Nicholas Amhurst Poems >>
Protestant Popery: Or, The Convocation - Canto IV

The Worldling Churchman, raging with Defeat,
Renews his Hate, and burns with double Heat.
Tho' foil'd in Synod, he laments the Day
That snatch'd his Pow'rs, his darling Pow'rs away;
Tho' spoil'd of all Authority Supreme,
He sees his Empire vanish like a Dream.
The free--born Tongue not Monarchs can restrain;
And still the Pulpit and the Press remain:
Still 'tis allow'd him in Scholastick Fight,
To plead his Ghostly Pow'rs and injur'd Right.

The Paper--War succeeds: From ev'ry Part
The scribbling Chiefs are clad in Terms of Art;
Each rising Sun renews the Pamphlet Fight;
(The lurking Jesuit gladd'ning at the Sight,)
His Warlike Pen the Bigot--Churchman draws,
And Hoadly combats in the Christian Cause;
Each saucy Priestling to the Battel flies,
And in the Sacred Lists with Bangor vies;
All, Sanguine, promise to themselves Success,
And Reams of Martial Learning crowd the Press.

Do thou, O Muse, the warring Priests rehearse,
And swell with Pamphlet--Combatants thy Verse:
Say what unnumber'd Champions of Renown,
Stewards of Peace, and Worthies of the Gown,
Alike both Brunswick and their Saviour hate;
Alike the Freedom of our Church and State:
And who, on either to compleat their Rage,
Attack the strongest Bulwark of the Age.
Let no Compassion on the Traytors fall,
Loose all thy Satire, and exhaust thy Gall.

First, stern Orbilius in the Lists appears,
Debauch'd in Faction from his Infant Years;
A graceless Miscreant, that long since o'ercame
The virtuous Glowings, and the Pangs of Shame:
God sent him forth in Wrath to curse the Earth;
His Principles more sordid than his Birth,
To wage eternal War with spotless Truth,
And sow Sedition in the tender Youth.

When Pedagogues in Controversy deal,
What Conflicts must an Adversary feel?
Pride and Ill--Nature seasons all his Stile,
Each Paragraph o'erflows with Pedant--Bile:
His ev'ry Period crabbed and severe,
Smells of the Birch and terrifies the Ear.

Touch'd by his Pen, Religion fades away,
And all Her lovely Oracles decay:
The Christian Truths with fainter Glory shine,
And dwindle into Priestcraft through each Line.
Sprung from the Anvil, and inur'd to Flame,
For Fervency the Champion he became:
Devotion, so he thinks, consists in Sweat,
In Agonies, in Calentures, and Heat.
Ignatius thus met Heav'n half way in Air,
Wrapp'd in a furious Hurricane of Pray'r.
The Worldly Church in his Affections Reigns,
As some Men court the Heiress for her Gains:
Charm'd he beholds her absolute Command,
And wrests the Scepter from his Saviour's Hand.

In sacred Chivalry no bolder Knight
Thro' Albion's Isle provokes the Pamphlet--Fight;
With dauntless Prowess he attacks the Foe;
His throbbing Veins with martial Ardors glow.
Like the fam'd Swiss he thrives in Venal Fray,
And takes the Lists for Convocation--Pay:
With labour'd Frauds he stuffs his shining Page,
And prostitutes his Conscience to his Rage:
His Malice to no Parties is confin'd,
But hates alike all Protestant Mankind.

No more, ye Sages most profoundly wise,
That live beneath the European Skies,
In search of Antichrist disturb our Peace;
Your grave Disputes, and your Enquiries cease:
In vain the sever'd World you traverse o'er,
Behold the Monster on the British Shore.

Next, Proteus, churlish shuffling Dean, appears,
And shows to publick View his Phrygian Ears:
Hamper'd by Sykes, confounded and perplext,
Ten Thousand Ways he racks the stubborn Text;
The stubborn Text elastic Force retains,
And by its self alone its self explains:
A Wight so inconsistent in each Deed,
As Contradiction were his darling Creed.
Prompt to unsheath, despis'd by righteous Men,
His self--vexatious, self--condemning--Pen:
Skill'd to extract a Meaning; and refine
On plainest Words, a Gentleman--Divine.
With Coxcombs most his flashy Parts excel,
He reasons poorly--but he rallies well.
Reveal'd alone to the uncommon wise,
His Argument retires in dark Disguise,
With luscious Ornaments of Wit laid thick,
Hard--labour'd Flights, and Strains of Rhetorick:
Thro' endless, puzzling Mazes led around,
The Reader thinks himself on Fairy Ground;
No faithful Clue directs his wand'ring Feet,
While to the View unnumber'd Windings meet:
With painful Steps from Path to Path he strays,
And wanders on, bewilder'd in the Maze.

But see! a Sermonizing Bard steps forth,
And vents his Rancour on distinguish'd Worth;
His gloomy Aspect writhen with Grimace,
And not a Beam of Sunshine gilds his Face:
Each Feature speaks him ravish'd from the Plow,
And torpid Dulness slumbers o'er his Brow:
In whom Two Faculties united shine,
A Motley--Piece, half Poet, half Divine.
Here in soft Accents whining Abra plains;
Here modern Peace--Wrights swell his fustian Strains:
If in the Pulpit he the Preacher ape,
The list'ning Vulgar for Sedition gape.
How oft, O Oxford, have thy Pupil--Throng
Catch'd the dry Precept strugling from his Tongue?
In vain, the Muse disdains Mechanic Rules,
And shuns the Commerce of Pedantick Schools.

But say, vain Wretch, what Madness thee excites,
Thee to correct what Hoadly better writes?
Say, after Dryden, how durst thou translate?
And fear'st thou not, presumptuous, Milbourn's Fate?
By what blind Folly led, durst thou oppose,
Thy Pygmy Sense against such matchless Foes;
Thy Verse so languid, and so dull thy Prose?
Better for thee, egregious Pulpiteer,
To preach Damnation to the startled Ear:
Better for thee, amidst thy fav'rite Crowd,
To belch the Dangers of the Church aloud;
Than to the Press commit thy hasty Zeal,
And to the Layman's common Sense appeal:
Better, than thus awake Fanatick Rage,
And tempt the Fury of a Whiggish Age.

Nonjuring Magus next the War sustains,
And Sermon and Preservative arraigns:
Than him none better pleads in Paper--Fight
The Priest's Successive Apostolic Right:
None cramps the Conscience more in penal Ties,
Nor Protestant Sincerity decries;
Than Magus none in stronger Terms confess'd,
Asserts a blind Submission to the Priest:
But most he labours to th'indocile Brain,
A regular Succession to explain;
Profoundly skill'd in Heraldry Divine,
He searches their Hereditary Line:
Uninterrupted thro' a Chain of Years,
Their Sacerdotal Pedigree appears.
Not more exactly down from Noah's Flood,
The Welshman traces his descending Blood;
With Scorn our upstart, English Race disdains,
And boasts the antient Patriarch in his Veins.

Majestick Mammon now maintains the Cause,
And for the Church his pointless Weapon draws;
For Mother Church full zealously he groans,
And from the Press pours forth Religious Moans;
His mournful Pages swell with bursting Sighs,
And Tears suborn'd gush from his streaming Eyes:
A worthless Wretch, so far beneath our Lays,
That ev'n to mention is almost to praise;
His Forehead unsusceptible of Shame,
He borrows from his Infamy his Fame;
Secure he laughs at the Satyrick Muse,
And still unhurt his wonted Arts persues.
In vain we lavish all our boasted Art,
Nor will our keenest Arrows touch his Heart.

To form a Venus once, as Authors tell,
The Painter summon'd many a shining Belle,
Scarce all th'assembled Toasts of ancient Greece,
In all their Charms could furnish out the faultless Piece:
And such Deformities in Mammon meet,
To make the Monster and the Fiend compleat;
That to describe him in these impious Times,
The puzzled Bard must club a Nation's Crimes:
The empty Minion of a restless Crowd,
Rich, haughty, lazy, ignorant, and proud;
A bold Asserter of the Priestly Reign,
As Lewis and S---l, impudent and vain.

Archdeacon Momus with dead--doing Hands
Condemns by Wholesale, and with Censure brands:
Against each Sentence he exerts his Rage,
And all Hell breathes thro' his licentious Page:
A Grave and Theological Buffoon,
He feasts his Reader with divine Lampoon;
And strongly touch'd with the Religious Spleen,
Outvies the Pedant--Doctor, and the Dean.
Nor Hoadly feels alone of earthly Men,
The keen, Iambick Rancour of his Pen:
He calls the wisest King the worst of Fools,
As ignorant of Laws, by which he rules.
Ev'n the World's Saviour, undisguis'd of Heart,
Is charg'd with vile prevaricating Art:
And rather than his wicked Claims deny,
The spotless Jesus must return a Lye.
The Liege--Man with the Christian well agrees,
Against both human and divine Decrees.

The Prolocutor now his Strength essays,
And stalks sublime in Magisterial Phrase:
Dislodg'd from Pow'r, the Patriarch boils with Rage,
And breaths Authority in ev'ry Page.
While cloudy C---n wraps his Thoughts in Night,
And throws a Veil before the Readers Sight.

When now in dread Array a bloody Train
From Grubstreet rush, and crowd the peopled Plain:
Unnumber'd Libels from the Press are sped,
To satiate Malice, and for daily Bread;
S---th, L---w---s, H---ly, J---n---s, C---b---n write,
And H---ll---d bursts his Gall to wreak his Spite:
Two martial Bards advance, with Thirst of Praise,
And fight the Church's Cause in Dogrel Lays;
Pulpit and Press fictitious Ills engage,
And combat Windmills with Quixotic Rage:
Tumultuous Din and Clangor shakes the Sky,
And each vile Scribbler waves his Banners high.

In vain ye labour, O ye Sons of Rome,
In vain of Protestants conspire the Doom;
The watchful Hoadly, with unsleeping Eyes,
Guards from rapacious Hands the golden Prize:
While Whitby, strong as an Apostle writes,
And Burnet in the gen'rous Work unites,
Burnet, whose Deeds to early Fame aspire,
Who treads the Footsteps of his Learned Sire:
While Tenison, by virtuous Motives sway'd,
Protests against you, nor vouchsafes his Aid:
While Sykes, immortal Sykes, and Pillonniere,
And Kennet, Hughes, and Prat, and Pyle adhere:
Your subtlest Labours and Designs shall fail,
Nor all the Cunning of the Schools prevail:
Sooner shall gross Absurdities agree,
And Lawyers and the Leech refuse their Fee:
Sooner Old Age shall be restor'd to Youth,
And Contradictions soften into Truth:
The clust'ring Vine shall thrive on barren Ground,
And Oxford with staunch Loyalists abound:
Sooner shall Traytors mourn expiring Laws,
Ambitious Synods plead Religion's Cause:
Earth's Rebel Sons once more shall Heav'n defy,
And Stuart's Bastard Race with Brunswick vye.