Charles Churchill

(February, 1731 - 4 November 1764 / Westminster)

The Ghost: Book III (excerpt)


...
Horrid, unwieldly, without form,
Savage, as ocean in a storm,
Of size prodigious, in the rear,
That post of honour, should appear
Pomposo; fame around should tell
How he a slave to int'rest fell,
How, for integrity renown'd,
Which booksellers have often found,
He for subscribers baits his hook,
And takes their cash--but where's the book?
No matter where--wise fear, we know,
Forbids the robbing of a foe;
But what, to serve our private ends,
Forbids the cheating of our friends?
No man alive, who would not swear
All's safe, and therefore honest there.
For, spite of all the learned say,
If we to truth attention pay,
The word dishonesty is meant
For nothing else but punishment.
Fame too should tell, nor heed the threat
Of rogues, who brother rogues abet,
Nor tremble at the terrors hung
Aloft, to make her hold her tongue,
How to all principles untrue,
Nor fix'd to old friends, nor to new,
He damns the pension which he takes,
And loves the Stuart he forsakes.
Nature (who justly regular,
Is very seldom known to err,
But now and then in sportive mood,
As some rude wits have understood,
Or through much work requir'd in haste,
Is with a random stroke disgrac'd)
Pomposo form'd on doubtful plan,
Not quite a beast, nor quite a man,
Like--God knows what--for never yet
Could the most subtle human wit
Find out a monster which might be
The shadow of a simile.
...

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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