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THE

ENGLISH POETS.

THE

POEMS OF CHARLES CHURCHILL.

THE

ROSCI A D.

R

OSCIUS deceas'd, each high afpiring play'r
Pufh'd all his int'reft for the vacant chair.
The bufkin'd heroes of the mimic stage
No longer whine in love, and rant in rage;
The monarch quits his throne, and condefcends
Humbly to court the favour of his friends :
For pity's fake tells undeferv'd mishaps,
And, their applause to gain, recounts his claps.
Thus the victorious chiefs of ancient Rome,
To win the mob, a fuppliant's form affume,
In pompous train fight o'er th' extinguish'd war,
And fhew where honour bled in ev'ry scar.

But though bare merit might in Rome appear
The strongest plea for favour 'tis not here;
We form our judgment in another way;
And they will beft fucceed, who beft can pay :
Thofe, who would gain the votes of British tribes,
Muft add to force of merit, force of bribes.

What can an actor give? in ev'ry age Cafh hath been rudely banish'd from the stage; Monarchs themselves, to grief of ev'ry play'r, Appear as often as their image there : They can't, like candidate for other feat, Pour feas of wine, and mountains raise of meat. Wine! they could bribe you with the world as foon, And of roast beef, they only know the tune : But what they have they give, could Clive do more, Though for each million he had brought home four? Shuter keeps open house at Southwark fair, And hopes the friends of humour will be there; In Smithfield, Yates prepares the rival treat For those who laughter love, inftead of meat; Foote, at Old House, for even Foote will be, In felf-conceit, an actor, bribes with tea; Which Wilkinfon at second-hand receives, And at the New, pours water on the leaves. VOL. VIII.

The town divided, each runs fev'ral ways,
As paffion, humour, int'reft, party fways.
Things of no moment, colour of the hair,
Shape of a leg, complexion brown or fair,
A dress well chofen, or a patch misplac'd,
Conciliate favour, or create distaste.

From galleries loud peals of laughter roll,
And thunder Shuter's praifes-he's fo droll.
Embox'd, the ladies must have fomething fmart,
Palmer! Oh! Palmer tops the janty part.
Seated in pit, the dwarf, with aching eyes,
Looks up, and vows that Barry's out of fize;
Whilft to fix feet the vig'rous ftripling grown,
Declares that Garrick is another Coan.

When place of judgment is by whim fupply'd,
And our opinions have their rife in pride;
When, in difcourfing on each mimic elf,
We praife and cenfure with an eye to felf;
All muft meet friends, and Ackman bids as fair
In fuch a court, as Garrick, for the chair.

At length agreed, all fquabbles to decide,
By fome one judge, the caufe was to be try'd ;
But this their fquabbles did afresh renew,
Who should be judge in such a trial: Who?

For Johnfon fome, but Johnfon, it was fear'd,
Would be too grave; and Sterne too gay appear'd:
Others for Francklin voted; but 'twas known,
He ficken'd at all triumphs but his own:
For Colman many, but the peevish tongue
Of prudent Age found out that he was young:
For Murphy fome pilf ring wits declar'd,
Whilft Folly clapp'd her hands, and Wisdom star'd.

To mischief train'd, e'en from his mother's womb, Grown old in fraud, tho' yet in manhood's bloom, Adopting arts, by which gay villains rife, And reach the heights which honest men defpife; Mute at the bar, and in the fenate loud, Dull 'mongst the dulleft, proudeft of the proud; A pert, prim, prater of the northern race, Guilt in his heart, and famine in his face,

B

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