"The stars, who, by I know not what strange right, / Preside o'er mortals in their own despite, / Who, without reason, govern those who most / (How truly, judge from thence!) of reason boast, / And, by some mighty magic yet unknown, / Our actions guide, yet cannot guide their own."
— Churchill, Charles (1731-1764)
Bound and rebound; the old hills, like old rams,
Unwieldy, jump for joy; the streams, which glide,
Whilst Plenty marches smiling by their side,
And from their bosom rising Commerce springs;
The winds, which rise with healing on their wings,
Before whose cleansing breath Contagion flies;
The sun, who, travelling in eastern skies,
Fresh, full of strength, just risen from his bed,
Though in Jove's pastures they were born and bred,
With voice and whip can scarce make his steeds stir,
Step by step, up the perpendicular;
Who, at the hour of eve, panting for rest,
Rolls on amain, and gallops down the west
As fast as Jehu, oil'd for Ahab's sin,
Drove for a crown, or postboys for an inn;
The moon, who holds o'er night her silver reign,
Regent of tides, and mistress of the brain;
Who to her sons, those sons who own her power
And do her homage at the midnight hour,
Gives madness as a blessing, but dispenses
Wisdom to fools, and damns them with their senses;
The stars, who, by I know not what strange right,
Preside o'er mortals in their own despite,
Who, without reason, govern those who most
(How truly, judge from thence!) of reason boast,
And, by some mighty magic yet unknown,
Our actions guide, yet cannot guide their own;
All, one and all, shall in this chorus join,
And, dumb to others' praise, be loud in mine.
Issued in 3 "Books" in 1764, each with a separate half-title; collected in Churchill's Poems (1765).
Text from Poems of Charles Churchill, ed. James Laver. 2 vols. (London: The King's Printers, 1933).