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The Farewell

Charles Churchill 1731 (Westminster) – 1764 (Boulogne-sur-Mer)



_P_. Farewell to Europe, and at once farewell
To all the follies which in Europe dwell;
To Eastern India now, a richer clime,
Richer, alas! in everything but rhyme,
The Muses steer their course; and, fond of change,
At large, in other worlds, desire to range;
Resolved, at least, since they the fool must play,
To do it in a different place, and way.
_F_. What whim is this, what error of the brain,
What madness worse than in the dog-star's reign?
Why into foreign countries would you roam,
Are there not knaves and fools enough at home?
If satire be thy object--and thy lays
As yet have shown no talents fit for praise--
If satire be thy object, search all round,
Nor to thy purpose can one spot be found
Like England, where, to rampant vigour grown,
Vice chokes up every virtue; where, self-sown,
The seeds of folly shoot forth rank and bold,
And every seed brings forth a hundredfold.
_P_. No more of this--though Truth, (the more our shame,
The more our guilt) though Truth perhaps may claim,
And justify her part in this, yet here,
For the first time, e'en Truth offends my ear;
Declaim from morn to night, from night to morn,
Take up the theme anew, when day's new-born,
I hear, and hate--be England what she will,
With all her faults, she is my country still.
_F_. Thy country! and what then? Is that mere word
Against the voice of Reason to be heard?
Are prejudices, deep imbibed in youth,
To counteract, and make thee hate the truth?
'Tis sure the symptom of a narrow soul
To draw its grand attachment from the whole,
And take up with a part; men, not confined
Within such paltry limits, men design'd
Their nature to exalt, where'er they go,
Wherever waves can roll, and winds can blow,
Where'er the blessed sun, placed in the sky
To watch this subject world, can dart his eye,
Are still the same, and, prejudice outgrown,
Consider every country as their own;
At one grand view they take in Nature's plan,
Not more at home in England than Japan.
_P_. My good, grave Sir of Theory, whose wit,
Grasping at shadows, ne'er caught substance yet,
'Tis mighty easy o'er a glass of wine
On vain refinements vainly to refine,
To laugh at poverty in plenty's reign,
To boast of apathy when out of pain,
And in each sentence, worthy of the schools,
Varnish'd with sophistry, to deal out rules
Most fit for practice, but for one poor fault
That into practice they can ne'er be brought.
At home, and sitting in your elbow-chair,
You praise Japan, though you was never there:
But was the ship this moment under sail,
Would not your mind be changed, your spirits fail?
Would you not cast one longing eye to shore,
And vow to deal in such wild schemes no more?
Howe'er our pride may tempt us to conceal
Those passions which we cannot choose but feel,
There's a strange something, which, without a brain,
Fools feel, and which e'en wise men can't explain,
Planted in man to bind him to that earth,
In dearest ties, from whence he drew his birth.
If Honour calls, where'er she points the way
The sons of Honour follow, and obey;
If need compels, wherever we are sent
'Tis want of courage not to be content;
But, if we have the liberty of choice,
And all depends on our own single voice,
To deem of every country as the same
Is rank rebellion 'gainst the lawful claim
Of Nature, and such dull indifference
May be philosophy, but can't be sense.
_F_. Weak and unjust distinction, strange design,
Most peevish, most perverse, to undermine
Philosophy, and throw her empire down
By means of Sense, from whom she holds her crown,
Divine Philosophy! to thee we owe
All that is worth possessing here below;
Virtue and wisdom consecrate thy reign,
Doubled each joy, and pain no longer pain.
When, like a garden, where, for want of toil
And wholesome discipline, the rich, rank soil
Teems with incumbrances; where all around,
Herbs, noxious in their nature, make the ground,
Like the good mother of a thankless son,
Curse her own womb, by fruitfulness undone;
Like such a garden, when the human soul,
Uncultured, wild, impatient of control,
Brings forth those passions of luxuriant race,
Which spread, and stifle every herb of grace;
Whilst Virtue, check'd by the cold hand of Scorn,
Seems withering on the bed where she was born,
Philosophy steps in; with steady hand,
She brings her aid, she clears the encumber'd land;
Too virtuous to spare Vice one stroke, too wise
One moment to attend to Pity's cries--
See with what godlike, what relentless power
She roots up every weed!
_P_. And every flow
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Charles Churchill

Lieutenant General Charles Churchill was a British Army General and a Member of Parliament. more…

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