In the full face of danger and of death,
Exert that little strength which Nature gave,
And boldly stem, or perish in the wave ?

L. When I look backward for some fifty years,
And see protesting patriots turn to peers ;



The Conference 93

Hear men, most loose, for decency declaim,

And talk of character without a name ;

See infidels assert the cause of God,

And meek divines wield Persecution's rod ;

See men transformed to brutes, and brutes to men,

See Whitehead take a place, Ralph change his pen,

I mock the zeal, and deem the men in sport,

Who rail at ministers, and curse a court.

Thee, haughty as thou art, and proud in rhyme,

Shall some preferment, offer'd at a time

When Virtue sleeps, some sacrifice to pride,

Or some fair victim, move to change thy side.

Thee shall these eyes behold, to health restor'd,

Using, as Prudence bids, bold Satire's sword,

Galling thy present friends, and praising those,

Whom now thy frenzy holds thy greatest foes.

C. May I (can worse disgrace on manhood fall)
Be born a Whitehead, and baptiz'd a Paul ;
May I (though to his service deeply tied
By sacred oaths, and now by will allied)
With false feign'd zeal an injur'd God defend,
And use his name for some base private end ;
May I (that thought bids double horrors roll
O'er my sick spirits, and unmans my soul)
Ruin the virtue which I held most dear,
And still must hold ; may I, through abject fear,
Betray my friend ; may to succeeding times,
Engrav'd on plates of adamant, my crimes



94 Charles Churchill

Stand blazing forth, whilst mark'd with envious blot,

Each little act of virtue is forgot ;

Of all those evils which, to stamp men curs'd,

Hell keeps in store for vengeance, may the worst

Light on my head, and in my day of woe,

To make the cup of bitterness o'erflow,

May I be scorn'd by ev'ry man of worth,

Wander, like Cain, a vagabond on Earth,

Bearing about a Hell in my own mind,

Or be to Scotland for my life confin'd,

If I am one among the many known,

Whom Shelburne fled, and Calcraft blush'd to own.

L. Do you reflect what men you make your foes ?

C. I do, and that's the reason I oppose.
Friends I have made, whom Envy must commend,
But not one foe, whom I would wish a friend.
What if ten thousand Butes and Hollands bawl,
One Wilkes hath made a large amends for all.

Tis not the title, whether handed down
From age to age, or flowing from the Crown
In copious streams on recent men, who came
From stems unknown, and sires without a name;
'Tis not the star, which our great Edward gave
To mark the virtuous, and reward the brave,
Blazing without, whilst a base heart within
Is rotten to the core with filth and sin ;
'Tis not the tinsel grandeur, taught to wait,
At Custom's call, to mark a fool of state



The Conference 95

From fools of lesser note, that soul can awe
Whose pride is reason, whose defence is law.
L. Suppose (a thing scarce possible in art,
Were it thy cue to play a common part ;)
Suppose thy writing's so well fenc'd in law,
That Norton cannot find, nor make a flaw,
Hast thou not heard, that 'mongst our ancient tribes,
By party warpt, or lull'd asleep by bribes,
Or trembling at the ruffian hand of Force,
Law hath suspended stood, or chang'd its course ?
Art thou assur'd, that, for destruction ripe,
Thou may'st not smart beneath the self-same gripe ?
What sanction hast thou, frantic in thy rhymes,
Thy life, thy freedom to secure ? .

C. The times.

'Tis not on law, a system great and good,
By wisdom penn'd, and bought by noblest blood,
My faith relies : by wicked men and vain,
Law, once abus'd, may be abus'd again.
No, on our great Law-giver I depend,
Who knows and guides her to her proper end ;
Whose royalty of nature blazes out
So fierce, 'twere sin to entertain a doubt
Did tyrant Stuarts now the laws dispense,
(Blest be the hour and hand which sent them hence)
For something, or for nothing, for a word,
Or thought, I might be doomed to death, unheard^
Life we might all resign to lawless pow'r,



96 Charles Churchill

Nor think it worth the purchase of an hour ;
But Envy ne'er shall fix so foul a stain
On the fair annals of a Brunswick's reign.

If, slave to party, to revenge, or pride,
If, by frail human error drawn aside,
I break the law, strict rigour let her wear ;
Tis her's to punish, and 'tis mine to bear ;
Nor by the voice of Justice doom'd to death,
Would I ask mercy with my latest breath.
But, anxious only for my country's good,
In which my king's, of course, is understood;
Form'd on a plan with some few patriot friends,
Whilst by just means I aim at noblest ends,
My spirits cannot sink ; though from the tomb
Stern Jeffries should be placed in Mansfield's room ;
Though he should bring, his base designs to aid,
Some black attorney, for his purpose made,
And shove, whilst Decency and Law retreat,
The modest Norton from his maiden seat ;
Though both, in all confed'rates, should agree,
In damned league, to torture law and me,
Whilst George is king, I cannot fear endure ;
Not to be guilty, is to be secure.

But when, in after-times, (be far remov'd
That day) our monarch, glorious and belov'd,
Sleeps with his fathers, should imperious Fate,
In vengeance, with fresh Stuarts curse our state ;
Should they, o'erleaping ev'ry fence of law,



The Conference 97

Butcher the brave to keep tame fools in awe ;
Should they, by brutal and oppressive force,
Divert sweet Justice from her even course ;
Should they, of ev'ry other means bereft,
Make my right hand a witness 'gainst my left ;
Should they, abroad by Inquisitions taught,
Search out my soul, and damn me for a thought ;
Still would I keep my course, still speak, still write,
Till Death had plung'd me in the shades of night.

Thou God of Truth, thou great, all-searching eye.,
To whom our thoughts, our spirits open lie,
Grant me thy strength, and in that needful hour,
(Should it e'er come) when Law submits to Pow'r,
With firm resolve my steady bosom steel,
Bravely to suffer, though I deeply feel.

Let me, as hitherto, still draw my breath,
In love with life, but not in fear of death ;
And, if Oppression brings me to the grave,
And marks me dead, she ne'er shall mark a slave.
Let no unworthy marks of grief be heard,
No wild laments, not one unseemly word ;
Let sober triumphs wait upon my bier,
I won't forgive that friend who drops one tear.
Whether he's ravish'd in life's early morn,
Or, in old age, drops like an ear of corn,
Full ripe he falls, on Nature's noblest plan,
Who lives to Reason, and who dies a Man.



H



WILLIAM COWPER

(Cowpe^s knowledge of politics was too much con-
ditioned by his secluded life and his terrible malady ;
but the Modern Patriot is a gem.)

THE MODERN PATRIOT

REBELLION is my theme all day,

I only wish 'twould come
(As who knows but perhaps it may)

A little nearer home.

Yon roaring boys who rave and fight
On the other side the Atlantic,

I always held them in the right,
But most so, when most frantic.

When lawless mobs insult the court,

That man shall be my toast,
If breaking windows be the sport,

Who bravely breaks the most.



The Modern Patriot 99

But oh ! for him my fancy culls

The choicest flowers she bears,
Who constitutionally pulls

Your house about your ears.

Such civil broils are my delight,

Though some folks can't endure 'em,

Who say the mob are mad outright,
And that a rope must cure 'em.

A rope ! I wish we patriots had

Such strings for all who need 'em,

What ! hang a man for going mad ?
Then farewell British freedom.



ROLLIAD'



(The exceedingly amusing collection of anti-Pittite
lampoons called The Rolliad, Political Eclogues, Proba-
tionary Odes, and so on, concocted chiefly by members of
Brookes club may shock serious politicians by its purely
personal and partisan character. There is not a senti-
ment in it higher than the wish to get Smith out and
Jones in, and, for that purpose, to make the most of the
follies, blunders, and faults of Smith and Smiths
friends. But it is very amusing more amusing, no
doubt, as a whole than in samples, but still amusing
after a fashion, of which I hope the following samples
will give some taste.)



ECLOGUE ON MARGARET NICHOLSON

THE Session up : the India-Bench appeas'd,
The Lansdownes satisfied, the Lowthers pleas'd,



Eclogue on Margaret Nicholson 101

Each job dispatch'd : the Treasury boys depart,
As various fancy prompts each youthful heart,
Pitt, in chaste kisses seeking virtuous joy,
Begs Lady Chatham's blessing on her boy ;
While Mornington, as vicious as he can,
To fair R 1 n in vain affects the man :
With lordly Buckingham retir'd at Stowe,
Grenville, whose plodding brains no respite know,
To prove next year, how our finances thrive,
Schemes new reports, that two and two make five.
To plan of Eastern justice hies Dundas ;
And comely Villars to his votive glass ;
To embryo tax-bills Rose ; to dalliance Steele ;
And hungry hirelings to their hard-earn'd meal.

A faithful pair, in mutual friendship tied,
Once keen in hate, as now in love allied,
(This, o'er admiring mobs in triumph rode,
LibelFd his Monarch, and blasphem'd his God ;
That, the mean drudge of tyranny and Bute,
At once his practised pimp and prostitute)
Adscomb's proud roof receives, whose dark recess
And empty vaults, its owner's mind express,
While block'd-up windows to the world display
How much he loves a tax, how much invites the day.

Here the dire chance that god-like George befel,
How sick in spirit, yet in health how well ;
What Mayors by dozens, at the tale affrighted,
Got drunk, address'd, got laugh'd at, and got knighted ;



102 * The Rolliad'

They read, with mingled horror and surprise,

In London's pure Gazette, that never lies.

Ye Tory bands, who taught by conscious fears,

Have wisely check'd your tongues, and sav'd your

ears,

Hear, ere hard fate forbids what heav'nly strains
Flowed from the lips of these melodious swains.
Alternate was the song ; but first began,
With hands uplifted, the regenerate man.

WILKES

Bless'd be the beef-fed guard, whose rigorous twist
Wrench'd the rais'd weapon from the murderer's fist,
Him Lords in waiting shall with awe behold
In red tremendous, and hirsute in gold.

On him, great monarch, let thy bounty shine,
What meed can match a life so dear as thine ?
Well was that bounty measur'd, all must own,
That gave him half of what he sav'd a crown.

Bless'd the dull edge, for treason's views unfit,
Harmless as Sydney's rage, or Bearcroft's wit.
Blush clumsy patriots, for degenerate zeal,
Wilkes had not guided thus the faithless steel !

Round your sad mistress flock, ye maids elect,
Whose charms severe your chastity protect ;
Scar'd by whose glance, despairing love descries,
That virtue steals no triumph from your eyes.



Eclogue on Margaret Nicholson 103

Round your bold master flock, ye mitred hive,
With anathems on Whigs his soul revive !
Saints ! whom the sight of human blood appals,
Save when to please the Royal will it falls.

He breathes ! he lives ! the vestal choir advance,
Each takes a Bishop, and leads up the dance,
Nor dreads to break her long-respected vow,
For chaste ah strange to tell ! are bishops now :
Saturnian times return ! the age of truth,
And long foretold is come, the virgin youth.
Now sage professors, for their learning's curse,
Die of their duty in remorseless verse :
Now sentimental Aldermen expire
In prose, half flaming with the Muses' fire ;
Theirs while rich dainties swim on every plate,
Theirs the glad toil to feast for Britain's fate ;
Nor mean the gift the Royal grace affords,
All shall be knights but those that shall be lords.

Fountain of Honour, that art never dry,
Touch'd with those drops of grace no thief can die,
Still with new titles soak the delug'd land,
Still may we all be safe from Ketch's menac'd hand !

JENKINSON

Oh wondrous man, with a more wond'rous Muse !
O'er my lank limbs thy strains a sleep diffuse,
Sweet as when Pitt with words disdaining end,



io 4 ' The Rolliad*

Toils to explain, yet scorns to comprehend.
Ah ! whither had we fled, had that foul day
Torn him untimely from our arms away ?
What ills had mark'd the age, had that dire thrust
Pierc'd his soft heart, and bow'd his bob to dust?
Gods ! to my labouring sight what phantoms rise !
Here Juries triumph, and there droops Excise !
Fierce from defeat, and with collected might,
The low-born Commons claim the people's right :
And mad for freedom, vainly deem their own,
Their eye presumptuous dares to scan the throne.
See in the general wreck that smothers all,
Just ripe for justice see my Hastings fall :
Lo, the dear Major meets a rude repulse,
Though blazing in each hand he bears a bulse \
Nor Ministers attend, nor Kings relent,
Though rich Nabobs so splendidly repent.
See Eden's faith expos'd to sale again,
Who takes his plate, and learns his French in vain.
See countless eggs for us obscure the sky,
Each blanket trembles, and each pump is dry.
Far from good things Dundas is sent to roam,
Ah ! worse than banish'd doom'd to live at home.
Hence dire illusions ! dismal scenes away
Again he cries, ' What, what !' and all is gay.

Come Brunswick, come, great king of loaves and

fishes,
Be bounteous still to grant us all our wishes !


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