"O bow, bow all at Fancy's throne, / Whose power could make so vile an elf / With patience bear that thing himself."

— Churchill, Charles (1731-1764)

Work Title
Place of Publication
Books I-II and III, 1762; Book IV, 1763
"O bow, bow all at Fancy's throne, / Whose power could make so vile an elf / With patience bear that thing himself."
Metaphor in Context
Whiffle (who knows not Whiffle's name,
By the impartial voice of Fame
Recorded first through all this land
In Vanity's illustrious band?)
Who, by all bounteous Nature meant
For offices of hardiment,
A modern Hercules at least
To rid the world of each wild beast,
Of each wild beast which came in view
Whether on four legs or on two,
Degenerate, delights to prove
His force on the parade of Love,
Disclaims the joys which camps afford,
And for the distaff quits the sword;
Who fond of women would appear
To public eye and public ear,
But, when in private, let's them know
How little they can trust to show;
Who sports a woman, as of course,
Just as a jockey shews a horse,
And then returns her to the stable,
Or, vainly plants her at his table,
Where he would rather Venus find,
(So pall'd, and so depraved his mind)
Than, by some great occasion led,
To seize, her panting in her bed,
Burning with more than mortal fires,
And melting in her own desires;
Who, ripe in years, is yet a child,
Through fashion, not through feeling, wild;
Whate'er in others, who proceed
As Sense and Nature have decreed,
From real passion flows, in him
Is mere effect of mode and whim;
Who laughs, a very common way,
Because he nothing has to say,
As your choice spirits oaths dispense
To fill up vacancies of sense;
Who having some small sense defies it,
Or, using, always misapplies it;
Who now and then brings something forth
Which seems indeed of sterling worth;
Something, by sudden start and fit,
Which at a distance looks like wit,
But, on examination near,
To his confusion will appear,
By truth's fair glass, to be at best
A threadbare jester's threadbare jest;
Who frisks and dances through the street,
Sings without voice, rides without seat,
Plays o'er his tricks, like Æsop's ass,
A gratis fool to all who pass;
Who riots, though he loves not waste,
Whores without lust, drinks without taste,
Acts without sense, talks without thought,
Does every thing but what he ought;
Who, led by forms, without the power
Of vice, is vicious; who one hour,
Proud without pride, the next will be
Humble without humility:
Whose vanity we all discern,
The spring on which his actions turn;
Whose aim in erring, is to err,
So that he may be singular,
And all his utmost wishes mean
Is, though he's laugh'd at, to be seen:
Such (for when Flattery's soothing strain
Had robb'd the Muse of her disdain,
And found a method to persuade
Her art to soften every shade,
Justice, enraged, the pencil snatch'd
From her degenerate hand, and scratch'd
Out every trace, then, quick as thought,
From life this striking likeness caught)
In mind, in manners, and in mien,
Such Whiffle came, and such was seen
In the world's eye; but (strange to tell!)
Misled by Fancy's magic spell,
Deceived, not dreaming of deceit,
Cheated, but happy in the cheat,
Was more than human in his own.
O bow, bow all at Fancy's throne,
Whose power could make so vile an elf
With patience bear that thing himself
Searching "fancy" and "throne" in HDIS (Poetry)
In four books, first published separately. 11 entries in ESTC (1762, 1763, 1765, 1766, 1769).

See Charles Churchill, The Ghost (London: Printed for the author, and sold by William Flexney, 1762). <Link to ESTC><Link to ECCO><Link to ECCO-TCP>

See also The Ghost. By C. Churchill. Book III. The second edition, with additions. (London: Printed for the author; and sold by W. Flexney, near Gray’s-Inn Gate, Holborn, 1763).<Link to ECCO-TCP>

And also The Ghost: Book IV. By C. Churchill. (London: Printed for J. Coote; W. Flexney; G. Kearsly; T. Henderson; J. Gardner; and J. Almon, 1763). <Link to ECCO-TCP>

Reading Charles Churchill: Selected Poetry, ed. Adam Rounce (Nottingham: Trent Editions, 2003).
Date of Entry
Date of Review

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.