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satirical and are in the octosyllabic verse of Churchill's Ghost. This poem appeared in 1763, when the charity school boy was eleven years of age. He must have been deeply impressed by its popularity. For in all his earliest satires he shows the most careful study of it. In Farley's Journal of January 7th, 1764 appeared "The Churchwarden and the Apparition,” which is evidently Chattertons' and is an attack upon some churchwarden of St. Mary Redcliffe who had ordered the levelling of the churchyard and was taking the clay to make bricks; in it Conscience appears to him when he is at his ghoulish task and makes "Joe", as he is called, desist. The poem begins in the same way as Sly Dick, another satire of this same period of his life, with the description of a winter night ;
* The night was cold, the wind was high,
And stars bespangled all the sky”. In this latter an apparition also appears and gives Sly Dick advice. A third, Apostate Will, is in the same metre, and attacks some tradesman who veered from the Church to the Wesleyans and back to suit his pocket. Only three of his later and political satires adopt this verse, a fragment called Fables for the Court, “Journal 6th. Saturday Sept. 30th. 1769", (consisting of three pieces, one a conversation between a dean and a rector, the second a portrait of a rake, and the third an ode attacking Whitefield and his doctrines), and The Prophecy, attacking Bute and the king. All his others are in the heroic couplet and are manifestly modelled on Churchill's political poems. They are on the side of the Opposition, and adopt his principles and methods of personal abuse. They are tinged with revolutionism, make gross attacks on the character of The Princess Dowager of Wales, the widow of George the Third's father, the king, Bute, and his followers. They adopt Churchill's fury against Scotland and Scotchmen, and adore Wilkes. He refers only once 'to his model by name; but he imitates his rhythms, rhymes, phrases, and references. He mingles with these echoes attacks on Bristol dignitaries, and on the new objects of popular hostility, Grafton and North. They have much of the vigour of Churchill's and all their fatal fluency of verse. The most extensive is Kew Gardens, a coarse attack on the mother of George the Third
and her supposed relations to Lord Bute. It is full of asterisks for names suppressed. But he has no compunction in introducing the name of any Bristolian against whom he had felt pique ;-Broderip, an organist who had turned him out of the organ-loft, Catcott, a clergyman who had told him the faults of his poems, and Bishop Newton, and Dean Barton as dogmatic authorities his natural enemies. It was written by March 1769; and he tried to get it into “a patriotic newspaper” of a printer Edmunds. But it evidently did not reach the light; for he used its 1500 lines during the last feverish months of his life as a quarry out of which he could hew new political satires. The Whore of Babylon, another attack on Lord Bute, this time without any mask of asterisks, has 600 lines from it. It is called Book the First, and was evidently intended to extend to several books. There are only one or two references to the Princess of Wales; and Mansfield, North, Colonel Luttrell, Warburton, and the Bristol church dignitaries suffer; but it is Samuel Johnson that is most severely handled, partly because Churchill had attacked him, and partly because he had accepted a pension from the Tory government; everyone who had received any favour from Bute or his friends was to him, as to Churchill, an enemy of freedom and his country. He refers to Johnson's belief in the reality of the famous Cock-lane ghost for which Churchill had laughed at the great cham; and he represents him as
l dead and resurrected as a ghost. Bute had “with royal favour pensioned Johnson dead”; “his ghost is risen in a venal theme”.
“Some blockhead, ever envious of his fame,
Massacred Shakespeare in the doctor's name”. The “Rambler will no longer roam”; “released from servitude", "he'll prove it perfect happiness to drink”; Irene, his play, put the theatre asleep and “critics snor'd applause". Sawney, as he, following Churchill, calls Bute, “actuates” like a divinity, the system of things;
“ The clockwork of thy conscience turns about,
Just as his maxims wind thee in and out.”
No more defile thy claret glass with ink.”
vulgar, uneducated stripling", "a whelp.” The echo of Churchill was too smart and too transparent. He had even caught Churchill's Voltairian sneer at Christianity, and Churchill's boast of open immorality ;
“ Woman of every happiness the best
Is all my heaven-religion is a jest.” He seems to feel his genius and fate to have close affinity and likeness to such literary bohemians as Churchill and Savage.
“Nay prudent neighbours (who can read) would see
Another Savage to be starved in me.” He descends from literature and politics “to lash the ministers of God”, “where Revolution's farthing candle shines ", and "conscience is a prostitute for pay”.
2. In his satire called Happiness (1769), his free thinking and free morality are still more pronounced ; ; “opinion is the only God we know";
" Where's the foundation of religion placed ?
On every individual's fickle taste
Reflects all notions, to no notion true
An equal share of easiness and pain”. He laughs at "the useless bolt of vengeance" divine, and at “priestcraft” “father of misery, origin of sin ”. like Churchill and the more advanced thinkers of his age, against all authority in the universe as well as in England. It was revolutionism moving in his blood. And for such a boy it reaches great vigour of expression in this poem. That he would, when he had reached the higher, broader views of wisdom, have developed into a genius of the foremost rank, is indicated by its satiric power and pathetic pessimism;
“ Content is happiness, as sages say
But what's content? The trifle of a day
Let's make ourselves as easy as we can ”.
“ Praise him for sermons of his curate bought,
His easy flow of words, his depth of thought ;
Of a young scholar ;
“ He rings bob-majors by Leibnitzian rules”. In his Epistle to the Reverend Mr. Catcott (December 1769) he again plays with the edged tools of Voltaire and Churchill, and laughs at the same time at the clergyman's dabbling in geology and chemistry; in it there are many successful phrases and couplets; if angels contradict me,
; “ angels lie"; "all have intervals of being vain ”;
we need not inspiration how to see "; infallibility is not for men we trample on our God, for God is earth”;
“If God made order, order never made
Such nice distinctions in the preaching trade”. In A Defence, written later in the month, he reiterates his belief in reason as our only guide, ("Religion's but Opinion's bastard son ", and the man who thinks for himself “is to himself the minister of God”.), at the
time protests against his being taken for an atheist, (“I own a God, immortal, boundless, wise."), and claims tolerance for all creeds. In “Sunday—a fragment", and in a "Fragment”, dated October 28th. he becomes flippant if not coarse.
Half of this rebellious mood was second-hand, affected to ape Churchill, half was due to his hard fate and the sensitive nature that it threatened to crush.
He had a marvellous power of self-effacement, of assuming a rôle, and this, if developed, might have resulted in a great dramatic genius. As it was, it only fitted him to imitate the newest fashion amongst the revolutionists whom he most admired. In Resignation, another political satire in heroic verse, which he manufactured out of Kew Gardens, we think we hear the voice of Churchill as we read. Its seven or eight hundred lines are made up of the aptest imitations of his favourite sarcasms against Bute and scandals concerning the Princess of Wales, the Carlton Sybil, as he calls her. There are symptoms of a better ideal, an occasional picture of a scene in nature, an occasional piece of indignant eloquence; but it is, like his model, often mean and scurrilous in professing to be manly, and personal in attempting to be witty ; and some passages would seem coarse even to last century. In The Consuliad he goes back to Pope for his model. It is a mock-heroic description of a banquet in
which political supporters of the ministry come to blows. Yet even here we feel he is but echoing Churchill. That most of his satirical opinions and tone were taken from that poet is confirmed by a look at his prose letters, which, under the signature of Decimus, he contributed to the Middlesex Journal in the early part of 1770. They are bald imitations of Junius and yet much of their material is from his inspirer; for example, he addresses one to the Princess of Gotham, that is, the Princess of Wales, in allusion to Churchill's satire “Gotham”, and in it apostrophises Charles the First in terms that are taken straight from “ The Candidate ” and made into prose; to quote one sentence, “hadst thou died quietly and in peace, thou hadst died infamous”, echoes “ Hadst thou in peace and years resigned thy breath
-thy name -had been in pieces torn". And the purpose of the apostrophe is the same—to show the evil that a woman does in standing between a monarch and a people by her lies.
3. The only use of the didactic that he made in the heroic couplet was in a descriptive poem called Clifton, remarkable only as painting his native place, and as an elegant apostrophe to the memory of a tragedian called Powell, and in two most pathetic anticipations of his death, Sentiment, some seven lines written in 1769 in defence of suicide, and the farewell satiric address to the Bristolians who had given him small loans, included in his ironical will written on April 20th, 1770, two days before he left for London ; in this last there is some vigorous irony, and it breaks off with
“ Poor superstitious mortals ! wreak your hate
Upon my cold remains”; he had intended to commit suicide, but the document having been found by his master the attorney Lambert on his office desk, he was dissuaded ; and he postponed the act till August 24th in the same year. In the prose of this will he says “the most perfect masters of human nature in Bristol distinguish me by the title of the Mad Genius; therefore, if I do a mad action, it is conformable to every action of my life, which all savoured of insanity"; "I give and bequeath to
; Mr. Matthew Mease á mourning ring with this motto “ Alas