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On The Report Of A Monument To Be Erected In Westminster Abbey, To The Memory Of A Late Author (Churchill)

James Beattie 1735 (Laurencekirk) – 1803 (Aberdeen)

Bufo, begone! with thee may Faction's fire,
That hatch'd thy salamander-fame, expire.
Fame, dirty idol of the brainless crowd,
What half-made moon-calf can mistake for good!
Since shared by knaves of high and low degree;
Cromwell and Cataline: Guido Faux, and thee.
By nature uninspired, 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;
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 violence in coarser doggrel writ,
Which bawling blackguards spell'd, and took for wit:
For conscience, honour, slighted, spurn'd, o'erthrown:—
Lo! Bufo 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 the omnipotence of song,
When Shakspeare 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,
Gave knaves to infamy, and fools to scorn;
Yet pure in manners, and in thought refined,
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, to crown the hoary bard of night1,
The Muses and the Virtues all unite?
Is this the land where Akenside displays
The bold yet temperate flame of ancient days?
Like the rapt sage2, in genius as in theme,
Whose hallow'd strain renown'd Illyssus' stream:
Or him, the indignant bard3, whose patriot ire,
Sublime in vengeance, smote the dreadful lyre:
For truth, for liberty, for virtue warm,
Whose mighty song unnerved 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, blest in Heaven's indulgent smile?
Guardian of truth, and patroness of art,
Nurse of the undaunted soul, and generous heart!
Where, from a base unthankful world exiled,
Freedom exults to roam the careless wild:
Where taste to science every charm supplies,
And genius soars unbounded to the skies?
And shall a Bufo's most polluted name
Stain her bright tablet of untainted fame?
Shall his disgraceful name with theirs be join'd,
Who wish'd and wrought the welfare of their kind?
His name, accurst, who, leagued with——4 and Hell,
Labour'd to rouse, with rude and murderous yell,
Discord the fiend, to toss rebellion's brand,
To whelm in rage and woe a guiltless land:
To frustrate wisdom's, virtue's noblest plan,
And triumph in the miseries of man.
Drivelling and dull, when crawls the reptile Muse,
Swoln from the sty, and rankling from the stews,
With envy, spleen, and pestilence replete,
And gorged with dust she lick'd from Treason's feet:
Who once, like Satan, raised to Heaven her sight,
But turn'd abhorrent from the hated light:—
O'er such a Muse shall wreaths of glory bloom?
No—shame and execration be her doom.
Hard-fated Bufo, could not dulness 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 brother 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 dozed a scribbling life away,
And yawning nations own'd the innoxious lay,
But from thy graceless, rude, and beastly brain,
What fury breathed the incendiary strain?
Did hate to vice exasperate thy style?
No—Bufo 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 furious Teague for moderation raved,
And own'd his soul to liberty enslaved.
Nor yet, though thousand cits admire thy rage,
Though less of fool than felon marks thy page:
Nor yet, though here and there one lonely spark
Of w
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:59 min read

James Beattie

James Scott Beattie is an English footballer who is a striker who plays for and manages Accrington Stanley. more…

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    "On The Report Of A Monument To Be Erected In Westminster Abbey, To The Memory Of A Late Author (Churchill)" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 21 Oct. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/19969/on-the-report-of-a-monument-to-be-erected-in-westminster-abbey,-to-the-memory-of-a-late-author-(churchill)>.

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