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Short poem

Charles Churchill (1731-1764)

The Ghost: Book III


          794Horrid, unwieldly, without form,
          795Savage, as ocean in a storm,
          796Of size prodigious, in the rear,
          797That post of honour, should appear
          798Pomposo; fame around should tell
          799How he a slave to int'rest fell,
          800How, for integrity renown'd,
          801Which booksellers have often found,
          802He for subscribers baits his hook,
          803And takes their cash--but where's the book?
          804No matter where--wise fear, we know,
          805Forbids the robbing of a foe;
          806But what, to serve our private ends,
          807Forbids the cheating of our friends?
          808No man alive, who would not swear
          809All's safe, and therefore honest there.
          810For, spite of all the learned say,
          811If we to truth attention pay,
          812The word dishonesty is meant
          813For nothing else but punishment.
          814Fame too should tell, nor heed the threat
          815Of rogues, who brother rogues abet,
          816Nor tremble at the terrors hung
          817Aloft, to make her hold her tongue,
          818How to all principles untrue,
          819Nor fix'd to old friends, nor to new,
          820He damns the pension which he takes,
          821And loves the Stuart he forsakes.
          822Nature (who justly regular,
          823Is very seldom known to err,
          824But now and then in sportive mood,
          825As some rude wits have understood,
          826Or through much work requir'd in haste,
          827Is with a random stroke disgrac'd)
          828Pomposo form'd on doubtful plan,
          829Not quite a beast, nor quite a man,
          830Like--God knows what--for never yet
          831Could the most subtle human wit
          832Find out a monster which might be
          833The shadow of a simile.


802-03] Cf. Boswell, under 1756: "He this year resumed his scheme of giving an edition of Shakespeare with notes .... He promised his work should be published before Christmas, 1757. Yet nine years elapsed before it saw the light. His throes in bringing it forth had been severe and remittent; and at last we may almost conclude that the Caesarian operation was performed by the knife of Churchill, whose upbraiding satire, I dare say, made Johnson's friends urge him to dispatch."

819-20] Johnson, an uncompromising Tory, had recently accepted a pension from George III.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Charles Churchill, The Ghost,+ Books I-II, 3rd edn. with additions (London: for the author, 1763). Microfilm no. 29 ROBA. 2nd edn. with additions. London: for the author,1763. Microfilm no. 28 Robarts Library.
First publication date: 1763
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP.1.744; RPO 1997-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/5/8

Form: couplets

Other poems by Charles Churchill