Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
Charles the First (from Gotham)
By Charles Churchill (1731–1764)
LIST’NING uxorious, whilst a woman’s prate
Modelled the church, and parcelled out the state:
Whilst, in the state not more than women read,
High-churchmen preached, and turned his pious head:
Tutored to see with ministerial eyes,        5
Forbid to hear a loyal nation’s cries:
Made to believe (what can’t a favourite do?)
He heard a nation, hearing one or two:
Taught by state-quacks himself secure to think,
And out of danger e’en on danger’s brink:        10
Whilst power was daily crumbling from his hand,
Whilst murmurs ran through an insulted land,
(As if to sanction tyrants Heav’n was bound!)
He proudly sought the ruin which he found.
*        *        *        *        *
Unhappy Stuart! (harshly though that name        15
Grates on my ear) I should have died with shame,
To see my king before his subjects stand,
And at their bar hold up his royal hand:
At their command to hear the monarch plead,
By their decrees to see that monarch bleed.        20
What though thy faults were many and were great?
What though they shook the basis of the state?
In royalty secure thy person stood,
And sacred was the fountain of thy blood.
Vile ministers, who dared abuse their trust,        25
Who dared seduce a King to be unjust,
Vengeance, with justice leagued, with power made strong,
Had nobly crushed: the King could do no wrong.
Yet grieve not, Charles; nor thy hard fortunes blame,
They took thy life, but they secured thy fame.        30
Had’st thou in peace and years resigned thy breath.
At nature’s call—had’st thou lain down in death
As in a sleep—thy name, by Justice borne
On the four winds, had been in pieces torn.
Pity, the virtue of a generous soul,        35
(Sometimes the vice) hath made thy memory whole
Misfortune gave what virtue could not give,
And bade the tyrant slain the martyr live.

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