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Alexander Pope, The Complete Poetical Works of Alexander Pope [1903]

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Alexander Pope, The Complete Poetical Works of Alexander Pope. Cambridge Edition, ed. Henry W. Boynton (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1903). http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2278

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About this Title:

This collection includes Pope’s poems, translations of Ovid and Homer, An Essay on Criticism, The Rape of the Lock, An Essay on Man, and his Moral Essays.

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The text is in the public domain.

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This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [i]
The Cambridge Edition of the Poets
edited by BLISS PERRY
POPE
by HENRY W. BOYNTON
Edition: current; Page: [ii]

EDITOR’S NOTE

An attempt has been here made for the first time to include all of Pope’s poetical work within the limits of a single volume; and to print the poems in an approximately chronological order. It has been often difficult, and sometimes impossible, to determine the exact date of a given poem; and the known order of composition has been modified so far as to permit a method of grouping the shorter poems which has been followed in other volumes of his series. Only the twelve books of the Odyssey which were Pope’s own work are here included, and all of the notes to Homer are omitted. Most of Pope’s own notes to the poems have been retained, except in the case of certain notes on The Dunciad, which are so voluminous or so trivial as to find no proper place within the necessary limits of this edition.

The allusions to Pope’s contemporaries are so numerous, particularly in the Satires, the Moral Essays, and The Dunciad, that it has seemed advisable to rid the main body of notes of such names as are of especial importance, or are frequently mentioned. The Glossary of Names will, it is hoped, prove useful in obviating the necessity of cross-reference.

The text is the result of collation, but is based upon that of the standard Croker-Elwin-Courthope edition. As to the details of capitalization and abbreviation, a uniform though necessarily somewhat arbitrary usage has been adopted. The study of facsimiles has shown that the poet himself employed capitals quite without method. They are here used only in cases of personification or of especially important substantives. As a result of his religious preservation of the decasyllabic form of pentameter, Pope employed marks of abbreviation so profusely as often to produce a page distressing to the modern eye, and not really helpful to the modern ear. Many editors have therefore abandoned these marks altogether; in this edition they have been retained wherever they did not appear likely to prove a stumbling-block to the present generation.

The usual indexes have been furnished, and a brief bibliographical note, which, while it does not pretend to exhaustiveness, may be of aid to the general reader.

H. W. B.
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A Pope.

Edition: current; Page: [iv]
THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS OF ALEXANDER POPE Cambridge Edition
BOSTON AND NEW YORK
HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY The Riverside Press, Cambridge
Edition: current; Page: [v]

copyright, 1903, by houghton, mifflin and co.

all rights reserved

Edition: current; Page: [vi]

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . . xi
  • EARLY POEMS.
    • Ode on Solitude . . . . 1
    • A Paraphrase (On Thomas à Kempis. l. iii. c. 2) . . . . . . 1
    • To the Author of a Poem entitled Successio . . . . 2
    • The First Book of Statius’s Thebais . . . . . . 2
    • Imitations of English Poets.
      • Chaucer . . . . . 15
      • Spenser: The Alley . . 15
      • Waller: On a Lady singing to Her Lute . . . . 16
      • On a Fan of the Author’s Design . . . . . 16
      • Cowley: The Garden . . 16
      • Weeping . . . . . 17
      • Earl of Rochester: On Silence 17
      • Earl of Dorset: Artemisia . 18
      • Phryne . . . . 18
      • Dr. Swift: The Happy Life of a Country Parson . . 18
  • PASTORALS.
    • Discourse on Pastoral Poetry . 19
    • I. Spring; or, Damon . . . 21
    • II. Summer; or, Alexis . . 23
    • III. Autumn; or, Hylas and Ægon . . . . . . 24
    • IV. Winter; or, Daphne . . 26
  • WINDSOR FOREST . . . . 28
  • PARAPHRASES FROM CHAUCER.
    • January and May; or, The Merchant’s Tale . . . . . 35
    • The Wife of Bath . . . 46
    • The Temple of Fame . . . 52
  • TRANSLATIONS FROM OVID.
    • Sappho to Phaon . . . . 60
    • The Fable of Dryope . . . 63
    • Vertumnus and Pomona . . 65
  • AN ESSAY ON CRITICISM.
    • Part I. . . . . . . . 67
    • Part II. . . . . . . 70
    • Part III. . . . . . . 74
  • POEMS WRITTEN BETWEEN 1708 AND 1712.
    • Ode for Music on St. Cecilia’s Day . . . . . . . 78
    • Argus . . . . . . . 79
    • The Balance of Europe . . 79
    • The Translator . . . . 80
    • On Mrs. Tofts, a Famous Opera-Singer . . . . . . 80
    • Epistle to Miss Blount, with the Works of Voiture . . . 80
    • The Dying Christian to His Soul . . . . . . 81
    • Epistle to Mr. Jervas . . . 82
    • Impromptu to Lady Winchilsea 83
    • Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady . . . . 83
    • Messiah . . . . . . 84
  • THE RAPE OF THE LOCK.
    • Canto I. . . . . . . 89
    • Canto II. . . . . . 90
    • Canto III. . . . . . . 92
    • Canto IV. . . . . . 95
    • Canto V. . . . . . . 97
  • POEMS WRITTEN BETWEEN 1713 AND 1717.
    • Prologue to Mr. Addison’s Cato 100
    • Epilogue to Mr. Rowe’s Jane Shore . . . . . . 100
    • To a Lady, with the Temple of Fame . . . . . . 101
    • Upon the Duke of Marlborough’s House at Woodstock . . . 101
    • Lines to Lord Bathurst . . 102
    • Macer . . . . . . . 102
    • Epistle to Mrs. Teresa Blount 102
    • Lines occasioned by Some Verses of His Grace the Duke of Buckingham . . . . . . 103
    • A Farewell to London . . 103
    • Imitation of Martial . . . 104
    • Imitation of Tibullus . . . 104
    • The Basset-Table . . . . 104
    • Epigrams on the Toasts of the Kit-Cat Club . . . . 106
    • The Challenge . . . . . 106
    • The Looking-Glass . . . 107
    • Prologue designed for Mr. D’Urfey’s Last Play . . . . 107
    • Prologue to the Three Hours after Marriage . . . . 108
    • Prayer of Brutus . . . . 108
    • To Lady Mary Wortley Montagu . . . . . . 109
    • Extemporaneous Lines: On a Portrait of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, painted by Kneller . 109
  • ELOISA TO ABELARD . . . 110 Edition: current; Page: [viii]
  • POEMS WRITTEN BETWEEN 1718 AND 1727 . . . . . . . 115
    • An Inscription upon a Punch-Bowl . . . . . . 115
    • Epistle to James Cragg, Esq. . 115
    • A Dialogue . . . . . 115
    • Verses to Mr. C. . . . . 116
    • To Mr. Gay . . . . . 116
    • On Drawings of the Statues of Apollo, Venus, and Hercules . 116
    • Epistle to Robert, Earl of Oxford and Mortimer . . . 116
    • Two Choruses to the Tragedy of Brutus.
      • Chorus of Athenians . . 117
      • Chorus of Youths and Virgins . . . . . . 117
    • To Mrs. M. B. on Her Birthday . 118
    • Answer to the Following Question of Mrs. Howe . . . 118
    • On a Certain Lady at Court . 118
    • To Mr. John Moore . . . 119
    • The Curll Miscellanies.
      • Umbra . . . . . . 119
      • Bishop Hough . . . . 119
      • Sandys’ Ghost . . . . 120
      • Epitaph . . . . . 121
      • The Three Gentle Shepherds 121
      • On the Countess of Burlington cutting Paper . . 121
      • Epigram: An Empty House . 121
    • Poems suggested by Gulliver.
      • Ode to Quinbus Flestrin . 121
      • The Lamentation of Glumdalclitch for the Loss of Grildrig . . . . . . 122
      • To Mr. Lemuel Gulliver . 123
      • Mary Gulliver to Capt. Lemuel Gulliver . . . 123
  • LATER POEMS.
    • On Certain Ladies . . . . 125
    • Celia . . . . . . . 125
    • Prologue (To a Play for Mr. Dennis’s Benefit) . . . . . 125
    • Song, by a Person of Quality . 126
    • Verses left by Mr. Pope . . 126
    • On His Grotto at Twickenham . 127
    • On receiving from the Right Hon. the Lady Frances Shirley a Standish and Two Pens . . 127
    • On Beaufort House Gate at Chiswick . . . . . . 127
    • To Mr. Thomas Southern . . 128
    • Epigrams . . . . . . 128
    • 1740: a Poem . . . . . 128
  • POEMS OF UNCERTAIN DATE.
    • To Erinna . . . . . 130
    • Lines written in Windsor Forest 130
    • Verbatim from Boileau . . 130
    • Lines on Swift’s Ancestors . . 130
    • On seeing the Ladies at Crux Easton walk in the Woods by the Grotto . . . . . 131
    • Inscription on a Grotto, the Work of Nine Ladies . . . 131
    • To the Right Hon. the Earl of Oxford . . . . . . 131
  • EPIGRAMS AND EPITAPHS.
    • On a Picture of Queen Caroline 131
    • Epigram engraved on the Collar of a Dog which I gave to His Royal Highness . . . . 131
    • Lines written in Evelyn’s Book on Coins . . . . . . 131
    • From the Grub-Street Journal.
      • I. Epigram . . . . 132
      • II. Epigram . . . . . 132
      • III. Mr. J. M. S[myth]e . . 132
      • IV. Epigram . . . . 132
      • V. Epigram . . . . 132
      • VI. Epitaph . . . . . 132
      • VII. A Question by Anonymous . . . . . 132
      • VIII. Epigram . . . . . 133
      • IX. Epigram . . . . 133
    • Epitaphs.
      • On Charles, Earl of Dorset . 133
      • On Sir William Trumbull . 133
      • On the Hon. Simon Harcourt 133
      • On James Craggs, Esq. . . 134
      • On Mr. Rowe . . . . 134
      • On Mrs. Corbet . . . 134
      • On the Monument of the Hon. R. Digby and of His Sister Mary . . . . . . 134
      • On Sir Godfrey Kneller . 134
      • On General Withers . . 135
      • On Mr. Elijah Fenton . . 135
      • On Mr. Gay . . . . . 135
      • Intended for Sir Isaac Newton . . . . . . 135
      • On Dr. Francis Atterbury . 135
      • On Edmund, Duke of Buckingham . . . . . . 136
      • For One who would not be buried in Westminster Abbey . . . . . . 136
      • Another on the Same . . 136
      • On Two Lovers struck Dead by Lightning . . . . 136
      • Epitaph . . . . . 136
  • AN ESSAY ON MAN.
    • The Design . . . . . . 137
    • Epistle I., Of the Nature and State of Man with Respect to the Universe . . . . 137
    • Epistle II. Of the Nature and State of Man with Respect to Himself as an Individual . . 141
    • Epistle III. Of the Nature and State of Man with Respect to Society . . . . . . 145
    • Epistle IV. Of the Nature and State of Man with Respect to Happiness . . . . . 150
  • MORAL ESSAYS.
    • Advertisement . . . . 156
    • Epistle I. Of the Knowledge and Characters of Men . . . 157 Edition: current; Page: [ix]
    • Epistle II. Of the Characters of Women . . . . . . 161
    • Epistle III. Of the Use of Riches 165
    • Epistle IV. Of the Use of Riches . . . . . . 170
    • Epistle V. To Mr. Addison, occasioned by His Dialogue on Medals . . . . . . 173
    • Universal Prayer . . . 175
  • SATIRES.
    • Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot . . 176
    • Satires, Epistles, and Odes of Horace imitated
      • The First Satire of the Second Book of Horace . . 182
      • The Second Satire of the Second Book of Horace . 184
      • The First Epistle of the First Book of Horace . . . 187
      • The Sixth Epistle of the First Book of Horace . . . 189
      • The First Epistle of the Second Book of Horace . . 191
      • The Second Epistle of the Second Book of Horace . 197
      • Satires of Dr. John Donne, Dean of St. Paul’s, versified . . . . . . 202
      • Epilogue to the Satires . . 208
      • The Sixth Satire of the Second Book of Horace . . 214
      • The Seventh Epistle of the First Book of Horace . . 216
      • The First Ode of the Fourth Book of Horace . . . 217
      • The Ninth Ode of the Fourth Book of Horace . . . 217
  • THE DUNCIAD.
    • Martinus Scriblerus of the Poem . . . . . . 218
    • Preface . . . . . . 220
    • A Letter to the Publisher . 221
    • Advertisement to the First Edition . . . . . . . 224
    • Advertisement to the First Edition of the Fourth Book . 224
    • Advertisement to the Complete Edition of 1743 . . . . 225
    • Book I. . . . . . . 225
    • Book II. . . . . . . 230
    • Book III. . . . . . . 236
    • Book IV. . . . . . . 242
  • TRANSLATIONS FROM HOMER.
    • The Iliad
      • Pope’s Preface . . . 251
      • Book I. . . . . . . 261
      • Book II. . . . . . 272
      • Book III. . . . . . 286
      • Book IV. . . . . . 295
      • Book V. . . . . . 306
      • Book VI. . . . . . 322
      • Book VII. . . . . . 332
      • Book VIII. . . . . 341
      • Book IX. . . . . . 352
      • Book X. . . . . . 364
      • Book XI. . . . . . 373
      • Book XII. . . . . . 388
      • Book XIII. . . . . . 396
      • Book XIV. . . . . 411
      • Book XV. . . . . . 420
      • Book XVI. . . . . 433
      • Book XVII. . . . . . 448
      • Book XVIII. . . . . 461
      • Book XIX. . . . . . 471
      • Book XX. . . . . . 477
      • Book XXI. . . . . . 486
      • Book XXII. . . . . 496
      • Book XXIII. . . . . 505
      • Book XXIV. . . . . 520
      • Pope’s Concluding Note . . 534
    • The Odyssey.
      • Book III. . . . . . 535
      • Book V. . . . . . 544
      • Book VII. . . . . . 553
      • Book IX. . . . . . 559
      • Book X. . . . . . 568
      • Book XIII. . . . . . 578
      • Book XIV. . . . . 585
      • Book XV. . . . . . 594
      • Book XVII. . . . . 602
      • Book XXI. . . . . . 612
      • Book XXII. . . . . 618
      • Book XXIV. . . . . 626
    • Postscript by Pope . . . 635
  • APPENDIX.
    • Glossary . . . . . . 643
    • Notes and Illustrations . . 647
    • Bibliographical Note . . . 666
  • INDEX OF FIRST LINES . . . 667
  • INDEX OF TITLES . . . . 670

Note. The photogravure frontispiece is from a portrait painted by Richardson at Twickenham, where the artist, at Pope’s request, was painting a portrait of his mother. Mr. James T. Fields bought the picture at the sale of the Marquess of Hastings’s gallery, and it is now in the possession of Mrs. Fields, by whose courtesy it is reproduced.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Alexander Pope was born in London, May 21, 1688. We cannot be sure of anything better than respectability in his ancestry, though late in life he himself claimed kinship with the Earls of Downe. His paternal grandfather is supposed to have been a clergyman of the Church of England. His mother, Edith Turner, came of a family of small gentry and landowners in Yorkshire. Alexander Pope, senior, was a successful linen merchant in London; so successful that he found it possible to retire early from business, and to buy a small estate at Binfield, on the edge of Windsor forest. To this estate, in Pope’s twelfth year, the family removed from Kensington, and here they lived for sixteen years. In 1716 they removed to Chiswick, where a year later the father died. Soon afterwards Pope, then a man of note, leased the estate at Twickenham, on which he was to live till his death, in 1744.

The circumstances of Pope’s early life were in many ways peculiar. One of the main reasons for the choice of Binfield was that a number of Roman Catholic families lived in that neighborhood. They formed a little set sufficiently agreeable for social purposes, though not offering much intellectual stimulus to such a mind as Pope’s very early showed itself to be. But if to be a Roman Catholic in England then meant to move in a narrow social circle, it carried with it also more serious limitations. It debarred from public school and university; so that beyond the inferior instruction afforded by the small Catholic schools which he attended till his twelfth year, Pope had no formal education. Two or three facts recorded of this school experience are worthy of mention: that he was taught the rudiments of Latin and Greek together, according to the Jesuit method; that he left one school in consequence of a flogging which he had earned by satirizing the head master; and that at about the age of ten he built a tragedy on the basis of Ogilvy’s translation of Homer. At twelve he had at least learned the rudiments of Greek, and could read Latin fluently, if not correctly. So far as his failings in scholarship are concerned, Pope’s lack of formal education has probably been made too much of. He had no bent for accurate scholarship, nor was breadth and accuracy of scholarship an accomplishment of that age. Addison, whose literary career was preceded by a long period of university residence, knew very little of Greek literature, and had a by no means wide acquaintance with the literature of Rome. Yet scholarship in those days meant classical learning.

Pope might no doubt have profited by the discipline of a regular academic career. He needed, as Mr. Courthope says, ‘training in thought rather than in taste, which he had by nature.’ But such a mind as his is not likely to submit itself readily to rigid processes of thought. It is impossible not to see, at least, that the boy Pope knew how to read, if not how to study; and that what Latin and Greek he read was approached as literature,—a method more common then than now, it is probable. ‘When I had done with my priests,’ he wrote to Spence, ‘I took to reading by myself, for which I had a very great eagerness and enthusiasm, especially for poetry; and in a very few years I had dipped into a great number of English, French, Italian, Latin, and Greek poets. This I did without any design but that of pleasing myself, and got the language by hunting Edition: current; Page: [xii] after the stories in the several authors I read: rather than read the books to get the language.’ Virgil and Statius were his favorite Latin poets at this time, as is attested not only by the Pastorals and the early translations of the Thebais, but by the innumerable reminiscences, or ‘imitations,’ as Pope called them, which may be traced in his later work. In the meantime, as a more important result of his having to rely so much upon his own resources, his creative power was beginning to manifest itself with singular maturity. At twelve he wrote couplets which were long afterwards inserted without change in the Essay on Criticism, and even in The Dunciad. The Pastorals, composed at sixteen, though conventional in conception and not seldom mechanical in execution, contain passages in the poet’s ripest manner. With the Essay on Criticism, published five years later, Pope reached his full power. Such development as is to be found in his later work is the result of an increase in mental breadth and satirical force. His style was already formed.

Whatever may have been the importance, for good and ill, of Pope’s early method of education, a far more potent factor in determining the conduct of his life and the nature of his work lay in his bodily limitations. The tradition that in his childhood he was physically normal is made dubious by the reported fact that his father was also small and crooked, though organically sound. At all events, the Pope whom the world knew was anything but normal,—stunted to dwarfishness, thin to emaciation, crooked and feeble, so that he had to wear stays and padding, and all his life subject to severe bodily pain. Pope’s relations with other men were seriously affected by this condition. Masculine society in eighteenth-century England had little place for weaklings. The late hours and heavy drinking of London were as little possible for the delicate constitution of Pope as the hard riding and heavy drinking of the country gentlemen with whom he was thrown at Binfield. In a letter from Binfield in 1710 Pope writes: ‘I assure you I am looked upon in the neighborhood for a very sober and well-disposed person, no great hunter, indeed, but a great esteemer of the noble sport, and only unhappy in my want of constitution for that and drinking.’ It is a misconception of Pope’s character to suppose him lacking in a natural robustness of temper to which only his physical limitations denied outlet. Before reaching manhood he had been given more than one rude lesson in discretion. At one time over-confinement to his books had so much reduced his vitality as to convince him that he had not long to live. A fortunate chance put his case into the hands of a famous London physician, who prescribed a strict diet, little study, and much horseback riding. Pope followed the advice, recovered, and thereafter, for the most part, took excellent care of himself; it was the price which he had to pay for living. One unfortunate result was that he was thrown back upon the companionship of women, always petted, always deferred to, always nursed. Such conditions naturally developed the acid cleverness, the nervous brilliancy of the poet Pope; and it is matter of great wonder that from such conditions anything stronger should survive; that there is, when all is said, so much virility and restraint in the best of his work.

The Pastorals, Pope’s first considerable poetical achievement, were according to the poet written in 1704, at the age of sixteen. They were, like all modern pastorals, conventional; but they contain some genuine poetry, and are wonderful exercises in versification. Their diction is often artificial to the point of absurdity, but now and then possesses a stately grace, as in the famous lines:—

  • ‘Where’er you walk, cool gales shall fan the glade;
  • Trees, where you sit, shall crowd into a shade,
  • Where’er you tread, the blushing flowers shall rise,
  • And all things flourish where you turn your eyes’
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Pope had probably been encouraged to write the Pastorals by Sir William Trumbull, to whom the first of them is inscribed. Trumbull was a man of Oxford training, who after a distinguished diplomatic career had come to end his life upon his estate near Binfield, and who had been drawn to the deformed boy by the discovery of their common taste for the classics. For some time before the publication of the Pastorals the manuscript was being circulated privately among such men of established literary reputation as Garth, Walsh, Congreve, and Wycherley, and such patrons of letters as George Granville, Halifax, and Somers. To Walsh in particular Pope afterward expressed his obligation. ‘He used to encourage me much,’ we read in a letter to Spence, written long after, ‘and used to tell me there was one way left of excelling: for though we had several great poets, we never had any one great poet that was correct; and he desired me to make that my study and aim.’ The dictum has become famous, but though Walsh probably meant, by ‘correctness,’ justice of taste as well as measured accuracy of poetic style, his over-praise of the Pastorals leads us to think that form was the main thing in his mind. If Pope’s statement of the date at which the Pastorals were written is reliable, however (and we must keep in mind from the outset the fact that, as Mr. Courthope says, Pope in mature life ‘systematically antedated his compositions in order to obtain credit for precocity’), he did not become acquainted with Walsh until some time after they were written. The critic’s advice, therefore, amounted simply to an encouragement in pursuing the method which Pope had already adopted: in employing a more rigid metrical scheme than any previous poet, even Sandys or Dryden, had attempted. The bookseller Jacob Tonson was shown the manuscript, and offered to publish it; and in 1709 it appeared in Tonson’s Sixth Miscellany.

Through Walsh Pope became acquainted with Wycherley, who introduced the young poet to literary society in London; that is, to the society of the London coffee-houses. The character of the older resorts had already begun to change. Even Will’s had ceased to be the purely literary club of Dryden’s day. It was natural that the age of Anne, in which increasing public honors were paid to literary men, should have been also an age in which literary men took an increasing interest in politics. At about the time when Pope first came up to London, Whig and Tory were beginning to edge away from each other; and though Will’s for a time remained a sort of neutral ground, the old hearty interchange of thought and companionship was no longer possible. Part-political, part-literary clubs, like the Kitcat, the October Club, and the Scriblerus Club, sapped the strength of the older and freer institution; and its doom was sealed when in 1712 Addison established at Button’s a resort for literary Whigs.

During his first years of London experience, Pope probably knew Richard Steele more intimately than any one else. They had met at Will’s, and through Steele Pope had been presented to Addison, and had later become a frequenter of Button’s. It was Steele who urged Pope to write the Ode on St. Cecilia’s Day, who got his Messiah published in The Spectator and printed various short papers of his in The Guardian. Another Whig friend was Jervas the painter, a pupil of Kneller, but an artist of no very considerable achievement. The poet at one time had some lessons in painting from him, and always held him in esteem. So far Pope allowed himself to associate with the Whigs; but he had no intention of taking rank as a Whig partisan. If he wrote prose for Whig journals, it was in honor of the Tory government that the conclusion was added to Windsor Forest in 1713. To Swift’s admiration for this poem, Pope owed the beginning of his life-long friendship with the Dean; but it was a friendship which committed him no more to Toryism than Addison’s had to Whiggery. ‘As old Dryden said before me,’ he wrote in 1713, ‘it is not Edition: current; Page: [xiv] the violent I desire to please; and in very truth, I believe they will all find me, at long run, a mere Papist.’ One amusing fact about Pope’s early experience at Button’s is that he is known to have commended the verses of Addison’s satellites, Budgell and Tickell and Philips, whom later he was to attack so bitterly. The first cause of offence was not long in coming; and an offence sown in the mind of Pope was certain to grow very fast and to live very long. The story of Pope’s falling out with Addison and his friends is the story of the first of a long series of personal enmities which embittered Pope’s life, and, it is too clear, impoverished his work.

The Pastorals were published by Tonson at the end of a volume which opened with some exercises in the same kind of verse by Ambrose Philips. Pope was disposed to commend the work of Philips, even going so far as to say that ‘there were no better eclogues in the language.’ His ardor was somewhat cooled when The Spectator, in a paper which was unmistakably Addison’s, printed an extended comparison of his work and Philips’s, considerably to the advantage of the latter; and was converted into a cold rage by the fact that presently the position taken by The Spectator was expanded in five papers in The Guardian. The subtlety and ingenuity of Pope’s method of retort was an interesting indication of the disingenuousness which became a settled quality of his prose writing. Whatever his poetry may not have been, it was certainly downright; but his method of getting it before the public, of annotating it, and of reinforcing its thought, was habitually circuitous and not seldom dishonest. Pope promptly wrote a sixth paper to The Guardian, ostensibly keeping to Tickell’s argument, but really speaking in irony from beginning to end, picking out the weakest points in Philips’s style and matter, and damning them by fulsome praise. Steele, it is said, was so far deceived as to print the paper in good faith. Pope’s revenge among the wits was complete; but he never forgot a score by paying it. In the Satires and The Dunciad, poor namby-pamby Philips comes up again and again for a punishment to which, in recompense, he now owes his fame.

Pope’s attitude toward Addison is a more serious matter to the critic. Up to the year 1714 Pope, whatever irritation he may have felt toward Addison, had chosen to ‘take it out of’ the followers of the great man rather than out of the great man himself. The insertion of the Tory passage in Windsor Forest might have been taken as a direct challenge to the Whig champion, whose famous celebration of the Whig victory at Blenheim had been so popular. That his relations with Addison were not affected by it is shown by his supplying a prologue for Cato, which was produced within a month of the publication of Windsor Forest. Cato itself was to supply the real bone of contention. It was attacked by the veteran critic John Dennis, against whose strictures Pope undertook to take up the cudgels, in an anonymous Narrative of Dr. Robert Norris on the Frenzy of J. D. It is uncertain whether Addison suspected that Pope was its author, and that his championship was inspired by the desire for personal revenge for Dennis’s treatment of the Essay on Criticism; but he disclaimed responsibility for the rejoinder in a letter written for him to the publisher by Steele. The result was a resentment which bore its final fruit in the lines on Atticus in the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot. Addison, it must be noticed, had warmly praised the Essay on Criticism (1711), and the simpler version of The Rape of the Lock, published a year later; but the publication of Tickell’s version of the first book of the Iliad simultaneously with Pope’s first volume, and Addison’s preference of the weaker version, does not leave the latter quite free from suspicion of parti pris.

Whatever may have been the rights of the difficulty between Addison and Pope, there Edition: current; Page: [xv] is no doubt that in one point, evidently a mere point of judgment, Addison was wrong. After pronouncing the first version of The Rape of the Lock, published in 1712, ‘a delicious little thing, and merum sal,’ he advised against Pope’s plan for expanding it. Without the additions which the author made, in spite of this advice, it would hardly stand, as it now does, an acknowledged masterpiece in its kind. Despite the apparently local and temporary nature of its theme, the poem attracted much greater attention when, in 1714, it appeared in the new form. The poem affords the purest expression of Pope’s genius: his imagination applied without strain to a theme with which it was exactly fitted to cope, his satirical power exercised without the goad of personal rancor, and his light and elegant versification unhampered by the fancied necessity for weightiness. Nothing more just has been said about the poem than this by Hazlitt (On Dryden and Pope): ‘It is the most exquisite specimen of filigree work ever invented. It is as admirable in proportion as it is made of nothing:—

  • “More subtle web Arachne cannot spin,
  • Nor the fine nets, which oft we woven see
  • Of scorched dew, do not in th’ air more lightly flee.”

It is made of gauze and silver spangles. The most glittering appearance is given to everything,—to paste, pomatum, billet-doux, and patches. Airs, languid airs, breathe around; the atmosphere is perfumed with affectation. A toilette is described with the solemnity of an altar raised to the Goddess of Vanity, and the history of a silver bodkin is given with all the pomp of heraldry. No pains are spared, no profusion of ornaments, no splendor of poetic diction, to set off the meanest things. The balance between the concealed irony and the assumed gravity is as nicely trimmed as the balance of power in Europe. The little is made great, and the great little. You hardly know whether to laugh or weep. It is the triumph of insignificance, the apotheosis of foppery and folly. It is the perfection of the mock-heroic.’

If The Rape of the Lock was Pope’s masterpiece in the field of impersonal satire, the Essay on Criticism, which belongs to the same period of the poet’s life, was his masterpiece in the realm of poetic generalization. It was, according to the account of the poet, composed in 1709 and published in 1711. The present editor is inclined to think that justice has never been done to this extraordinary work, either as a product of precocity, or in its own right. It is, in his opinion, not only a manual of criticism, to which the practitioner may apply for sound guidance upon almost any given point, but an exhaustive satire upon false methods of criticism. It is a compendious rule of criticism which works both ways; hardly less rigorous than Aristotle, hardly less catholic than Sainte-Beuve. It does not, as has been alleged, constitute a mere helter-skelter summary of critical platitudes: there is hardly a predicament in modern criticism from which it does not suggest an adequate means of extrication. At all events, it represented, as Mr. Courthope says, the ‘first attempt to trace for English readers the just boundaries of taste.’

The Essay on Criticism was not, like The Rape of the Lock, devoid of the note of personal enmity which was to mark so much of the poet’s later work. John Dennis had probably employed his slashing method in reviewing the Pastorals, and in the Essay Pope took occasion for revenge in the lines on Appius, which unmistakably applied to the author of Appius and Virginia; and which after Dennis’s rejoinder were to be followed up by the attacks in the Satires and The Dunciad.

With the accession of the house of Hanover in 1714 the literary situation in London was considerably modified. The common ground upon which Whigs and Tories had, Edition: current; Page: [xvi] with diminishing success, continued to associate, was taken from under their feet. Politics became the first issue, and literature was relegated to a subordinate position. Fortunately the list of subscribers to Pope’s translation of the Iliad had been made up before the death of Anne. During the few years in which the process of public readjustment absorbed the attention of London, Pope was hard at work upon the most exacting task he had yet undertaken.

The removal of the family from Binfield to Chiswick was made by Pope’s desire. He was now not only a famous author, but a man of fashion; and on both accounts he wished to be nearer London. In leaving the coffee-house society—of which, in truth, he had never been a full member—he had found entrance into ‘aristocratic circles;’ and we hear much in his letters from this time on of the noblemen whose hospitality he accepted, while standing clear of their direct patronage. At Chiswick he found more society and less leisure. Many times during the next few years he accuses himself of laziness, but it does not appear that his mild junketings with the nobilities gave him more relaxation from the toil of his Homer translation than he needed. The first books of the Iliad were published in 1715, and the last books of the Odyssey in 1723. The cripple and man of the world who could do that in the intervals of his house parties and his sieges of physical pain was certainly producing his full share of work.

The Iliad was hailed with applause on all sides, and handsomely paid for. It was in one way a task for which the translator would appear to have been quite unfitted. The Rape of the Lock had proved him the mouthpiece of a conventional and sophisticated age; and conventionality and sophistication are not qualities to go naturally with Homer. The elegance of Pope’s verse becomes at times a mincing neatness, and his fashionable poetic diction in the mouths of Hector and Achilles rings thin and metallic. But though Pope inevitably missed the simplicity and the hearty surge and swing of Homer, he did manage to retain something of his vigor; and his Iliad is still the classic English version. Only half of the Odyssey translation which followed was really the work of Pope, and even his own part was deficient in the spirit which had marked the first translation. It had indeed been undertaken from a very different motive: he could not hope to add greatly to the credit which his Iliad had gained for him, but the cash might readily be increased. The translator actually received nearly £9000 for both translations—a small fortune in those days. Pope’s relations with his collaborators in the affair of the Odyssey are to be noticed, though they have perhaps been too much dwelt upon by the commentators. The facts are briefly these: Fenton translated four books and Broome eight. Both were Cambridge men of parts, Fenton the more brilliant and Broome the more thorough. The latter furnished also all the notes. Pope paid them a very small price for their labor, though not less than they had bargained for, and gave them very little credit for it. Moreover, when he found that there was some stir against him for advertising an Odyssey which was to be his only in part, he induced Broome to write a postscript note claiming only three books for his own share and two for Fenton’s, and insisting that whatever merit they might have was due to Pope’s minute revision.

Before attempting the Odyssey, Pope was unfortunately led to prepare an edition of Shakespeare, which showed some ingenuity in textual emendation. Phrases were, however, too frequently altered as ‘vulgar,’ and metres as ‘incorrect.’ The work was on the whole so mediocre as fairly to lay itself open to the strictures of Theobald, who was consequently made the original hero of The Dunciad. In 1718 the poet leased the estate at Twickenham, and set to work upon the improvements which became a hobby. He had planned to build a town house, but was fortunately dissuaded. The laying out of Edition: current; Page: [xvii] the tiny five acres of grounds is now a matter of history: the paths, the wilderness, the quincunx, the obelisk to his mother’s memory, above all the grotto,—they are more like actors than stage properties in the quiet drama of Pope’s later years.

His work after the completion of the Homer translation was almost entirely restricted to satire. Even the Moral Essays are largely satirical, for Pope’s didacticism was always tinged with laughter. It was too seldom a kindly laughter. His capacity for personal hatred was suffered not only to remain, but to grow upon him; until it became at length one of the ruling motives of his literary life. His first conception of The Dunciad was formed as early as 1720. Sometime within the five years following he seems to have broached his project for wholesale revenge to Swift, who, oddly enough, dissuaded him: ‘Take care the bad poets do not outwit you,’ he wrote, ‘as they have the good ones in every age, whom they have provoked to transmit their names to posterity. Mævius is as well known as Virgil, and Gildon will be as well known as you if his name gets into your verses.’ Thereto Pope dutifully assents: ‘I am much happier for finding our judgments jump in the notion that all scribblers should be passed by in silence. . . . So let Gildon and Philips rest in peace.’ It is not many years later that we find Swift encouraging Pope to go on with The Dunciad, and Pope accepting the advice with an even better grace than in the former instance. The first judgment of both authors was of course the right one. The Dunciad, with all its cleverness, remains the record of a strife between persons whom we do not now care about. It has no determinable significance beyond that; it lacks the didactic soundness of his Essay on Criticism, and the graceful lightness of The Rape of the Lock. Only in a few detached passages in the Moral Essays and Satires, indeed, did he ever succeed in approaching either of these qualities.

‘Pope’s writings,’ says Mr. Courthope, ‘fall naturally into two classes: those which were inspired by fancy or reflection, and those which grew from personal feeling or circumstance.’ The Moral Essays belonged to the former of these classes, the Satires to the latter. The Moral Essays, and more particularly the Essay on Man, are the product of a materialism which marked the age, and which was set before Pope in something like systematic form by Bolingbroke. As Bolingbroke was primarily a politician, and dabbled in philosophy only because the favorite game was for a great part of his life denied him, it could not be expected that much more than shallow generalization would come out of him. At all events, his system of sophistry was all that Pope needed for a thread upon which to string his couplets. Whatever we may think of the Essay on Man now, we need not forget that so keen a critic as Voltaire once called it ‘the most beautiful, the most awful, the most sublime didactic poem that has ever been written in any language.’ Even in our day a conservative critic can say of it: ‘Form and art triumph even in the midst of error; a framework of fallacious generalization gives coherence to the epigrammatic statement of a multitude of individual truths.’

Some of the difficulty that we have found in The Dunciad is present in the Satires. They are full of personalities. As a rule, however, the persons hit off are of some account, both in themselves and as types, rather than as mere objects of private rancor. Altogether these poems contain, besides the famous portraits of contemporaries, many passages of universal application to the virtues and the shortcomings of any practical age.

With the completion of the Satires in 1738, Pope’s work was practically done. His remaining years were to be spent mainly in revising his works and correspondence; the final additions and alterations to The Dunciad being the only task of special importance which in his weakening health, and decreasing creative impulse, he was able to undertake. The range of the poet’s possible achievement was never very great; and he had Edition: current; Page: [xviii] now lost most of the living motives of his work. He had numbered among his acquaintances all the prominent men of the time; and not a few of them had been friends upon whom he depended for encouragement and companionship. Gay had died in 1732, Pope’s mother a year later, and Arbuthnot in 1735. Swift was meantime rapidly breaking up in mind and body, and by 1740 Pope was separated from him by a chasm as impassable as that of death. Bolingbroke remained to him, and he was to have one other friend, Warburton, upon whom he relied for advice and aid during his last years, and who became his literary executor. These, however, were friendships of the mind rather than of the heart; and there is something a little pathetic in the spectacle of the still brilliant poet’s dependence upon the chill and disappointed politician Bolingbroke and the worthy and adoring Bishop Warburton, who can hardly have been a lively companion.

Critics are now fairly well agreed as to Pope’s service to English poetry. Intellectually he was clever rather than profound, and, in consequence, though so much of his work was of the didactic type, he made few original contributions to poetic thought. A poem of Pope’s is a collection of brilliant fragments. He kept a note-book full of clever distiches set down at random; presently so many couplets are taken and classified, others are added, a title is found, and the world applauds. If we except The Rape of the Lock, and possibly the Epistle to Arbuthnot, none of his poems can be called organic in structure. The patching is neatly done, but the result is patchwork. The Essay on Man, therefore, which most of his contemporaries considered his greatest work, appears to us a mosaic of cleverly phrased platitudes and epigrams. Many of the couplets have become proverbial; the work as a whole cannot be taken seriously. ‘But the supposition is,’ says Lowell, ‘that in the Essay on Man Pope did not himself know what he was writing. He was only the condenser and epigrammatizer of Bolingbroke—a very fitting St. John for such a gospel.’ It is to another and less pretentious sort of work that we must turn to find the great versifier at his best.

The Rape of the Lock affords exactly the field in which Pope was fitted to excel. The very qualities of artificiality and sophistication which mar the Homer translations make the story of Belinda and her Baron a perfect thing of its kind. Here is the conventional society which Pope knew, and with which—however he might sneer at it—he really sympathized. The polished trivialities, the shallow gallantry, the hardly veiled coarseness of the London which Pope understood, are here to the life. Depth of emotion, of imagination, of thought, are absent, and properly so; but here are present in their purest forms the flashing wit, the ingenious fancy, the malicious innuendo, of which Pope was undoubtedly master.

In versification his merit is to have done one thing incomparably well. Not only is his latest work marked by the same wit, conciseness, and brilliancy of finish which gained the attention of his earliest critics, but it employs the same metrical form which in boyhood he had brought to a singular perfection. The heroic couplet is now pretty much out of fashion: ‘correctness’ is no longer the first quality which we demand of poetry. No doubt we are fortunate to have escaped the trammels of the rigid mode which so long restrained the flight of English verse. But however tedious and wooden Pope’s instrument may have become in later hands, however mistaken he himself may have been in emphasizing its limitations, there is no doubt that it was the instrument best suited to his hand, and that he secured by means of it a surprising variety of effect.

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We have chronicled thus far a few of the facts of Pope’s life and work. Something—it cannot be very much—remains to be said of his private character. It was a character of marked contradictions, the nether side of which—the weaknesses and positive faults—has, as is common in such cases, been laid bare with sufficient pitilessness. He was, we are told, malicious, penurious, secretive, unchivalrous, underhanded, implacable. He could address Lady Mary Wortley one day with fulsome adulation, and the next—and ever after—with foul abuse. He could deliberately goad his dunces to self-betrayal by his Treatise on the Bathos, and presently flay them in The Dunciad by way of revenge. He could by circuitous means cause his letters—letters carefully edited by him—to be published, and prosecute the publisher for outraging his sensibilities. He could stoop to compassing the most minute ends of private malice by the most elaborate and leisurely methods. He played life as a game composed of a series of petty moves, and, as one of his friends said, ‘could hardly drink a cup of tea without a stratagem.’

But let us see what we might be fairly saying on the other side. If he was capable of malice, he was incapable of flattery; if he was dishonest in the little matters, he was honest in the great ones; if he held mediocrity in contempt, he had an ungrudging welcome for excellence. In later life he had encouragement for the younger generation of writers,—Johnson, Young, Thomson, and poor Savage. If he allowed a fancied injury to separate him from Addison, he had still to boast of the friendship of men like Gay, Arbuthnot, and Swift; and they had to boast of his. He nursed his mother in extreme old age with anxious devotion, and mourned her death with unaffected grief. In his best satirical mood, the best in English verse, he did not hesitate to arraign the highest as well as the lowest; not even Swift could be so fearless. Such things are to be remembered of this correct versifier and merciless satirist Pope: that with only half the body, and hardly more than half the bodily experience, of a man, he had his full share of a man’s failings and a man’s virtues; and that the failings were on the whole upon a less significant plane than the virtues.

Much has been written of Pope’s attitude toward women, and much has been written of his acrid habit of mind. The relation between these facts has been, perhaps, insufficiently grasped. Pope was not by nature a celibate or a hater of women. He was, on the contrary, fond of their society, and anxious to make himself agreeable to them. His failure with Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was deserved; the relation was a mere affair of gallantry, which she took good care to snuff out when the adorer’s protestations began to weary her. She was not a womanly person, and forestalled much public indignation at Pope’s subsequent abuse by adopting an equally brutal system of retort.

His failure with Martha Blount was of a very different sort, and of far greater significance. She was the younger of two daughters belonging to one of the Roman Catholic families in Pope’s Windsor Forest circle of acquaintance. With her and with her sister Teresa, Pope was for many years upon terms of the closest intimacy. They were not much alike; and though Pope made a habit of addressing them with guarded impartiality in his correspondence, it is to be seen almost from the first that his feeling for the more practical and worldly older sister was less warm than his feeling for the amiable and feminine “Patty.” Eventually, after years of friendship, the poet made a few indirect overtures to Martha in the direction of marriage; and at last ventured to express himself plainly to Teresa. To his unspeakable humiliation and grief, she treated his honest declaration as an affront to her sister, and upon precisely the painful ground of his deformity, which had for so many years kept him from speaking. Pope could not help feeling that however Martha might, if left to herself, have received his advances, it Edition: current; Page: [xx] was now out of the question to pursue them. His behavior under the circumstances was full of dignity. It was impossible for the friendship to be renewed upon the old footing, but his only revenge beyond that of the necessary withdrawal from familiar intercourse was to settle a pension upon Teresa at the time, and to leave most of his property by will to Martha. We can hardly imagine Pope madly in love, but that he had a calm and steadfast affection for Martha Blount we cannot doubt. He was disposed to marry, and he would have liked to marry her. She represented the ideal of womanhood in his mind; and to her, in the heat of his most savage bouts of idol-breaking, he pauses to raise a white shaft of love and faith.

If the present editor, after a careful and well-rewarded study of the poet and the man, has any mite of interpretation to offer, it is not that Pope was a greater poet, but that he was a better man, than he is commonly painted; an unamiable man, yet not for that reason altogether unworthy of regard; a man with little meannesses carried upon his sleeve for all the world to mock at, and with the large magnanimity which could face the world alone, without advantages of birth or wealth or education or even health, and win a great victory. Such a man cannot conceivably be supposed to have stumbled upon success. Not only inspired cleverness of hand, but force of character and sanity of mind must be responsible for his work. After the lapse of nearly two centuries it should perhaps be right to indulge ourselves somewhat more sparingly in condemnation of his foibles, and to recall more willingly the sound kernel of character which is the basis of his personality. Whatever slander he may have retailed about the camp-fire, whatever foolish vanity he may have had in his uniform, Pope fought the good fight. ‘After all,’ he wrote to Bishop Atterbury, who was trying to make a Protestant of him, ‘I verily believe your Lordship and I are both of the same religion, if we were thoroughly understood by one another, and that all honest and reasonable Christians would be so, if they did but talk together every day; and had nothing to do together but to serve God and live in peace with their neighbors.’

H. W. B.
Edition: current; Page: [1]

EARLY POEMS

ODE ON SOLITUDE

‘This was a very early production of our Author, written at about twelve years old,’ says Pope in one of his unsigned and unreliable notes. If the statement is true, it was probably written during the year 1700. It is apparently the earliest poem of Pope’s which remains to us, though according to Roscoe, ‘Dodsley, who was honoured with his intimacy, had seen several pieces of an earlier date.’

    • Happy the man whose wish and care
    • A few paternal acres bound,
    • Content to breathe his native air
    • In his own ground.
    • Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
    • Whose flocks supply him with attire,
    • Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
    • In winter fire.
    • Bless’d who can unconcern’dly find
    • Hours, days, and years slide soft away,
    • In health of body, peace of mind,
    • Quiet by day;
    • Sound sleep by night: study and ease
    • Together mix’d; sweet recreation;
    • And innocence, which most does please,
    • With meditation.
    • Thus let me live, unseen, unknown,
    • Thus unlamented let me die;
    • Steal from the world, and not a stone
    • Tell where I lie.

A PARAPHRASE (ON THOMAS À KEMPIS, L. III. C. 2)

Supposed to have been written in 1700; first published from the Caryll Papers in the Athenæum, July 15, 1854.

    • Speak, Gracious Lord, oh, speak; thy servant hears:
    • For I’m thy servant and I’ll still be so:
    • Speak words of comfort in my willing ears;
    • And since my tongue is in thy praises slow,
    • And since that thine all Rhetoric exceeds:
    • Speak thou in words, but let me speak in deeds!
    • Nor speak alone, but give me grace to hear
    • What thy celestial Sweetness does impart;
    • Let it not stop when enter’d at the ear,
    • But sink, and take deep rooting in my heart.
    • As the parch’d Earth drinks rain (but grace afford)
    • With such a gust will I receive thy word.
    • Nor with the Israelites shall I desire
    • Thy heav’nly word by Moses to receive,
    • Lest I should die: but Thou who didst inspire
    • Moses himself, speak Thou, that I may live.
    • Rather with Samuel I beseech with tears,
    • Speak, gracious Lord, oh, speak, thy servant hears.
    • Moses, indeed, may say the words, but Thou
    • Must give the Spirit, and the Life inspire;
    • Our Love to thee his fervent breath may blow,
    • But ’t is thyself alone can give the fire:
    • Thou without them may’st speak and profit too;
    • But without thee what could the Prophets do?
  • Edition: current; Page: [2]
    • They preach the Doctrine, but thou mak’st us do’t;
    • They teach the myst’ries thou dost open lay;
    • The trees they water, but thou giv’st the fruit;
    • They to Salvation show the arduous way,
    • But none but you can give us strength to walk;
    • You give the Practice, they but give the Talk.
    • Let them be silent then; and thou alone,
    • My God! speak comfort to my ravish’d ears;
    • Light of my eyes, my Consolation,
    • Speak when thou wilt, for still thy servant hears.
    • Whate’er thou speak’st, let this be understood:
    • Thy greater Glory, and my greater Good!

TO THE AUTHOR OF A POEM ENTITLED SUCCESSIO[ ]

Elkanah Settle, celebrated as Doeg in Dryden’s Absalom and Achitophel, wrote Successio in honor of the incoming Brunswick dynasty. Warburton (or possibly Pope) in a note on Dunciad, I. 181, says that the poem was ‘written at fourteen years old, and soon after printed.’ A good instance of Pope’s economy of material will be found in the passage upon which that note bears: an adaptation of lines 4, 17 and 18 of this early poem. It was first published in Lintot’s Miscellanies, 1712.

  • Begone, ye Critics, and restrain your spite,
  • Codrus writes on, and will forever write.
  • The heaviest Muse the swiftest course has gone,
  • As clocks run fastest when most lead is on;
  • What tho’ no bees around your cradle flew,
  • Nor on your lips distill’d their golden dew;
  • Yet have we oft discover’d in their stead
  • A swarm of drones that buzz’d about your head.
  • When you, like Orpheus, strike the warbling lyre,
  • Attentive blocks stand round you and admire.
  • Wit pass’d thro’ thee no longer is the same,
  • As meat digested takes a diff’rent name;
  • But sense must sure thy safest plunder be,
  • Since no reprisals can be made on thee.
  • Thus thou may’st rise, and in thy daring flight
  • (Tho’ ne’er so weighty) reach a wondrous height.
  • So, forc’d from engines, lead itself can fly,
  • And pond’rous slugs move nimbly thro’ the sky.
  • Sure Bavius copied Mœvius to the full,
  • And Chœrilus taught Codrus to be dull;
  • Therefore, dear friend, at my advice give o’er
  • This needless labour; and contend no more
  • To prove a dull succession to be true,
  • Since ’t is enough we find it so in you.

THE FIRST BOOK OF STATIUS’S THEBAIS
TRANSLATED IN THE YEAR 1703

Though Pope ascribes this translation to 1703, there is evidence that part of it was done as early as 1699. It was finally revised and published in 1712, but Courthope asserts that ‘it is fair to assume that the body of the composition is preserved in its original form.’

ARGUMENT

Œdipus, King of Thebes, having, by mistake, slain his father Laius, and married his mother Jocasta, put out his own eyes, and resign’d the realm to his sons Eteocles and Polynices. Being neglected by them, he makes his prayer to the Fury Tisiphone, to sow debate betwixt the brothers. They agree at last to reign singly, each a year by turns, and the first lot is obtain’d by Eteocles. Jupiter, in a council of the gods, declares his resolution of punishing the Thebans, and Argives also, by means of a marriage betwixt Polynices and one of the daughters of Adrastus King of Argos. Juno opposes, but to no effect; and Mercury is sent on a message to the shades, to the ghost of Laius, who is to appear to Eteocles, and provoke him to break the agreement. Polynices, in the mean time, departs from Thebes by night, is overtaken by a storm, and arrives at Argos; where he meets with Tideus, who had fled from Calidon, having kill’d his brother. Adrastus entertains them, having receiv’d an oracle from Apollo that his daughters should be married to a boar and a lion, which he understands to be meant of these strangers, by whom the hides of those beasts were worn, and who arrived at the time when Edition: current; Page: [3] he kept an annual feast in honour of that god. The rise of this solemnity. He relates to his guests the loves of Phœbus and Psamathe, and the story of Chorœbus: he inquires, and is made acquainted, with their descent and quality. The sacrifice is renew’d, and the book concludes with a hymn to Apollo.

    • Fraternal rage, the guilty Thebes’ alarms,
    • Th’ alternate reign destroy’d by impious arms
    • Demand our song; a sacred fury fires
    • My ravish’d breast, and all the Muse inspires.
    • O Goddess! say, shall I deduce my rhymes
    • From the dire nation in its early times,
    • Europa’s rape, Agenor’s stern decree,
    • And Cadmus searching round the spacious sea?
    • How with the serpent’s teeth he sow’d the soil,
    • And reap’d an iron harvest of his toil;1903: 10
    • Or how from joining stones the city sprung,
    • While to his harp divine Amphion sung?
    • Or shall I Juno’s hate to Thebes resound,
    • Whose fatal rage th’ unhappy monarch found?
    • The sire against the son his arrows drew,
    • O’er the wide fields the furious mother flew,
    • And while her arms a second hope contain,
    • Sprung from the rocks, and plunged into the main.
    • But waive whate’er to Cadmus may belong,
    • And fix, O Muse! the barrier of thy song
    • At Œdipus—from his disasters trace1903: 21
    • The long confusions of his guilty race:
    • Nor yet attempt to stretch thy bolder wing,
    • And mighty Cæsar’s conquering eagles sing;
    • How twice he tamed proud Ister’s rapid flood,
    • While Dacian mountains stream’d with barb’rous blood:
    • Twice taught the Rhine beneath his laws to roll,
    • And stretch’d his empire to the frozen pole;
    • Or, long before, with early valour strove
    • In youthful arms t’assert the cause of Jove.1903: 30
    • And thou, great heir of all thy father’s fame,
    • Increase of glory to the Latian name,
    • O! bless thy Rome with an eternal reign,
    • Nor let desiring worlds entreat in vain!
    • What tho’ the stars contract their heav’nly space,
    • And crowd their shining ranks to yield thee place;
    • Tho’ all the skies, ambitious of thy sway,
    • Conspire to court thee from our world away;
    • Tho’ Phœbus longs to mix his rays with thine,
    • And in thy glories more serenely shine;1903: 40
    • Tho’ Jove himself no less content would be
    • To part his throne, and share his Heav’n with thee?
    • Yet stay, great Cæsar! and vouchsafe to reign
    • O’er the wide earth, and o’er the wat’ry main;
    • Resign to Jove his empire of the skies,
    • And people Heav’n with Roman deities.
    • The time will come when a diviner flame
    • Shall warm my breast to sing of Cæsar’s fame;
    • Meanwhile permit that my preluding Muse
    • In Theban wars an humbler theme may choose.1903: 50
    • Of furious hate surviving death she sings,
    • A fatal throne to two contending kings,
    • And funeral flames that, parting wide in air,
    • Express the discord of the souls they bear:
    • Of towns dispeopled, and the wand’ring ghosts
    • Of kings unburied in the wasted coasts;
    • When Dirce’s fountain blush’d with Grecian blood,
    • And Thetis, near Ismenos’ swelling flood,
    • With dread beheld the rolling surges sweep
    • In heaps his slaughter’d sons into the deep.1903: 60
    • What hero, Clio! wilt thou first relate?
    • The rage of Tydeus, or the prophet’s fate?
    • Or how, with hills of slain on every side,
    • Hippomedon repell’d the hostile tide?
    • Or how the youth, with ev’ry grace adorn’d,
    • Untimely fell, to be forever mourn’d?
    • Then to fierce Capaneus thy verse extend,
    • And sing with horror his prodigious end.
  • Edition: current; Page: [4]
    • Now wretched Œdipus, deprived of sight,
    • Led a long death in everlasting night;1903: 70
    • But while he dwells where not a cheerful ray
    • Can pierce the darkness, and abhors the day,
    • The clear reflecting mind presents his sin
    • In frightful views, and makes it day within;
    • Returning thoughts in endless circles roll,
    • And thousand furies haunt his guilty soul:
    • The wretch then lifted to th’ unpitying skies
    • Those empty orbs from whence he tore his eyes,
    • Whose wounds, yet fresh, with bloody hands he strook,
    • While from his breast these dreadful accents broke:—1903: 80
    • ‘Ye Gods! that o’er the gloomy regions reign,
    • Where guilty spirits feel eternal pain;
    • Thou, sable Styx! whose livid streams are roll’d
    • Through dreary coasts, which I tho’ blind behold;
    • Tisiphone! that oft has heard my prayer,
    • Assist, if Œdipus deserve thy care.
    • If you receiv’d me from Jocasta’s womb,
    • And nurs’d the hope of mischiefs yet to come;
    • If, leaving Polybus, I took my way
    • To Cyrrha’s temple, on that fatal day1903: 90
    • When by the son the trembling father died,
    • Where the three roads the Phocian fields divide;
    • If I the Sphynx’s riddles durst explain,
    • Taught by thyself to win the promis’d reign;
    • If wretched I, by baleful furies led,
    • With monstrous mixture stain’d my mother’s bed,
    • For Hell and thee begot an impious brood,
    • And with full lust those horrid joys renew’d,
    • Then, self condemn’d, to shades of endless night,
    • Forc’d from these orbs the bleeding balls of sight,1903: 100
    • Oh hear! and aid the vengeance I require,
    • If worthy thee, and what thou might’st inspire.
    • My sons their old unhappy sire despise,
    • Spoil’d of his kingdom, and deprived of eyes;
    • Guideless I wander, unregarded mourn,
    • Whilst these exalt their sceptres o’er my urn;
    • These sons, ye Gods! who with flagitious pride
    • Insult my darkness and my groans deride.
    • Art thou a father, unregarding Jove!
    • And sleeps thy thunder in the realms above?1903: 110
    • Thou Fury! then some lasting curse entail,
    • Which o’er their children’s children shall prevail;
    • Place on their heads that crown distain’d with gore,
    • Which these dire hands from my slain father tore;
    • Go! and a parent’s heavy curses bear; }
    • Break all the bonds of Nature, and prepare }
    • Their kindred souls to mutual hate and war. }
    • Give them to dare, what I might wish to see,
    • Blind as I am, some glorious villany!
    • Soon shalt thou find, if thou but arm their hands,1903: 120
    • Their ready guilt preventing thy commands:
    • Couldst thou some great proportion’d mischief frame,
    • They’d prove the father from whose loins they came.’
    • The Fury heard, while on Cocytus’ brink
    • Her snakes, untied, sulphureous waters drink;
    • But at the summons roll’d her eyes around,
    • And snatch’d the starting serpents from the ground.
    • Not half so swiftly shoots along in air
    • The gliding lightning or descending star.
    • Thro’ crowds of airy shades she wing’d her flight,1903: 130
    • And dark dominions of the silent night;
    • Swift as she pass’d the flitting ghosts withdrew,
    • And the pale spectres trembled at her view:
    • To th’ iron gates of Tenarus she flies,
    • There spreads her dusky pinions to the skies.
    • The Day beheld, and, sick’ning at the sight,
    • Veil’d her fair glories in the shades of night.
    • Affrighted Atlas on the distant shore
    • Trembled, and shook the heav’ns and Gods he bore.
    • Edition: current; Page: [5]
    • Now from beneath Malea’s airy height1903: 140
    • Aloft she sprung, and steer’d to Thebes her flight;
    • With eager speed the well known journey took,
    • Nor here regrets the Hell she late forsook.
    • A hundred snakes her gloomy visage shade,
    • A hundred serpents guard her horrid head;
    • In her sunk eyeballs dreadful meteors glow:
    • Such rays from Phœbe’s bloody circle flow,
    • When, lab’ring with strong charms, she shoots from high
    • A fiery gleam, and reddens all the sky.
    • Blood stain’d her cheeks, and from her mouth there came1903: 150
    • Blue steaming poisons, and a length of flame.
    • From every blast of her contagious breath
    • Famine and Drought proceed, and Plagues and Death.
    • A robe obscene was o’er her shoulders thrown,
    • A dress by Fates and Furies worn alone.
    • She toss’d her meagre arms; her better hand
    • In waving circles whirl’d a funeral brand;
    • A serpent from her left was seen to rear
    • His flaming crest, and lash the yielding air.1903: 159
    • But when the Fury took her stand on high,
    • Where vast Cithæron’s top salutes the sky,
    • A hiss from all the snaky tire went round: }
    • The dreadful signal all the rocks rebound, }
    • And thro’ th’ Achaian cities send the sound. }
    • Œte, with high Parnassus, heard the voice;
    • Eurotas’ banks remurmur’d to the noise;
    • Again Leucothea shook at these alarms,
    • And press’d Palæmon closer in her arms.
    • Headlong from thence the glowing Fury springs,
    • And o’er the Theban palace spreads her wings,1903: 170
    • Once more invades the guilty dome, and shrouds
    • Its bright pavilions in a veil of clouds.
    • Straight with the rage of all their race possest, }
    • Stung to the soul, the brothers start from rest, }
    • And all their furies wake within their breast: }
    • Their tortured minds repining Envy tears,
    • And Hate, engender’d by suspicious Fears;
    • And sacred thirst of Sway, and all the ties
    • Of Nature broke, and royal Perjuries;
    • And impotent desire to reign alone,1903: 180
    • That scorns the dull reversion of a throne:
    • Each would the sweets of sov’reign Rule devour,
    • While Discord waits upon divided power.
    • As stubborn steers, by brawny ploughmen broke,
    • And join’d reluctant to the galling yoke,
    • Alike disdain with servile necks to bear
    • Th’ unwonted weight, or drag the crooked share,
    • But rend the reins, and bound a diff’rent way,
    • And all the furrows in confusion lay:
    • Such was the discord of the royal pair1903: 190
    • Whom fury drove precipitate to war.
    • In vain the chiefs contrived a specious way
    • To govern Thebes by their alternate sway:
    • Unjust decree! while this enjoys the state,
    • That mourns in exile his unequal fate,
    • And the short monarch of a hasty year
    • Foresees with anguish his returning heir.
    • Thus did the league their impious arms restrain,
    • But scarce subsisted to the second reign.
    • Yet then no proud aspiring piles were rais’d,1903: 200
    • No fretted roofs with polish’d metals blazed;
    • No labour’d columns in long order placed,
    • No Grecian stone the pompous arches graced;
    • No nightly bands in glitt’ring armour wait
    • Before the sleepless tyrant’s guarded gate;
    • No charges then were wrought in burnish’d gold,
    • Nor silver vases took the forming mould;
    • Nor gems on bowls emboss’d were seen to shine,
    • Blaze on the brims, and sparkle in the wine.
    • Say, wretched rivals! what provokes your rage?1903: 210
    • Say to what end your impious arms engage?
    • Not all bright Phœbus views in early morn,
    • Or when his ev’ning beams the west adorn,
    • When the South glows with his meridian ray,
    • And the cold North receives a fainter day—
    • For crimes like these not all those realms suffice,
    • Edition: current; Page: [6]
    • Were all those realms the guilty victor’s prize!
    • But Fortune now (the lots of empire thrown)
    • Decrees to proud Eteocles the crown.
    • What joys, O Tyrant! swell’d thy soul that day,1903: 220
    • When all were slaves thou could’st around survey,
    • Pleas’d to behold unbounded power thy own,
    • And singly fill a fear’d and envied throne!
    • But the vile vulgar, ever discontent,
    • Their growing fears in secret murmurs vent;
    • Still prone to change, tho’ still the slaves of state,
    • And sure the monarch whom they have to hate;
    • New lords they madly make, then tamely bear,
    • And softly curse the tyrants whom they fear.
    • And one of those who groan beneath the sway1903: 230
    • Of kings imposed, and grudgingly obey,
    • (Whom Envy to the great, and vulgar Spite,
    • With Scandal arm’d, th’ ignoble mind’s delight)
    • Exclaim’d—“O Thebes! for thee what fates remain,
    • What woes attend this unauspicious reign?
    • Must we, alas! our doubtful necks prepare }
    • Each haughty master’s yoke by turns to bear, }
    • And still to change whom changed we still must fear? }
    • These now control a wretched people’s fate,
    • These can divide, and these reverse the state:1903: 240
    • Ev’n Fortune rules no more—O servile land,
    • Where exiled tyrants still by turns command!
    • Thou Sire of Gods and men, imperial Jove!
    • Is this th’ eternal doom decreed above?
    • On thy own offspring hast thou fix’d this fate
    • From the first birth of our unhappy state,
    • When banish’d Cadmus, wand’ring o’er the main,
    • For lost Europa search’d the world in vain,
    • And fated in Bœotian fields to found
    • A rising empire on a foreign ground,1903: 250
    • First rais’d our walls on that ill-omen’d plain
    • Where earth-born brothers were by brothers slain?
    • What lofty looks th’ unrivall’d monarch bears!
    • How all the Tyrant in his face appears!
    • What sullen fury clouds his scornful brow!
    • Gods! how his eyes with threat’ning ardour glow!
    • Can this imperious lord forget to reign,
    • Quit all his state, descend, and serve again?
    • Yet who before more popularly bow’d?
    • Who more propitious to the suppliant crowd?1903: 260
    • Patient of right, familiar in the throne,
    • What wonder then? he was not then alone.
    • Oh wretched we! a vile submissive train,
    • Fortune’s tame fools, and slaves in every reign!
    • ‘As when two winds with rival force contend,
    • This way and that the wavering sails they bend,
    • While freezing Boreas and black Eurus blow,
    • Now here, now there the reeling vessel throw;
    • Thus on each side, alas! our tott’ring state
    • Feels all the fury of resistless Fate,1903: 270
    • And doubtful still, and still distracted stands,
    • While that prince threatens, and while this commands.’
    • And now th’ almighty Father of the Gods
    • Convenes a council in the bless’d abodes.
    • Far in the bright recesses of the skies,
    • High o’er the rolling heav’ns, a mansion lies,
    • Whence, far below, the Gods at once survey }
    • The realms of rising and declining day, }
    • And all th’ extended space of earth, and air, and sea.1903: 279 }
    • Full in the midst, and on a starry throne,
    • The Majesty of Heav’n superior shone:
    • Serene he look’d, and gave an awful nod,
    • And all the trembling spheres confess’d the God.
    • At Jove’s assent the deities around
    • In solemn state the consistory crown’d.
    • Next a long order of inferior powers
    • Ascend from hills, and plains, and shady bowers;
    • Those from whose urns the rolling rivers flow,
    • Edition: current; Page: [7]
    • And those that give the wand’ring winds to blow:
    • Here all their rage and ev’n their murmurs cease,1903: 290
    • And sacred Silence reigns, and universal Peace.
    • A shining synod of majestic Gods
    • Gilds with new lustre the divine abodes:
    • Heav’n seems improv’d with a superior ray,
    • And the bright arch reflects a double day.
    • The Monarch then his solemn silence broke,
    • The still creation listen’d while he spoke;
    • Each sacred accent bears eternal weight,
    • And each irrevocable word is Fate.
    • ‘How long shall man the wrath of Heav’n defy,1903: 300
    • And force unwilling vengeance from the sky?
    • O race confed’rate into crimes, that prove
    • Triumphant o’er th’ cluded rage of Jove!
    • This wearied arm can scarce the bolt sustain,
    • And unregarded thunder rolls in vain:
    • Th’ o’erlabour’d Cyclop from his task retires,
    • Th’ Æolian forge exhausted of its fires.
    • For this I suffer’d Phœbus’ steeds to stray,
    • And the mad ruler to misguide the day,
    • When the wide earth to heaps of ashes turn’d,1903: 310
    • And Heav’n itself the wand’ring chariot burn’d;
    • For this my brother of the wat’ry reign }
    • Releas’d th’ impetuous sluices of the main; }
    • But flames consumed, and billows raged in vain. }
    • Two races now, allied to Jove, offend;
    • To punish these, see Jove himself descend.
    • The Theban kings their line from Cadmus trace,
    • From godlike Perseus those of Argive race.
    • Unhappy Cadmus’ fate who does not know,
    • And the long series of succeeding woe?1903: 320
    • How oft the Furies from the deeps of night
    • Arose, and mix’d with men in mortal fight;
    • Th’ exulting mother stain’d with filial blood,
    • The savage hunter and the haunted wood?
    • The direful banquet why should I proclaim,
    • And crimes that grieve the trembling Gods to name?
    • Ere I recount the sins of these profane, }
    • The sun would sink into the western main, }
    • And, rising, gild the radiant east again. }
    • Have we not seen (the blood of Laius shed)1903: 330
    • The murd’ring son ascend his parent’s bed,
    • Thro’ violated Nature force his way,
    • And stain the sacred womb where once he lay?
    • Yet now in darkness and despair he groans,
    • And for the crimes of guilty Fate atones;
    • His sons with scorn their eyeless father view,
    • Insult his wounds, and make them bleed anew.1903: 337
    • Thy curse, O Œdipus! just Heav’n alarms,
    • And sets th’ avenging Thunderer in arms.
    • I from the root thy guilty race will tear,
    • And give the nations to the waste of war.
    • Adrastus soon, with Gods averse, shall join
    • In dire alliance with the Theban line;
    • Hence strife shall rise, and mortal war succeed;
    • The guilty realms of Tantalus shall bleed:
    • Fix’d is their doom. This all-rememb’ring breast
    • Yet harbours vengeance for the tyrant’s feast.’
    • He said; and thus the Queen of Heav’n return’d
    • (With sudden grief her lab’ring bosom burn’d):
    • ‘Must I, whose cares Phoroneus’ towers defend,1903: 350
    • Must I, O Jove! in bloody wars contend?
    • Thou know’st those regions my protection claim,
    • Glorious in Arms, in Riches, and in Fame:
    • Tho’ there the fair Egyptian heifer fed,
    • And there deluded Argus slept and bled;
    • Tho’ there the brazen tower was storm’d of old,
    • When Jove descended in almighty gold!
    • Yet I can pardon those obscurer rapes,
    • Those bashful crimes disguis’d in borrow’d shapes;
    • But Thebes, where, shining in celestial charms,1903: 360
    • Thou camest triumphant to a mortal’s arms,
    • When all my glories o’er her limbs were spread,
    • And blazing lightnings danced around her bed;
    • Curs’d Thebes the vengeance it deserves may prove—
    • Ah! why should Argos feel the rage of Jove?
    • Edition: current; Page: [8]
    • Yet since thou wilt thy sister-queen control,
    • Since still the lust of Discord fires thy soul,
    • Go, raze my Samos, let Mycene fall,
    • And level with the dust the Spartan wall;
    • No more let mortals Juno’s power invoke, }
    • Her fanes no more with eastern incense smoke,1903: 371 }
    • Nor victims sink beneath the sacred stroke; }
    • But to your Isis all my rights transfer,
    • Let altars blaze and temples smoke for her!
    • For her, thro’ Egypt’s fruitful clime renown’d,
    • Let weeping Nilus hear the timbrel sound.
    • But if thou must reform the stubborn times,
    • Avenging on the sons the fathers’ crimes,
    • And from the long records of distant age
    • Derive incitements to renew thy rage;1903: 380
    • Say, from what period then has Jove design’d
    • To date his vengeance? to what bounds confin’d?
    • Begin from thence, where first Alpheus hides }
    • His wand’ring stream, and thro’ the briny tides }
    • Unmix’d to his Sicilian river glides. }
    • Thy own Arcadians there the thunder claim,
    • Whose impious rites disgrace thy mighty name;
    • Who raise thy temples where the chariot stood
    • Of fierce Œnomaüs, defil’d with blood;
    • Where once his steeds their savage banquet found,1903: 390
    • And human bones yet whiten all the ground.
    • Say, can those honours please? and canst thou love
    • Presumptuous Crete, that boasts the tomb of Jove?
    • And shall not Tantalus’s kingdoms share
    • Thy wife and sister’s tutelary care?
    • Reverse, O Jove! thy too severe decree,
    • Nor doom to war a race derived from thee;
    • On impious realms and barb’rous kings impose
    • Thy plagues, and curse them with such sons as those.’
    • Thus in reproach and prayer the Queen exprest1903: 400
    • The rage and grief contending in her breast;
    • Unmov’d remain’d the Ruler of the Sky,
    • And from his throne return’d this stern reply:
    • ’T was thus I deem’d thy haughty soul would bear }
    • The dire thou’ just revenge which I prepare }
    • Against a nation thy peculiar care: }
    • No less Dione might for Thebes contend,
    • Nor Bacchus less his native town defend;
    • Yet these in silence see the Fates fulfil
    • Their work, and rev’rence our superior will:1903: 410
    • For by the black infernal Styx I swear
    • (That dreadful oath which binds the Thunderer)
    • ’T is fix’d, th’ irrevocable doom of Jove;
    • No Force can bend me, no Persuasion move.
    • Haste then, Cyllenius, thro’ the liquid air;
    • Go, mount the winds, and to the shades repair;
    • Bid Hell’s black monarch my commands obey,1903: 417
    • And give up Laius to the realms of day,
    • Whose ghost yet shiv’ring on Cocytus’ sand
    • Expects its passage to the further strand:
    • Let the pale sire revisit Thebes, and bear
    • These pleasing orders to the tyrant’s ear;
    • That from his exiled brother, swell’d with pride
    • Of foreign forces and his Argive bride,
    • Almighty Jove commands him to detain
    • The promis’d empire, and alternate reign:
    • Be this the cause of more than mortal hate;
    • The rest succeeding times shall ripen into Fate.’
    • The God obeys, and to his feet applies
    • Those golden wings that cut the yielding skies;1903: 430
    • His ample hat his beamy locks o’erspread,
    • And veil’d the starry glories of his head.
    • He seiz’d the wand that causes sleep to fly,
    • Or in soft slumbers seals the wakeful eye;
    • That drives the dead to dark Tartarean coasts,
    • Or back to life compels the wand’ring ghosts.
    • Thus thro’ the parting clouds the son of May
    • Wings on the whistling winds his rapid way;
    • Now smoothly steers thro’ air his equal flight,
    • Now springs aloft, and towers th’ ethereal height;1903: 440
    • Edition: current; Page: [9]
    • Then wheeling down the steep of heav’n he flies,
    • And draws a radiant circle o’er the skies.
    • Meantime the banish’d Polynices roves
    • (His Thebes abandon’d) thro’ th’ Aonian groves,
    • While future realms his wand’ring thoughts delight,
    • His daily vision, and his dream by night.
    • Forbidden Thebes appears before his eye,
    • From whence he sees his absent brother fly,
    • With transport views the airy rule his own,
    • And swells on an imaginary throne.1903: 450
    • Fain would he cast a tedious age away,
    • And live out all in one triumphant day:
    • He chides the lazy progress of the sun,
    • And bids the year with swifter motion run:
    • With anxious hopes his craving mind is tost,
    • And all his joys in length of wishes lost.
    • The hero then resolves his course to bend }
    • Where ancient Danaus’ fruitful fields extend, }
    • And famed Mycene’s lofty towers ascend }
    • (Where late the sun did Atreus’ crimes detest,1903: 460
    • And disappear’d in horror of the feast);
    • And now by Chance, by Fate, or Furies led,
    • From Bacchus’ consecrated caves he fled,
    • Where the shrill cries of frantic matrons sound,
    • And Pentheus’ blood enrich’d the rising ground;
    • Then sees Cithæron towering o’er the plain,
    • And thence declining gently to the main;
    • Next to the bounds of Nisus’ realm repairs,
    • Where treach’rous Scylla cut the purple hairs;
    • The hanging cliffs of Scyron’s rock explores,1903: 470
    • And hears the murmurs of the diff’rent shores;
    • Passes the strait that parts the foaming seas,
    • And stately Corinth’s pleasing site surveys.
    • ’T was now the time when Phœbus yields to night,
    • And rising Cynthia sheds her silver light;
    • Wide o’er the world in solemn pomp she drew
    • Her airy chariot, hung with pearly dew:
    • All birds and beasts lie hush’d: sleep steals away
    • The wild desires of men, and toils of day,
    • And brings, descending thro’ the silent air,
    • A sweet forgetfulness of human care.1903: 481
    • Yet no red clouds, with golden borders gay,
    • Promise the skies the bright return of day;
    • No faint reflections of the distant light
    • Streak with long gleams the scatt’ring shades of night;
    • From the damp earth impervious vapours rise,
    • Increase the darkness, and involve the skies.
    • At once the rushing winds with roaring sound
    • Burst from th’ Æolian caves, and rend the ground;
    • With equal rage their airy quarrel try,1903: 490
    • And win by turns the kingdom of the sky.
    • But with a thicker night black Auster shrouds
    • The heav’ns, and drives on heaps the rolling clouds
    • From whose dark womb a rattling tempest pours,
    • Which the cold north congeals to haily showers:
    • From pole to pole the thunder roars aloud,
    • And broken lightnings flash from every cloud.
    • Now smokes with showers the misty mountain-ground,
    • And floated fields lie undistinguish’d round;
    • Th’ Inachian streams with headlong fury run,1903: 500
    • And Erasinus rolls a deluge on;
    • The foaming Lerna swells above its bounds,
    • And spreads its ancient poisons o’er the grounds;
    • Where late was dust, now rapid torrents play,
    • Rush thro’ the mounds, and bear the dams away;
    • Old limbs of trees, from crackling forests torn,
    • Are whirl’d in air, and on the winds are borne;
    • The storm the dark Lycæan groves display’d,
    • And first to light exposed the sacred shade.
    • Th’ intrepid Theban hears the bursting sky,
    • Sees yawning rocks in massy fragments fly,1903: 511
    • And views astonish’d, from the hills afar,
    • The floods descending, and the wat’ry war,
    • Edition: current; Page: [10]
    • That, driv’n by storms and pouring o’er the plain,
    • Swept herds, and hinds, and houses to the main.
    • Thro’ the brown horrors of the night he fled,
    • Nor knows, amaz’d, what doubtful path to tread;
    • His brother’s image to his mind appears,
    • Inflames his heart with rage, and wings his feet with fears.1903: 519
    • So fares the sailor on the stormy main,
    • When clouds conceal Boötes’ golden wain,
    • When not a star its friendly lustre keeps,
    • Nor trembling Cynthia glimmers on the deeps;
    • He dreads the rocks, and shoals, and seas, and skies,
    • While thunder roars, and lightning round him flies.
    • Thus strove the chief, on ev’ry side distress’d;
    • Thus still his courage with his toils increas’d.
    • With his broad shield opposed, he forced his way
    • Thro’ thickest woods, and rous’d the beasts of prey,1903: 529
    • Till he beheld where from Larissa’s height
    • The shelving walls reflect a glancing light.
    • Thither with haste the Theban hero flies; }
    • On this side Lerna’s pois’nous water lies, }
    • On that Prosymna’s grove and temple rise. }
    • He pass’d the gates which then unguarded lay,
    • And to the regal palace bent his way;
    • On the cold marble, spent with toil, he lies,
    • And waits till pleasing slumbers seal his eyes.
    • Adrastus here his happy people sways,
    • Bless’d with calm peace in his declining days;1903: 540
    • By both his parents of descent divine,
    • Great Jove and Phœbus graced his noble line:
    • Heav’n had not crown’d his wishes with a son,
    • But two fair daughters heir’d his state and throne.
    • To him Apollo (wondrous to relate!
    • But who can pierce into the depths of fate?)
    • Had sung—‘Expect thy sons on Argos’ shore,
    • A yellow lion and a bristly boar.’
    • This long revolv’d in his paternal breast,
    • Sat heavy on his heart, and broke his rest;
    • This, great Amphiaraus! lay hid from thee,1903: 551
    • Tho’ skill’d in fate and dark futurity.
    • The father’s care and prophet’s art were vain,
    • For thus did the predicting God ordain.
    • Lo, hapless Tydeus! whose ill-fated hand
    • Had slain his brother, leaves his native land,
    • And, seiz’d with horror in the shades of night,
    • Thro’ the thick deserts headlong urged his flight:
    • Now by the fury of the tempest driv’n,
    • He seeks a shelter from th’ inclement heav’n,1903: 560
    • Till, led by fate, the Theban’s steps he treads,
    • And to fair Argos’ open courts succeeds.
    • When thus the chiefs from diff’rent lands resort
    • T’ Adrastus’ realms and hospitable court,
    • The King surveys his guests with curious eyes,
    • And views their arms and habit with surprise.
    • A lion’s yellow skin the Theban wears,
    • Horrid his mane, and rough with curling hairs;
    • Such once employ’d Alcides’ youthful toils,
    • Ere yet adorn’d with Nemea’s dreadful spoils.1903: 570
    • A boar’s stiff hide, of Calydonian breed,
    • Oenides’ manly shoulders overspread;
    • Oblique his tusks, erect his bristles stood,
    • Alive the pride and terror of the wood.
    • Struck with the sight, and fix’d in deep amaze,
    • The King th’ accomplish’d oracle surveys,
    • Reveres Apollo’s vocal caves, and owns
    • The guiding godhead and his future sons.
    • O’er all his bosom secret transports reign,
    • And a glad horror shoots thro’ ev’ry vein:
    • To Heav’n he lifts his hands, erects his sight,1903: 581
    • And thus invokes the silent Queen of Night:—
    • ‘Goddess of shades! beneath whose gloomy reign
    • Yon spangled arch glows with the starry train;
    • You who the cares of Heav’n and Earth allay, }
    • Till Nature, quicken’d by th’ inspiring ray, }
    • Wakes to new vigour with the rising day; }
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    • O thou who freest me from my doubtful state,
    • Long lost and wilder’d in the maze of Fate,
    • Be present still, O Goddess! in our aid;
    • Proceed, and ’firm those omens thou hast made.1903: 591
    • We to thy name our annual rites will pay,
    • And on thy altars sacrifices lay;
    • The sable flock shall fall beneath the stroke,
    • And fill thy temples with a grateful smoke.
    • Hail, faithful Tripos! hail, ye dark abodes
    • Of awful Phœbus; I confess the Gods!’
    • Thus, seiz’d with sacred fear, the Monarch pray’d;
    • Then to his inner court the guests convey’d,
    • Where yet thin fumes from dying sparks arise,1903: 600 }
    • And dust yet white upon each altar lies, }
    • The relics of a former sacrifice. }
    • The King once more the solemn rites requires,
    • And bids renew the feasts and wake the fires.
    • His train obey; while all the courts around
    • With noisy care and various tumult sound.
    • Embroider’d purple clothes the golden beds;
    • This slave the floor, and that the table spreads;
    • A third dispels the darkness of the night,
    • And fills depending lamps with beams of light;1903: 610
    • Here loaves in canisters are piled on high,
    • And there in flames the slaughter’d victims fly.
    • Sublime in regal state Adrastus shone,
    • Stretch’d on rich carpets on his ivory throne;
    • A lofty couch receives each princely guest;
    • Around, at awful distance, wait the rest.
    • And now the King, his royal feast to grace,
    • Acestis calls, the guardian of his race,
    • Who first their youth in arts of Virtue train’d,
    • And their ripe years in modest Grace maintain’d;1903: 620
    • Then softly whisper’d in her faithful ear,
    • And bade his daughters at the rites appear.
    • When from the close apartments of the night
    • The royal nymphs approach divinely bright,
    • Such was Diana’s, such Minerva’s face,
    • Nor shine their beauties with superior grace,
    • But that in these a milder charm endears,
    • And less of terror in their looks appears.
    • As on the heroes first they cast their eyes,
    • O’er their fair cheeks the glowing blushes rise;1903: 630
    • Their downcast looks a decent shame confest,
    • Then on their father’s rev’rend features rest.
    • The banquet done, the Monarch gives the sign
    • To fill the goblet high with sparkling wine,
    • Which Danaus used in sacred rites of old,
    • With sculpture graced, and rough with rising gold.
    • Here to the clouds victorious Perseus flies, }
    • Medusa seems to move her languid eyes, }
    • And ev’n in gold, turns paler as she dies: }
    • There from the chase Jove’s towering eagle bears,1903: 640
    • On golden wings, the Phrygian to the stars;
    • Still as he rises in th’ ethereal height,
    • His native mountains lessen to his sight,
    • While all his sad companions upward gaze,
    • Fix’d on the glorious scene in wild amaze,
    • And the swift hounds, affrighted as he flies,
    • Run to the shade, and bark against the skies.
    • This golden bowl with gen’rous juice was crown’d,
    • The first libation sprinkled on the ground;
    • By turns on each celestial Power they call;
    • With Phœbus’ name resounds the vaulted hall.1903: 651
    • The courtly train, the strangers, and the rest,
    • Crown’d with chaste laurel, and with garlands drest,
    • While with rich gums the fuming altars blaze,
    • Salute the God in numerous hymns of praise.
    • Then thus the King: ‘Perhaps, my noble guests,
    • These honour’d altars, and these annual feasts
    • To bright Apollo’s awful name design’d,
    • Unknown, with wonder may perplex your mind.1903: 659
    • Great was the cause: our old solemnities
    • From no blind zeal or fond tradition rise;
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    • But saved from death, our Argives yearly pay
    • These grateful honours to the God of Day.
    • ‘When by a thousand darts the Python slain
    • With orbs unroll’d lay cov’ring all the plain,
    • (Transfix’d as o’er Castalia’s streams he hung,
    • And suck’d new poisons with his triple tongue)
    • To Argos’ realms the victor God resorts,
    • And enters old Crotopus’ humble courts.
    • This rural prince one only daughter bless’d,1903: 670
    • That all the charms of blooming youth possess’d;
    • Fair was her face, and spotless was her mind,
    • Where filial love with virgin sweetness join’d.
    • Happy! and happy still she might have prov’d,
    • Were she less beautiful, or less belov’d!
    • But Phœbus lov’d, and on the flowery side
    • Of Nemea’s stream the yielding Fair enjoy’d.
    • Now ere ten moons their orb with light adorn,
    • Th’ illustrious offspring of the God was born;1903: 679
    • The nymph, her father’s anger to evade,
    • Retires from Argos to the sylvan shade;
    • To woods and wilds the pleasing burden bears,
    • And trusts her infant to a shepherd’s cares.
    • ‘How mean a fate, unhappy child, is thine!
    • Ah! how unworthy those of race divine!
    • On flow’ry herbs in some green covert laid,
    • His bed the ground, his canopy the shade,
    • He mixes with the bleating lambs his cries, }
    • While the rude swain his rural music tries, }
    • To call soft slumbers on his infant eyes. }
    • Yet ev’n in those obscure abodes to live1903: 691
    • Was more, alas! than cruel Fate would give;
    • For on the grassy verdure as he lay,
    • And breathed the freshness of the early day,
    • Devouring dogs the helpless infant tore,
    • Fed on his trembling limbs, and lapp’d the gore.
    • Th’ astonish’d mother, when the rumour came,
    • Forgets her father, and neglects her fame;
    • With loud complaints she fills the yielding air,
    • And beats her breast, and rends her flowing hair;1903: 700
    • Then wild with anguish to her sire she flies,
    • Demands the sentence, and contented dies.
    • ‘But touch’d with sorrow for the dead too late,
    • The raging God prepares t’ avenge her fate.
    • He sends a monster horrible and fell,
    • Begot by furies in the depths of Hell.
    • The pest a virgin’s face and bosom bears; }
    • High on her crown a rising snake appears, }
    • Guards her black front, and hisses in her hairs. }
    • About the realm she walks her dreadful round,1903: 710
    • When night with sable wings o’erspreads the ground,
    • Devours young babes before their parents’ eyes,
    • And feeds and thrives on public miseries.
    • ‘But gen’rous rage the bold Chorœbus warms,
    • Chorœbus! famed for virtue as for arms;
    • Some few like him, inspired with martial flame,
    • Thought a short life well lost for endless fame.
    • These, where two ways in equal parts divide, }
    • The direful monster from afar descried, }
    • Two bleeding babes depending at her side; }
    • Whose panting vitals, warm with life, she draws,1903: 721
    • And in their hearts imbrues her cruel claws.
    • The youths surround her with extended spears;
    • But brave Chorœbus in the front appears;
    • Deep in her breast he plunged his shining sword,
    • And Hell’s dire monster back to Hell restor’d.
    • Th’ Inachians view the slain with vast surprise,
    • Her twisting volumes and her rolling eyes,
    • Her spotted breast and gaping womb imbrued1903: 729
    • With livid poison and our children’s blood.
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    • The crowd in stupid wonder fix’d appear,
    • Pale ev’n in joy, nor yet forget to fear.
    • Some with vast beams the squalid corse engage,
    • And weary all the wild efforts of rage.
    • The birds obscene, that nightly flock’d to taste,
    • With hollow screeches fled the dire repast;
    • And rav’nous dogs, allured by scented blood,
    • And starving wolves, ran howling to the wood.
    • ‘But fired with rage, from cleft Parnassus’ brow1903: 739 }
    • Avenging Phœbus bent his deadly bow, }
    • And hissing flew the feather’d fates below. }
    • A night of sultry clouds involv’d around
    • The towers, the fields, and the devoted ground:
    • And now a thousand lives together fled, }
    • Death with his scythe cut off the fatal thread, }
    • And a whole province in his triumph led. }
    • ‘But Phœbus, ask’d why noxious fires appear
    • And raging Sirius blasts the sickly year,
    • Demands their lives by whom his monster fell,
    • And dooms a dreadful sacrifice to Hell.
    • ‘Bless’d be thy dust, and let eternal fame1903: 751
    • Attend thy Manes, and preserve thy Name,
    • Undaunted Hero! who, divinely brave,
    • In such a cause disdain’d thy life to save,
    • But view’d the shrine with a superior look,
    • And its upbraided godhead thus bespoke:
    • “With Piety, the soul’s securest guard,
    • And conscious Virtue, still its own reward,
    • Willing I come, unknowing how to fear,
    • Nor shalt thou, Phœbus, find a suppliant here:1903: 760
    • Thy monster’s death to me was owed alone,
    • And ’t is a deed too glorious to disown.
    • Behold him here, for whom, so many days,
    • Impervious clouds conceal’d thy sullen rays;
    • For whom, as man no longer claim’d thy care,
    • Such numbers fell by pestilential air!
    • But if th’ abandon’d race of human kind
    • From Gods above no more compassion find;
    • If such inclemency in Heav’n can dwell, }
    • Yet why must unoffending Argos feel1903: 770 }
    • The vengeance due to this unlucky steel? }
    • On me, on me, let all thy fury fall,
    • Nor err from me, since I deserve it all:
    • Unless our desert cities please thy sight,
    • Or funeral flames reflect a grateful light.
    • Discharge thy shafts, this ready bosom rend,
    • And to the shades a ghost triumphant send:
    • But for my country let my fate atone;
    • Be mine the vengeance, as the crime my own.”
    • ‘Merit distress’d impartial Heav’n relieves:1903: 780
    • Unwelcome life relenting Phœbus gives;
    • For not the vengeful Power, that glow’d with rage,
    • With such amazing virtue durst engage.
    • The clouds dispers’d, Apollo’s wrath expired,
    • And from the wond’ring God th’ unwilling youth retired.
    • Thence we these altars in his temple raise,
    • And offer annual honours, feasts, and praise;
    • These solemn feasts propitious Phœbus please;
    • These honours, still renew’d, his ancient wrath appease.
    • ‘But say, illustrious guest! (adjoin’d the King)1903: 790
    • What name you bear, from what high race you spring?
    • The noble Tydeus stands confess’d, and known
    • Our neighbour prince, and heir of Calydon:
    • Relate your fortunes, while the friendly night
    • And silent hours to various talk invite.’
    • The Theban bends on earth his gloomy eyes,
    • Confused, and sadly thus at length replies:—
    • ‘Before these altars how shall I proclaim,
    • O gen’rous Prince! my nation or my name,
    • Or thro’ what veins our ancient blood has roll’d?1903: 800
    • Let the sad tale for ever rest untold!
    • Yet if, propitious to a wretch unknown,
    • You seek to share in sorrows not your own,
    • Know then from Cadmus I derive my race,
    • Edition: current; Page: [14]
    • Jocasta’s son, and Thebes my native place.’
    • To whom the King (who felt his gen’rous breast
    • Touch’d with concern for his unhappy guest)
    • Replies—‘Ah! why forbears the son to name
    • His wretched father, known too well by Fame?
    • Fame, that delights around the world to stray,1903: 810
    • Scorns not to take our Argos in her way.
    • Ev’n those who dwell where suns at distance roll,
    • In northern wilds, and freeze beneath the pole,
    • And those who tread the burning Libyan lands,
    • The faithless Syrtes, and the moving sands;
    • Who view the western sea’s extremest bounds,
    • Or drink of Ganges in their eastern grounds;
    • All these the woes of Œdipus have known,
    • Your fates, your furies, and your haunted town.
    • If on the sons the parents’ crimes descend,
    • What prince from those his lineage can defend?1903: 821
    • Be this thy comfort, that ’t is thine t’ efface, }
    • With virtuous acts, thy ancestors’ disgrace, }
    • And be thyself the honour of thy race. }
    • But see! the stars begin to steal away,
    • And shine more faintly at approaching day;
    • Now pour the wine; and in your tuneful lays
    • Once more resound the great Apollo’s praise.’
    • ‘O father Phœbus! whether Lycia’s coast
    • And snowy mountains thy bright presence boast;1903: 830
    • Whether to sweet Castalia thou repair,
    • And bathe in silver dews thy yellow hair;
    • Or pleas’d to find fair Delos float no more,
    • Delight in Cynthus and the shady shore;
    • Or choose thy seat in Ilion’s proud abodes,
    • The shining structures rais’d by lab’ring Gods:
    • By thee the bow and mortal shafts are borne;
    • Eternal charms thy blooming youth adorn;
    • Skill’d in the laws of secret Fate above,
    • And the dark counsels of almighty Jove.
    • ’T is thine the seeds of future war to know,1903: 841
    • The change of sceptres and impending woe,
    • When direful meteors spread thro’ glowing air
    • Long trails of light, and shake their blazing hair.
    • Thy rage the Phrygian felt, who durst aspire
    • T’ excel the music of thy heav’nly lyre;
    • Thy shafts avenged lewd Tityus’ guilty flame,
    • Th’ immortal victim of thy mother’s fame;
    • Thy hand slew Python, and the dame who lost
    • Her numerous offspring for a fatal boast.
    • In Phlegyas’ doom thy just revenge appears,1903: 851
    • Condemn’d to furies and eternal fears;
    • He views his food, but dreads, with lifted eye,
    • The mould’ring rock that trembles from on high.
    • Propitious hear our prayer, O Power divine!
    • And on thy hospitable Argos shine;
    • Whether the style of Titan please thee more,
    • Whose purple rays th’ Achæmenes adore;
    • Or great Osiris, who first taught the swain
    • In Pharian fields to sow the golden grain;
    • Or Mitra, to whose beams the Persian bows,1903: 861
    • And pays, in hollow rocks, his awful vows;
    • Mitra! whose head the blaze of light adorns,
    • Who grasps the struggling heifer’s lunar horns.’

IMITATIONS OF ENGLISH POETS

These imitations, with the exception of Silence (Lintot, 1712), were not published till 1727. Pope says, however, that they were ‘done as early as the translations, some of them at fourteen and fifteen years old.’ The Happy Life of a Country Parson must have been written later than the rest, as Pope did not know Swift till 1713.

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CHAUCER

    • Women ben full of ragerie,
    • Yet swinken not sans secresie.
    • Thilke Moral shall ye understond,
    • From schoole-boy’s Tale of fayre Irelond;
    • Which to the Fennes hath him betake,
    • To filche the grey Ducke fro the Lake.
    • Right then there passen by the way
    • His Aunt, and eke her Daughters tway.
    • Ducke in his trowses hath he hent,
    • Not to be spied of ladies gent.1903: 10
    • ‘But ho! our Nephew,’ crieth one;
    • ‘Ho!’ quoth another, ‘Cozen John;’
    • And stoppen, and lough, and callen out—
    • This sely Clerke full low doth lout:
    • They asken that, and talken this,
    • ‘Lo, here is Coz, and here is Miss.’
    • But, as he glozeth with speeches soote,
    • The Ducke sore tickleth his Erse-roote:
    • Fore-piece and buttons all-to-brest,
    • Forth thrust a white neck and red crest.1903: 20
    • ‘Te-hee,’ cried ladies; clerke nought spake;
    • Miss stared, and grey Ducke crieth ‘quaake.’
    • ‘O Moder, Moder!’ quoth the Daughter,
    • ‘Be thilke same thing Maids longen a’ter?
    • Bette is to pine on coals and chalke,
    • Then trust on Mon whose yerde can talke.’

SPENSER [ ]
THE ALLEY

    • In ev’ry Town where Thamis rolls his tyde,
    • A narrow pass there is, with houses low,
    • Where ever and anon the stream is eyed,
    • And many a boat soft sliding to and fro:
    • There oft are heard the notes of Infant Woe,
    • The short thick Sob, loud Scream, and shriller Squall:
    • How can ye, Mothers, vex your children so?
    • Some play, some eat, some cack against the wall,
    • And as they crouchen low, for bread and butter call.
    • And on the broken pavement, here and there,
    • Doth many a stinking sprat and herring lie;
    • A brandy and tobacco shop is neare,
    • And hens, and dogs, and hogs, are feeding by;
    • And here a sailor’s jacket hangs to dry.
    • At ev’ry door are sunburnt matrons seen,
    • Mending old nets to catch the scaly fry;
    • Now singing shrill, and scolding eft between;
    • Scolds answer foul-mouth’d Scolds; bad neighbourhood I ween.
    • The snappish cur (the passengers’ annoy)
    • Close at my heel with yelping treble flies;
    • The whimp’ring Girl, and hoarser screaming Boy,
    • Join to the yelping treble shrilling cries;
    • The scolding Quean to louder notes doth rise,
    • And her full pipes those shrilling cries confound;
    • To her full pipes the grunting hog replies;
    • The grunting hogs alarm the neighbours round,
    • And Curs, Girls, Boys, and Scolds, in the deep bass are drown’d.
    • Hard by a sty, beneath a roof of thatch,
    • Dwelt Obloquy, who in her early days
    • Baskets of fish at Billingsgate did watch,
    • Cod, whiting, oyster, mackrel, sprat, or plaice:
    • There learn’d she speech from tongues that never cease.
    • Slander beside her like a magpie chatters,
    • With Envy (spitting cat), dread foe to peace;
    • Like a curs’d cur, Malice before her clatters,
    • And vexing ev’ry wight, tears clothes and all to tatters.
    • Her dugs were mark’d by ev’ry Collier’s hand,
    • Her mouth was black as bull-dogs at the stall:
    • She scratchëd, bit, and spared ne lace ne band,
    • And bitch and rogue her answer was to all.
    • Nay, ev’n the parts of shame by name would call:
    • Yea, when she passed by or lane or nook,
    • Would greet the man who turn’d him to the wall,
    • And by his hand obscene the porter took,
    • Nor ever did askance like modest virgin look.
  • Edition: current; Page: [16]
    • Such place hath Deptford, navy-building town,
    • Woolwich and Wapping, smelling strong of pitch;
    • Such Lambeth, envy of each band and gown,
    • And Twick’nam such, which fairer scenes enrich,
    • Grots, statues, urns, and Jo—n’s dog and bitch.
    • Ne village is without, on either side,
    • All up the silver Thames, or all adown;
    • Ne Richmond’s self, from whose tall front are eyed
    • Vales, spires, meand’ring streams, and Windsor’s tow’ry pride.

WALLER
ON A LADY SINGING TO HER LUTE

  • Fair Charmer, cease! nor make your Voice’s prize
  • A heart resign’d the conquest of your Eyes:
  • Well might, alas! that threaten’d vessel fail,
  • Which winds and lightning both at once assail.
  • We were too bless’d with these enchanting lays,
  • Which must be heav’nly when an Angel plays:
  • But killing charms your lover’s death contrive,
  • Lest heav’nly music should be heard alive.
  • Orpheus could charm the trees; but thus a tree,
  • Taught by your hand, can charm no less than he;
  • A poet made the silent wood pursue;
  • This vocal wood had drawn the poet too.

ON A FAN OF THE AUTHOR’S DESIGN

in which was painted the story of cephalus and procris, with the motto ‘aura veni’

  • Come, gentle air! th’ Æolian shepherd said,
  • While Procris panted in the secret shade;
  • Come, gentle air! the fairer Delia cries,
  • While at her feet her swain expiring lies.
  • Lo, the glad gales o’er all her beauties stray,
  • Breathe on her lips, and in her bosom play;
  • In Delia’s hand this toy is fatal found,
  • Nor could that fabled dart more surely wound:
  • Both gifts destructive to the givers prove;
  • Alike both lovers fall by those they love.
  • Yet guiltless too this bright destroyer lives,
  • At random wounds, nor knows the wounds she gives;
  • She views the story with attentive eyes,
  • And pities Procris while her lover dies.

COWLEY
THE GARDEN

  • Fain would my Muse the flow’ry treasures sing,
  • And humble glories of the youthful Spring;
  • Where op’ning roses breathing sweets diffuse,
  • And soft carnations shower their balmy dews;
  • Where lilies smile in virgin robes of white,
  • The thin undress of superficial light;
  • And varied tulips show so dazzling gay,
  • Blushing in bright diversities of day.
  • Each painted flow’ret in the lake below
  • Surveys its beauties, whence its beauties grow;1903: 10
  • And pale Narcissus, on the bank in vain
  • Transformëd, gazes on himself again.
  • Here aged trees cathedral walks compose,
  • And mount the hill in venerable rows;
  • There the green infants in their beds are laid,
  • The garden’s hope, and its expected shade.
  • Here orange trees with blooms and pendants shine,
  • And Vernal honours to their Autumn join;
  • Exceed their promise in the ripen’d store,
  • Yet in the rising blossom promise more.1903: 20
  • There in bright drops the crystal fountains play,
  • By laurels shielded from the piercing day;
  • Where Daphne, now a tree as once a maid,
  • Still from Apollo vindicates her shade;
  • Still turns her beauties from th’ invading beam,
  • Nor seeks in vain for succour to the stream.
  • Edition: current; Page: [17]
  • The stream at once preserves her virgin leaves,
  • At once a shelter from her boughs receives,
  • Where summer’s beauty midst of winter stays,
  • And winter’s coolness spite of summer’s rays.1903: 30

WEEPING

    • While Celia’s tears make sorrow bright,
    • Proud grief sits swelling in her eyes;
    • The sun, next those the fairest light,
    • Thus from the ocean first did rise:
    • And thus thro’ mists we see the sun,
    • Which else we durst not gaze upon.
    • These silver drops, like morning dew,
    • Foretell the fervor of the day:
    • So from one cloud soft showers we view,
    • And blasting lightnings burst away.
    • The stars that fall from Celia’s eye
    • Declare our doom is drawing nigh.
    • The baby in that sunny sphere
    • So like a Phaëton appears,
    • That Heav’n, the threaten’d world to spare,
    • Thought fit to drown him in her tears;
    • Else might th’ ambitions nymph aspire
    • To set, like him, Heav’n too on fire.

EARL OF ROCHESTER
ON SILENCE

    • Silence! coeval with Eternity,
    • Thou wert ere Nature’s self began to be,
    • ’T was one vast nothing all, and all slept fast in thee.
    • Thine was the sway ere Heav’n was form’d, or earth,
    • Ere fruitful thought conceiv’d Creation’s birth,
    • Or midwife word gave aid, and spoke the infant forth.
    • Then various elements against thee join’d,
    • In one more various animal combin’d,
    • And framed the clam’rous race of busy humankind.
    • The tongue mov’d gently first, and speech was low,
    • Till wrangling Science taught its noise and show,
    • And wicked Wit arose, thy most abusive foe.
    • But rebel Wit deserts thee oft in vain;
    • Lost in the maze of words he turns again,
    • And seeks a surer state, and courts thy gentle reign.
    • Afflicted Sense thou kindly dost set free,
    • Oppress’d with argumental tyranny,
    • And routed Reason finds a safe retreat in thee.
    • With thee in private modest Dulness lies,
    • And in thy bosom lurks in thought’s disguise;
    • Thou varnisher of fools, and cheat of all the wise!
    • Yet thy indulgence is by both confest;
    • Folly by thee lies sleeping in the breast,
    • And ’t is in thee at last that Wisdom seeks for rest.
    • Silence, the knave’s repute, the whore’s good name,
    • The only honour of the wishing dame;
    • The very want of tongue makes thee a kind of Fame.
    • But couldst thou seize some tongues that now are free,
    • How Church and State should be obliged to thee!
    • At Senate and at Bar how welcome wouldst thou be!
    • Yet speech, ev’n there, submissively withdraws
    • From rights of subjects, and the poor man’s cause;
    • Then pompous Silence reigns, and stills the noisy Laws.
    • Past services of friends, good deeds of foes,
    • What fav’rites gain, and what the nation owes,
    • Fly the forgetful world, and in thy arms repose.
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    • The country wit, religion of the town,
    • The courtier’s learning, policy o’ th’ gown,
    • Are best by thee express’d, and shine in thee alone.
    • The parson’s cant, the lawyer’s sophistry,
    • Lord’s quibble, critic’s jest, all end in thee;
    • All rest in peace at last, and sleep eternally.

EARL OF DORSET
ARTEMISIA

    • Tho’ Artemisia talks by fits
    • Of councils, classics, fathers, wits,
    • Reads Malbranche, Boyle, and Locke,
    • Yet in some things methinks she fails:
    • ’T were well if she would pare her nails,
    • And wear a cleaner smock.
    • Haughty and huge as High Dutch bride,
    • Such nastiness and so much pride
    • Are oddly join’d by fate:
    • On her large squab you find her spread,
    • Like a fat corpse upon a bed,
    • That lies and stinks in state.
    • She wears no colours (sign of grace)
    • On any part except her face;
    • All white and black beside:
    • Dauntless her look, her gesture proud,
    • Her voice theatrically loud,
    • And masculine her stride.
    • So have I seen, in black and white,
    • A prating thing, a magpie hight,
    • Majestically stalk;
    • A stately worthless animal,
    • That plies the tongue, and wags the tail,
    • All flutter, pride, and talk.

PHRYNE

    • Phryne had talents for mankind;
    • Open she was and unconfin’d,
    • Like some free port of trade:
    • Merchants unloaded here their freight,
    • And agents from each foreign state
    • Here first their entry made.
    • Her learning and good breeding such,
    • Whether th’ Italian or the Dutch,
    • Spaniards or French, came to her,
    • To all obliging she’d appear;
    • ’T was Si Signior, ’t was Yaw Mynheer,
    • ’T was S’il vous plait, Monsieur.
    • Obscure by birth, renown’d by crimes,
    • Still changing names, religions, climes,
    • At length she turns a bride:
    • In diamonds, pearls, and rich brocades,
    • She shines the first of batter’d jades,
    • And flutters in her pride.
    • So have I known those insects fair
    • (Which curious Germans hold so rare)
    • Still vary shapes and dyes;
    • Still gain new titles with new forms;
    • First grubs obscene, then wriggling worms,
    • Then painted butterflies.

DR. SWIFT
THE HAPPY LIFE OF A COUNTRY PARSON

    • Parson, these things in thy possessing
    • Are better than the bishop’s blessing:
    • A wife that makes conserves; a steed
    • That carries double when there ’s need;
    • October store, and best Virginia,
    • Tythe pig, and mortuary guinea;
    • Gazettes sent gratis down and frank’d,
    • For which thy patron’s weekly thank’d;
    • A large Concordance, bound long since;
    • Sermons to Charles the First, when prince;
    • A Chronicle of ancient standing;
    • A Chrysostom to smooth thy band in;
    • The Polyglott—three parts—my text,
    • Howbeit—likewise—now to my next;
    • Lo here the Septuagint—and Paul,
    • To sum the whole—the close of all.
    • He that has these may pass his life,
    • Drink with the ’Squire, and kiss his wife;
    • On Sundays preach, and eat his fill,
    • And fast on Fridays—if he will;
    • Toast Church and Queen, explain the news,
    • Talk with Churchwardens about pews,
    • Pray heartily for some new gift,
    • And shake his head at Doctor S—t.
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PASTORALS

  • Rura mihi et rigui placeant in vallibus amnes,
  • Flumma amem, sylvasque, inglorius!
  • Virg

The Pastorals, by Pope’s account, were written at sixteen, in 1704. ‘Beyond the fact that he systematically antedated his compositions in order to obtain credit for precocity,’ says Courthope, ‘there is nothing improbable in the statement.’ They were first published in 1709, in Tonson’s Sixth Miscellany. The Discourse on Pastoral Poetry did not appear till the edition of 1717, but is here given the place which he desired for it at the head of the Pastorals: and the original footnotes, referring to critical authorities, are retained.

DISCOURSE ON PASTORAL POETRY

There are not, I believe, a greater number of any sort of verses than of those which are called Pastorals; nor a smaller than of those which are truly so. It therefore seems necessary to give some account of this kind of poem; and it is my design to comprise in this short paper the substance of those numerous dissertations that critics have made on the subject, without omitting any of their rules in my own favour. You will also find some points reconciled, about which they seem to differ, and a few remarks which, I think, have escaped their observation.

The origin of Poetry is ascribed to that age which succeeded the creation of the world: and as the keeping of flocks seems to have been the first employment of mankind, the most ancient sort of poetry was probably pastoral.1 It is natural to imagine, that the leisure of those ancient shepherds admitting and inviting some diversion, none was so proper to that solitary and sedentary life as singing; and that in their songs they took occasion to celebrate their own felicity. From hence a poem was invented, and afterwards improved to a perfect image of that happy time; which, by giving us an esteem for the virtues of a former age, might recommend them to the present. And since the life of shepherds was attended with more tranquillity than any other rural employment, the poets chose to introduce their persons, from whom it received the name of Pastoral.

A Pastoral is an imitation of the action of a shepherd, or one considered under that character. The form of this imitation is dramatic, or narrative, or mixed of both:2 the fable simple, the manners not too polite nor too rustic: the thoughts are plain, yet admit a little quickness and passion, but that short and flowing: the expression humble, yet as pure as the language will afford; neat, but not florid; easy, and yet lively. In short, the fable, manners, thoughts, and expressions are full of the greatest simplicity in nature.

The complete character of this poem consists in simplicity,3 brevity, and delicacy; the two first of which render an eclogue natural, and the last delightful.

If we would copy nature, it may be useful to take this idea along with us, that Pastoral is an image of what they call the golden age: so that we are not to describe our shepherds as shepherds at this day really are, but as they may be conceived then to have been, when the best of men followed the employment. To carry this resemblance yet further, it would not be amiss to give these shepherds some skill in astronomy, as far as it may be useful to that sort of life; and an air of piety to the gods should shine through the poem, which so visibly appears in all the works of antiquity; and it ought to preserve some relish of the old way of writing: the connection should be loose, the narrations and descriptions short,4 and the periods concise. Yet it is not sufficient that the sentences only be brief; the whole eclogue should be so too: for we cannot suppose poetry in those days to have been the business of men, but their recreation at vacant hours.

But, with respect to the present age, nothing more conduces to make these composures natural, than when some knowledge in rural affairs is discovered.5 This may be made to appear rather done by chance than on design, and sometimes is best shown by inference; lest, by too much study to seem natural, we destroy that easy simplicity from whence arises the delight. For what is inviting in this sort of poetry proceeds not so much from the idea of that business, as of the tranquillity of a country life.

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We must therefore use some illusion to render a pastoral delightful; and this consists in exposing the best side only of a shepherd’s life, and in concealing its miseries.1 Nor is it enough to introduce shepherds discoursing together in a natural way; but a regard must be had to the subject; that it contain some particular beauty in itself, and that it be different in every eclogue. Besides, in each of them a designed scene or prospect is to be presented to our view, which should likewise have its variety. This variety is obtained, in a great degree, by frequent comparisons, drawn from the most agreeable objects of the country; by interrogations to things inanimate; by beautiful digressions, but those short; sometimes by insisting a little on circumstances; and, lastly, by elegant turns on the words, which render the numbers extremely sweet and pleasing. As for the numbers themselves, though they are properly of the heroic measure, they should be the smoothest, the most easy and flowing imaginable.

It is by rules like these that we ought to judge of Pastoral. And since the instructions given for any art are to be delivered as that art is in perfection, they must of necessity be derived from those in whom it is acknowledged so to be. It is therefore from the practice of Theocritus and Virgil (the only undisputed authors of Pastoral) that the critics have drawn the foregoing notions concerning it.

Theocritus excels all others in nature and simplicity. The subjects of his Idyllia are purely pastoral; but he is not so exact in his persons, having introduced reapers2 and fishermen as well as shepherds. He is apt to be too long in his descriptions, of which that of the cup in the first pastoral is a remarkable instance. In the manners he seems a little defective, for his swains are sometimes abusive and immodest, and perhaps too much inclining to rusticity; for instance, in his fourth and fifth Idyllia. But it is enough that all others learned their excellences from him, and that his dialect alone has a secret charm in it, which no other could ever attain.

Virgil, who copies Theocritus, refines upon his original; and, in all points where judgment is principally concerned, he is much superior to his master. Though some of his subjects are not pastoral in themselves, but only seem to be such, they have a wonderful variety in them, which the Greek was a stranger to.3 He exceeds him in regularity and brevity, and falls short of him in nothing but simplicity and propriety of style; the first of which, perhaps, was the fault of his age, and the last of his language.

Among the moderns their success has been greatest who have most endeavoured to make these ancients their pattern. The most considerable genius appears in the famous Tasso, and our Spenser. Tasso, in his Aminta, has as far excelled all the pastoral writers, as in his Gierusalemme he has outdone the epic poets of his country. But as this piece seems to have been the original of a new sort of poem, the pastoral comedy, in Italy, it cannot so well be considered as a copy of the ancients. Spenser’s Calendar, in Mr. Dryden’s opinion, is the most complete work of this kind which any nation has produced ever since the time of Virgil.4 Not but that he may be thought imperfect in some few points: his eclogues are somewhat too long, if we compare them with the ancients; he is sometimes too allegorical, and treats of matters of religion in a pastoral style, as the Mantuan had done before him; he has employed the lyric measure, which is contrary to the practice of the old poets; his stanza is not still the same, nor always well chosen. This last may be the reason his expression is sometimes not concise enough; for the tetrastic has obliged him to extend his sense to the length of four lines, which would have been more closely confined in the couplet.

In the manners, thoughts, and characters, he comes near to Theocritus himself; though, notwithstanding all the care he has taken, he is certainly inferior in his dialect: for the Doric had its beauty and propriety in the time of Theocritus; it was used in part of Greece, and frequent in the mouths of many of the greatest persons: whereas the old English and country phrases of Spenser were either entirely obsolete, or spoken only by people of the lowest condition. As there is a difference betwixt simplicity and rusticity, so the expression of simple thoughts should be plain, but not clownish. The addition he has made of a calendar to his eclogues is very beautiful; since by this, besides the general moral of innocence and simplicity, which is common to other authors of Pastoral, he has one peculiar to himself; he compares human life to the several seasons, and at once exposes to his readers a view of the great and little worlds, in their various changes and aspects. Yet the scrupulous division of his pastorals into months has obliged him either to repeat the same description, in other words, for three months together, or, when it was exhausted before, entirely to omit it; whence it comes to pass that some of Edition: current; Page: [21] his eclogues (as the sixth, eighth, and tenth for example) have nothing but their titles to distinguish them. The reason is evident, because the year has not that variety in it to furnish every month with a particular description, as it may every season.

Of the following eclogues I shall only say, that these four comprehend all the subjects which the critics upon Theocritus and Virgil will allow to be fit for Pastoral; that they have as much variety of description, in respect of the several seasons, as Spenser’s; that, in order to add to this variety, the several times of the day are observed, the rural employments in each season or time of day, and the rural scenes or places proper to such employments, not without some regard to the several ages of man, and the different passions proper to each age.

But after all, if they have any merit, it is to be attributed to some good old authors; whose works, as I had leisure to study, so, I hope, I have not wanted care to imitate.

I: SPRING; OR, DAMON[ ]
TO SIR WILLIAM TRUMBULL

    • First in these fields I try the sylvan strains,
    • Nor blush to sport on Windsor’s blissful plains:
    • Fair Thames, flow gently from thy sacred spring,
    • While on thy banks Sicilian Muses sing;
    • Let vernal airs thro’ trembling osiers play,
    • And Albion’s cliffs resound the rural lay.
    • You, that too wise for pride, too good for power,
    • Enjoy the glory to be great no more,
    • And carrying with you all the world can boast,
    • To all the world illustriously are lost!1903: 10
    • O let my Muse her slender reed inspire,
    • Till in your native shades you tune the lyre:
    • So when the nightingale to rest removes,
    • The thrush may chant to the forsaken groves;
    • But charm’d to silence, listens while she sings,
    • And all th’ aërial audience clap their wings.
    • Soon as the flocks shook off the nightly dews,
    • Two swains, whom love kept wakeful, and the Muse,
    • Pour’d o’er the whitening vale their fleecy care,
    • Fresh as the morn, and as the season fair:1903: 20
    • The dawn now blushing on the mountain’s side,
    • Thus Daphnis spoke, and Strephon thus replied:
daphnis.
  • Hear how the birds on ev’ry blooming spray
  • With joyous music wake the dawning day!
  • Why sit we mute, when early linnets sing,
  • When warbling Philomel salutes the spring?
  • Why sit we sad, when Phosphor shines so clear,
  • And lavish Nature paints the purple year?
strephon.
  • Sing, then, and Damon shall attend the strain,
  • While yon slow oxen turn the furrow’d plain.1903: 30
  • Here the bright crocus and blue violet glow;
  • Here western winds on breathing roses blow.
  • I’ll stake yon lamb, that near the fountain plays,
  • And from the brink his dancing shade surveys.
daphnis.
  • And I this bowl, where wanton ivy twines,
  • And swelling clusters bend the curling vines:
  • Four figures rising from the work appear,
  • The various seasons of the rolling year;
  • And what is that, which binds the radiant sky,
  • Where twelve fair signs in beauteous order lie?1903: 40
damon.
  • Then sing by turns, by turns the Muses sing;
  • Now hawthorns blossom, now the daisies spring;
  • Now leaves the trees, and flowers adorn the ground:
  • Begin, the vales shall every note rebound.
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strephon.
  • Inspire me, Phœbus, in my Delia’s praise,
  • With Waller’s strains, or Granville’s moving lays!
  • A milk-white bull shall at your altars stand,
  • That threats a fight, and spurns the rising sand.
daphnis.
  • O Love! for Sylvia let me gain the prize,
  • And make my tongue victorious as her eyes:1903: 50
  • No lambs or sheep for victims I’ll impart,
  • Thy victim, Love, shall be the shepherd’s heart.
strephon.
  • Me gentle Delia beckons from the plain,
  • Then, hid in shades, eludes her eager swain;
  • But feigns a laugh to see me search around,
  • And by that laugh the willing Fair is found.
daphnis.
  • The sprightly Sylvia trips along the green;
  • She runs, but hopes she does not run unseen.
  • While a kind glance at her pursuer flies,
  • How much at variance are her feet and eyes!1903: 60
strephon.
  • O’er golden sands let rich Pactolus flow,
  • And trees weep amber on the banks of Po;
  • Blest Thames’s shores the brightest beauties yield:
  • Feed here, my lambs, I’ll seek no distant field.
daphnis.
  • Celestial Venus haunts Idalia’s groves;
  • Diana Cynthus, Ceres Hybla loves:
  • If Windsor shades delight the matchless maid,
  • Cynthus and Hybla yield to Windsor shade.
strephon.
  • All nature mourns, the skies relent in showers,
  • Hush’d are the birds, and closed the drooping flowers;1903: 70
  • If Delia smile, the flowers begin to spring,
  • The skies to brighten, and the birds to sing.
daphnis.
  • All Nature laughs, the groves are fresh and fair,
  • The sun’s mild lustre warms the vital air;
  • If Sylvia smiles, new glories gild the shore,
  • And vanquish’d Nature seems to charm no more.
strephon.
  • In spring the fields, in autumn hills I love,
  • At morn the plains, at noon the shady grove,
  • But Delia always; absent from her sight,
  • Nor plains at morn, nor groves at noon delight.1903: 80
daphnis.
  • Sylvia’s like autumn ripe, yet mild as May,
  • More bright than noon, yet fresh as early day:
  • Ev’n spring displeases, when she shines not here,
  • But bless’d with her, ’t is spring throughout the year.
strephon.
  • Say, Daphnis, say, in what glad soil appears
  • A wondrous tree, that sacred monarchs bears?
  • Tell me but this, and I’ll disclaim the prize,
  • And give the conquest to thy Sylvia’s eyes.
daphnis.
  • Nay, tell me first, in what more happy fields
  • The thistle springs, to which the lily yields:
  • And then a nobler prize I will resign;1903: 91
  • For Sylvia, charming Sylvia, shall be thine.
damon.
  • Cease to contend; for, Daphnis, I decree
  • The bowl to Strephon, and the lamb to thee.
  • Blest swains, whose nymphs in ev’ry grace excel;
  • Blest nymphs, whose swains those graces sing so well!
  • Now rise, and haste to yonder woodbine bowers,
  • A soft retreat from sudden vernal showers;
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  • The turf with rural dainties shall be crown’d,
  • While opening blooms diffuse their sweets around.1903: 100
  • For see! the gath’ring flocks to shelter tend,
  • And from the Pleiads fruitful showers descend.

II: SUMMER; OR, ALEXIS
TO DR. GARTH

    • A shepherd’s boy (he seeks no better name)
    • Led forth his flocks along the silver Thame,
    • Where dancing sunbeams on the waters play’d
    • And verdant alders form’d a quiv’ring shade.
    • Soft as he mourn’d, the streams forgot to flow,
    • The flocks around a dumb compassion show,
    • The Naiads wept in ev’ry wat’ry bower,
    • And Jove consented in a silent shower.
    • Accept, O Garth! the Muse’s early lays,
    • That adds this wreath of ivy to thy bays;
    • Hear what from love unpractis’d hearts endure,1903: 11
    • From love, the sole disease thou canst not cure.
    • Ye shady beeches, and ye cooling streams,
    • Defence from Phœbus’, not from Cupid’s beams,
    • To you I mourn; nor to the deaf I sing:
    • The woods shall answer, and their echo ring.
    • The hills and rocks attend my doleful lay,
    • Why art thou prouder and more hard than they?
    • The bleating sheep with my complaints agree,
    • They parch’d with heat, and I inflamed by thee.1903: 20
    • The sultry Sirius burns the thirsty plains,
    • While in thy heart eternal Winter reigns.
    • Where stray ye, Muses! in what lawn or grove,
    • While your Alexis pines in hopeless love?
    • In those fair fields where sacred Isis glides,
    • Or else where Cam his winding vales divides?
    • As in the crystal spring I view my face,
    • Fresh rising blushes paint the wat’ry glass;
    • But since those graces please thy eyes no more,
    • I shun the fountains which I sought before.1903: 30
    • Once I was skill’d in ev’ry herb that grew,
    • And ev’ry plant that drinks the morning dew;
    • Ah, wretched shepherd, what avails thy art,
    • To cure thy lambs, but not to heal thy heart!
    • Let other swains attend the rural care,
    • Feed fairer flocks, or richer fleeces shear:
    • But nigh yon mountain let me tune my lays,
    • Embrace my love, and bind my brows with bays.
    • That flute is mine which Colin’s tuneful breath
    • Inspired when living, and bequeath’d in death:1903: 40
    • He said, ‘Alexis, take this pipe, the same
    • That taught the groves my Rosalinda’s name.’
    • But now the reeds shall hang on yonder tree,
    • Forever silent, since despised by thee.
    • Oh! were I made by some transforming power
    • The captive bird that sings within thy bower!
    • Then might my voice thy list’ning ears employ,
    • And I those kisses he receives enjoy.
    • And yet my numbers please the rural throng,
    • Rough satyrs dance, and Pan applauds the song;1903: 50
    • The nymphs, forsaking ev’ry cave and spring,
    • Their early fruit and milk-white turtles bring;
    • Each am’rous nymph prefers her gifts in vain,
    • On you their gifts are all bestow’d again.
    • For you the swains the fairest flowers design,
    • And in one garland all their beauties join;
    • Accept the wreath which you deserve alone,
    • In whom all beauties are comprised in one.
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    • See what delights in sylvan scenes appear!1903: 59
    • Descending Gods have found Elysium here.
    • In woods bright Venus with Adonis stray’d,
    • And chaste Diana haunts the forest-shade.
    • Come, lovely nymph, and bless the silent hours,
    • When swains from shearing seek their nightly bowers;
    • When weary reapers quit the sultry field,
    • And, crown’d with corn, their thanks to Ceres yield.
    • This harmless grove no lurking viper hides,
    • But in my breast the serpent Love abides.
    • Here bees from blossoms sip the rosy dew,
    • But your Alexis knows no sweets but you.
    • O deign to visit our forsaken seats,1903: 71
    • The mossy fountains, and the green retreats!
    • Where’er you walk, cool gales shall fan the glade;
    • Trees, where you sit, shall crowd into a shade;
    • Where’er you tread, the blushing flowers shall rise,
    • And all things flourish where you turn your eyes.
    • O! how I long with you to pass my days,
    • Invoke the Muses, and resound your praise!
    • Your praise the birds shall chant in ev’ry grove,
    • And winds shall waft it to the powers above.1903: 80
    • But would you sing, and rival Orpheus’ strain,
    • The wond’ring forests soon should dance again;
    • The moving mountains hear the powerful call,
    • And headlong streams hang list’ning in their fall!
    • But see, the shepherds shun the noonday heat,
    • The lowing herds to murmuring brooks retreat,
    • To closer shades the panting flocks remove:
    • Ye Gods! and is there no relief for love?
    • But soon the sun with milder rays descends
    • To the cool ocean, where his journey ends.1903: 90
    • On me Love’s fiercer flames forever prey,
    • By night he scorches, as he burns by day.

III: AUTUMN; OR, HYLAS AND ÆGON[ ]
TO MR. WYCHERLEY

    • Beneath the shade a spreading beech displays,
    • Hylas and Ægon sung their rural lays;
    • This mourn’d a faithless, that an absent love,
    • And Delia’s name and Doris’ fill’d the grove.
    • Ye Mantuan Nymphs, your sacred succour bring,
    • Hylas and Ægon’s rural lays I sing.
    • Thou, whom the Nine with Plautus’ wit inspire,
    • The art of Terence, and Menander’s fire;
    • Whose sense instructs us, and whose humour charms,
    • Whose judgment sways us, and whose spirit warms!1903: 10
    • O, skill’d in Nature! see the hearts of swains,
    • Their artless passions, and their tender pains.
    • Now setting Phœbus shone serenely bright,
    • And fleecy clouds were streak’d with purple light;
    • When tuneful Hylas, with melodious moan,
    • Taught rocks to weep, and made the mountains groan.
    • Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs away!
    • To Delia’s ear the tender notes convey.
    • As some sad turtle his lost love deplores,
    • And with deep murmurs fills the sounding shores;1903: 20
    • Thus, far from Delia, to the winds I mourn,
    • Alike unheard, unpitied, and forlorn.
    • Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs along!
    • For her, the feather’d quires neglect their song;
    • For her, the limes their pleasing shades deny;
    • For her, the lilies hang their heads and die.
    • Ye flowers that droop, forsaken by the spring,
    • Ye birds that, left by Summer, cease to sing,
    • Edition: current; Page: [25]
    • Ye trees, that fade when Autumn-heats remove,
    • Say, is not absence death to those who love?1903: 30
    • Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs away!
    • Curs’d be the fields that cause my Delia’s stay!
    • Fade ev’ry blossom, wither ev’ry tree,
    • Die ev’ry flower, and perish all but she!
    • What have I said? Where’er my Delia flies,
    • Let Spring attend, and sudden flowers arise!
    • Let op’ning roses knotted oaks adorn,
    • And liquid amber drop from ev’ry thorn!
    • Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs along!
    • The birds shall cease to tune their ev’ning song,1903: 40
    • The winds to breathe, the waving woods to move,
    • And streams to murmur, ere I cease to love.
    • Not bubbling fountains to the thirsty swain,
    • Not balmy sleep to lab’rers faint with pain,
    • Not showers to larks, nor sunshine to the bee,
    • Are half so charming as thy sight to me.
    • Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs away!
    • Come, Delia, come; ah, why this long delay?
    • Thro’ rocks and caves the name of Delia sounds,
    • Delia, each cave and echoing rock rebounds.1903: 50
    • Ye Powers, what pleasing frenzy soothes my mind!
    • Do lovers dream, or is my Delia kind?
    • She comes, my Delia comes!—Now cease, my lay,
    • And cease, ye gales, to bear my sighs away!
    • Next Ægon sung, while Windsor groves admired:
    • Rehearse, ye Muses, what yourselves inspired.
    • Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful strain!
    • Of perjur’d Doris dying I complain:
    • Here where the mountains, less’ning as they rise,
    • Lose the low vales, and steal into the skies:1903: 60
    • While lab’ring oxen, spent with toil and heat,
    • In their loose traces from the field retreat:
    • While curling smokes from village-tops are seen,
    • And the fleet shades glide o’er the dusky green.
    • Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful lay!
    • Beneath yon poplar oft we pass’d the day:
    • Oft on the rind I carv’d her am’rous vows,
    • While she with garlands hung the bending boughs:
    • The garlands fade, the vows are worn away;
    • So dies her love, and so my hopes decay.
    • Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful strain!1903: 71
    • Now bright Arcturus glads the teeming grain,
    • Now golden fruits on loaded branches shine,
    • And grateful clusters swell with floods of wine;
    • Now blushing berries paint the yellow grove:
    • Just Gods! shall all things yield returns but love?
    • Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful lay!
    • The shepherds cry, ‘Thy flocks are left a prey’—
    • Ah! what avails it me the flocks to keep,
    • Who lost my heart while I preserv’d my sheep!1903: 80
    • Pan came, and ask’d, ‘What magic caus’d my smart,
    • Or what ill eyes malignant glances dart?’
    • What eyes but hers, alas, have power to move!
    • And is there magic but what dwells in love?
    • Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful strains!
    • I’ll fly from shepherds, flocks, and flow’ry plains;
    • From shepherds, flocks, and plains, I may remove,
    • Forsake mankind, and all the world—but Love!
    • I know thee, Love! on foreign mountains bred,
    • Wolves gave thee suck, and savage tigers fed.1903: 90
    • Edition: current; Page: [26]
    • Thou wert from Ætna’s burning entrails torn,
    • Got by fierce whirlwinds, and in thunder born!
    • Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful lay!
    • Farewell, ye woods; adieu the light of day!
    • One leap from yonder cliff shall end my pains,
    • No more, ye hills, no more resound my strains!
    • Thus sung the shepherds till th’ approach of night,
    • The skies yet blushing with departing light,
    • When fallen dews with spangles deck’d the glade,
    • And the low sun had lengthen’d ev’ry shade.1903: 100

IV: WINTER; OR, DAPHNE[ ]
TO THE MEMORY OF MRS. TEMPEST

lycidas.
  • Thyrsis! the music of that murm’ring spring
  • Is not so mournful as the strains you sing;
  • Nor rivers winding thro’ the vales below
  • So sweetly warble, or so smoothly flow.
  • Now sleeping flocks on their soft fleeces lie,
  • The moon, serene in glory, mounts the sky;
  • While silent birds forget their tuneful lays,
  • O sing of Daphne’s fate, and Daphne’s praise!
thyrsis.
  • Behold the groves that shine with silver frost,
  • Their beauty wither’d, and their verdure lost.1903: 10
  • Here shall I try the sweet Alexis’ strain,
  • That call’d the list’ning Dryads to the plain?
  • Thames heard the numbers as he flow’d along,
  • And bade his willows learn the moving song.
lycidas.
  • So may kind rains their vital moisture yield,
  • And swell the future harvest of the field.
  • Begin: this charge the dying Daphne gave,
  • And said, ‘Ye shepherds, sing around my grave!’
  • Sing, while beside the shaded tomb I mourn,
  • And with fresh bays her rural shrine adorn.1903: 20
thyrsis.
    • Ye gentle Muses, leave your crystal spring,
    • Let Nymphs and Sylvans cypress garlands bring:
    • Ye weeping Loves, the stream with myrtles hide,
    • And break your bows, as when Adonis died!
    • And with your golden darts, now useless grown,
    • Inscribe a verse on this relenting stone:
    • ‘Let Nature change, let Heav’n and Earth deplore,
    • Fair Daphne’s dead, and Love is now no more!’
    • ’T is done; and Nature’s various charms decay,
    • See gloomy clouds obscure the cheerful day!1903: 30
    • Now hung with pearls the dropping trees appear,
    • Their faded honours scatter’d on her bier.
    • See, where on earth the flow’ry glories lie,
    • With her they flourish’d, and with her they die.
    • Ah, what avail the beauties Nature wore?
    • Fair Daphne’s dead, and Beauty is no more!
    • For her the flocks refuse their verdant food,
    • The thirsty heifers shun the gliding flood;
    • The silver swans her hapless fate bemoan,
    • In notes more sad than when they sing their own;1903: 40
    • In hollow caves sweet Echo silent lies,
    • Silent, or only to her name replies;
    • Her name with pleasure once she taught the shore;
    • Now Daphne’s dead, and Pleasure is no more!
    • No grateful dews descend from ev’ning skies,
    • Nor morning odours from the flowers arise;
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    • No rich perfumes refresh the fruitful field,
    • Nor fragrant herbs their native incense yield.
    • The balmy zephyrs, silent since her death,
    • Lament the ceasing of a sweeter breath;1903: 50
    • Th’ industrious bees neglect their golden store:
    • Fair Daphne’s dead, and sweetness is no more!
    • No more the mountain larks, while Daphne sings,
    • Shall, list’ning in mid-air, suspend their wings;
    • No more the birds shall imitate her lays,
    • Or, hush’d with wonder, hearken from the sprays;
    • No more the streams their murmurs shall forbear,
    • A sweeter music than their own to hear;
    • But tell the reeds, and tell the vocal shore,
    • Fair Daphne’s dead, and music is no more!1903: 60
    • Her fate is whisper’d by the gentle breeze,
    • And told in sighs to all the trembling trees;
    • The trembling trees, in every plain and wood,
    • Her fate remurmur to the silver flood;
    • The silver flood, so lately calm, appears
    • Swell’d with new passion, and o’erflows with tears;
    • The winds and trees and floods her death deplore,
    • Daphne, our Grief, our Glory now no more!
    • But see! where Daphne wond’ring mounts on high
    • Above the clouds, above the starry sky!1903: 70
    • Eternal beauties grace the shining scene,
    • Fields ever fresh, and groves for ever green!
    • There while you rest in amaranthine bowers,
    • Or from those meads select unfading flowers,
    • Behold us kindly, who your name implore,
    • Daphne, our Goddess, and our Grief no more!
lycidas.
  • How all things listen, while thy Muse complains!
  • Such silence waits on Philomela’s strains,
  • In some still ev’ning, when the whisp’ring breeze
  • Pants on the leaves, and dies upon the trees.1903: 80
  • To thee, bright Goddess, oft a lamb shall bleed,
  • If teeming ewes increase my fleecy breed.
  • While plants their shade, or flowers their odours give,
  • Thy name, thy honour, and thy praise shall live!
thyrsis.
  • But see, Orion sheds unwholesome dews;
  • Arise, the pines a noxious shade diffuse;
  • Sharp Boreas blows, and Nature feels decay,
  • Time conquers all, and we must Time obey.
  • Adieu, ye vales, ye mountains, streams, and groves;
  • Adieu, ye shepherds’ rural lays and loves;
  • Adieu, my flocks; farewell, ye sylvan crew;1903: 91
  • Daphne, farewell; and all the world adieu!
Edition: current; Page: [28]

WINDSOR FOREST[ ]
TO THE RIGHT HON. GEORGE LORD LANSDOWN

  • Non injussa cano:—te nostræ, Vare, myricæ,
  • Te Nemus omne canet: nec Phœbo gratior ulla est,
  • Quam sibi quæ Vari præscripsit pagina nomen.
  • Virg. Ecl. vi. 10-12.

‘This poem,’ says Pope, ‘was written at two different times: the first part of it, which relates to the country, in 1704, at the same time with the Pastorals; the latter part was not added till the year 1713, in which it was published.’ The first 289 lines belong to the earlier date. The rest of the poem, with its celebration of the Peace of Utrecht, was added at the instance of Lord Lansdown, the Granville of the opening lines. The aim was obviously that Pope should do for the peaceful triumph of Utrecht what Addison had done for Marlborough’s victory at Blenheim in 1704. It is printed here because the conclusion was an afterthought, and in spite of it the poem as a whole ‘substantially belongs,’ as Courthope remarks, ‘to the Pastoral period.’ Pope ranked it among his ‘juvenile poems.’

    • Thy forest, Windsor! and thy green retreats,
    • At once the Monarch’s and the Muse’s seats,
    • Invite my lays. Be present, Sylvan Maids!
    • Unlock your springs, and open all your shades.
    • Granville commands: your aid, O Muses, bring!
    • What muse for Granville can refuse to sing?
    • The groves of Eden, vanish’d now so long,
    • Live in description, and look green in song:
    • These, were my breast inspired with equal flame,
    • Like them in Beauty, should be like in Fame.1903: 10
    • Here hills and vales, the woodland and the plain,
    • Here earth and water seem to strive again;
    • Not chaos-like together crush’d and bruis’d,
    • But, as the world, harmoniously confused:
    • Where order in variety we see,
    • And where, tho’ all things differ, all agree.
    • Here waving groves a chequer’d scene display,
    • And part admit, and part exclude the day;
    • As some coy nymph her lover’s warm address
    • Nor quite indulges, nor can quite repress.
    • There, interspers’d in lawns and opening glades,1903: 21
    • Thin trees arise that shun each other’s shades.
    • Here in full light the russet plains extend:
    • There wrapt in clouds the bluish hills ascend.
    • Ev’n the wild heath displays her purple dyes,
    • And ’midst the desert fruitful fields arise,
    • That crown’d with tufted trees and springing corn,
    • Like verdant isles, the sable waste adorn.
    • Let India boast her plants, nor envy we
    • The weeping amber or the balmy tree,1903: 30
    • While by our oaks the precious loads are borne,
    • And realms commanded which those trees adorn.
    • Not proud Olympus yields a nobler sight,
    • Tho’ Gods assembled grace his tow’ring height,
    • Than what more humble mountains offer here,
    • Where, in their blessings, all those Gods appear.
    • See Pan with flocks, with fruits Pomona crown’d,
    • Here blushing Flora paints th’ enamell’d ground,
    • Here Ceres’ gifts in waving prospect stand,
    • And nodding tempt the joyful reaper’s hand;1903: 40
    • Rich Industry sits smiling on the plains,
    • And peace and plenty tell, a Stuart reigns.
    • Not thus the land appear’d in ages past,
    • A dreary desert, and a gloomy waste,
    • To savage beasts and savage laws a prey,
    • And Kings more furious and severe than they;
    • Edition: current; Page: [29]
    • Who claim’d the skies, dispeopled air and floods,
    • The lonely lords of empty wilds and woods:
    • Cities laid waste, they storm’d the dens and caves
    • (For wiser brutes were backward to be slaves);1903: 50
    • What could be free, when lawless beasts obey’d,
    • And ev’n the elements a Tyrant sway’d?
    • In vain kind seasons swell’d the teeming grain,
    • Soft showers distill’d, and suns grew warm in vain:
    • The swain with tears his frustrate labour yields,
    • And famish’d dies amidst his ripen’d fields.
    • What wonder then, a beast or subject slain
    • Were equal crimes in a despotic reign?
    • Both doom’d alike, for sportive tyrants bled,
    • But while the subject starv’d, the beast was fed.1903: 60
    • Proud Nimrod first the bloody chase began,
    • A mighty hunter, and his prey was man:
    • Our haughty Norman boasts that barb’rous name,
    • And makes his trembling slaves the royal game.
    • The fields are ravish’d from th’ industrious swains,
    • From men their cities, and from Gods their fanes;
    • The levell’d towns with weeds lie cover’d o’er;
    • The hollow winds thro’ naked temples roar;1903: 68
    • Round broken columns clasping ivy twin’d;
    • O’er heaps of ruin stalk’d the stately hind;
    • The fox obscene to gaping tombs retires,
    • And savage howlings fill the sacred quires.
    • Aw’d by his nobles, by his commons curst,
    • Th’ Oppressor ruled tyrannic where he durst,
    • Stretch’d o’er the poor and church his iron rod,
    • And serv’d alike his vassals and his God.
    • Whom ev’n the Saxon spar’d, and bloody Dane,
    • The wanton victims of his sport remain.
    • But see, the man who spacious regions gave
    • A waste for beasts, himself denied a grave!1903: 80
    • Stretch’d on the lawn his second hope survey,
    • At once the chaser, and at once the prey!
    • Lo Rufus, tugging at the deadly dart,
    • Bleeds in the forest like a wounded hart!
    • Succeeding monarchs heard the subjects’ cries,
    • Nor saw displeas’d the peaceful cottage rise:
    • Then gath’ring flocks on unknown mountains fed,
    • O’er sandy wilds were yellow harvests spread,
    • The forest wonder’d at th’ unusual grain,
    • And secret transports touch’d the conscious swain.1903: 90
    • Fair Liberty, Britannia’s Goddess, rears
    • Her cheerful head, and leads the golden years.
    • Ye vig’rous Swains! while youth ferments your blood,
    • And purer spirits swell the sprightly flood,
    • Now range the hills, the gameful woods beset,
    • Wind the shrill horn, or spread the waving net.
    • When milder Autumn Summer’s heat succeeds,
    • And in the new-shorn field the partridge feeds,
    • Before his lord the ready spaniel bounds,
    • Panting with hope, he tries the furrow’d grounds;1903: 100
    • But when the tainted gales the game betray,
    • Couch’d close he lies, and meditates the prey;
    • Secure they trust th’ unfaithful field beset,
    • Till hov’ring o’er them sweeps the swelling net.
    • Thus (if small things we may with great compare)
    • When Albion sends her eager sons to war,
    • Some thoughtless town, with ease and plenty blest,
    • Near, and more near, the closing lines invest;
    • Sudden they seize th’ amaz’d, defenceless prize,
    • And high in air Britannia’s standard flies.
    • See! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs,1903: 111
    • And mounts exulting on triumphant wings:
    • Short is his joy; he feels the fiery wound,
    • Flutters in blood, and panting beasts the ground.
    • Ah! what avail his glossy, varying dyes,
    • His purple crest, and scarlet-circled eyes,
    • Edition: current; Page: [30]
    • The vivid green his shining plumes unfold,
    • His painted wings, and breast that flames with gold?
    • Nor yet, when moist Arcturus clouds the sky,
    • The woods and fields their pleasing toils deny.1903: 120
    • To plains with well-breathed beagles we repair,
    • And trace the mazes of the circling hare
    • (Beasts, urged by us, their fellow beasts pursue,
    • And learn of man each other to undo).
    • With slaught’ring guns th’ unwearied fowler roves,
    • When frosts have whiten’d all the naked groves,
    • Where doves in flocks the leafless trees o’ershade,
    • And lonely woodcocks haunt the wat’ry glade.
    • He lifts the tube, and levels with his eye;
    • Straight a short thunder breaks the frozen sky:1903: 130
    • Oft, as in airy rings they skim the heath,
    • The clam’rous lapwings feel the leaden death;
    • Oft, as the mounting larks their notes prepare,
    • They fall, and leave their little lives in air.
    • In genial Spring, beneath the quiv’ring shade,
    • Where cooling vapours breathe along the mead,
    • The patient fisher takes his silent stand,
    • Intent, his angle trembling in his hand:
    • With looks unmov’d, he hopes the scaly breed,
    • And eyes the dancing cork and bending reed.1903: 140
    • Our plenteous streams a various race supply,
    • The bright-eyed perch with fins of Tyrian dye,
    • The silver eel, in shining volumes roll’d,
    • The yellow carp, in scales bedropp’d with gold,
    • Swift trouts, diversified with crimson stains,
    • And pikes, the tyrants of the wat’ry plains.
    • Now Cancer glows with Phœbus’ fiery car:
    • The youth rush eager to the sylvan war,
    • Swarm o’er the lawns, the forest walks surround,
    • Rouse the fleet hart, and cheer the opening hound.1903: 150
    • Th’ impatient courser pants in every vein,
    • And, pawing, seems to beat the distant plain:
    • Hills, vales, and floods appear already cross’d,
    • And ere he starts, a thousand steps are lost.
    • See the bold youth strain up the threat’ning steep,
    • Rush thro’ the thickets, down the valleys sweep,
    • Hang o’er their coursers’ heads with eager speed,
    • And earth rolls back beneath the flying steed.
    • Let old Arcadia boast her ample plain,
    • Th’ immortal huntress, and her virgin train;1903: 160
    • Nor envy, Windsor! since thy shades have seen
    • As bright a Goddess, and as chaste a Queen;
    • Whose care, like hers, protects the sylvan reign,
    • The earth’s fair light, and Empress of the Main.
    • Here too, ’t is sung, of old Diana stray’d,
    • And Cynthus’ top forsook for Windsor shade;
    • Here was she seen o’er airy wastes to rove,
    • Seek the clear spring, or haunt the pathless grove;
    • Here arm’d with silver bows, in early dawn,
    • Her buskin’d virgins traced the dewy lawn.1903: 170
    • Above the rest a rural nymph was famed,
    • Thy offspring, Thames! the fair Lodona named
    • (Lodona’s fate, in long oblivion cast,
    • The Muse shall sing, and what she sings shall last).
    • Scarce could the Goddess from her nymph be known
    • But by the crescent and the golden zone.
    • She scorn’d the praise of beauty, and the care;
    • A belt her waist, a fillet binds her hair;
    • A painted quiver on her shoulder sounds,
    • And with her dart the flying deer she wounds.1903: 180
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    • It chanced as, eager of the chase, the maid
    • Beyond the forest’s verdant limits stray’d,
    • Pan saw and lov’d, and, burning with desire,
    • Pursued her flight; her flight increas’d his fire.
    • Not half so swift the trembling doves can fly,
    • When the fierce eagle cleaves the liquid sky;
    • Not half so swiftly the fierce eagle moves,
    • When thro’ the clouds he drives the trembling doves:
    • As from the God she flew with furious pace,
    • Or as the God, more furious, urged the chase.1903: 190
    • Now fainting, sinking, pale, the Nymph appears;
    • Now close behind, his sounding steps she hears;
    • And now his shadow reach’d her as she run,
    • His shadow lengthen’d by the setting sun;
    • And now his shorter breath, with sultry air,
    • Pants on her neck, and fans her parting hair.
    • In vain on Father Thames she calls for aid,
    • Nor could Diana help her injur’d maid.
    • Faint, breathless, thus she pray’d, nor pray’d in vain:
    • ‘Ah, Cynthia! ah—tho’ banish’d from thy train,1903: 200
    • Let me, O let me, to the shades repair,
    • My native shades—there weep, and murmur there!’
    • She said, and melting as in tears she lay,
    • In a soft silver stream dissolv’d away.
    • The silver stream her virgin coldness keeps,
    • For ever murmurs, and for ever weeps;
    • Still bears the name the hapless virgin bore,
    • And bathes the forest where she ranged before.
    • In her chaste current oft the Goddess laves,
    • And with celestial tears augments the waves.1903: 210
    • Oft in her glass the musing shepherd spies
    • The headlong mountains and the downward skies;
    • The wat’ry landscape of the pendent woods,
    • And absent trees that tremble in the floods:
    • In the clear azure gleam the flocks are seen,
    • And floating forests paint the waves with green;
    • Thro’ the fair scene roll slow the ling’ring streams,
    • Then foaming pour along, and rush into the Thames.
    • Thou, too, great Father of the British Floods!
    • With joyful pride survey’st our lofty woods;1903: 220
    • Where tow’ring oaks their growing honours rear,
    • And future navies on thy shores appear.
    • Not Neptune’s self from all his streams receives
    • A wealthier tribute than to thine he gives.
    • No seas so rich, so gay no banks appear,
    • No lake so gentle, and no spring so clear.
    • Nor Po so swells the fabling poet’s lays,
    • While led along the skies his current strays,
    • As thine, which visits Windsor’s famed abodes,
    • To grace the mansion of our earthly Gods:
    • Nor all his stars above a lustre show,1903: 231
    • Like the bright beauties on thy banks below;
    • Where Jove, subdued by mortal passion still,
    • Might change Olympus for a nobler hill.
    • Happy the man whom this bright court approves,
    • His Sov’reign favours, and his Country loves:
    • Happy next him, who to these shades retires,
    • Whom Nature charms, and whom the Muse inspires:
    • Whom humbler joys of home-felt quiet please,
    • Successive study, exercise, and ease.1903: 240
    • He gathers health from herbs the forest yields,
    • And of their fragrant physic spoils the fields:
    • With chemic art exalts the mineral powers,
    • And draws the aromatic souls of flowers:
    • Now marks the course of rolling orbs on high;
    • O’er figured worlds now travels with his eye;
    • Of ancient writ unlocks the learned store,
    • Consults the dead, and lives past ages o’er:
    • Edition: current; Page: [32]
    • Or wand’ring thoughtful in the silent wood,
    • Attends the duties of the wise and good,1903: 250
    • T’ observe a mean, be to himself a friend,
    • To follow Nature, and regard his end;
    • Or looks on Heav’n with more than mortal eyes,
    • Bids his free soul expatiate in the skies,
    • Amid her kindred stars familiar roam,
    • Survey the region, and confess her home!
    • Such was the life great Scipio once admired:—
    • Thus Atticus, and Trumbull thus retired.
    • Ye sacred Nine! that all my soul possess,
    • Whose raptures fire me, and whose visions bless,1903: 260
    • Bear me, O bear me to sequester’d scenes,
    • The bowery mazes, and surrounding greens;
    • To Thames’s banks, which fragrant breezes fill,
    • Or where ye Muses sport on Cooper’s hill.
    • (On Cooper’s hill eternal wreaths shall grow,
    • While lasts the mountain, or while Thames shall flow.)
    • I seem thro’ consecrated walks to rove;
    • I hear soft music die along the grove:
    • Led by the sound, I roam from shade to shade,
    • By godlike Poets venerable made:1903: 270
    • Here his first lays majestic Denham sung;
    • There the last numbers flow’d from Cowley’s tongue.
    • Oh early lost! what tears the river shed,
    • When the sad pomp along his banks was led!
    • His drooping swans on every note expire,
    • And on his willows hung each Muse’s lyre.
    • Since Fate relentless stopp’d their heav’nly voice,
    • No more the forests ring, or groves rejoice;
    • Who now shall charm the shades where Cowley strung
    • His living harp, and lofty Denham sung?
    • But hark! the groves rejoice, the forest rings!1903: 281
    • Are these revived, or is it Granville sings?
    • ’T is yours, my Lord, to bless our soft retreats,
    • And call the Muses to their ancient seats;
    • To paint anew the flowery sylvan scenes,
    • To crown the forests with immortal greens,
    • Make Windsor-hills in lofty numbers rise,
    • And lift her turrets nearer to the skies;
    • To sing those honours you deserve to wear,
    • And add new lustre to her silver star!1903: 290
    • Here noble Surrey felt the sacred rage,
    • Surrey, the Granville of a former age:
    • Matchless his pen, victorious was his lance,
    • Bold in the lists, and graceful in the dance:
    • In the same shades the Cupids tuned his lyre,
    • To the same notes of love and soft desire;
    • Fair Geraldine, bright object of his vow,
    • Then fill’d the groves, as heav’nly Mira now.
    • Oh wouldst thou sing what heroes Windsor bore,
    • What Kings first breathed upon her winding shore,1903: 300
    • Or raise old warriors, whose ador’d remains
    • In weeping vaults her hallow’d earth contains!
    • With Edward’s acts adorn the shining page,
    • Stretch his long triumphs down thro’ every age,
    • Draw Monarchs chain’d, and Cressi’s glorious field,
    • The lilies blazing on the regal shield:
    • Then, from her roofs when Verrio’s colours fall,
    • And leave inanimate the naked wall,
    • Still in thy song should vanquish’d France appear,
    • And bleed for ever under Britain’s spear.1903: 310
    • Let softer strains ill-fated Henry mourn,
    • And palms eternal flourish round his urn.
    • Here o’er the martyr-king the marble weeps,
    • And, fast beside him, once-fear’d Edward sleeps,
    • Whom not th’ extended Albion could contain,
    • From old Bellerium to the northern main;
    • The grave unites; where ev’n the great find rest,
    • And blended lie th’ oppressor and th’ opprest!
    • Make sacred Charles’s tomb for ever known
    • (Obscure the place, and uninscribed the stone);1903: 320
    • Oh fact accurs’d! what tears has Albion shed,
    • Heav’ns! what new wounds! and how her old have bled!
    • She saw her sons with purple death expire,
    • Her sacred domes involv’d in rolling fire,
    • A dreadful series of intestine wars,
    • Inglorious triumphs, and dishonest scars.
    • Edition: current; Page: [33]
    • At length great Anna said, ‘Let discord cease!’
    • She said! the world obey’d, and all was peace!
    • In that blest moment from his oozy bed
    • Old father Thames advanced his rev’rend head;1903: 330
    • His tresses dropp’d with dews, and o’er the stream
    • His shining horns diffused a golden gleam:
    • Graved on his urn appear’d the moon, that guides
    • His swelling waters and alternate tides;
    • The figured streams in waves of silver roll’d,
    • And on her banks Augusta rose in gold.
    • Around his throne the sea-born brothers stood,
    • Who swell with tributary urns his flood:1903: 338
    • First the famed authors of his ancient name;
    • The winding Isis, and the fruitful Thame;
    • The Kennet swift, for silver eels renown’d;
    • The Lodden slow, with verdant alders crown’d;
    • Cole, whose dark streams his flowery islands lave;
    • And chalky Wey, that rolls a milky wave:
    • The blue, transparent Vandalis appears;
    • The gulfy Lee his sedgy tresses rears;
    • And sullen Mole, that hides his diving flood;
    • And silent Darent, stain’d with Danish blood.
    • High in the midst, upon his urn reclin’d
    • (His sea-green mantle waving with the wind),1903: 350
    • The God appear’d: he turn’d his azure eyes
    • Where Windsor-domes and pompous turrets rise;
    • Then bow’d and spoke; the winds forget to roar,
    • And the hush’d waves glide softly to the shore.
    • ‘Hail, sacred Peace! hail, long-expected days,
    • That Thames’s glory to the stars shall raise!
    • Tho’ Tiber’s streams immortal Rome behold,
    • Tho’ foaming Hermus swells with tides of gold,
    • From Heav’n itself tho’ sev’nfold Nilus flows,
    • And harvests on a hundred realms bestows;
    • These now no more shall be the Muse’s themes,1903: 361
    • Lost in my fame, as in the sea their streams.
    • Let Volga’s banks with iron squadrons shine,
    • And groves of lances glitter on the Rhine;
    • Let barb’rous Ganges arm a servile train,
    • Be mine the blessings of a peaceful reign.
    • No more my sons shall dye with British blood
    • Red Iber’s sands, or Ister’s foaming flood:
    • Safe on my shore each unmolested swain
    • Shall tend the flocks, or reap the bearded grain;1903: 370
    • The shady empire shall retain no trace
    • Of war or blood, but in the sylvan chase;
    • The trumpet sleep, while cheerful horns are blown,
    • And arms employ’d on birds and beasts alone.
    • Behold! th’ ascending villas on my side
    • Project long shadows o’er the crystal tide;
    • Behold! Augusta’s glitt’ring spires increase,
    • And temples rise, the beauteous works of Peace.
    • I see, I see, where two fair cities bend
    • Their ample bow, a new Whitehall ascend!
    • There mighty nations shall inquire their doom,1903: 381
    • The world’s great oracle in times to come;
    • There Kings shall sue, and suppliant states be seen
    • Once more to bend before a British Queen.
    • ‘Thy trees, fair Windsor! now shall leave their woods,
    • And half thy forests rush into my floods,
    • Bear Britain’s thunder, and her cross display
    • To the bright regions of the rising day;
    • Tempt icy seas, where scarce the waters roll,
    • Where clearer flames glow round the frozen pole;1903: 390
    • Or under southern skies exalt their sails,
    • Led by new stars, and borne by spicy gales!
    • For me the balm shall bleed, and amber flow,
    • The coral redden, and the ruby glow,
    • The pearly shell its lucid globe infold,
    • Edition: current; Page: [34]
    • And Phœbus warm the ripening ore to gold.
    • The time shall come, when, free as seas or wind,
    • Unbounded Thames shall flow for all mankind,
    • Whole nations enter with each swelling tide,
    • And seas but join the regions they divide;
    • Earth’s distant ends our glory shall behold,1903: 401
    • And the new world launch forth to seek the old.
    • Then ships of uncouth form shall stem the tide,
    • And feather’d people crowd my wealthy side;
    • And naked youths and painted chiefs admire
    • Our speech, our color, and our strange attire!
    • O stretch thy reign, fair Peace! from shore to shore,
    • Till conquest cease, and slavery be no more;
    • Till the freed Indians in their native groves
    • Reap their own fruits, and woo their sable loves;1903: 410
    • Peru once more a race of kings behold,
    • And other Mexicos be roof’d with gold.
    • Exiled by thee from earth to deepest Hell,
    • In brazen bonds shall barb’rous Discord dwell:
    • Gigantic Pride, pale Terror, gloomy Care,
    • And mad Ambition shall attend her there:
    • There purple Vengeance, bathed in gore, retires,
    • Her weapons blunted, and extinct her fires:
    • There hated Envy her own snakes shall feel,
    • And Persecution mourn her broken wheel:
    • There Faction roar, Rebellion bite her chain,1903: 421
    • And gasping Furies thirst for blood in vain.’
    • Here cease thy flight, nor with unhallow’d lays
    • Touch the fair fame of Albion’s golden days:
    • The thoughts of Gods let Granville’s verse recite,
    • And bring the scenes of opening fate to light.
    • My humble Muse, in unambitious strains,
    • Paints the green forests and the flowery plains,
    • Where Peace descending bids her olives spring,
    • And scatters blessings from her dovelike wing.1903: 430
    • Ev’n I more sweetly pass my careless days,
    • Pleas’d in the silent shade with empty praise;
    • Enough for me that to the list’ning swains
    • First in these fields I sung the sylvan strains.
Edition: current; Page: [35]

PARAPHRASES FROM CHAUCER

JANUARY AND MAY: OR, THE MERCHANT’S TALE

Pope says that this ‘translation’ was done at sixteen or seventeen years of age. It was first published, with the Pastorals, in 1709, in Tonson’s sixth Miscellany. Eventually Pope grouped the Chaucer imitations with Eloisa to Abelard, the translations from Ovid and Statius and the brief Imitations of English Poets. To this collection be prefixed this Advertisement:—

‘The following Translations were selected from many others done by the Author in his youth; for the most part indeed but a sort of Exercises, while he was improving himself in the Languages, and carried by his early bent to Poetry to perform them rather in Verse than Prose. Mr. Dryden’s Fables came out about that time, which occasioned the Translations from Chaucer. They were first separately printed in Miscellanies by J. Tonson and B. Lintot, and afterwards collected in the Quarto Edition of 1717. The Imitations of English Authors, which are added at the end, were done as early, some of them at fourteen or fifteen years old; but having also got into Miscellanies, we have put them here together to complete this Juvenile Volume.’

Warburton asserts that Pope did not intend to include this group of poems in the final edition of his works.

    • There liv’d in Lombardy, as authors write,
    • In days of old, a wise and worthy Knight;
    • Of gentle manners, as of gen’rous race,
    • Blest with much sense, more riches, and some grace:
    • Yet, led astray by Venus’ soft delights,
    • He scarce could rule some idle appetites:
    • For long ago, let priests say what they could,
    • Weak sinful laymen were but flesh and blood.
    • But in due time, when sixty years were o’er,1903: 9
    • He vow’d to lead this vicious life no more;
    • Whether pure holiness inspired his mind,
    • Or dotage turn’d his brain, is hard to find;
    • But his high courage prick’d him forth to wed,
    • And try the pleasures of a lawful bed.
    • This was his nightly dream, his daily care,
    • And to the heav’nly Powers his constant prayer,
    • Once, ere he died, to taste the blissful life
    • Of a kind husband and a loving wife.
    • These thoughts he fortified with reasons still
    • (For none want reasons to confirm their will).1903: 20
    • Grave authors say, and witty poets sing,
    • That honest wedlock is a glorious thing:
    • But depth of judgment most in him appears
    • Who wisely weds in his maturer years.
    • Then let him choose a damsel young and fair,
    • To bless his age, and bring a worthy heir;
    • To soothe his cares, and, free from noise and strife,
    • Conduct him gently to the verge of life.
    • Let sinful bachelors their woes deplore,
    • Full well they merit all they feel, and more:1903: 30
    • Unaw’d by precepts, human or divine,
    • Like birds and beasts, promiscuously they join;
    • Nor know to make the present blessing last,
    • To hope the future, or esteem the past;
    • But vainly boast the joys they never tried,
    • And find divulged the secrets they would hide.
    • The married man may bear his yoke with ease,
    • Secure at once himself and Heav’n to please;
    • And pass his inoffensive hours away,
    • In bliss all night, and innocence all day:1903: 40
    • Tho’ fortune change, his constant spouse remains,
    • Augments his joys, or mitigates his pains.
    • But what so pure which envious tongues will spare?
    • Some wicked Wits have libell’d all the Fair.
    • With matchless impudence they style a wife
    • The dear-bought curse and lawful plague of life,
    • A bosom serpent, a domestic evil,
    • A night-invasion, and a midday-devil.
    • Edition: current; Page: [36]
    • Let not the wise these sland’rous words regard,
    • But curse the bones of ev’ry lying bard.1903: 50
    • All other goods by Fortune’s hand are giv’n,
    • A wife is the peculiar gift of Heav’n.
    • Vain Fortune’s favours, never at a stay,
    • Like empty shadows pass and glide away;
    • One solid comfort, our eternal wife,
    • Abundantly supplies us all our life:
    • This blessing lasts (if those who try say true)
    • As long as heart can wish—and longer too.
    • Our grandsire Adam, ere of Eve possess’d,
    • Alone, and ev’n in Paradise unbless’d,1903: 60
    • With mournful looks the blissful scene survey’d,
    • And wander’d in the solitary shade.
    • The Maker saw, took pity, and bestow’d
    • Woman, the last, the best reserv’d of God.
    • A Wife! ah gentle Deities! can he
    • That has a wife e’er feel adversity?
    • Would men but follow what the sex advise,
    • All things would prosper, all the world grow wise.
    • ’T was by Rebecca’s aid that Jacob won
    • His father’s blessing from an elder son:1903: 70
    • Abusive Nabal ow’d his forfeit life
    • To the wise conduct of a prudent wife:
    • Heroic Judith, as old Hebrews show,
    • Preserv’d the Jews, and slew th’ Assyrian foe:
    • At Hester’s suit the persecuting sword
    • Was sheath’d, and Israel liv’d to bless the Lord.
    • These weighty motives January the sage
    • Maturely ponder’d in his riper age;
    • And charm’d with virtuous joys, and sober life,
    • Would try that Christian comfort call’d a wife.1903: 80
    • His friends were summon’d on a point so nice
    • To pass their judgment, and to give advice;
    • But fix’d before, and well resolv’d was he
    • (As men that ask advice are wont to be).
    • ‘My friends,’ he cried (and cast a mournful look
    • Around the room, and sigh’d before he spoke),
    • ‘Beneath the weight of threescore years I bend,
    • And, worn with cares, am hastening to my end.
    • How I have liv’d, alas! you know too well—
    • In worldly follies which I blush to tell;1903: 90
    • But gracious Heav’n has oped my eyes at last,
    • With due regret I view my vices past,
    • And, as the precept of the church decrees,
    • Will take a wife, and live in holy ease.
    • But since by counsel all things should be done,
    • And many heads are wiser still than one;
    • Choose you for me, who best shall be content
    • When my desire’s approv’d by your consent.
    • ‘One caution yet is needful to be told,
    • To guide your choice; this wife must not be old:1903: 100
    • There goes a saying, and ’t was shrewdly said,
    • Old fish at table, but young flesh in bed.
    • My soul abhors the tasteless dry embrace
    • Of a stale virgin with a winter face:
    • In that cold season Love but treats his guest
    • With bean-straw, and tough forage at the best.
    • No crafty widows shall approach my bed;
    • Those are too wise for bachelors to wed.
    • As subtle clerks by many schools are made,
    • Twice married dames are mistresses o’ th’ trade:1903: 110
    • But young and tender virgins, ruled with ease,
    • We form like wax, and mould them as we please.
    • ‘Conceive me, Sirs, nor take my sense amiss;
    • ’T is what concerns my soul’s eternal bliss;
    • Since if I found no pleasure in my spouse,
    • As flesh is frail, and who (God help me) knows?
    • Then should I live in lewd adultery,
    • And sink downright to Satan when I die:
    • Or were I curs’d with an unfruitful bed,
    • The righteous end were lost for which I wed;1903: 120
    • To raise up seed to bless the Powers above,
    • And not for pleasure only, or for love.
    • Think not I dote; ’t is time to take a wife,
    • When vig’rous blood forbids a chaster life:
    • Edition: current; Page: [37]
    • Those that are blest with store of grace divine,
    • May live like saints by Heav’n’s consent and mine.
    • ‘And since I speak of wedlock, let me say,
    • (As, thank my stars, in modest truth I may)
    • My limbs are active, still I’m sound at heart,
    • And a new vigour springs in ev’ry part.1903: 130
    • Think not my virtue lost, tho’ time has shed
    • These rev’rend honours on my hoary head:
    • Thus trees are crown’d with blossoms white as snow,
    • The vital sap then rising from below.
    • Old as I am, my lusty limbs appear
    • Like winter-greens, that flourish all the year.
    • Now, Sirs, you know to what I stand inclin’d,
    • Let ev’ry friend with freedom speak his mind.’
    • He said; the rest in diff’rent parts divide;
    • The knotty point was urged on either side:1903: 140
    • Marriage, the theme on which they all declaim’d,
    • Some prais’d with wit, and some with reason blamed.
    • Till, what with proofs, objections, and replies,
    • Each wondrous positive and wondrous wise,
    • There fell between his brothers a debate:
    • Placebo this was call’d, and Justin that.
    • First to the knight Placebo thus begun,
    • (Mild were his looks, and pleasing was his tone)
    • ‘Such prudence, Sir, in all your words appears,
    • As plainly proves Experience dwells with years!1903: 150
    • Yet you pursue sage Solomon’s advice,
    • To work by counsel when affairs are nice:
    • But, with the wise man’s leave, I must protest, }
    • So may my soul arrive at ease and rest, }
    • As still I hold your own advice the best. }
    • ‘Sir, I have liv’d a courtier all my days,
    • And studied men, their manners, and their ways;
    • And have observ’d this useful maxim still,
    • To let my betters always have their will.
    • ‘Nay, if my lord affirm’d that black was white,1903: 160
    • My word was this, “Your Honour’s in the right.”
    • Th’ assuming Wit, who deems himself so wise
    • As his mistaken patron to advise,
    • Let him not dare to vent his dangerous thought;
    • A noble fool was never in a fault.
    • This, Sir, affects not you, whose ev’ry word
    • Is weigh’d with judgment, and befits a Lord:
    • Your will is mine; and is (I will maintain)
    • Pleasing to God, and should be so to Man;
    • At least your courage all the world must praise,1903: 170
    • Who dare to wed in your declining days.
    • Indulge the vigour of your mounting blood,
    • And let gray fools be indolently good,
    • Who, past all pleasure, damn the joys of sense,
    • With rev’rend Dulness and grave Impotence.’
    • Justin, who silent sate, and heard the man,
    • Thus with a philosophic frown began:
    • ‘A heathen author, of the first degree,
    • (Who, tho’ not Faith, had Sense as well as we)1903: 179
    • Bids us be certain our concerns to trust
    • To those of gen’rous principles and just.
    • The venture’s greater, I’ll presume to say,
    • To give your person, than your goods away:
    • And therefore, Sir, as you regard your rest,
    • First learn your lady’s qualities at least:
    • Whether she’s chaste or rampant, proud or civil,
    • Meek as a saint, or haughty as the devil;
    • Whether an easy, fond, familiar Fool,
    • Or such a Wit as no man e’er can rule.
    • ’T is true, perfection none must hope to find1903: 190
    • In all this world, much less in womankind;
    • But if her virtue prove the larger share,
    • Bless the kind Fates and think your fortune rare.
    • Ah, gentle Sir, take warning of a friend,
    • Who knows too well the state you thus commend;
    • Edition: current; Page: [38]
    • And spite of all his praises must declare,
    • All he can find is bondage, cost, and care.
    • Heav’n knows I shed full many a private tear,
    • And sigh in silence lest the world should hear;
    • While all my friends applaud my blissful life,1903: 200
    • And swear no mortal’s happier in a wife:
    • Demure and chaste as any vestal nun,
    • The meekest creature that beholds the sun!
    • But by th’immortal Powers I feel the pain,
    • And he that smarts has reason to complain.
    • Do what you list, for me; you must be sage,
    • And cautious sure; for wisdom is in age:
    • But at these years to venture on the Fair!
    • By him who made the ocean, earth, and air,1903: 209
    • To please a wife, when her occasions call,
    • Would busy the most vig’rous of us all.
    • And trust me, sir, the chastest you can choose,
    • Will ask observance, and exact her dues.
    • If what I speak my noble lord offend,
    • My tedious sermon here is at an end.’
    • ‘’T is well, ’t is wondrous well,’ the Knight replies,
    • ‘Most worthy kinsman, faith, you ’re mighty wise!
    • We, Sirs, are fools; and must resign the cause
    • To heath’nish authors, proverbs, and old saws.’
    • He spoke with scorn, and turn’d another way:1903: 220
    • ‘What does my friend, my dear Placebo, say?’
    • ‘I say,’ quoth he, ‘by Heav’n the man’s to blame,
    • To slander wives, and wedlock’s holy name.’
    • At this the council rose without delay;
    • Each, in his own opinion, went his way;
    • With full consent, that, all disputes appeas’d,
    • The Knight should marry when and where he pleas’d.
    • Who now but January exults with joy?
    • The charms of wedlock all his soul employ:
    • Each nymph by turns his wavering mind possess’d,1903: 230
    • And reign’d the short-lived tyrant of his breast;
    • Whilst fancy pictured ev’ry lively part,
    • And each bright image wander’d o’er his heart.
    • Thus, in some public forum fix’d on high,
    • A mirror shows the figures moving by;
    • Still one by one, in swift succession, pass
    • The gliding shadows o’er the polish’d glass.
    • This lady’s charms the nicest could not blame,
    • But vile suspicions had aspers’d her fame;
    • That was with Sense, but not with Virtue blest;1903: 240
    • And one had Grace that wanted all the rest.
    • Thus doubting long what nymph he should obey,
    • He fix’d at last upon the youthful May.
    • Her faults he knew not (Love is always blind),
    • But every charm revolv’d within his mind:
    • Her tender age, her form divinely fair,
    • Her easy motion, her attractive air,
    • Her sweet behaviour, her enchanting face,
    • Her moving softness, and majestic grace.
    • Much in his prudence did our Knight rejoice,1903: 250
    • And thought no mortal could dispute his choice:
    • Once more in haste he summon’d ev’ry friend,
    • And told them all their pains were at an end.
    • ‘Heav’n, that (said he) inspired me first to wed,
    • Provides a consort worthy of my bed:
    • Let none oppose th’ election, since on this
    • Depends my quiet and my future bliss.
    • ‘A dame there is, the darling of my eyes,
    • Young, beauteous, artless, innocent, and wise;
    • Chaste, tho’ not rich; and, tho’ not nobly born,1903: 260
    • Of honest parents, and may serve my turn.
    • Her will I wed, if gracious Heav’n so please,
    • To pass my age in sanctity and ease;
    • And thank the Powers, I may possess alone
    • The lovely prize, and share my bliss with none!
    • If you, my friends, this virgin can procure,
    • My joys are full, my happiness is sure.
  • Edition: current; Page: [39]
    • ‘One only doubt remains: full oft, I’ve heard,
    • By casuists grave and deep divines averr’d,
    • That’t is too much for human race to know
    • The bliss of Heav’n above and earth below:1903: 271
    • Now should the nuptial pleasures prove so great,
    • To match the blessings of the future state,
    • Those endless joys were ill exchanged for these:
    • Then clear this doubt, and set my mind at ease.’
    • This Justin heard, nor could his spleen control,
    • Touch’d to the quick, and tickled at the soul.
    • ‘Sir Knight,’ he cried, ‘if this be all you dread,
    • Heav’n put it past a doubt whene’er you wed;
    • And to my fervent prayers so far consent,
    • That, ere the rites are o’er, you may repent!1903: 281
    • Good Heav’n, no doubt, the nuptial state approves,
    • Since it chastises still what best it loves.
    • ‘Then be not, Sir, abandon’d to despair; }
    • Seek, and perhaps you’ll find among the Fair }
    • One that may do your business to a hair; }
    • Not ev’n in wish your happiness delay,
    • But prove the scourge to lash you on your way:
    • Then to the skies your mounting soul shall go,
    • Swift as an arrow soaring from the bow!
    • Provided still, you moderate your joy,1903: 291
    • Nor in your pleasures all your might employ:
    • Let Reason’s rule your strong desires abate,
    • Nor please too lavishly your gentle mate.
    • Old wives there are, of judgment most acute,
    • Who solve these questions beyond all dispute;
    • Consult with those, and be of better cheer;
    • Marry, do penance, and dismiss your fear.’
    • So said, they rose, nor more the work delay’d:
    • The match was offer’d, the proposals made.
    • The parents, you may think, would soon comply;1903: 301
    • The old have int’rest ever in their eye.
    • Nor was it hard to move the lady’s mind;
    • When Fortune favours, still the Fair are kind.
    • I pass each previous settlement and deed,
    • Too long for me to write, or you to read;
    • Nor will with quaint impertinence display
    • The pomp, the pageantry, the proud array.
    • The time approach’d; to church the parties went,
    • At once with carnal and devout intent:
    • Forth came the priest, and bade th’ obedient wife1903: 311
    • Like Sarah or Rebecca lead her life;
    • Then pray’d the Powers the fruitful bed to bless,
    • And make all sure enough with holiness.
    • And now the palace gates are open’d wide, }
    • The guests appear in order, side by side, }
    • And, placed in state, the bridegroom and the bride. }
    • The breathing flute’s soft notes are heard around,
    • And the shrill trumpets mix their silver sound;
    • The vaulted roofs with echoing music ring,
    • These touch the vocal stops, and those the trembling string.1903: 321
    • Not thus Amphion tuned the warbling lyre,
    • Nor Joab the sounding clarion could inspire,
    • Nor fierce Theodamas, whose sprightly strain
    • Could swell the soul to rage, and fire the martial train.
    • Bacchus himself, the nuptial feast to grace,
    • (So poets sing) was present on the place:
    • And lovely Venus, Goddess of Delight, }
    • Shook high her flaming torch in open sight, }
    • And danced around, and smiled on ev’ry Knight:1903: 330 }
    • Pleas’d her best servant would his courage try,
    • No less in wedlock than in liberty.
    • Full many an age old Hymen had not spied
    • So kind a bridegroom, or so bright a bride.
    • Ye Bards! renown’d among the tuneful throng
    • For gentle lays, and joyous nuptial song,
    • Think not your softest numbers can display
    • The matchless glories of this blissful day;
    • Edition: current; Page: [40]
    • The joys are such as far transcend your range,
    • When tender youth has wedded stooping age.1903: 340
    • The beauteous dame sat smiling at the board,
    • And darted am’rous glances at her lord.
    • Not Hester’s self, whose charms the Hebrews sing,
    • E’er look’d so lovely on her Persian King:
    • Bright as the rising sun in summer’s day,
    • And fresh and blooming as the month of May!
    • The joyful knight survey’d her by his side,
    • Nor envied Paris with his Spartan bride:
    • Still as his mind revolv’d with vast delight
    • Th’ entrancing raptures of th’ approaching night,1903: 350
    • Restless he sat, invoking every Power
    • To speed his bliss, and haste the happy hour.
    • Meantime the vig’rous dancers beat the ground,
    • And songs were sung, and flowing bowls went round.
    • With od’rous spices they perfumed the place,
    • And mirth and pleasure shone in ev’ry face.
    • Damian alone, of all the menial train,
    • Sad in the midst of triumphs, sigh’d for pain,
    • Damian alone, the Knight’s obsequious Squire,1903: 359
    • Consumed at heart, and fed a secret fire.
    • His lovely mistress all his soul possess’d;
    • He look’d, he languish’d, and could take no rest:
    • His task perform’d, he sadly went his way,
    • Fell on his bed, and loath’d the light of day:
    • There let him lie; till his relenting dame
    • Weep in her turn, and waste in equal flame.
    • The weary sun, as learned poets write,
    • Forsook th’ horizon, and roll’d down the light;
    • While glitt’ring stars his absent beams supply,
    • And night’s dark mantle overspread the sky.1903: 370
    • Then rose the guests, and as the time required,
    • Each paid his thanks, and decently retired.
    • The foe once gone, our Knight prepared t’undress,
    • So keen he was, and eager to possess:
    • But first thought fit th’ assistance to receive,
    • Which grave physicians scruple not to give:
    • Satyrion near, with hot eringoes stood,
    • Cantharides, to fire the lazy blood,
    • Whose use old Bards describe in luscious rhymes,
    • And Critics learn’d explain to modern times.1903: 380
    • By this the sheets were spread, the bride undress’d,
    • The room was sprinkled, and the bed was bless’d.
    • What next ensued beseems not me to say;
    • ’T is sung, he labour’d till the dawning day;
    • Then briskly sprung from bed, with heart so light, }
    • As all were nothing he had done by night, }
    • And sipp’d his cordial as he sat upright. }
    • He kiss’d his balmy spouse with wanton play,
    • And feebly sung a lusty roundelay:1903: 389
    • Then on the couch his weary limbs he cast;
    • For ev’ry labour must have rest at last.
    • But anxious cares the pensive Squire opprest,
    • Sleep fled his eyes, and Peace forsook his breast;
    • The raging flames that in his bosom dwell,
    • He wanted art to hide, and means to tell:
    • Yet hoping time th’ occasion might betray,
    • Composed a sonnet to the lovely May;
    • Which, writ and folded with the nicest art,
    • He wrapt in silk, and laid upon his heart.
    • When now the fourth revolving day was run,1903: 400
    • (’T was June, and Cancer had receiv’d the sun)
    • Forth from her chamber came the beauteous bride;
    • The good old Knight mov’d slowly by her side.
    • High mass was sung; they feasted in the hall;
    • The servants round stood ready at their call.
    • The Squire alone was absent from the board,
    • And much his sickness griev’d his worthy lord,
    • Who pray’d his spouse, attended with her train,
    • To visit Damian, and divert his pain.
    • Th’ obliging dames obey’d with one consent:1903: 410
    • They left the hall, and to his lodging went.
    • Edition: current; Page: [41]
    • The female tribe surround him as he lay,
    • And close beside him sat the gentle May:
    • Where, as she tried his pulse, he softly drew
    • A heaving sigh, and cast a mournful view!
    • Then gave his bill, and bribed the Powers divine,
    • With secret vows to favour his design.
    • Who studies now but discontented May?
    • On her soft couch uneasily she lay:
    • The lumpish husband snored away the night,1903: 420
    • Till coughs awaked him near the morning light.
    • What then he did, I ’ll not presume to tell,
    • Nor if she thought herself in Heav’n or Hell:
    • Honest and dull in nuptial bed they lay,
    • Till the bell toll’d, and all arose to pray.
    • Were it by forceful Destiny decreed,
    • Or did from Chance, or Nature’s power proceed;
    • Or that some star, with aspect kind to love,
    • Shed its selectest influence from above;1903: 429
    • Whatever was the cause, the tender dame
    • Felt the first motions of an infant flame;
    • Receiv’d th’ impressions of the lovesick Squire,
    • And wasted in the soft infectious fire.
    • Ye Fair, draw near, let May’s example move
    • Your gentle minds to pity those who love!
    • Had some fierce tyrant in her stead been found,
    • The poor adorer sure had hang’d or drown’d:
    • But she, your sex’s mirror, free from pride,
    • Was much too meek to prove a homicide.
    • But to my tale:—Some sages have defin’d1903: 440
    • Pleasure the sov’reign bliss of humankind:
    • Our Knight (who studied much, we may suppose)
    • Derived his high philosophy from those;
    • For, like a prince, he bore the vast expense
    • Of lavish pomp, and proud magnificence:
    • His house was stately, his retinue gay.
    • Large was his train, and gorgeous his array.
    • His spacious garden, made to yield to none,
    • Was compass’d round with walls of solid stone;
    • Priapus could not half describe the grace
    • (Tho’ God of gardens) of this charming place:1903: 451
    • A place to tire the rambling wits of France
    • In long descriptions, and exceed Romance:
    • Enough to shame the gentlest bard that sings
    • Of painted meadows, and of purling springs.
    • Full in the centre of the flowery ground }
    • A crystal fountain spread its streams around, }
    • The fruitful banks with verdant laurels crown’d: }
    • About this spring (if ancient Fame say true)
    • The dapper Elves their moonlight sports pursue:1903: 460
    • Their pygmy King, and little fairy Queen,
    • In circling dances gambol’d on the green,
    • While tuneful sprites a merry concert made,
    • And airy music warbled thro’ the shade.
    • Hither the noble Knight would oft repair
    • (His scene of pleasure, and peculiar care);
    • For this he held it dear, and always bore
    • The silver key that lock’d the garden door.
    • To this sweet place in summer’s sultry heat
    • He used from noise and bus’ness to retreat;1903: 470
    • And here in dalliance spend the livelong day,
    • Solus cum sola, with his sprightly May:
    • For whate’er work was undischarg’d abed,
    • The duteous Knight in this fair garden sped.
    • But ah! what mortal lives of bliss secure?
    • How short a space our worldly joys endure!
    • O Fortune, fair, like all thy treach’rous kind,
    • But faithless still, and wav’ring as the wind!
    • O painted monster, form’d mankind to cheat,1903: 479
    • With pleasing poison, and with soft deceit!
    • This rich, this am’rous, venerable Knight,
    • Amidst his ease, his solace, and delight,
    • Struck blind by thee, resigns his days to grief,
    • And calls on death, the wretch’s last relief.
    • The rage of jealousy then seiz’d his mind,
    • For much he fear’d the faith of womankind.
    • His wife, not suffer’d from his side to stray, }
    • Was captive kept; he watch’d her night and day, }
    • Abridg’d her pleasures, and confin’d her sway.1903: 489 }
    • Edition: current; Page: [42]
    • Full oft in tears did hapless May complain,
    • And sigh’d full oft; but sigh’d and wept in vain;
    • She look’d on Damian with a lover’s eye;
    • For oh, ’t was fix’d; she must possess or die!
    • Nor less impatience vex’d her am’rous Squire,
    • Wild with delay, and burning with desire.
    • Watch’d as she was, yet could he not refrain
    • By secret writing to disclose his pain:
    • The dame by signs reveal’d her kind intent,
    • Till both were conscious what each other meant,
    • Ah! gentle Knight, what would thy eyes avail,1903: 500
    • Tho’ they could see as far as ships can sail?
    • ’T is better, sure, when blind, deceiv’d to be,
    • Than be deluded when a man can see!
    • Argus himself, so cautious and so wise,
    • Was overwatch’d, for all his hundred eyes:
    • So many an honest husband may, ’t is known,
    • Who, wisely, never thinks the case his own.
    • The dame at last, by diligence and care,
    • Procured the key her Knight was wont to bear;1903: 509
    • She took the wards in wax before the fire,
    • And gave th’ impression to the trusty Squire.
    • By means of this some wonder shall appear,
    • Which, in due place and season, you may hear.
    • Well sung sweet Ovid, in the days of yore,
    • What sleight is that which love will not explore!
    • And Pyramus and Thisbe plainly show
    • The feats true lovers, when they list, can do:
    • Tho’ watch’d and captive, yet in spite of all,
    • They found the art of kissing thro’ a wall.
    • But now no longer from our tale to stray,1903: 520 }
    • It happ’d, that once upon a summer’s day }
    • Our rev’rend Knight was urged to am’rous play: }
    • He rais’d his spouse ere matin-bell was rung,
    • And thus his morning canticle he sung:
    • ‘Awake, my love, disclose thy radiant eyes;
    • Arise, my wife, my beauteous lady, rise!
    • Hear how the doves with pensive notes complain,
    • And in soft murmurs tell the trees their pain:
    • The winter’s past; the clouds and tempests fly;
    • The sun adorns the fields, and brightens all the sky.1903: 530
    • Fair without spot, whose ev’ry charming part
    • My bosom wounds, and captivates my heart!
    • Come, and in mutual pleasures let’s engage,
    • Joy of my life, and comfort of my age.’
    • This heard, to Damian straight a sign she made
    • To haste before; the gentle Squire obey’d:
    • Secret and undescried he took his way,
    • And ambush’d close behind an arbour lay.
    • It was not long ere January came,
    • And hand in hand with him his lovely dame;1903: 540
    • Blind as he was, not doubting all was sure,
    • He turn’d the key, and made the gate secure.
    • ‘Here let us walk,’ he said, ‘observ’d by none,
    • Conscious of pleasures to the world unknown:
    • So may my soul have joy, as thou, my wife,
    • Art far the dearest solace of my life;
    • And rather would I choose, by Heav’n above,
    • To die this instant, than to lose thy love.
    • Reflect what truth was in my passion shown, }
    • When, unendow’d, I took thee for my own,1903: 550 }
    • And sought no treasure but thy heart alone. }
    • Old as I am, and now deprived of sight, }
    • Whilst thou art faithful to thy own true Knight, }
    • Nor age, nor blindness, robs me of delight. }
    • Each other loss with patience I can bear,
    • The loss of thee is what I only fear.
    • ‘Consider then, my lady and my wife,
    • The solid comforts of a virtuous life.
    • Edition: current; Page: [43]
    • As first, the love of Christ himself you gain;1903: 559
    • Next, your own honour undefiled maintain;
    • And, lastly, that which sure your mind must move,
    • My whole estate shall gratify your love:
    • Make your own terms, and ere to-morrow’s sun
    • Displays his light, by Heav’n it shall be done
    • I seal the contract with a holy kiss,
    • And will perform—by this, my dear, and this.
    • Have comfort, Spouse, nor think thy lord unkind;
    • ’T is love, not jealousy, that fires my mind:
    • For when thy charms my sober thoughts engage,1903: 569
    • And join’d to them my own unequal age,
    • From thy dear side I have no power to part,
    • Such secret transports warm my melting heart.
    • For who that once possess’d those heav’nly charms,
    • Could live one moment absent from thy arms?’
    • He ceas’d, and May with modest grace replied
    • (Weak was her voice, as while she spoke she cried):
    • ‘Heav’n knows (with that a tender sigh she drew)
    • I have a soul to save as well as you;
    • And, what no less you to my charge commend,1903: 579
    • My dearest honour, will to death defend.
    • To you in holy church I gave my hand,
    • And join’d my heart in wedlock’s sacred band:
    • Yet after this, if you distrust my care,
    • Then hear, my lord, and witness what I swear:
    • First may the yawning earth her bosom rend,
    • And let me hence to Hell alive descend;
    • Or die the death I dread no less than Hell,
    • Sew’d in a sack, and plunged into a well;
    • Ere I my fame by one lewd act disgrace,
    • Or once renounce the honour of my race.
    • For know, Sir Knight, of gentle blood I came;1903: 591
    • I loathe a whore, and startle at the name.
    • But jealous men on their own crimes reflect,
    • And learn from thence their ladies to suspect:
    • Else why these needless cautions, Sir, to me?
    • These doubts and fears of female constancy?
    • This chime still rings in every lady’s ear,
    • The only strain a wife must hope to hear.’
    • Thus while she spoke a sidelong glance she cast,
    • Where Damain kneeling worship’d as she past.1903: 600
    • She saw him watch the motions of her eye,
    • And singled out a pear tree planted nigh:
    • ’T was charged with fruit that made a goodly show,
    • And hung with dangling pears was every bough.
    • Thither th’ obsequious Squire address’d his pace,
    • And climbing, in the summit took his place;
    • The Knight and Lady walk’d beneath in view,
    • Where let us leave them, and our tale pursue.
    • ’T was now the season when the glorious sun
    • His heav’nly progress through the Twins had run;1903: 610
    • And Jove, exalted, his mild influence yields,
    • To glad the glebe, and paint the flowery fields:
    • Clear was the day, and Phœbus, rising bright,
    • Had streak’d the azure firmament with light;
    • He pierc’d the glitt’ring clouds with golden streams,
    • And warm’d the womb of earth with genial beams.
    • It so befell, in that fair morning tide }
    • The fairies sported on the garden side, }
    • And in the midst their monarch and his bride. }
    • So featly tripp’d the light-foot Ladies round,1903: 620 }
    • The Knights so nimbly o’er the greensward bound, }
    • That scarce they bent the flowers, or touch’d the ground. }
    • The dances ended, all the fairy train
    • For pinks and daisies search’d the flowery plain,
    • While on a bank reclin’d of rising green,
    • Thus, with a frown, the King bespoke his Queen.
  • Edition: current; Page: [44]
    • ‘ ’T is too apparent, argue what you can,
    • The treachery you women use to man:
    • A thousand authors have this truth made out,
    • And sad experience leaves no room for doubt.1903: 630
    • ‘Heav’n rest thy spirit, noble Solomon,
    • A wiser Monarch never saw the sun:
    • All wealth, all honours, the supreme degree
    • Of earthly bliss, was well bestow’d on thee!
    • For sagely hast thou said, “Of all mankind,
    • One only just, and righteous, hope to find:
    • But shouldst thou search the spacious world around,
    • Yet one good woman is not to be found.”
    • ‘Thus says the King who knew your wickedness;
    • The son of Sirach testifies no less.1903: 640
    • So may some wildfire on your bodies fall,
    • Or some devouring plague consume you all;
    • As well you view the lecher in the tree,
    • And well this honourable Knight you see:
    • But since he’s blind and old (a helpless case),
    • His Squire shall cuckold him before your face.
    • ‘Now by my own dread Majesty I swear,
    • And by this awful sceptre which I bear,
    • No impious wretch shall ’scape unpunish’d long,1903: 649
    • That in my presence offers such a wrong.
    • I will this instant undeceive the Knight,
    • And in the very act restore his sight:
    • And set the strumpet here in open view, }
    • A warning to the ladies, and to you, }
    • And all the faithless sex, for ever to be true.” }
    • ‘And will you so,’ replied the Queen, ‘indeed? }
    • Now, by my mother’s soul, it is decreed, }
    • She shall not want an answer at her need. }
    • For her, and for her daughters, I ’ll engage,
    • And all the sex in each succeeding age;1903: 660
    • Art shall be theirs to varnish an offence,
    • And fortify their crimes with confidence.
    • Nay, were they taken in a strict embrace,
    • Seen with both eyes, and pinion’d on the place;
    • All they shall need is to protest and swear,
    • Breathe a soft sigh, and drop a tender tear;
    • Till their wise husbands, gull’d by arts like these,
    • Grow gentle, tractable, and tame as geese.
    • ‘What tho’ this sland’rous Jew, this Solomon,
    • Call’d women fools, and knew full many a one?1903: 670
    • The wiser Wits of later times declare
    • How constant, chaste, and virtuous women are:
    • Witness the Martyrs, who resign’d their breath,
    • Serene in torments, unconcern’d in death;
    • And witness next what Roman authors tell,
    • How Arria, Portia, and Lucretia fell.
    • ‘But since the sacred leaves to all are free,
    • And men interpret texts, why should not we?
    • By this no more was meant than to have shown }
    • That sov’reign goodness dwells in him alone,1903: 680 }
    • Who only Is, and is but only One. }
    • But grant the worst; shall women then be weigh’d
    • By every word that Solomon hath said?
    • What tho’ this king (as ancient story boasts)
    • Built a fair temple to the Lord of Hosts;
    • He ceas’d at last his Maker to adore,
    • And did as much for idol Gods, or more.
    • Beware what lavish praises you confer
    • On a rank lecher and idolater;
    • Whose reign indulgent God, says Holy Writ,1903: 690
    • Did but for David’s righteous sake permit;
    • David, the monarch after Heav’n’s own mind,
    • Who lov’d our sex, and honour’d all our kind.
    • ‘Well, I ’m a woman, and as such must speak;
    • Silence would swell me, and my heart would break.
    • Know, then, I scorn your dull authorities,
    • Your idle Wits, and all their learned lies:
    • By Heav’n, those authors are our sex’s foes,
    • Whom, in our right, I must and will oppose.’
    • ‘Nay (quoth the King) dear madam, be not wroth:1903: 700
    • I yield it up; but since I gave my oath,
    • That this much injur’d Knight again should see,
    • It must be done—I am a King,’ said he,
    • Edition: current; Page: [45]
    • ‘And one whose faith has ever sacred been—’
    • ‘And so has mine (she said)—I am a Queen:
    • Her answer she shall have, I undertake;
    • And thus an end of all dispute I make.
    • Try when you list; and you shall find, my lord,
    • It is not in our sex to break our word.’1903: 709
    • We leave them here in this heroic strain,
    • And to the Knight our story turns again;
    • Who in the garden, with his lovely May,
    • Sung merrier than the cuckoo or the jay:
    • This was his song, ‘O kind and constant be,
    • Constant and kind I ’ll ever prove to thee.’
    • Thus singing as he went, at last he drew
    • By easy steps to where the pear-tree grew:
    • The longing dame look’d up, and spied her love
    • Full fairly perch’d among the boughs above.
    • She stopp’d, and sighing, ‘O good Gods!’ she cried,1903: 720
    • ‘What pangs, what sudden shoots distend my side?
    • O for that tempting fruit, so fresh, so green!
    • Help, for the love of Heav’n’s immortal Queen!
    • Help, dearest lord, and save at once the life
    • Of thy poor infant, and thy longing wife!’
    • Sore sigh’d the Knight to hear his lady’s cry,
    • But could not climb, and had no servant nigh:
    • Old as he was, and void of eyesight too,
    • What could, alas! a helpless husband do?
    • ‘And must I languish then (she said), and die,1903: 730
    • Yet view the lovely fruit before my eye?
    • At least, kind Sir, for charity’s sweet sake,
    • Vouchsafe the trunk between your arms to take,
    • Then from your back I might ascend the tree;
    • Do you but stoop, and leave the rest to me.’
    • ‘With all my soul,’ he thus replied again,
    • ‘I ’d spend my dearest blood to ease thy pain.’
    • With that his back against the trunk he bent;
    • She seiz’d a twig, and up the tree she went.
    • Now prove your patience, gentle ladies all!1903: 740
    • Nor let on me your heavy anger fall:
    • ’T is truth I tell, tho’ not in phrase refin’d;
    • Tho’ blunt my tale, yet honest is my mind.
    • What feats the lady in the tree might do,
    • I pass, as gambols never known to you;
    • But sure it was a merrier fit, she swore,
    • Than in her life she ever felt before.
    • In that nice moment, lo! the wond’ring Knight
    • Look’d out, and stood restor’d to sudden sight.1903: 749
    • Straight on the tree his eager eyes he bent,
    • As one whose thoughts were on his spouse intent:
    • But when he saw his bosom-wife so dress’d,
    • His rage was such as cannot be express’d.
    • Not frantic mothers when their infants die
    • With louder clamours rend the vaulted sky:
    • He cried, he roar’d, he storm’d, he tore his hair;
    • ‘Death! Hell! and Furies! what dost thou do there?’
    • ‘What ails my lord?’ the trembling dame replied,
    • ‘I thought your patience had been better tried:1903: 759
    • Is this your love, ungrateful and unkind,
    • This my reward for having cured the blind?
    • Why was I taught to make my husband see,
    • By struggling with a man upon a tree?
    • Did I for this the power of magic prove?
    • Unhappy wife, whose crime was too much love!’
    • ‘If this be struggling, by this holy light,
    • ’T is struggling with a vengeance (quoth the Knight):
    • So Heav’n preserve the sight it has restored,
    • As with these eyes I plainly saw thee whored;
    • Whored by my slave—perfidious wretch! may Hell1903: 770
    • As surely seize thee, as I saw too well.’
    • ‘Guard me, good Angels!’ cried the gentle May,
    • ‘Pray Heav’n this magic work the proper way!
    • Alas, my love! ’t is certain, could you see,
    • You ne’er had used these killing words to me:
    • Edition: current; Page: [46]
    • So help me, Fates! as ’t is no perfect sight,
    • But some faint glimm’ring of a doubtful light.’
    • ‘What I have said (quoth he) I must maintain,
    • For by th’ immortal Powers it seem’d too plain—’
    • ‘By all those Powers, some frenzy seiz’d your mind1903: 780 }
    • (Replied the dame): are these the thanks I find? }
    • Wretch that I am, that e’er I was so kind!’ }
    • She said; a rising sigh express’d her woe,
    • The ready tears apace began to flow,
    • And as they fell she wiped from either eye
    • The drops (for women, when they list, can cry).
    • The Knight was touch’d; and in his looks appear’d
    • Signs of remorse, while thus his spouse he cheer’d;
    • ‘Madam, ’t is past, and my short anger o’er!
    • Come down, and vex your tender heart no more.1903: 790
    • Excuse me, dear, if aught amiss was said,
    • For, on my soul, amends shall soon be made:
    • Let my repentance your forgiveness draw;
    • By Heav’n, I swore but what I thought I saw.’
    • ‘Ah, my lov’d lord! ’t was much unkind (she cried)
    • On bare suspicion thus to treat your bride.
    • But till your sight ’s establish’d, for a while
    • Imperfect objects may your sense beguile.
    • Thus, when from sleep we first our eyes display, }
    • The balls are wounded with the piercing ray,1903: 800 }
    • And dusky vapours rise, and intercept the day; }
    • So just recov’ring from the shades of night }
    • Your swimming eyes are drunk with sudden light, }
    • Strange phantoms dance around, and skim before your sight. }
    • Then, Sir, be cautious, nor too rashly deem;
    • Heav’n knows how seldom things are what they seem!
    • Consult your reason, and you soon shall find
    • ’T was you were jealous, not your wife unkind:
    • Jove ne’er spoke oracle more true than this,
    • None judge so wrong as those who think amiss.’1903: 810
    • With that she leap’d into her lord’s embrace,
    • With well dissembled virtue in her face.
    • He hugg’d her close, and kiss’d her o’er and o’er,
    • Disturb’d with doubts and jealousies no more:
    • Both pleas’d and bless’d, renew’d their mutual vows:
    • A fruitful wife, and a believing spouse.
    • Thus ends our tale; whose moral next to make,
    • Let all wise husbands hence example take;
    • And pray, to crown the pleasure of their lives,
    • To be so well deluded by their wives.1903: 820

THE WIFE OF BATH
HER PROLOGUE

Not published until 1714, but naturally classified with January and May, and not improbably the product of the same period.

    • Behold the woes of matrimonial life,
    • And hear with rev’rence an experienced wife;
    • To dear-bought wisdom give the credit due,
    • And think for once a woman tells you true.
    • In all these trials I have borne a part:
    • I was myself the scourge that caus’d the smart;
    • For since fifteen in triumph have I led
    • Five captive husbands from the church to bed.
    • Christ saw a wedding once, the Scripture says,
    • And saw but one, ’t was thought, in all his days;1903: 10
    • Whence some infer, whose conscience is too nice,
    • No pious Christian ought to marry twice.
    • But let them read, and solve me if they can,
    • The words address’d to the Samaritan:
    • Five times in lawful wedlock she was join’d,
    • And sure the certain stint was ne’er defin’d.
  • Edition: current; Page: [47]
    • ‘Increase and multiply’ was Heav’n’s command,
    • And that ’s a text I clearly understand:
    • This too, ‘Let men their sires and mothers leave,1903: 19
    • And to their dearer wives for ever cleave.’
    • More wives than one by Solomon were tried,
    • Or else the wisest of mankind’s belied.
    • I’ve had myself full many a merry fit,
    • And trust in Heav’n I may have many yet;
    • For when my transitory spouse, unkind, }
    • Shall die and leave his woful wife behind, }
    • I’ll take the next good Christian I can find. }
    • Paul, knowing one could never serve our turn,
    • Declared ’t was better far to wed than burn.
    • There ’s danger in assembling fire and tow;
    • I grant ’em that; and what it means you know.1903: 31
    • The same apostle, too, has elsewhere own’d
    • No precept for virginity he found:
    • ’T is but a counsel—and we women still
    • Take which we like, the counsel or our will.
    • I envy not their bliss, if he or she
    • Think fit to live in perfect chastity:
    • Pure let them be, and free from taint or vice;
    • I for a few slight spots am not so nice.
    • Heav’n calls us diff’rent ways; on these bestows1903: 40
    • One proper gift, another grants to those;
    • Not every man’s obliged to sell his store,
    • And give up all his substance to the poor:
    • Such as are perfect may, I can’t deny;
    • But by your leaves, Divines! so am not I.
    • Full many a saint, since first the world began,
    • Liv’d an unspotted maid in spite of man:
    • Let such (a God’s name) with fine wheat be fed,
    • And let us honest wives eat barley bread.
    • For me, I’ll keep the post assign’d by Heav’n,1903: 50
    • And use the copious talent it has giv’n:
    • Let my good spouse pay tribute, do me right,
    • And keep an equal reck’ning every night;
    • His proper body is not his, but mine;
    • For so said Paul, and Paul’s a sound divine.
    • Know then, of those five husbands I have had,
    • Three were just tolerable, two were bad.
    • The three were old, but rich and fond beside,
    • And toil’d most piteously to please their bride;
    • But since their wealth (the best they had) was mine,1903: 60
    • The rest without much loss I could resign:
    • Sure to be lov’d, I took no pains to please,
    • Yet had more pleasure far than they had ease.
    • Presents flow’d in apace: with showers of gold
    • They made their court, like Jupiter of old:
    • If I but smiled, a sudden youth they found,
    • And a new palsy seiz’d them when I frown’d.
    • Ye sov’reign Wives! give ear, and understand:
    • Thus shall ye speak, and exercise command;
    • For never was it giv’n to mortal man1903: 70
    • To lie so boldly as we women can:
    • Forswear the fact, tho’ seen with both his eyes,
    • And call your maids to witness how he lies.
    • Hark, old Sir Paul! (’t was thus I used to say)
    • Whence is our neighbour’s wife so rich and gay?
    • Treated, caress’d, where’er she’s pleas’d to roam—
    • I sit in tatters, and immured at home.
    • Why to her house dost thou so oft repair?
    • Art thou so am’rous? and is she so fair?
    • If I but see a cousin or a friend,1903: 80
    • Lord! how you swell and rage like any fiend!
    • But you reel home, a drunken beastly bear,
    • Then preach till midnight in your easy chair;
    • Cry, wives are false, and every woman evil,
    • And give up all that’s female to the devil.
    • If poor (you say), she drains her husband’s purse;
    • If rich, she keeps her priest, or something worse;
    • If highly born, intolerably vain,
    • Vapours and pride by turns possess her brain;
    • Now gaily mad, now sourly splenetic,1903: 90
    • Freakish when well, and fretful when she ’s sick.
    • If fair, then chaste she cannot long abide,
    • By pressing youth attack’d on every side;
    • If foul, her wealth the lusty lover lures,
    • Or else her wit some fool-gallant procures,
    • Edition: current; Page: [48]
    • Or else she dances with becoming grace,
    • Or shape excuses the defects of face.
    • There swims no goose so gray, but soon or late
    • She finds some honest gander for her mate.
    • Horses (thou say’st) and asses men may try,1903: 100
    • And ring suspected vessels ere they buy;
    • But wives, a random choice, untried they take,
    • They dream in courtship, but in wedlock wake;
    • Then, not till then, the veil’s remov’d away,
    • And all the woman glares in open day.
    • You tell me, to preserve your wife’s good grace,
    • Your eyes must always languish on my face,
    • Your tongue with constant flatt’ries feed my ear,
    • And tag each sentence with ‘My life! my dear!’
    • If by strange chance a modest blush be rais’d,1903: 110
    • Be sure my fine complexion must be prais’d.
    • My garments always must be new and gay,
    • And feasts still kept upon my wedding day.
    • Then must my nurse be pleas’d, and fav’rite maid;
    • And endless treats and endless visits paid
    • To a long train of kindred, friends, allies:
    • All this thou say’st, and all thou say’st are lies.
    • On Jenkin, too, you cast a squinting eye:
    • What! can your ’prentice raise your jealousy?
    • Fresh are his ruddy cheeks, his forehead fair,1903: 120
    • And like the burnish’d gold his curling hair.
    • But clear thy wrinkled brow, and quit thy sorrow;
    • I’d scorn your ’prentice should you die tomorrow.
    • Why are thy chests all lock’d? on what design?
    • Are not thy worldly goods and treasure mine?
    • Sir, I’m no fool; nor shall you, by St. John,
    • Have goods and body to yourself alone.
    • One you shall quit, in spite of both your eyes—
    • I heed not, I, the bolts, the locks, the spies.
    • If you had wit, you ’d say, ‘Go where you will,1903: 130
    • Dear spouse! I credit not the tales they tell:
    • Take all the freedoms of a married life;
    • I know thee for a virtuous, faithful wife.’
    • Lord! when you have enough, what need you care
    • How merrily soever others fare?
    • Tho’ all the day I give and take delight,
    • Doubt not sufficient will be left at night.
    • ’T is but a just and rational desire
    • To light a taper at a neighbour’s fire.
    • There ’s danger too, you think, in rich array,1903: 140
    • And none can long be modest that are gay.
    • The cat, if you but singe her tabby skin,
    • The chimney keeps, and sits content within:
    • But once grown sleek, will from her corner run,
    • Sport with her tail, and wanton in the sun:
    • She licks her fair round face, and frisks abroad
    • To show her fur, and to be catterwaw’d.
    • Lo thus, my friends, I wrought to my desires
    • These three right ancient venerable sires.
    • I told them, Thus you say, and thus you do;1903: 150
    • And told them false, but Jenkin swore ’t was true.
    • I, like a dog, could bite as well as whine,
    • And first complain’d whene’er the guilt was mine.
    • I tax’d them oft with wenching and amours,
    • When their weak legs scarce dragg’d them out of doors;
    • And swore the rambles that I took by night
    • Were all to spy what damsels they bedight:
    • That colour brought me many hours of mirth;
    • For all this wit is giv’n us from our birth.
    • Heav’n gave to woman the peculiar grace
    • To spin, to weep, and cully human race.1903: 161
    • By this nice conduct and this prudent course,
    • By murm’ring, wheedling, stratagem, and force,
    • I still prevail’d, and would be in the right;
    • Or curtain lectures made a restless night.
    • If once my husband’s arm was o’er my side,
    • ‘What! so familiar with your spouse?’ I cried:
    • I levied first a tax upon his need;
    • Then let him—’t was a nicety indeed!
    • Let all mankind this certain maxim hold;
    • Marry who will, our sex is to be sold.1903: 171
    • With empty hands no tassels you can lure,
    • But fulsome love for gain we can endure;
    • Edition: current; Page: [49]
    • For gold we love the impotent and old,
    • And heave, and pant, and kiss, and cling, for gold.
    • Yet with embraces curses oft I mixt,
    • Then kiss’d again, and chid, and rail’d betwixt.
    • Well, I may make my will in peace, and die,
    • For not one word in man’s arrears am I.
    • To drop a dear dispute I was unable,1903: 180
    • Ev’n though the Pope himself had sat at table;
    • But when my point was gain’d, then thus I spoke:
    • ‘Billy, my dear, how sheepishly you look!
    • Approach, my spouse, and let me kiss thy cheek;
    • Thou shouldst be always thus resign’d and meek!
    • Of Job’s great patience since so oft you preach,
    • Well should you practise who so well can teach.
    • ’T is difficult to do, I must allow,
    • But I, my dearest! will instruct you how.
    • Great is the blessing of a prudent wife,1903: 190
    • Who puts a period to domestic strife.
    • One of us two must rule, and one obey; }
    • And since in man right Reason bears the sway, }
    • Let that frail thing, weak woman, have her way. }
    • The wives of all my family have ruled
    • Their tender husbands, and their passions cool’d.
    • Fie! ’t is unmanly thus to sigh and groan:
    • What! would you have me to yourself alone?
    • Why, take me, love! take all and every part!
    • Here ’s your revenge! you love it at your heart.1903: 200
    • Would I vouchsafe to sell what Nature gave,
    • You little think what custom I could have.
    • But see! I ’m all your own—nay hold—for shame!
    • What means my dear?—indeed—you are to blame.’
    • Thus with my first three lords I pass’d my life,
    • A very woman and a very wife.
    • What sums from these old spouses I could raise
    • Procur’d young husbands in my riper days.
    • Tho’ past my bloom, not yet decay’d was I,1903: 209
    • Wanton and wild, and chatter’d like a pie.
    • In country dances still I bore the bell,
    • And sung as sweet as ev’ning Philomel.
    • To clear my quail-pipe, and refresh my soul,
    • Full oft I drain’d the spicy nut-brown bowl;
    • Rich luscious wines, that youthful blood improve,
    • And warm the swelling veins to feats of love:
    • For ’t is as sure as cold engenders hail,
    • A liquorish mouth must have a lech’rous tail:
    • Wine lets no lover unrewarded go,1903: 219
    • As all true gamesters by experience know.
    • But oh, good Gods! whene’er a thought I cast
    • On all the joys of youth and beauty past,
    • To find in pleasures I have had my part
    • Still warms me to the bottom of my heart.
    • This wicked world was once my dear delight;
    • Now all my conquests, all my charms, good night!
    • The flour consumed, the best that now I can
    • Is ev’n to make my market of the bran.
    • My fourth dear spouse was not exceeding true;
    • He kept, ’t was thought, a private miss or two;1903: 230
    • But all that score I paid—As how? you ’ll say:
    • Not with my body, in a filthy way;
    • But I so dress’d, and danc’d, and drank, and din’d
    • And view’d a friend with eyes so very kind,
    • As stung his heart, and made his marrow fry,
    • With burning rage and frantic jealousy.
    • His soul, I hope, enjoys eternal glory,
    • For here on earth I was his purgatory.
    • Oft, when his shoe the most severely wrung,1903: 239
    • He put on careless airs, and sat and sung.
    • How sore I gall’d him only Heav’n could know,
    • And he that felt, and I that caus’d the woe.
    • He died when last from pilgrimage I came,
    • With other gossips, from Jerusalem;
    • And now lies buried underneath a rood,
    • Fair to be seen, and rear’d of honest wood:
    • Edition: current; Page: [50]
    • A tomb, indeed, with fewer sculptures graced
    • Than that Mausolus’ pious widow placed,
    • Or where enshrin’d the great Darius lay;
    • But cost on graves is merely thrown away.
    • The pit fill’d up, with turf we cover’d o’er;
    • So bless the good man’s soul! I say no more.1903: 252
    • Now for my fifth lov’d lord, the last and best;
    • (Kind Heav’n afford him everlasting rest!)
    • Full hearty was his love, and I can show
    • The tokens on my ribs in black and blue;
    • Yet with a knack my heart he could have won,
    • While yet the smart was shooting in the bone.
    • How quaint an appetite in women reigns!
    • Free gifts we scorn, and love what costs us pains.1903: 260
    • Let men avoid us, and on them we leap;
    • A glutted market makes provision cheap.
    • In pure good will I took this jovial spark,
    • Of Oxford he, a most egregious clerk.
    • He boarded with a widow in the town,
    • A trusty gossip, one dame Alison;
    • Full well the secrets of my soul she knew,
    • Better than e’er our parish priest could do.
    • To her I told whatever could befall:1903: 269
    • Had but my husband piss’d against a wall,
    • Or done a thing that might have cost his life,
    • She—and my niece—and one more worthy wife,
    • Had known it all: what most he would conceal,
    • To these I made no scruple to reveal.
    • Oft has he blush’d from ear to ear for shame
    • That e’er he told a secret to his dame.
    • It so befell, in holy time of Lent,
    • That oft a day I to this gossip went;
    • (My husband, thank my stars, was out of town)
    • From house to house we rambled up and down,1903: 280
    • This clerk, myself, and my good neighbour Alse,
    • To see, be seen, to tell, and gather tales.
    • Visits to every church we daily paid,
    • And march’d in every holy masquerade;
    • The stations duly and the vigils kept;
    • Not much we fasted, but scarce ever slept.
    • At sermons, too, I shone in scarlet gay: }
    • The wasting moth ne’er spoil’d my best array; }
    • The cause was this, I wore it every day. }
    • ’Twas when fresh May her early blossoms yields,1903: 290
    • This clerk and I were walking in the fields.
    • We grew so intimate, I can’t tell how,
    • I pawn’d my honour, and engaged my vow,
    • If e’er I laid my husband in his urn,
    • That he, and only he, should serve my turn.
    • We straight struck hands, the bargain was agreed;
    • I still have shifts against a time of need.
    • The mouse that always trusts to one poor hole
    • Can never be a mouse of any soul.
    • I vow’d I scarce could sleep since first I knew him,1903: 300
    • And durst be sworn he had bewitch’d me to him;
    • If e’er I slept I dream’d of him alone, }
    • And dreams foretell, as learned men have shown. }
    • All this I said; but dreams, Sirs, I had none: }
    • I follow’d but my crafty crony’s lore,
    • Who bid me tell this lie—and twenty more.
    • Thus day by day, and month by month we past;
    • It pleas’d the Lord to take my spouse at last.
    • I tore my gown, I soil’d my locks with dust,
    • And beat my breasts, as wretched widows—must.1903: 310
    • Before my face my handkerchief I spread,
    • To hide the flood of tears I—did not shed.
    • The good man’s coffin to the church was borne;
    • Around the neighbours and my clerk too mourn.
    • But as he march’d, good Gods! he show’d a pair
    • Of legs and feet so clean, so strong, so fair!
    • Of twenty winters’ age he seem’d to be;
    • I (to say truth) was twenty more than he;
    • But vig’rous still, a lively buxom dame,1903: 319
    • And had a wondrous gift to quench a flame.
    • A conjurer once, that deeply could divine,
    • Assur’d me Mars in Taurus was my sign.
    • As the stars order’d, such my life has been:
    • Alas, alas! that ever love was sin!
    • Fair Venus gave me fire and sprightly grace,
    • And Mars assurance and a dauntless face.
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    • By virtue of this powerful constellation,
    • I follow’d always my own inclination.
    • But to my tale:—A month scarce pass’d away,
    • With dance and song we kept the nuptial day.1903: 330
    • All I possess’d I gave to his command,
    • My goods and chattels, money, house, and land;
    • But oft repented, and repent it still;
    • He prov’d a rebel to my sov’reign will;
    • Nay, once, by Heav’n! he struck me on the face:
    • Hear but the fact, and judge yourselves the case.
    • Stubborn as any lioness was I,
    • And knew full well to raise my voice on high;
    • As true a rambler as I was before,
    • And would be so in spite of all he swore.1903: 340
    • He against this right sagely would advise,
    • And old examples set before my eyes;
    • Tell how the Roman matrons led their life,
    • Of Gracehus’ mother, and Duilius’ wife;
    • And close the sermon, as beseem’d his wit,
    • With some grave sentence out of Holy Writ.
    • Oft would he say, ‘Who builds his house on sands,
    • Pricks his blind horse across the fallow lands,
    • Or lets his wife abroad with pilgrims roam,
    • Deserves a fool’s-cap and long ears at home.’1903: 350
    • All this avail’d not, for whoe’er he be
    • That tells my faults, I hate him mortally!
    • And so do numbers more, I’ll boldly say,
    • Men, women, clergy, regular and lay.
    • My spouse (who was, you know, to learning bred)
    • A certain treatise oft at evening read,
    • Where divers authors (whom the devil confound
    • For all their lies) were in one volume bound:
    • Valerius whole, and of St. Jerome part;
    • Chrysippus and Tertullian, Ovid’s Art,1903: 360
    • Solomon’s Proverbs, Eloisa’s loves,
    • And many more than sure the church approves.
    • More legends were there here of wicked wives
    • Than good in all the Bible and saints’ lives.
    • Who drew the lion vanquish’d? ’T was a man:
    • But could we women write as scholars can,
    • Men should stand mark’d with far more wickedness
    • Than all the sons of Adam could redress.
    • Love seldom haunts the breast where learning lies,
    • And Venus sets ere Mercury can rise.1903: 370
    • Those play the scholars who can’t play the men,
    • And use that weapon which they have, their pen;
    • When old, and past the relish of delight,
    • Then down they sit, and in their dotage write
    • That not one woman keeps her marriagevow.
    • (This by the way, but to my purpose now.)
    • It chanc’d my husband, on a winter’s night,
    • Read in this book aloud with strange delight,
    • How the first female (as the Scriptures show)
    • Brought her own spouse and all his race to woe;1903: 380
    • How Samson fell; and he whom Dejanire
    • Wrapp’d in th’ envenom’d shirt, and set on fire;
    • How curs’d Eriphyle her lord betray’d,
    • And the dire ambush Clytemnestra laid;
    • But what most pleas’d him was the Cretan dame
    • And husband-bull—Oh, monstrous! fie, for shame!
    • He had by heart the whole detail of woe
    • Xantippe made her good man undergo;
    • How oft she scolded in a day he knew,1903: 389
    • How many pisspots on the sage she threw—
    • Who took it patiently, and wiped his head:
    • ‘Rain follows thunder,’ that was all he said.
    • He read how Arius to his friend complain’d
    • A fatal tree was growing in his land,
    • On which three wives successively had twin’d
    • A sliding noose, and waver’d in the wind.
    • ‘Where grows this plant,’ replied the friend, ‘oh where?
    • For better fruit did never orchard bear:
    • Give me some slip of this most blissful tree,
    • And in my garden planted it shall be.’1903: 400
    • Then how two wives their lords’ destruction prove,
    • Thro’ hatred one, and one thro’ too much love;
    • Edition: current; Page: [52]
    • That for her husband mix’d a pois’nous draught,
    • And this for lust an am’rous philtre bought;
    • The nimble juice soon seiz’d his giddy head,
    • Frantic at night, and in the morning dead.
    • How some with swords their sleeping lords have slain,
    • And some have hammer’d nails into their brain,
    • And some have drench’d them with a deadly potion:
    • All this he read, and read with great devotion.1903: 410
    • Long time I heard, and swell’d, and blush’d, and frown’d;
    • But when no end of these vile tales I found,
    • When still he read, and laugh’d, and read again,
    • And half the night was thus consumed in vain,
    • Provoked to vengeance, three large leaves I tore,
    • And with one buffet fell’d him on the floor.
    • With that my husband in a fury rose,
    • And down he settled me with hearty blows.
    • I groan’d, and lay extended on my side;
    • ‘Oh! thou hast slain me for my wealth,’ I cried!1903: 420
    • ‘Yet I forgive thee—take my last embrace’—
    • He wept, kind soul! and stoop’d to kiss my face:
    • I took him such a box as turn’d him blue,
    • Then sigh’d and cried, ‘Adieu, my dear, adieu!’
    • But after many a hearty struggle past,
    • I condescended to be pleas’d at last.
    • Soon as he said, ‘My mistress and my wife!
    • Do what you list the term of all your life;’
    • I took to heart the merits of the cause,
    • And stood content to rule by wholesome laws;1903: 430
    • Receiv’d the reins of absolute command, }
    • With all the government of house and land, }
    • And empire o’er his tongue and o’er his hand. }
    • As for the volume that revil’d the dames,
    • ’T was torn to fragments, and condemn’d to flames.
    • Now Heav’n on all my husbands gone bestow
    • Pleasures above for tortures felt below:
    • That rest they wish’d for grant them in the grave,
    • And bless those souls my conduct help’d to save!

THE TEMPLE OF FAME[ ]

Pope asserted that this poem was composed in 1711. Its date of publication is indicated by a letter from Pope to Martha Blount, written in 1714, in which he speaks of it as ‘just out.’ Eventually it was classed by the poet as a ‘juvenile poem’ among the earlier translations and imitations. This Advertisement was prefixed:—

The hint of the following piece was taken from Chaucer’s House of Fame. The design is in a manner entirely altered; the descriptions and most of the particular thoughts my own: yet I could not suffer it to be printed without this acknowledgment. The reader who would compare this with Chaucer, may begin with his third Book of Fame, there being nothing in the two first books that answers to their title.

    • In that soft season, when descending showers
    • Call forth the greens, and wake the rising flowers,
    • When opening buds salute the welcome day,
    • And earth relenting feels the genial ray;
    • As balmy sleep had charm’d my cares to rest,
    • And love itself was banish’d from my breast,
    • (What time the morn mysterious visions brings,
    • While purer slumbers spread their golden wings)
    • A train of phantoms in wild order rose,1903: 9
    • And join’d, this intellectual scene compose.
    • I stood, methought, betwixt earth, seas, and skies,
    • The whole Creation open to my eyes;
    • In air self-balanced hung the globe below,
    • Where mountains rise and circling oceans flow;
    • Here naked rocks and empty wastes were seen,
    • There towery cities, and the forests green;
    • Edition: current; Page: [53]
    • Here sailing ships delight the wand’ring eyes,
    • There trees and intermingled temples rise:
    • Now a clear sun the shining scene displays,
    • The transient landscape now in clouds decays.1903: 20
    • O’er the wide prospect as I gazed around,
    • Sudden I heard a wild promiscuous sound,
    • Like broken thunders that at distance roar,
    • Or billows murm’ring on the hollow shore:
    • Then gazing up, a glorious Pile beheld,
    • Whose tow’ring summit ambient clouds conceal’d;
    • High on a rock of ice the structure lay,
    • Steep its ascent, and slipp’ry was the way;
    • The wondrous rock like Parian marble shone,1903: 29
    • And seem’d, to distant sight, of solid stone.
    • Inscriptions here of various names I view’d,
    • The greater part by hostile time subdued;
    • Yet wide was spread their fame in ages past,
    • And poets once had promis’d they should last.
    • Some fresh engraved appear’d of wits renown’d;
    • I look’d again, nor could their trace be found.
    • Critics I saw, that other names deface,
    • And fix their own with labour, in their place:
    • Their own, like others, soon their place resign’d,
    • Or disappear’d and left the first behind.1903: 40
    • Nor was the work impair’d by storms alone,
    • But felt th’ approaches of too warm a sun;
    • For Fame, impatient of extremes, decays
    • Not more by envy than excess of praise.
    • Yet part no injuries of Heav’n could feel,
    • Like crystal faithful to the graving steel:
    • The rock’s high summit, in the temple’s shade,
    • Nor heat could melt, nor beating storm invade.
    • Their names inscribed unnumber’d ages past
    • From Time’s first birth, with Time itself shall last:1903: 50
    • These ever new, nor subject to decays,
    • Spread, and grow brighter with the length of days.
    • So Zembla’s rocks (the beauteous work of frost)
    • Rise white in air, and glitter o’er the coast;
    • Pale suns, unfelt, at distance roll away,
    • And on th’ impassive ice the lightnings play;
    • Eternal snows the growing mass supply,
    • Till the bright mountains prop th’ incumbent sky:
    • As Atlas fix’d, each hoary pile appears,1903: 59
    • The gather’d winter of a thousand years.
    • On this foundation Fame’s high temple stands;
    • Stupendous pile! not rear’d by mortal hands.
    • Whate’er proud Rome or artful Greece beheld,
    • Or elder Babylon, its frame excell’d.
    • Four faces had the dome, and ev’ry face
    • Of various structure, but of equal grace:
    • Four brazen gates, on columns lifted high,
    • Salute the diff’rent quarters of the sky.
    • Here fabled Chiefs in darker ages born,
    • Or Worthies old whom Arms or Arts adorn,1903: 70
    • Who cities raised or tamed a monstrous race,
    • The walls in venerable order grace:
    • Heroes in animated marble frown,
    • And Legislators seem to think in stone.
    • Westward, a sumptuous frontispiece appear’d,
    • On Doric pillars of white marble rear’d,
    • Crown’d with an architrave of antique mould,
    • And sculpture rising on the roughen’d gold.
    • In shaggy spoils here Theseus was beheld,
    • And Perseus dreadful with Minerva’s shield:1903: 80
    • There great Alcides, stooping with his toil,
    • Rests on his club, and holds th’ Hesperian spoil:
    • Here Orpheus sings; trees moving to the sound
    • Start from their roots, and form a shade around:
    • Amphion there the loud creating lyre
    • Strikes, and beholds a sudden Thebes aspire;
    • Cithæron’s echoes answer to his call,
    • And half the mountain rolls into a wall:
    • There might you see the length’ning spires ascend,
    • The domes swell up, and widening arches bend,1903: 90
    • The growing towers, like exhalations, rise,
    • And the huge columns heave into the skies.
    • The eastern front was glorious to behold,
    • With diamond flaming, and barbaric gold.
    • There Ninus shone, who spread th’ Assyrian fame,
    • And the great founder of the Persian name;
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    • There in long robes the royal Magi stand,
    • Grave Zoroaster waves the circling wand;
    • The sage Chaldeans robed in white appear’d,
    • And Brahmans, deep in desert woods revered.1903: 100
    • These stopp’d the moon, and call’ th’ unbodied shades
    • To midnight banquets in the glimm’ring glades;
    • Made visionary fabrics round them rise,
    • And airy spectres skim before their eyes;
    • Of talismans and sigils knew the power,
    • And careful watch’d the planetary hour.
    • Superior, and alone, Confucius stood,
    • Who taught that useful science,—to be good.
    • But on the south, a long majestic race1903: 109
    • Of Egypt’s priests the gilded niches grace,
    • Who measured earth, described the starry spheres,
    • And traced the long records of Lunar Years.
    • High on his car Sesostris struck my view,
    • Whom sceptred slaves in golden harness drew:
    • His hands a bow and pointed jav’lin hold;
    • His giant limbs are arm’d in scales of gold.
    • Between the statues obelisks were placed,
    • And the learn’d walls with hieroglyphics graced.
    • Of Gothic structure was the northern side,
    • O’erwrought with ornaments of barb’rous pride.1903: 120
    • There huge Colosses rose, with trophies crown’d,
    • And Runic characters were graved around;
    • There sat Zamolxis with erected eyes,
    • And Odin here in mimic trances dies.
    • There on rude iron columns, smear’d with blood,
    • The horrid forms of Scythian Heroes stood,
    • Druids and Bards (their once loud harps unstrung)
    • And youths that died to be by poets sung.
    • These and a thousand more of doubtful fame,
    • To whom old fables gave a lasting name,1903: 130
    • In ranks adorn’d the temple’s outward face;
    • The wall in lustre and effect like glass,
    • Which o’er each object casting various dyes,
    • Enlarges some, and others multiplies;
    • Nor void of emblem was the mystic wall,
    • For thus romantic Fame increases all.
    • The temple shakes, the sounding gates unfold,
    • Wide vaults appear, and roofs of fretted gold,
    • Rais’d on a thousand pillars, wreath’d around
    • With laurel foliage, and with eagles crown’d.1903: 140
    • Of bright transparent beryl were the walls,
    • The friezes gold, and gold the capitals;
    • As Heav’n with stars, the roof with jewels glows,
    • And ever-living lamps depend in rows.
    • Full in the passage of each spacious gate
    • The sage Historians in white garments wait;
    • Graved o’er their seats the form of Time was found,
    • His scythe revers’d, and both his pinions bound.
    • Within stood Heroes, who thro’ loud alarms
    • In bloody fields pursued renown in arms.
    • High on a throne, with trophies charged, I view’d1903: 151
    • The youth that all things but himself subdued;
    • His feet on sceptres and tiaras trod,
    • And his horn’d head belied the Libyan God,
    • There Cæsar, graced with both Minervas, shone;
    • Cæsar, the world’s great master, and his own;
    • Unmov’d, superior still in ev’ry state,
    • And scarce detested in his country’s fate.
    • But chief were those who not for empire fought,
    • But with their toils their people’s safety bought:1903: 160
    • High o’er the rest Epaminondas stood;
    • Timoleon, glorious in his brother’s blood;
    • Bold Scipio, saviour of the Roman state,
    • Great in his triumphs, in retirement great;
    • And wise Aurelius, in whose well-taught mind }
    • With boundless power unbounded virtue join’d, }
    • His own strict judge, and patron of mankind. }
    • Much-suff’ring heroes next their honours claim.
    • Those of less noisy, and less guilty fame,
    • Fair Virtue’s silent train: supreme of these1903: 170
    • Here ever shines the godlike Socrates:
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    • He whom ungrateful Athens could expel,
    • At all times just, but when he sign’d the shell:
    • Here his abode the martyr’d Phocion claims,
    • With Agis, not the last of Spartan names:
    • Unconquer’d Cato shows the wound he tore,
    • And Brutus his ill genius meets no more.
    • But in the centre of the hallow’d choir
    • Six pompous columns o’er the rest aspire:
    • Around the shrine itself of Fame they stand,1903: 180
    • Hold the chief honours and the fane command.
    • High on the first the mighty Homer shone;
    • Eternal adamant composed his throne;
    • Father of verse! in holy fillets drest,
    • His silver beard waved gently o’er his breast;
    • Tho’ blind, a boldness in his looks appears;
    • In years he seem’d, but not impair’d by years.
    • The wars of Troy were round the pillar seen;
    • Here fierce Tydides wounds the Cyprian Queen;1903: 189
    • Here Hector, glorious from Patroclus’ fall,
    • Here, dragg’d in triumph round the Trojan wall.
    • Motion and life did ev’ry part inspire,
    • Bold was the work, and prov’d the master’s fire:
    • A strong expression most he seem’d t’ affect,
    • And here and there disclosed a brave neglect.
    • A golden column next in rank appear’d,
    • On which a shrine of purest gold was rear’d;
    • Finish’d the whole, and labour’d ev’ry part,
    • With patient touches of unwearied art.1903: 199
    • The Mantuan there in sober triumph sate,
    • Composed his posture, and his look sedate;
    • On Homer still he fix’d a rev’rend eye,
    • Great without pride, in modest majesty.
    • In living sculpture on the sides were spread
    • The Latian wars, and haughty Turnus dead;
    • Eliza stretch’d upon the funeral pyre;
    • Æneas bending with his aged sire:
    • Troy flamed in burning gold, and o’er the throne
    • ‘Arms and the man’ in golden ciphers shone.
    • Four swans sustain a car of silver bright,1903: 210
    • With heads advanced, and pinions stretch’d for flight:
    • Here, like some furious prophet, Pindar rode,
    • And seem’d to labour with th’ inspiring God.
    • Across the harp a careless hand he flings,
    • And boldly sinks into the sounding strings.
    • The figured games of Greece the column grace:
    • Neptune and Jove survey the rapid race;
    • The youths hang o’er the chariots as they run;
    • The fiery steeds seem starting from the stone;
    • The champions in distorted postures threat;1903: 220
    • And all appear’d irregularly great.
    • Here happy Horace tuned th’ Ausonian lyre
    • To sweeter sounds, and temper’d Pindar’s fire:
    • Pleas’d with Alcæus’ manly rage t’ infuse
    • The softer spirit of the Sapphic Muse.
    • The polish’d pillar diff’rent sculptures grace;
    • A work outlasting monumental brass.
    • Here smiling loves and bacchanals appear,
    • The Julian star, and great Augustus here;
    • The doves, that round the infant poet spread1903: 230
    • Myrtles and bays, hung hov’ring o’er his head.
    • Here, in a shrine that cast a dazzling light,
    • Sate fix’d in thought the mighty Stagyrite;
    • His sacred head a radiant Zodiac crown’d,
    • And various animals his sides surround:
    • His piercing eyes, erect, appear to view
    • Superior worlds, and look all Nature thro’.
    • With equal rays immortal Tully shone;
    • The Roman rostra deck’d the consul’s throne;
    • Gath’ring his flowing robe, he seem’d to stand1903: 240
    • In act to speak, and graceful stretch’d his hand;
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    • Behind, Rome’s Genius waits with civic crowns,
    • And the great father of his country owns.
    • These massy columns in a circle rise,
    • O’er which a pompous dome invades the skies;
    • Scarce to the top I stretch’d my aching sight,
    • So large it spread, and swell’d to such a height.
    • Full in the midst proud Fame’s imperial seat
    • With jewels blazed, magnificently great;
    • The vivid em’ralds there revive the eye,1903: 250
    • The flaming rubies show their sanguine dye,
    • Bright azure rays from lively sapphires stream,
    • And lucid amber casts a golden gleam.
    • With various-colour’d light the pavement shone,
    • And all on fire appear’d the glowing throne;
    • The dome’s high arch reflects the mingled blaze,
    • And forms a rainbow of alternate rays.
    • When on the Goddess first I cast my sight,
    • Scarce seem’d her stature of a cubit’s height;1903: 259
    • But swell’d to larger size, the more I gazed,
    • Till to the roof her tow’ring front she rais’d.
    • With her, the temple ev’ry moment grew,
    • And ampler vistas open’d to my view:
    • Upward the columns shoot, the roofs ascend,
    • And arches widen, and long aisles extend.
    • Such was her form, as ancient bards have told;
    • Wings raise her arms, and wings her feet infold;
    • A thousand busy tongues the Goddess bears,
    • A thousand open eyes, and thousand list’ning ears.1903: 269
    • Beneath, in order ranged, the tuneful Nine
    • (Her virgin handmaids) still attend the shrine;
    • With eyes on Fame for ever fix’d, they sing;
    • For Fame they raise the voice, and tune the string;
    • With Time’s first birth began the heav’nly lays,
    • And last, eternal, thro’ the length of days.
    • Around these wonders as I cast a look,
    • The trumpet sounded, and the temple shook,
    • And all the nations summon’d at the call,
    • From diff’rent quarters fill the crowded hall.
    • Of various tongues the mingled sounds were heard;1903: 280
    • In various garbs promiscuous throngs appear’d:
    • Thick as the bees, that with the spring renew
    • Their flowery toils, and sip the fragrant dew,
    • When the wing’d colonies first tempt the sky,
    • O’er dusky fields and shaded waters fly,
    • Or, settling, seize the sweets the blossoms yield,
    • And a low murmur runs along the field.
    • Millions of suppliant crowds the shrine attend,1903: 288
    • And all degrees before the Goddess bend;
    • The poor, the rich, the valiant, and the sage,
    • And boasting youth, and narrative old age.
    • Their pleas were diff’rent, their request the same;
    • For good and bad alike are fond of Fame.
    • Some she disgraced and some with honours crown’d;
    • Unlike successes equal merits found.
    • Thus her blind sister, fickle Fortune, reigns,
    • And, undiscerning, scatters crowns and chains.
    • First at the shrine the learned world appear,
    • And to the Goddess thus prefer their prayer:
    • ‘Long have we sought t’ instruct and please mankind,1903: 300
    • With studies pale, with midnight-vigils blind;
    • But thank’d by few, rewarded yet by none,
    • We here appeal to thy superior throne:
    • On Wit and Learning the just prize bestow,
    • For Fame is all we must expect below.’
    • The Goddess heard, and bade the Muses raise
    • The golden trumpet of eternal praise:
    • From pole to pole the winds diffuse the sound,
    • That fills the circuit of the world around;
    • Not all at once, as thunder breaks the cloud,1903: 310
    • The notes at first were rather sweet than loud;
    • By just degrees they every moment rise,
    • Fill the wide earth, and gain upon the skies.
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    • At every breath were balmy odours shed,
    • Which still grew sweeter as they wider spread;
    • Less fragrant scents th’ unfolding rose exhales,
    • Or spices breathing in Arabian gales.
    • Next these the good and just, an awful train,
    • Thus on their knees address the sacred fane:1903: 319
    • ‘Since living virtue is with envy curs’d,
    • And the best men are treated like the worst,
    • Do thou, just Goddess, call our merits forth,
    • And give each deed th’ exact intrinsic worth.’
    • ‘Not with bare justice shall your act be crown’d
    • (Said Fame), but high above desert renown’d:
    • Let fuller notes th’ applauding world amaze,
    • And the loud clarion labour in your praise.’
    • This band dismiss’d, behold another crowd
    • Preferr’d the same request, and lowly bow’d;
    • The constant tenor of whose well-spent days1903: 330
    • No less deserv’d a just return of praise.
    • But straight the direful trump of Slander sounds;
    • Thro’ the big dome the doubling thunder bounds;
    • Loud as the burst of cannon rends the skies,
    • The dire report thro’ every region flies,
    • In every ear incessant rumours rung,
    • And gath’ring scandals grew on every tongue.
    • From the black trumpet’s rusty concave broke
    • Sulphureous flames, and clouds of rolling smoke:
    • The pois’nous vapour blots the purple skies,1903: 340
    • And withers all before it as it flies.
    • A troop came next, who crowns and armour wore,
    • And proud defiance in their looks they bore:
    • ‘For thee (they cried) amidst alarms and strife,
    • We sail’d in tempests down the stream of life;
    • For thee whole nations fill’d with flames and blood,
    • And swam to Empire thro’ the purple flood:
    • Those ills we dared, thy inspiration own;
    • What virtue seem’d, was done for thee alone.’
    • ‘Ambitious fools!’ (the Queen replied, and frown’d)1903: 350
    • ‘Be all your acts in dark oblivion drown’d;
    • There sleep forgot, with mighty tyrants gone,
    • Your statues moulder’d, and your names unknown!’
    • A sudden cloud straight snatch’d them from my sight,
    • And each majestic phantom sunk in night.
    • Then came the smallest tribe I yet had seen;
    • Plain was their dress, and modest was their mien:
    • ‘Great Idol of mankind! we neither claim
    • The praise of Merit, nor aspire to Fame!
    • But safe in deserts from th’ applause of men,1903: 360
    • Would die unheard of, as we liv’d unseen;
    • ’T is all we beg thee, to conceal from sight
    • Those acts of goodness which themselves requite.
    • O let us still the secret joy partake,
    • To follow Virtue ev’n for Virtue’s sake.’
    • ‘And live there men who slight immortal fame?
    • Who then with incense shall adore our name?
    • But, mortals! know, ’t is still our greatest pride
    • To blaze those virtues which the good would hide.
    • Rise! Muses, rise! add all your tuneful breath;1903: 370
    • These must not sleep in darkness and in death.’
    • She said: in air the trembling music floats,
    • And on the winds triumphant swell the notes;
    • So soft, tho’ high, so loud, and yet so clear,
    • Ev’n list’ning angels lean’d from Heav’n to hear:
    • To farthest shores th’ ambrosial spirit flies,
    • Sweet to the world, and grateful to the skies.
    • Next these a youthful train their vows express’d,
    • With feathers crown’d, with gay embroid’ry dress’d:
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    • ‘Hither’ they cried ‘direct your eyes, and see1903: 380
    • The men of pleasure, dress, and gallantry.
    • Ours is the place at banquets, balls, and plays,
    • Sprightly our nights, polite are all our days;
    • Courts we frequent, where ’t is our pleasing care
    • To pay due visits, and address the Fair;
    • In fact, ’t is true, no nymph we could persuade,
    • But still in fancy vanquish’d ev’ry maid;
    • Of unknown Duchesses lewd tales we tell,
    • Yet, would the world believe us, all were well;1903: 389
    • The joy let others have, and we the name,
    • And what we want in pleasure, grant in fame.’
    • The Queen assents: the trumpet rends the skies,
    • And at each blast a lady’s honour dies.
    • Pleas’d with the strange success, vast numbers prest
    • Around the shrine, and made the same request:
    • ‘What you’ she cried, ‘unlearn’d in arts to please,
    • Slaves to yourselves, and ev’n fatigued with ease,
    • Who lose a length of undeserving days,
    • Would you usurp the lover’s dear-bought praise?
    • To just contempt, ye vain pretenders, fall,
    • The people’s fable, and the scorn of all.’1903: 401
    • Straight the black clarion sends a horrid sound,
    • Loud laughs burst out, and bitter scoffs fly round;
    • Whispers are heard, with taunts reviling loud,
    • And scornful hisses run thro’ all the crowd.
    • Last, those who boast of mighty mischiefs done,
    • Enslave their country, or usurp a throne;
    • Or who their glory’s dire foundation laid
    • On sov’reigns ruin’d, or on friends betray’d;
    • Calm, thinking villains, whom no faith could fix,1903: 410
    • Of crooked counsels and dark politics;
    • Of these a gloomy tribe surround the throne,
    • And beg to make th’ immortal treasons known.
    • The trumpet roars, long flaky flames expire,
    • With sparks that seem’d to set the world on fire.
    • At the dread sound pale mortals stood aghast,
    • And startled Nature trembled with the blast.
    • This having heard and seen, some Power unknown
    • Straight changed the scene, and snatch’d me from the throne.
    • Before my view appear’d a structure fair,1903: 420
    • Its site uncertain, if in earth or air;
    • With rapid motion turn’d the mansion round;
    • With ceaseless noise the ringing walls resound:
    • Not less in number were the spacious doors
    • Than leaves on trees, or sands upon the shores;
    • Which still unfolded stand, by night, by day,
    • Previous to winds, and open every way.
    • As flames by nature to the skies ascend,
    • As weighty bodies to the centre tend,
    • As to the sea returning rivers roll,1903: 430
    • And the touch’d needle trembles to the pole,
    • Hither, as to their proper place, arise
    • All various sounds from earth, and seas, and skies,
    • Or spoke aloud, or whisper’d in the ear;
    • Nor ever silence, rest, or peace is here.
    • As on the smooth expanse of crystal lakes
    • The sinking stone at first a circle makes;
    • The trembling surface by the motion stirr’d,
    • Spreads in a second circle, then a third;
    • Wide, and more wide, the floating rings advance,1903: 440
    • Fill all the wat’ry plain, and to the margin dance:
    • Thus every voice and sound, when first they break,
    • On neighb’ring air a soft impression make;
    • Another ambient circle then they move;
    • That in its turn, impels the next above;
    • Thro’ undulating air the sounds are sent,
    • And spread o’er all the fluid element.
    • There various news I heard of love and strife,
    • Of peace and war, health, sickness, death, and life,1903: 449
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    • Of loss and gain, of famine, and of store,
    • Of storms at sea, and travels on the shore,
    • Of prodigies, and portents seen in air,
    • Of fires and plagues, and stars with blazing hair,
    • Of turns of fortune, changes in the state,
    • The fall of fav’rites, projects of the great,
    • Of old mismanagements, taxations new;
    • All neither wholly false, nor wholly true.
    • Above, below, without, within, around,
    • Confused, unnumber’d multitudes are found,
    • Who pass, repass, advance, and glide away,1903: 460
    • Hosts rais’d by fear, and phantoms of a day:
    • Astrologers, that future fates foreshew,
    • Projectors, quacks, and lawyers not a few;
    • And priests, and party zealots, numerous bands,
    • With home-born lies or tales from foreign lands;
    • Each talk’d aloud, or in some secret place,
    • And wild impatience stared in ev’ry face.
    • The flying rumours gather’d as they roll’d,
    • Scarce any tale was sooner heard than told;
    • And all who told it added something new, }
    • And all who heard it made enlargements too;1903: 471 }
    • In ev’ry ear it spread, on ev’ry tongue it grew. }
    • Thus flying east and west, and north and south,
    • News travel’d with increase from mouth to mouth.
    • So from a spark that, kindled first by chance,
    • With gath’ring force the quick’ning flames advance;
    • Till to the clouds their curling heads aspire,
    • And towers and temples sink in floods of fire.
    • When thus ripe lies are to perfection sprung,
    • Full grown, and fit to grace a mortal tongue,1903: 480
    • Thro’ thousand vents, impatient, forth they flow,
    • And rush in millions on the world below.
    • Fame sits aloft, and points them out their course,
    • Their date determines, and prescribes their force;
    • Some to remain, and some to perish soon,
    • Or wane and wax alternate like the moon.
    • Around, a thousand winged wonders fly,
    • Borne by the trumpet’s blast, and scatter’d thro’ the sky.
    • There, at one passage, oft you might survey
    • A lie and truth contending for the way;1903: 490
    • And long ’t was doubtful, both so closely pent,
    • Which first should issue thro’ the narrow vent:
    • At last agreed, together out they fly,
    • Inseparable now the truth and lie;
    • The strict companions are for ever join’d,
    • And this or that unmix’d, no mortal e’er shall find,
    • While thus I stood, intent to see and hear,
    • One came, methought, and whisper’d in my ear:
    • ‘What could thus high thy rash ambition raise?
    • Art thou, fond youth, a candidate for praise?’1903: 500
    • ‘’T is true,’ said I, ‘not void of hopes I came,
    • For who so fond as youthful bards of Fame?
    • But few, alas! the casual blessing boast,
    • So hard to gain, so easy to be lost.
    • How vain that second life in others’ breath,
    • Th’ estate which wits inherit after death!
    • Ease, health, and life for this they must resign,
    • (Unsure the tenure, but how vast the fine!)
    • The great man’s curse, without the gains, endure,
    • Be envied, wretched; and be flatter’d, poor;
    • All luckless wits their enemies profest,1903: 511
    • And all successful, jealous friends at best.
    • Nor Fame I slight, nor for her favours call;
    • She comes unlook’d for, if she comes at all.
    • But if the purchase costs so dear a price
    • As soothing Folly, or exalting Vice;
    • Oh! if the Muse must flatter lawless sway,
    • And follow still where Fortune leads the way;
    • Or if no basis bear my rising name,
    • But the fall’n ruins of another’s fame;1903: 520
    • Then teach me, Heav’n! to scorn the guilty bays;
    • Drive from my breast that wretched lust of praise;
    • Unblemish’d let me live or die unknown;
    • Oh, grant an honest fame, or grant me none!’
Edition: current; Page: [60]

TRANSLATIONS FROM OVID

SAPPHO TO PHAON
FROM THE FIFTEENTH OF OVID’S EPISTLES

Written, according to Pope, in 1707. First published in Tonson’s Ovid, 1712.

    • Say, lovely Youth, that dost my heart command,
    • Can Phaon’s eyes forget his Sappho’s hand?
    • Must then her name the wretched writer prove,
    • To thy remembrance lost, as to thy love?
    • Ask not the cause that I new numbers choose,
    • The lute neglected and the lyric Muse;
    • Love taught my tears in sadder notes to flow,
    • And tuned my heart to elegies of woe.
    • I burn, I burn, as when thro’ ripen’d corn
    • By driving winds the spreading flames are borne!1903: 10
    • Phaon to Ætna’s scorching fields retires,
    • While I consume with more than Ætna’s fires!
    • No more my soul a charm in music finds;
    • Music has charms alone for peaceful minds.
    • Soft scenes of solitude no more can please;
    • Love enters there, and I’m my own disease.
    • No more the Lesbian dames my passion move,
    • Once the dear objects of my guilty love;
    • All other loves are lost in only thine,
    • O youth, ungrateful to a flame like mine!
    • Whom would not all those blooming charms surprise,1903: 21
    • Those heav’nly looks, and dear deluding eyes?
    • The harp and bow would you like Phœbus bear,
    • A brighter Phœbus Phaon might appear;
    • Would you with ivy wreathe your flowing hair,
    • Not Bacchus’ self with Phaon could compare:
    • Yet Phœbus lov’d, and Bacchus felt the flame,
    • One Daphne warm’d, and one the Cretan dame;
    • Nymphs that in verse no more could rival me,
    • Than ev’n those Gods contend in charms with thee.1903: 30
    • The Muses teach me all their softest lays,
    • And the wide world resounds with Sappho’s praise.
    • Tho’ great Alcæus more sublimely sings,
    • And strikes with bolder rage the sounding strings,
    • No less renown attends the moving lyre,
    • Which Venus tunes, and all her loves inspire;
    • To me what Nature has in charms denied,
    • Is well by Wit’s more lasting flames supplied.
    • Tho’ short my stature, yet my name extends
    • To Heav’n itself, and earth’s remotest ends.1903: 40
    • Brown as I am, an Ethiopian dame
    • Inspired young Perseus with a gen’rous flame;
    • Turtles and doves of diff’rent hues unite,
    • And glossy jet is pair’d with shining white.
    • If to no charms thou wilt thy heart resign,
    • But such as merit, such as equal thine,
    • By none, alas! by none thou canst be mov’d,
    • Phaon alone by Phaon must be lov’d!
    • Yet once thy Sappho could thy cares employ,
    • Once in her arms you centred all your joy:
    • No time the dear remembrance can remove,1903: 51
    • For oh! how vast a memory has Love!
    • My music, then, you could for ever hear,
    • And all my words were music to your ear.
    • You stopp’d with kisses my enchanting tongue,
    • And found my kisses sweeter than my song.
    • In all I pleas’d, but most in what was best;
    • And the last joy was dearer than the rest.
    • Then with each word, each glance, each motion fired,
    • You still enjoy’d, and yet you still desired,
    • Till, all dissolving, in the trance we lay,1903: 61
    • And in tumultuous raptures died away.
    • Edition: current; Page: [61]
    • The fair Sicilians now thy soul inflame;
    • Why was I born, ye Gods, a Lesbian dame?
    • But ah, beware, Sicilian nymphs! nor boast
    • That wand’ring heart which I so lately lost;
    • Nor be with all those tempting words abused,
    • Those tempting words were all to Sappho used.
    • And you that rule Sicilia’s happy plains,
    • Have pity, Venus, on your poet’s pains!1903: 70
    • Shall fortune still in one sad tenor run,
    • And still increase the woes so soon begun?
    • Inured to sorrow from my tender years,
    • My parents’ ashes drank my early tears:
    • My brother next, neglecting wealth and fame,
    • Ignobly burn’d in a destructive flame:
    • An infant daughter late my griefs increas’d,
    • And all a mother’s cares distract my breast.
    • Alas! what more could Fate itself impose,
    • But thee, the last, and greatest of my woes?1903: 80
    • No more my robes in waving purple flow,
    • Nor on my hand the sparkling diamonds glow;
    • No more my locks in ringlets curl’d diffuse
    • The costly sweetness of Arabian dews,
    • Nor braids of gold the varied tresses bind,
    • That fly disorder’d with the wanton wind:
    • For whom should Sappho use such arts as these?
    • He’s gone, whom only she desired to please!
    • Cupid’s light darts my tender bosom move;
    • Still is there cause for Sappho still to love:1903: 90
    • So from my birth the sisters fix’d my doom,
    • And gave to Venus all my life to come;
    • Or, while my Muse in melting notes complains,
    • My yielding heart keeps measure to my strains.
    • By charms like thine which all my soul have won,
    • Who might not—ah! who would not be undone?
    • For those Aurora Cephalus might scorn,
    • And with fresh blushes paint the conscious morn.
    • For those might Cynthia lengthen Phaon’s sleep,1903: 99
    • And bid Endymion nightly tend his sheep.
    • Venus for those had rapt thee to the skies;
    • But Mars on thee might look with Venus’ eyes.
    • O scarce a youth, yet scarce a tender boy!
    • O useful time for lovers to employ!
    • Pride of thy age, and glory of thy race,
    • Come to these arms, and melt in this embrace!
    • The vows you never will return, receive;
    • And take, at least, the love you will not give.
    • See, while I write, my words are lost in tears!
    • The less my sense, the more my love appears.1903: 110
    • Sure ’t was not much to bid one kind adieu
    • (At least to feign was never hard to you):
    • ‘Farewell, my Lesbian love,’ you might have said;
    • Or coldly thus, ‘Farewell, O Lesbian maid!’
    • No tear did you, no parting kiss receive,
    • Nor knew I then how much I was to grieve.
    • No lover’s gift your Sappho could confer,
    • And wrongs and woes were all you left with her.
    • No charge I gave you, and no charge could give,
    • But this, ‘Be mindful of our loves, and live.’1903: 120
    • Now by the Nine, those powers ador’d by me,
    • And Love, the God that ever waits on thee,
    • When first I heard (from whom I hardly knew)
    • That you were fled, and all my joys with you,
    • Like some sad statue, speechless, pale, I stood,
    • Grief chill’d my breast, and stopt my freezing blood;
    • No sigh to rise, no tear had power to flow,
    • Fix’d in a stupid lethargy of woe:
    • But when its way th’ impetuous passion found,
    • I rend my tresses, and my breast I wound;
    • I rave, then weep; I curse, and then complain;1903: 131
    • Now swell to rage, now melt in tears again.
    • Edition: current; Page: [62]
    • Not fiercer pangs distract the mournful dame,
    • Whose first-born infant feeds the funeral flame.
    • My scornful brother with a smile appears,
    • Insults my woes, and triumphs in my tears;
    • His hated image ever haunts my eyes;
    • ‘And why this grief? thy daughter lives,’ he cries,
    • Stung with my love, and furious with despair,
    • All torn my garments, and my bosom bare,
    • My woes, thy crimes, I to the world proclaim,1903: 141
    • Such inconsistent things are Love and Shame!
    • ’T is thou art all my care and my delight,
    • My daily longing, and my dream by night:
    • O night more pleasing than the brightest day,
    • When fancy gives what absence takes away,
    • And, dress’d in all its visionary charms,
    • Restores my fair deserter to my arms!
    • Then round your neck in wanton wreaths I twine;
    • Then you, methinks, as fondly circle mine:
    • A thousand tender words I hear and speak;1903: 151
    • A thousand melting kisses give and take:
    • Then fiercer joys—I blush to mention these,
    • Yet, while I blush, confess how much they please.
    • But when, with day, the sweet delusions fly,
    • And all things wake to life and joy but I,
    • As if once more forsaken, I complain,
    • And close my eyes to dream of you again:
    • Then frantic rise, and like some fury rove
    • Thro’ lonely plains, and thro’ the silent grove;1903: 160
    • As if the silent grove, and lonely plains,
    • That knew my pleasures, could relieve my pains.
    • I view the grotto, once the scene of love,
    • The rocks around, the hanging roofs above,
    • That charm’d me more, with native moss o’ergrown,
    • Than Phrygian marble, or the Parian stone:
    • I find the shades that veil’d our joys before;
    • But, Phaon gone, those shades delight no more.
    • Here the press’d herbs with bending tops betray
    • Where oft entwin’d in am’rous folds we lay;1903: 170
    • I kiss that earth which once was press’d by you,
    • And all with tears the with’ring herbs bedew.
    • For thee the fading trees appear to mourn,
    • And birds defer their songs till thy return:
    • Night shades the groves, and all in silence lie,
    • All but the mournful Philomel and I:
    • With mournful Philomel I join my strain,
    • Of Tereus she, of Phaon I complain.
    • A spring there is, whose silver waters show,
    • Clear as a glass, the shining sands below:
    • A flowery lotos spreads its arms above,1903: 181
    • Shades all the banks, and seems itself a grove;
    • Eternal greens the mossy margin grace,
    • Watch’d by the sylvan genius of the place.
    • Here as I lay, and swell’d with tears the flood,
    • Before my sight a wat’ry virgin stood:
    • She stood and cried, ‘O you that love in vain!
    • Fly hence, and seek the fair Leucadian main.
    • There stands a rock, from whose impending steep
    • Apollo’s fane surveys the rolling deep;1903: 190
    • There injur’d lovers, leaping from above,
    • Their flames extinguish, and forget to love.
    • Deucalion once with hopeless fury burn’d;
    • In vain he lov’d, relentless Pyrrha scorn’d;
    • But when from hence he plunged into the main,
    • Deucalion scorn’d, and Pyrrha lov’d in vain.
    • Haste, Sappho, haste, from high Leucadia throw
    • Thy wretched weight, nor dread the deeps below!’
    • She spoke, and vanish’d with the voice—I rise,
    • And silent tears fall trickling from my eyes.1903: 200
    • I go, ye Nymphs! those rocks and seas to prove;
    • How much I fear, but ah, how much I love!
    • I go, ye Nymphs! where furious love inspires,
    • Let female fears submit to female fires.
    • Edition: current; Page: [63]
    • To rocks and seas I fly from Phaon’s hate,
    • And hope from seas and rocks a milder fate.
    • Ye gentle gales, beneath my body blow,
    • And softly lay me on the waves below!
    • And thou, kind Love, my sinking limbs sustain, }
    • Spread thy soft wings, and waft me o’er the main,1903: 210 }
    • Nor let a lover’s death the guiltless flood profane; }
    • On Phœbus’ shrine my harp I’ll then bestow,
    • And this inscription shall be placed below:
    • ‘Here she who sung, to him that did inspire,
    • Sappho to Phœbus consecrates her lyre;
    • What suits with Sappho, Phœbus, suits with thee;
    • The Gift, the Giver, and the God agree.’
    • But why, alas! relentless youth, ah why
    • To distant seas must tender Sappho fly?
    • Thy charms than those may far more powerful be,1903: 220
    • And Phœbus’ self is less a God to me.
    • Ah! canst thou doom me to the rocks and sea,
    • Oh! far more faithless and more hard than they?
    • Ah! canst thou rather see this tender breast
    • Dash’d on these rocks than to thy bosom press’d?
    • This breast which once, in vain! you liked so well
    • Where the Loves play’d, and where the Muses dwell.
    • Alas! the Muses now no more inspire;
    • Untuned my lute, and silent is my lyre.1903: 229
    • My languid numbers have forgot to flow,
    • And fancy sinks beneath a weight of woe.
    • Ye Lesbian virgins, and ye Lesbian dames,
    • Themes of my verse, and objects of my flames,
    • No more your groves with my glad songs shall ring,
    • No more these hands shall touch the trembling string:
    • My Phaon’s fled, and I those arts resign;
    • (Wretch that I am, to call that Phaon mine!)
    • Return, fair youth, return, and bring along
    • Joy to my soul, and vigour to my song:1903: 239
    • Absent from thee, the poet’s flame expires;
    • But ah! how fiercely burn the lover’s fires!
    • Gods! can no prayers, no sighs, no numbers move
    • One savage heart, or teach it how to love?
    • The winds my prayers, my sighs, my numbers bear,
    • The flying winds have lost them all in air!
    • Oh when, alas! shall more auspicious gales
    • To these fond eyes restore thy welcome sails!
    • If you return—ah, why these long delays?
    • Poor Sappho dies while careless Phaon stays.
    • O launch thy bark, nor fear the wat’ry plain;1903: 250
    • Venus for thee shall smooth her native main.
    • O launch thy bark, secure of prosp’rous gales;
    • Cupid for thee shall spread the swelling sails.
    • If you will fly—(yet ah! what cause can be,
    • Too cruel youth, that you should fly from me?)
    • If not from Phaon I must hope for ease,
    • Ah let me seek it from the raging seas:
    • To raging seas unpitied I ’ll remove,
    • And either cease to live or cease to love!

THE FABLE OF DRYOPE[ ]
FROM THE NINTH BOOK OF OVID’S METAMORPHOSES

    • She said, and for her lost Galanthis sighs;
    • When the fair consort of her son replies:
    • ‘Since you a servant’s ravish’d form bemoan,
    • And kindly sigh for sorrows not your own,
    • Let me (if tears and grief permit) relate
    • A nearer woe, a sister’s stranger fate.
    • No nymph of all Œchalia could compare
    • For beauteous form with Dryope the fair,
    • Her tender mother’s only hope and pride
    • (Myself the offspring of a second bride).1903: 10
    • This nymph compress’d by him who rules the day,
    • Whom Delphi and the Delian isle obey,
    • Andræmon lov’d; and bless’d in all those charms
    • That pleas’d a God, succeeded to her arms.
    • ‘A lake there was with shelving banks around,
    • Whose verdant summit fragrant myrtles crown’d.
    • Edition: current; Page: [64]
    • These shades, unknowing of the fates, she sought,
    • And to the Naiads flowery garlands brought:
    • Her smiling babe (a pleasing charge) she prest
    • Within her arms, and nourish’d at her breast.1903: 20
    • Not distant far a wat’ry lotos grows;
    • The spring was new, and all the verdant boughs
    • Adorn’d with blossoms, promis’d fruits that vie
    • In glowing colours with the Tyrian dye.
    • Of these she cropp’d, to please her infant son,
    • And I myself the same rash act had done:
    • But, lo! I saw (as near her side I stood)
    • The violated blossoms drop with blood;
    • Upon the tree I cast a frightful look;
    • The trembling tree with sudden horror shook.1903: 30
    • Lotis the nymph (if rural tales be true)
    • As from Priapus’ lawless lust she flew,
    • Forsook her form, and, fixing here, became
    • A flowery plant, which still preserves her name.
    • ‘This change unknown, astonish’d at the sight,
    • My trembling sister strove to urge her flight;
    • And first the pardon of the Nymphs implor’d,
    • And those offended sylvan Powers ador’d:
    • But when she backward would have fled, she found
    • Her stiff’ning feet were rooted in the ground:1903: 40
    • In vain to free her fasten’d feet she strove,
    • And as she struggles only moves above;
    • She feels th’ encroaching bark around her grow
    • By quick degrees, and cover all below:
    • Surprised at this, her trembling hand she heaves
    • To rend her hair; her hand is fill’d with leaves:
    • Where late was hair the shooting leaves are seen
    • To rise, and shade her with a sudden green.
    • The child Amphissus, to her bosom prest,
    • Perceiv’d a colder and a harder breast,1903: 50
    • And found the springs, that ne’er till then denied
    • Their milky moisture, on a sudden dried.
    • I saw, unhappy! what I now relate,
    • And stood the helpless witness of thy fate;
    • Embraced thy boughs, thy rising bark delay’d,
    • There wish’d to grow, and mingle shade with shade.
    • ‘Behold Andræmon and th’ unhappy sire
    • Appear, and for their Dryope inquire:
    • A springing tree for Dryope they find,
    • And print warm kisses on the panting rind;
    • Prostrate, with tears, their kindred plant bedew,1903: 61
    • And close embrace as to the roots they grew.
    • The face was all that now remain’d of thee,
    • No more a woman, nor yet quite a tree;
    • Thy branches hung with humid pearls appear,
    • From ev’ry leaf distils a trickling tear;
    • And straight a voice, while yet a voice remains,
    • Thus thro’ the trembling boughs in sighs complains.
    • ‘If to the wretched any faith be giv’n,
    • I swear by all th’ unpitying powers of Heav’n,1903: 70
    • No wilful crime this heavy vengeance bred;
    • In mutual innocence our lives we led:
    • If this be false, let these new greens decay, }
    • Let sounding axes lop my limbs away, }
    • And crackling flames on all my honours prey. }
    • But from my branching arms this infant bear;
    • Let some kind nurse supply a mother’s care;
    • And to his mother let him oft be led,
    • Sport in her shades, and in her shades be fed.
    • Teach him, when first his infant voice shall frame1903: 80
    • Imperfect words, and lisp his mother’s name,
    • To hail this tree, and say with weeping eyes,
    • “Within this plant my hapless parent lies:”
    • And when in youth he seeks the shady woods,
    • Oh! let him fly the crystal lakes and floods,
    • Nor touch the fatal flowers; but, warn’d by me,
    • Believe a Goddess shrined in every tree.
    • Edition: current; Page: [65]
    • My sire, my sister, and my spouse, farewell!
    • If in your breasts or love or pity dwell,
    • Protect your plant, nor let my branches feel1903: 90
    • The browsing cattle or the piercing steel.
    • Farewell! and since I cannot bend to join
    • My lips to yours, advance at least to mine.
    • My son, thy mother’s parting kiss receive,
    • While yet thy mother has a kiss to give.
    • I can no more; the creeping rind invades
    • My closing lips, and hides my head in shades:
    • Remove your hands; the bark shall soon suffice
    • Without their aid to seal these dying eyes.’
    • ‘She ceas’d at once to speak and ceas’d to be,1903: 100
    • And all the Nymph was lost within the tree;
    • Yet latent life thro’ her new branches reign’d
    • And long the plant a human heat retain’d.’

VERTUMNUS AND POMONA
FROM THE FOURTEENTH BOOK OF OVID’S METAMORPHOSES

    • The fair Pomona flourish’d in his reign;
    • Of all the virgins of the sylvan train
    • None taught the trees a nobler race to bear,
    • Or more improv’d the vegetable care.
    • To her the shady grove, the flowery field,
    • The streams and fountains no delights could yield;
    • ’T was all her joy the ripening fruits to tend,
    • And see the boughs with happy burdens bend.
    • The hook she bore instead of Cynthia’s spear.
    • To lop the growth of the luxuriant year,1903: 10
    • To decent form the lawless shoots to bring,
    • And teach th’ obedient branches where to spring.
    • Now the cleft rind inserted grafts receives,
    • And yields an offspring more than Nature gives;
    • Now sliding streams the thirsty plants renew,
    • And feed their fibres with reviving dew.
    • These cares alone her virgin breast employ,
    • Averse from Venus and the nuptial joy.
    • Her private orchards, wall’d on every side,
    • To lawless sylvans all access denied.1903: 20
    • How oft the Satyrs and the wanton Fauns,
    • Who haunt the forests or frequent the lawns,
    • The God whose ensign scares the birds of prey,
    • And old Silenus, youthful in decay,
    • Employ’d their wiles and unavailing care
    • To pass the fences, and surprise the Fair?
    • Like these Vertumnus own’d his faithful flame,
    • Like these rejected by the scornful dame.
    • To gain her sight a thousand forms he wears;
    • And first a reaper from the field appears:1903: 30
    • Sweating he walks, while loads of golden grain
    • O’ercharge the shoulders of the seeming swain:
    • Oft o’er his back a crooked scythe is laid,
    • And wreaths of hay his sunburnt temples shade:
    • Oft in his harden’d hand a goad he bears,
    • Like one who late unyoked the sweating steers:
    • Sometimes his pruning-hook corrects the vines,
    • And the loose stragglers to their ranks confines:
    • Now gath’ring what the bounteous year allows,
    • He pulls ripe apples from the bending boughs:1903: 40
    • A soldier now, he with his sword appears;
    • A fisher next, his trembling angle bears:
    • Each shape he varies, and each art he tries,
    • On her bright charms to feast his longing eyes.
    • A female form at last Vertumnus wears, }
    • With all the marks of rev’rend age appears, }
    • His temples thinly spread with silver hairs: }
    • Propp’d on his staff, and stooping as he goes,
    • A painted mitre shades his furrow’d brows.
    • The God in this decrepit form array’d,1903: 50 }
    • The gardens enter’d, and the fruit survey’d; }
    • And, ‘Happy you!’ he thus address’d the maid, }
    • ‘Whose charms as far all other nymphs outshine,
    • As other gardens are excell’d by thine!’
    • Edition: current; Page: [66]
    • Then kiss’d the Fair; (his kisses warmer grow
    • Than such as women on their sex bestow)
    • Then placed beside her on the flowery ground,
    • Beheld the trees with autumn’s bounty crown’d.
    • An elm was near, to whose embraces led,
    • The curling vine her swelling clusters spread:1903: 60
    • He view’d her twining branches with delight,
    • And prais’d the beauty of the pleasing sight.
    • ‘Yet this tall elm, but for this vine,’ he said,
    • “Had stood neglected, and a barren shade;
    • And this fair vine, but that her arms surround
    • Her married elm, had crept along the ground.
    • Ah! beauteous maid! let this example move
    • Your mind, averse from all the joys of love.
    • Deign to be lov’d, and every heart subdue!
    • What Nymph could e’er attract such crowds as you?1903: 70
    • Not she whose beauty urged the Centaur’s arms,
    • Ulysses’ queen, nor Helen’s fatal charms.
    • Ev’n now, when silent scorn is all they gain,
    • A thousand court you, tho’ they court in vain,
    • A thousand Sylvans, Demigods, and Gods,
    • That haunt our mountains and our Alban woods.
    • But if you ’ll prosper, mark what I advise,
    • Whom age and long experience render wise,
    • And one whose tender care is far above
    • All that these lovers ever felt of love1903: 80
    • (Far more than e’er can by yourself be guess’d);
    • Fix on Vertumnus, and reject the rest:
    • For his firm faith I dare engage my own;
    • Scarce to himself himself is better known.
    • To distant lands Vertumnus never roves;
    • Like you, contented with his native groves;
    • Nor at first sight, like most, admires the Fair; }
    • For you he lives; and you alone shall share }
    • His last affection as his early care. }
    • Besides, he’s lovely far above the rest,1903: 90
    • With youth immortal, and with beauty blest.
    • Add, that he varies every shape with ease,
    • And tries all forms that may Pomona please.
    • But what should most excite a mutual flame,
    • Your rural cares and pleasures are the same.
    • To him your orchard’s early fruits are due
    • (A pleasing off’ring when ’t is made by you);
    • He values these; but yet, alas! complains
    • That still the best and dearest gift remains.
    • Not the fair fruit that on yon branches glows1903: 100
    • With that ripe red th’ autumnal sun bestows;
    • Nor tasteful herbs that in these gardens rise,
    • Which the kind soil with milky sap supplies;
    • You, only you, can move the God’s desire.
    • O crown so constant and so pure a fire!
    • Let soft compassion touch your gentle mind;
    • Think ’t is Vertumnus begs you to be kind:
    • So may no frost, when early buds appear,
    • Destroy the promise of the youthful year;
    • Nor winds, when first your florid orchard blows,1903: 110
    • Shake the light blossoms from their blasted boughs!’
    • This, when the various God had urged in vain,
    • He straight assumed his native form again:
    • Such, and so bright an aspect now he bears,
    • As when thro’ clouds th’ emerging sun appears,
    • And thence exerting his refulgent ray,
    • Dispels the darkness, and reveals the day.
    • Force he prepared, but check’d the rash design;
    • For when, appearing in a form divine,
    • The Nymph surveys him, and beholds the grace1903: 120
    • Of charming features and a youthful face,
    • In her soft breast consenting passions move,
    • And the warm maid confess’d a mutual love.
Edition: current; Page: [67]

AN ESSAY ON CRITICISM[ ]

This, the first mature original work of the author, was written in 1709, when Pope was in his twentieth year. It was not published till 1711.

PART I

Introduction. That it is as great a fault to judge ill as to write ill, and a more dangerous one to the public. That a true Taste is as rare to be found as a true Genius. That most men are born with some Taste, but spoiled by false education. The multitude of Critics, and causes of them. That we are to study our own Taste, and know the limits of it. Nature the best guide of judgment. Improved by Art and rules, which are but methodized Nature. Rules derived from the practice of the ancient poets. That therefore the ancients are necessary to be studied by a Critic, particularly Homer and Virgil. Of licenses, and the use of them by the ancients. Reverence due to the ancients, and praise of them.

    • ’T is hard to say if greater want of skill
    • Appear in writing or in judging ill;
    • But of the two less dangerous is th’ offence
    • To tire our patience than mislead our sense:
    • Some few in that, but numbers err in this;
    • Ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss;
    • A fool might once himself alone expose;
    • Now one in verse makes many more in prose.
    • ’T is with our judgments as our watches, none
    • Go just alike, yet each believes his own.1903: 10
    • In Poets as true Genius is but rare,
    • True Taste as seldom is the Critic’s share;
    • Both must alike from Heav’n derive their light,
    • These born to judge, as well as those to write.
    • Let such teach others who themselves excel,
    • And censure freely who have written well;
    • Authors are partial to their wit, ’t is true,
    • But are not Critics to their judgment too?
    • Yet if we look more closely, we shall find
    • Most have the seeds of judgment in their mind:1903: 20
    • Nature affords at least a glimm’ring light;
    • The lines, tho’ touch’d but faintly, are drawn right:
    • But as the slightest sketch, if justly traced, }
    • Is by ill col’ring but the more disgraced, }
    • So by false learning is good sense defaced: }
    • Some are bewilder’d in the maze of schools,
    • And some made coxcombs Nature meant but fools:
    • In search of wit these lose their common sense,
    • And then turn Critics in their own defence:
    • Each burns alike, who can or cannot write,
    • Or with a rival’s or an eunuch’s spite.1903: 31
    • All fools have still an itching to deride,
    • And fain would be upon the laughing side.
    • If Mævius scribble in Apollo’s spite,
    • There are who judge still worse than he can write.
    • Some have at first for Wits, then Poets pass’d;
    • Turn’d Critics next, and prov’d plain Fools at last.
    • Some neither can for Wits nor Critics pass,
    • As heavy mules are neither horse nor ass.
    • Those half-learn’d witlings, numerous in our isle,1903: 40
    • As half-form’d insects on the banks of Nile;
    • Unfinish’d things, one knows not what to call,
    • Their generation ’s so equivocal;
    • To tell them would a hundred tongues require,
    • Or one vain Wit’s, that might a hundred tire.
    • But you who seek to give and merit fame,
    • And justly bear a Critic’s noble name,
    • Be sure yourself and your own reach to know,
    • How far your Genius, Taste, and Learning go,
    • Launch not beyond your depth, but be discreet,1903: 50
    • And mark that point where Sense and Dulness meet.
  • Edition: current; Page: [68]
    • Nature to all things fix’d the limits fit,
    • And wisely curb’d proud man’s pretending wit.
    • As on the land while here the ocean gains,
    • In other parts it leaves wide sandy plains;
    • Thus in the soul while Memory prevails,
    • The solid power of Understanding fails;
    • Where beams of warm Imagination play,
    • The Memory’s soft figures melt away.
    • One Science only will one genius fit;1903: 60
    • So vast is Art, so narrow human wit:
    • Not only bounded to peculiar arts,
    • But oft in those confin’d to single parts.
    • Like Kings we lose the conquests gain’d before,
    • By vain ambition still to make them more:
    • Each might his sev’ral province well command,
    • Would all but stoop to what they understand.
    • First follow Nature, and your judgment frame
    • By her just standard, which is still the same;
    • Unerring Nature, still divinely bright,1903: 70
    • One clear, unchanged, and universal light,
    • Life, force, and beauty must to all impart,
    • At once the source, and end, and test of Art.
    • Art from that fund each just supply provides,
    • Works without show, and without pomp presides.
    • In some fair body thus th’ informing soul
    • With spirits feeds, with vigour fills the whole;
    • Each motion guides, and every nerve sustains,
    • Itself unseen, but in th’ effects remains.
    • Some, to whom Heav’n in wit has been profuse,1903: 80
    • Want as much more to turn it to its use;
    • For Wit and Judgment often are at strife,
    • Tho’ meant each other’s aid, like man and wife.
    • ’T is more to guide than spur the Muse’s steed,
    • Restrain his fury than provoke his speed:
    • The winged courser, like a gen’rous horse,
    • Shows most true mettle when you check his course.
    • Those rules of old, discover’d, not devised,
    • Are Nature still, but Nature methodized;
    • Nature, like Liberty, is but restrain’d1903: 90
    • By the same laws which first herself ordain’d.
    • Hear how learn’d Greece her useful rules indites
    • When to repress and when indulge our flights:
    • High on Parnassus’ top her sons she show’d,
    • And pointed out those arduous paths they trod;
    • Held from afar, aloft, th’ immortal prize,
    • And urged the rest by equal steps to rise.
    • Just precepts thus from great examples giv’n,
    • She drew from them what they derived from Heav’n.
    • The gen’rous Critic fann’d the poet’s fire,
    • And taught the world with reason to admire.1903: 101
    • Then Criticism the Muse’s handmaid prov’d,
    • To dress her charms, and make her more belov’d:
    • But following Wits from that intention stray’d:
    • Who could not win the mistress woo’d the maid;
    • Against the Poets their own arms they turn’d,
    • Sure to hate most the men from whom they learn’d.
    • So modern ’pothecaries, taught the art
    • By doctors’ bills to play the doctor’s part,
    • Bold in the practice of mistaken rules,1903: 110
    • Prescribe, apply, and call their masters fools.
    • Some on the leaves of ancient authors prey;
    • Nor time nor moths e’er spoil’d so much as they;
    • Some drily plain, without invention’s aid,
    • Write dull receipts how poems may be made;
    • These leave the sense their learning to display,
    • And those explain the meaning quite away.
    • You then whose judgment the right course would steer,
    • Know well each ancient’s proper character;
    • His fable, subject, scope in every page;1903: 120
    • Religion, country, genius of his age:
    • Without all these at once before your eyes,
    • Cavil you may, but never criticise.
    • Be Homer’s works your study and delight,
    • Read them by day, and meditate by night;
    • Edition: current; Page: [69]
    • Thence form your judgment, thence your maxims bring,
    • And trace the Muses upward to their spring.
    • Still with itself compared, his text peruse;
    • And let your comment be the Mantuan Muse.
    • When first young Maro in his boundless mind1903: 130
    • A work t’ outlast immortal Rome design’d,
    • Perhaps he seem’d above the critic’s law,
    • And but from Nature’s fountains scorn’d to draw;
    • But when t’ examine ev’ry part he came,
    • Nature and Homer were, he found, the same.
    • Convinced, amazed, he checks the bold design, }
    • And rules as strict his labour’d work confine }
    • As if the Stagyrite o’erlook’d each line. }
    • Learn hence for ancient rules a just esteem;
    • To copy Nature is to copy them.1903: 140
    • Some beauties yet no precepts can declare,
    • For there ’s a happiness as well as care.
    • Music resembles poetry; in each }
    • Are nameless graces which no methods teach, }
    • And which a master-hand alone can reach. }
    • If, where the rules not far enough extend,
    • (Since rules were made but to promote their end)
    • Some lucky license answer to the full
    • Th’ intent proposed, that license is a rule.
    • Thus Pegasus, a nearer way to take,1903: 150
    • May boldly deviate from the common track.
    • Great Wits sometimes may gloriously offend,
    • And rise to faults true Critics dare not mend;
    • From vulgar bounds with brave disorder part,
    • And snatch a grace beyond the reach of Art,
    • Which, without passing thro’ the judgment, gains
    • The heart, and all its end at once attains.
    • In prospects thus some objects please our eyes, }
    • Which out of Nature’s common order rise, }
    • The shapeless rock, or hanging precipice. }
    • But tho’ the ancients thus their rules invade,1903: 161
    • (As Kings dispense with laws themselves have made)
    • Moderns, beware! or if you must offend
    • Against the precept, ne’er transgress its end;
    • Let it be seldom, and compell’d by need;
    • And have at least their precedent to plead;
    • The Critic else proceeds without remorse,
    • Seizes your fame, and puts his laws in force.
    • I know there are to whose presumptuous thoughts
    • Those freer beauties, ev’n in them, seem faults.1903: 170
    • Some figures monstrous and misshaped appear,
    • Consider’d singly, or beheld too near,
    • Which, but proportion’d to their light or place,
    • Due distance reconciles to form and grace.
    • A prudent chief not always must display
    • His powers in equal ranks and fair array,
    • But with th’ occasion and the place comply,
    • Conceal his force, nay, seem sometimes to fly.
    • Those oft are stratagems which errors seem,
    • Nor is it Homer nods, but we that dream.
    • Still green with bays each ancient altar stands1903: 181
    • Above the reach of sacrilegious hands,
    • Secure from flames, from Envy’s fiercer rage,
    • Destructive war, and all-involving Age.
    • See from each clime the learn’d their incense bring!
    • Hear in all tongues consenting pæans ring!
    • In praise so just let ev’ry voice be join’d,
    • And fill the gen’ral chorus of mankind.
    • Hail, Bards triumphant! born in happier days,
    • Immortal heirs of universal praise!1903: 190
    • Whose honours with increase of ages grow,
    • As streams roll down, enlarging as they flow;
    • Nations unborn your mighty names shall sound,
    • And worlds applaud that must not yet be found!
    • O may some spark of your celestial fire
    • The last, the meanest of your sons inspire,
    • (That on weak wings, from far, pursues your flights,
    • Glows while he reads, but trembles as he writes)
    • To teach vain Wits a science little known,
    • T’ admire superior sense, and doubt their own.1903: 200
Edition: current; Page: [70]

PART II

Causes hindering a true judgment. Pride. Imperfect learning. Judging by parts, and not by the whole. Critics in wit, language, versification only. Being too hard to please, or too apt to admire. Partiality—too much love to a sect—to the ancients or moderns. Prejudice or prevention. Singularity. Inconstancy. Party spirit. Envy. Against envy, and in praise of good-nature. When severity is chiefly to be used by critics.

    • Of all the causes which conspire to blind
    • Man’s erring judgment, and misguide the mind,
    • What the weak head with strongest bias rules,
    • Is Pride, the never failing vice of fools.
    • Whatever Nature has in worth denied
    • She gives in large recruits of needful Pride:
    • For as in bodies, thus in souls, we find
    • What wants in blood and spirits swell’d with wind:
    • Pride, where Wit fails, steps in to our defence,
    • And fills up all the mighty void of Sense:1903: 10
    • If once right Reason drives that cloud away,
    • Truth breaks upon us with resistless day.
    • Trust not yourself; but your defects to know,
    • Make use of ev’ry friend—and ev’ry foe.
    • A little learning is a dangerous thing;
    • Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
    • There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
    • And drinking largely sobers us again.
    • Fired at first sight with what the Muse imparts,
    • In fearless youth we tempt the heights of arts,1903: 20
    • While from the bounded level of our mind
    • Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind:
    • But more advanc’d, behold with strange surprise
    • New distant scenes of endless science rise!
    • So pleas’d at first the tow’ring Alps we try,
    • Mount o’er the vales, and seem to tread the sky;
    • Th’ eternal snows appear already past,
    • And the first clouds and mountains seem the last:
    • But those attain’d, we tremble to survey
    • The growing labours of the lengthen’d way;1903: 30
    • Th’ increasing prospect tires our wand’ring eyes,
    • Hills peep o’er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
    • A perfect judge will read each work of wit
    • With the same spirit that its author writ;
    • Survey the whole, nor seek slight faults to find
    • Where Nature moves, and Rapture warms the mind:
    • Nor lose, for that malignant dull delight,
    • The gen’rous pleasure to be charm’d with wit.
    • But in such lays as neither ebb nor flow,
    • Correctly cold, and regularly low,1903: 40
    • That shunning faults one quiet tenor keep,
    • We cannot blame indeed—but we may sleep.
    • In Wit, as Nature, what affects our hearts
    • Is not th’ exactness of peculiar parts;
    • ’T is not a lip or eye we beauty call,
    • But the joint force and full result of all.
    • Thus when we view some well proportion’d dome,
    • (The world’s just wonder, and ev’n thine, O Rome!)
    • No single parts unequally surprise,
    • All comes united to th’ admiring eyes;1903: 50
    • No monstrous height, or breadth, or length, appear;
    • The whole at once is bold and regular.
    • Whoever thinks a faultless piece to see,
    • Thinks what ne’er was, nor is, nor e’er shall be.
    • In every work regard the writer’s end,
    • Since none can compass more than they intend;
    • And if the means be just, the conduct true,
    • Applause, in spite of trivial faults, is due.
    • As men of breeding, sometimes men of wit,
    • T’ avoid great errors must the less commit;
    • Neglect the rules each verbal critic lays,1903: 61
    • For not to know some trifles is a praise.
    • Most critics, fond of some subservient art,
    • Still make the whole depend upon a part:
    • They talk of Principles, but Notions prize,
    • And all to one lov’d folly sacrifice.
    • Once on a time La Mancha’s Knight, they say,
    • A certain bard encount’ring on the way,
    • Discours’d in terms as just, with looks as sage,
    • As e’er could Dennis, of the Grecian Stage;
    • Edition: current; Page: [71]
    • Concluding all were desperate sots and fools1903: 71
    • Who durst depart from Aristotle’s rules.
    • Our author, happy in a judge so nice,
    • Produced his play, and begg’d the knight’s advice;
    • Made him observe the Subject and the Plot,
    • The Manners, Passions, Unities; what not?
    • All which exact to rule were brought about,
    • Were but a combat in the lists left out.
    • ‘What! leave the combat out?’ exclaims the knight.
    • ‘Yes, or we must renounce the Stagyrite.’
    • ‘Not so, by Heaven! (he answers in a rage)1903: 81
    • Knights, squires, and steeds must enter on the stage.’
    • ‘So vast a throng the stage can ne’er contain.’
    • ‘Then build a new, or act it in a plain.’
    • Thus critics of less judgment than caprice,
    • Curious, not knowing, not exact, but nice,
    • Form short ideas, and offend in Arts
    • (As most in Manners), by a love to parts.
    • Some to Conceit alone their taste confine,
    • And glitt’ring thoughts struck out at every line;1903: 90
    • Pleas’d with a work where nothing ’s just or fit,
    • One glaring chaos and wild heap of wit.
    • Poets, like painters, thus unskill’d to trace
    • The naked nature and the living grace,
    • With gold and jewels cover every part,
    • And hide with ornaments their want of Art.
    • True Wit is Nature to advantage dress’d,
    • What oft was thought, but ne’er so well express’d;
    • Something whose truth convinced at sight we find,
    • That gives us back the image of our mind.
    • As shades more sweetly recommend the light,1903: 101
    • So modest plainness sets off sprightly wit:
    • For works may have more wit than does them good,
    • As bodies perish thro’ excess of blood.
    • Others for language all their care express,
    • And value books, as women men, for dress:
    • Their praise is still—the Style is excellent;
    • The Sense they humbly take upon content.
    • Words are like leaves; and where they most abound,
    • Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.
    • False eloquence, like the prismatic glass,1903: 111
    • Its gaudy colours spreads on every place;
    • The face of Nature we no more survey,
    • All glares alike, without distinction gay;
    • But true expression, like th’ unchanging sun, }
    • Clears and improves whate’er it shines upon; }
    • It gilds all objects, but it alters none. }
    • Expression is the dress of thought, and still
    • Appears more decent as more suitable.
    • A vile Conceit in pompous words express’d
    • Is like a clown in regal purple dress’d:1903: 121
    • For diff’rent styles with diff’rent subjects sort,
    • As sev’ral garbs with country, town, and court.
    • Some by old words to fame have made pretence,
    • Ancients in phrase, mere moderns in their sense;
    • Such labour’d nothings, in so strange a style,
    • Amaze th’ unlearn’d, and make the learned smile;
    • Unlucky as Fungoso in the play,
    • These sparks with awkward vanity display
    • What the fine gentleman wore yesterday;
    • And but so mimic ancient wits at best,1903: 131
    • As apes our grandsires in their doublets drest.
    • In words as fashions the same rule will hold,
    • Alike fantastic if too new or old:
    • Be not the first by whom the new are tried,
    • Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.
    • But most by Numbers judge a poet’s song,
    • And smooth or rough with them is right or wrong.
    • In the bright Muse tho’ thousand charms conspire,1903: 139
    • Her voice is all these tuneful fools admire;
    • Who haunt Parnassus but to please their ear, }
    • Not mend their minds; as some to church repair, }
    • Not for the doctrine, but the music there. }
    • These equal syllables alone require,
    • Tho’ oft the ear the open vowels tire,
    • While expletives their feeble aid do join,
    • And ten low words oft creep in one dull line:
    • While they ring round the same unvaried chimes,
    • With sure returns of still expected rhymes;
    • Edition: current; Page: [72]
    • Where’er you find ‘the cooling western breeze,’1903: 150
    • In the next line, it ‘whispers thro’ the trees;’
    • If crystal streams ‘with pleasing murmurs creep,’
    • The reader’s threaten’d (not in vain) with ‘sleep;’
    • Then, at the last and only couplet, fraught
    • With some unmeaning thing they call a thought,
    • A needless Alexandrine ends the song,
    • That, like a wounded snake, drags its slow length along.
    • Leave such to tune their own dull rhymes, and know
    • What’s roundly smooth, or languishingly slow;
    • And praise the easy vigour of a line1903: 160
    • Where Denham’s strength and Waller’s sweetness join.
    • True ease in writing comes from Art, not Chance,
    • As those move easiest who have learn’d to dance.
    • ’T is not enough no harshness gives offence;
    • The sound must seem an echo to the sense.
    • Soft is the strain when zephyr gently blows,
    • And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;
    • But when loud surges lash the sounding shore,
    • The hoarse rough verse should like the torrent roar.
    • When Ajax strives some rock’s vast weight to throw,1903: 170
    • The line, too, labours, and the words move slow:
    • Not so when swift Camilla scours the plain,
    • Flies o’er th’ unbending corn, and skims along the main.
    • Hear how Timotheus’ varied lays surprise,
    • And bid alternate passions fall and rise!
    • While at each change the son of Libyan Jove
    • Now burns with glory, and then melts with love;
    • Now his fierce eyes with sparkling fury glow,
    • Now sighs steal out, and tears begin to flow:
    • Persians and Greeks like turns of nature found,1903: 180
    • And the world’s Victor stood subdued by sound!
    • The power of music all our hearts allow,
    • And what Timotheus was is Dryden now.
    • Avoid extremes, and shun the fault of such
    • Who still are pleas’d too little or too much.
    • At ev’ry trifle scorn to take offence;
    • That always shows great pride or little sense:
    • Those heads, as stomachs, are not sure the best
    • Which nauseate all, and nothing can digest.
    • Yet let not each gay turn thy rapture move;1903: 190
    • For fools admire, but men of sense approve:
    • As things seem large which we thro’ mist descry,
    • Dulness is ever apt to magnify.
    • Some foreign writers, some our own despise;
    • The ancients only, or the moderns prize.
    • Thus Wit, like Faith, by each man is applied
    • To one small sect, and all are damn’d beside.
    • Meanly they seek the blessing to confine,
    • And force that sun but on a part to shine,
    • Which not alone the southern wit sublimes,1903: 200
    • But ripens spirits in cold northern climes;
    • Which from the first has shone on ages past,
    • Enlights the present, and shall warm the last;
    • Tho’ each may feel increases and decays,
    • And see now clearer and now darker days.
    • Regard not then if wit be old or new,
    • But blame the False and value still the True.
    • Some ne’er advance a judgment of their own,
    • But catch the spreading notion of the town;
    • They reason and conclude by precedent,1903: 210
    • And own stale nonsense which they ne’er invent.
    • Some judge of authors’ names, not works, and then
    • Nor praise nor blame the writings, but the men.
    • Of all this servile herd, the worst is he
    • That in proud dulness joins with quality;
    • A constant critic at the great man’s board,
    • To fetch and carry nonsense for my lord.
    • What woful stuff this madrigal would be
    • In some starv’d hackney sonneteer or me!
    • Edition: current; Page: [73]
    • But let a lord once own the happy lines,
    • How the Wit brightens! how the Style refines!1903: 221
    • Before his sacred name flies every fault,
    • And each exalted stanza teems with thought!
    • The vulgar thus thro’ imitation err,
    • As oft the learn’d by being singular;
    • So much they scorn the crowd, that if the throng
    • By chance go right, they purposely go wrong.
    • So schismatics the plain believers quit,
    • And are but damn’d for having too much wit.
    • Some praise at morning what they blame at night,1903: 230
    • But always think the last opinion right.
    • A Muse by these is like a mistress used,
    • This hour she ’s idolized, the next absued;
    • While their weak heads, like towns unfortified,
    • ’Twixt sense and nonsense daily change their side.
    • Ask them the cause; they ’re wiser still they say;
    • And still to-morrow ’s wiser than to-day.
    • We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow;
    • Our wiser sons no doubt will think us so.
    • Once school-divines this zealous isle o’erspread;1903: 240
    • Who knew most sentences was deepest read.
    • Faith, Gospel, all seem’d made to be disputed,
    • And none had sense enough to be confuted.
    • Scotists and Thomists now in peace remain
    • Amidst their kindred cobwebs in Ducklane.
    • If Faith itself has diff’rent dresses worn,
    • What wonder modes in Wit should take their turn?
    • Oft, leaving what is natural and fit,
    • The current Folly proves the ready Wit;
    • And authors think their reputation safe,1903: 250
    • Which lives as long as fools are pleas’d to laugh.
    • Some, valuing those of their own side or mind,
    • Still make themselves the measure of mankind:
    • Fondly we think we honour merit then,
    • When we but praise ourselves in other men.
    • Parties in wit attend on those of state,
    • And public faction doubles private hate.
    • Pride, Malice, Folly, against Dryden rose,
    • In various shapes of parsons, critics, beaux:
    • But sense survived when merry jests were past;1903: 260
    • For rising merit will buoy up at last.
    • Might he return and bless once more our eyes,
    • New Blackmores and new Milbournes must arise.
    • Nay, should great Homer lift his awful head,
    • Zoilus again would start up from the dead.
    • Envy will Merit as its shade pursue,
    • But like a shadow proves the substance true;
    • For envied Wit, like Sol eclips’d, makes known
    • Th’ opposing body’s grossness, not its own.
    • When first that sun too powerful beams displays,1903: 270
    • It draws up vapours which obscure its rays;
    • But ev’n those clouds at last adorn its way,
    • Reflect new glories, and augment the day.
    • Be thou the first true merit to befriend;
    • His praise is lost who stays till all commend.
    • Short is the date, alas! of modern rhymes,
    • And ’t is but just to let them live betimes.
    • No longer now that Golden Age appears,
    • When patriarch wits survived a thousand years:
    • Now length of fame (our second life) is lost,1903: 280
    • And bare threescore is all ev’n that can boast:
    • Our sons their fathers’ failing language see,
    • And such as Chaucer is shall Dryden be.
    • So when the faithful pencil has design’d
    • Some bright idea of the master’s mind,
    • Where a new world leaps out at his command,
    • And ready Nature waits upon his hand;
    • When the ripe colours soften and unite,
    • And sweetly melt into just shade and light;
    • When mellowing years their full perfection give,1903: 290
    • And each bold figure just begins to live,
    • The treach’rous colours the fair art betray,
    • And all the bright creation fades away!
    • Unhappy Wit, like most mistaken things,
    • Edition: current; Page: [74]
    • Atones not for that envy which it brings:
    • In youth alone its empty praise we boast,
    • But soon the short-lived vanity is lost;
    • Like some fair flower the early Spring supplies,
    • That gaily blooms, but ev’n in blooming dies.
    • What is this Wit, which must our cares employ?1903: 300
    • The owner’s wife that other men enjoy;
    • Then most our trouble still when most admired,
    • And still the more we give, the more required;
    • Whose fame with pains we guard, but lose with ease,
    • Sure some to vex, but never all to please,
    • ’T is what the vicious fear, the virtuous shun;
    • By fools ’t is hated, and by knaves undone!
    • If Wit so much from Ignorance undergo,
    • Ah, let not Learning too commence its foe!
    • Of old those met rewards who could excel,1903: 310
    • And such were prais’d who but endeavour’d well;
    • Tho’ triumphs were to gen’rals only due,
    • Crowns were reserv’d to grace the soldiers too.
    • Now they who reach Parnassus’ lofty crown
    • Employ their pains to spurn some others down;
    • And while self-love each jealous writer rules,
    • Contending wits become the sport of fools;
    • But still the worst with most regret commend,
    • For each ill author is as bad a friend.
    • To what base ends, and by what abject ways,1903: 320
    • Are mortals urged thro’ sacred lust of praise!
    • Ah, ne’er so dire a thirst of glory boast,
    • Nor in the critic let the man be lost!
    • Good nature and good sense must ever join;
    • To err is human, to forgive divine.
    • But if in noble minds some dregs remain,
    • Not yet purged off, of spleen and sour disdain,
    • Discharge that rage on more provoking crimes,
    • Nor fear a dearth in these flagitious times.
    • No pardon vile obscenity should find,1903: 330
    • Tho’ Wit and Art conspire to move your mind;
    • But dulness with obscenity must prove
    • As shameful sure as impotence in love.
    • In the fat age of pleasure, wealth, and ease
    • Sprung the rank weed, and thrived with large increase:
    • When love was all an easy monarch’s care,
    • Seldom at council, never in a war;
    • Jilts ruled the state, and statesmen farces writ;
    • Nay wits had pensions, and young lords had wit;1903: 339
    • The Fair sat panting at a courtier’s play,
    • And not a mask went unimprov’d away;
    • The modest fan was lifted up no more,
    • And virgins smil’d at what they blush’d before.
    • The following license of a foreign reign
    • Did all the dregs of bold Socinus drain;
    • Then unbelieving priests reform’d the nation,
    • And taught more pleasant methods of salvation;
    • Where Heav’n’s free subjects might their rights dispute,
    • Lest God himself should seem too absolute;1903: 349
    • Pulpits their sacred satire learn’d to spare,
    • And vice admired to find a flatt’rer there!
    • Encouraged thus, Wit’s Titans braved the skies,
    • And the press groan’d with licens’d blasphemies.
    • These monsters, Critics! with your darts engage,
    • Here point your thunder, and exhaust your rage!
    • Yet shun their fault, who, scandalously nice,
    • Will needs mistake an author into vice:
    • All seems infected that th’ infected spy,
    • As all looks yellow to the jaundic’d eye.

PART III

Rules for the conduct and manners in a Critic. Candour. Modesty. Good breeding. Sincerity and freedom of advice. When one’s counsel is to be restrained. Character of an Edition: current; Page: [75] incorrigible poet. And of an impertinent critic. Character of a good critic. The history of criticism, and characters of the best critics; Aristotle. Horace. Dionysius. Petronius. Quintilian. Longinus. Of the decay of Criticism, and its revival. Erasmus. Vida. Boileau. Lord Roscommon, &c. Conclusion.

    • Learn then what morals Critics ought to show,
    • For ’t is but half a judge’s task to know.
    • ’T is not enough Taste, Judgment, Learning join;
    • In all you speak let Truth and Candour shine;
    • That not alone what to your Sense is due
    • All may allow, but seek your friendship too.
    • Be silent always when you doubt your Sense,
    • And speak, tho’ sure, with seeming diffidence.
    • Some positive persisting fops we know,
    • Who if once wrong will needs be always so;1903: 10
    • But you with pleasure own your errors past,
    • And make each day a critique on the last.
    • ’T is not enough your counsel still be true;
    • Blunt truths more mischief than nice falsehoods do.
    • Men must be taught as if you taught them not,
    • And things unknown proposed as things forgot.
    • Without good breeding truth is disapprov’d;
    • That only makes superior Sense belov’d.
    • Be niggards of advice on no pretence,
    • For the worst avarice is that of Sense.1903: 20
    • With mean complacence ne’er betray your trust,
    • Nor be so civil as to prove unjust.
    • Fear not the anger of the wise to raise;
    • Those best can bear reproof who merit praise.
    • ’T were well might critics still this freedom take,
    • But Appius reddens at each word you speak,
    • And stares tremendous, with a threat’ning eye,
    • Like some fierce tyrant in old tapestry.
    • Fear most to tax an honourable fool,
    • Whose right it is, uncensured to be dull:1903: 30
    • Such without Wit, are poets when they please,
    • As without Learning they can take degrees.
    • Leave dangerous truths to unsuccessful satires,
    • And flattery to fulsome dedicators;
    • Whom, when they praise, the world believes no more
    • Than when they promise to give scribbling o’er.
    • ’T is best sometimes your censure to restrain,
    • And charitably let the dull be vain;
    • Your silence there is better than your spite,
    • For who can rail so long as they can write?1903: 40
    • Still humming on their drowsy course they keep,
    • And lash’d so long, like tops, are lash’d asleep.
    • False steps but help them to renew the race,
    • As, after stumbling, jades will mend their pace.
    • What crowds of these, impenitently bold,
    • In sounds and jingling syllables grown old,
    • Still run on poets, in a raging vein,
    • Ev’n to the dregs and squeezings of the brain,
    • Strain out the last dull droppings of their sense,
    • And rhyme with all the rage of impotence!1903: 50
    • Such shameless bards we have; and yet ’t is true
    • There are as mad abandon’d critics too.
    • The bookful blockhead ignorantly read,
    • With loads of learned lumber in his head,
    • With his own tongue still edifies his ears,
    • And always list’ning to himself appears.
    • All books he reads, and all he reads assails,
    • From Dryden’s Fables down to Durfey’s Tales.
    • With him most authors steal their works, or buy;
    • Garth did not write his own Dispensary.1903: 60
    • Name a new play, and he’s the poet’s friend;
    • Nay, show’d his faults—but when would poets mend?
    • No place so sacred from such fops is barr’d,
    • Nor is Paul’s church more safe than Paul’s churchyard:
    • Edition: current; Page: [76]
    • Nay, fly to altars; there they ’ll talk you dead;
    • For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
    • Distrustful sense with modest caution speaks, }
    • It still looks home, and short excursions makes; }
    • But rattling nonsense in full volleys breaks }
    • And never shock’d, and never turn’d aside,1903: 70
    • Bursts out, resistless, with a thund’ring tide.
    • But where ’s the man who counsel can bestow,
    • Still pleas’d to teach, and yet not proud to know?
    • Unbiass’d or by favour or by spite;
    • Not dully prepossess’d nor blindly right;
    • Tho’ learn’d, well bred, and tho’ well bred sincere;
    • Modestly bold, and humanly severe;
    • Who to a friend his faults can freely show,
    • And gladly praise the merit of a foe;
    • Bless’d with a taste exact, yet unconfin’d,
    • A knowledge both of books and humankind;1903: 81
    • Gen’rous converse; a soul exempt from pride;
    • And love to praise, with reason on his side?
    • Such once were critics; such the happy few
    • Athens and Rome in better ages knew.
    • The mighty Stagyrite first left the shore,
    • Spread all his sails, and durst the deeps explore;
    • He steer’d securely, and discover’d far,
    • Led by the light of the Mæonian star.
    • Poets, a race long unconfin’d and free,1903: 90
    • Still fond and proud of savage liberty,
    • Receiv’d his laws, and stood convinc’d ’t was fit
    • Who conquer’d Nature should preside o’er Wit.
    • Horace still charms with graceful negligence,
    • And without method talks us into sense;
    • Will, like a friend, familiarly convey
    • The truest notions in the easiest way.
    • He who, supreme in judgment as in wit,
    • Might boldly censure as he boldly writ,
    • Yet judg’d with coolness, though he sung with fire;1903: 100
    • His precepts teach but what his works inspire.
    • Our critics take a contrary extreme,
    • They judge with fury, but they write with phlegm;
    • Nor suffers Horace more in wrong translations
    • By Wits, than Critics in as wrong quotations.
    • See Dionysius Homer’s thoughts refine,
    • And call new beauties forth from ev’ry line!
    • Fancy and art in gay Petronius please,
    • The Scholar’s learning with the courtier’s ease.
    • In grave Quintilian’s copious work we find1903: 110
    • The justest rules and clearest method join’d.
    • Thus useful arms in magazines we place,
    • All ranged in order, and disposed with grace;
    • But less to please the eye than arm the hand,
    • Still fit for use, and ready at command.
    • Thee, bold Longinus! all the Nine inspire,
    • And bless their critic with a poet’s fire:
    • An ardent judge, who, zealous in his trust,
    • With warmth gives sentence, yet is always just;
    • Whose own example strengthens all his laws,1903: 120
    • And is himself that great sublime he draws.
    • Thus long succeeding critics justly reign’d,
    • License repress’d, and useful laws ordain’d:
    • Learning and Rome alike in empire grew,
    • And arts still follow’d where her eagles flew;
    • From the same foes at last both felt their doom,
    • And the same age saw learning fall and Rome.
    • With tyranny then superstition join’d,
    • As that the body, this enslaved the mind;
    • Much was believ’d, but little understood,
    • And to be dull was construed to be good;
    • A second deluge learning thus o’errun,1903: 132
    • And the monks finish’d what the Goths begun.
    • At length Erasmus, that great injur’d name,
    • (The glory of the priesthood and the shame!)
    • Stemm’d the wild torrent of a barb’rous age,
    • Edition: current; Page: [77]
    • And drove those holy Vandals off the stage.
    • But see! each Muse in Leo’s golden days
    • Starts from her trance, and trims her wither’d bays.
    • Rome’s ancient genius, o’er its ruins spread,1903: 140
    • Shakes off the dust, and rears his rev’rend head.
    • Then sculpture and her sister arts revive;
    • Stones leap’d to form, and rocks began to live;
    • With sweeter notes each rising temple rung;
    • A Raphael painted and a Vida sung:
    • Immortal Vida! on whose honour’d brow
    • The poet’s bays and critic’s ivy grow:
    • Cremona now shall ever boast thy name,
    • As next in place to Mantua, next in fame!
    • But soon by impious arms from Latium chased,1903: 150
    • Their ancient bounds the banish’d Muses pass’d;
    • Thence arts o’er all the northern world advance,
    • But critic learning flourish’d most in France;
    • The rules a nation born to serve obeys,
    • And Boileau still in right of Horace sways.
    • But we, brave Britons, foreign laws despised,
    • And kept unconquer’d and uncivilized;
    • Fierce for the liberties of wit, and bold,
    • We still defied the Romans, as of old.
    • Yet some there were, among the sounder few1903: 160
    • Of those who less presumed and better knew,
    • Who durst assert the juster ancient cause,
    • And here restor’d Wit’s fundamental laws.
    • Such was the Muse whose rules and practice tell
    • ‘Nature’s chief masterpiece is writing well.’
    • Such was Roscommon, not more learn’d than good,
    • With manners gen’rous as his noble blood;
    • To him the wit of Greece and Rome was known,
    • And every author’s merit but his own.
    • Such late was Walsh—the Muse’s judge and friend,1903: 170
    • Who justly knew to blame or to commend;
    • To failings mild but zealous for desert,
    • The clearest head, and the sincerest heart.
    • This humble praise, lamented Shade! receive;
    • This praise at least a grateful Muse may give:
    • The Muse whose early voice you taught to sing,
    • Prescribed her heights, and pruned her tender wing,
    • (Her guide now lost), no more attempts to rise,
    • But in low numbers short excursions tries;
    • Content if hence th’ unlearn’d their wants may view,1903: 180
    • The learn’d reflect on what before they knew;
    • Careless of censure, nor too fond of fame;
    • Still pleas’d to praise, yet not afraid to blame;
    • Averse alike to flatter or offend;
    • Not free from faults, nor yet too vain to mend.
Edition: current; Page: [78]

POEMS WRITTEN BETWEEN 1708 AND 1712

ODE FOR MUSIC ON ST. CECILIA’S DAY

This ode was written at the suggestion of Richard Steele, in 1708. It was recast in 1730 in briefer form so that it might be set to music; and the first four stanzas were considerably changed.

  • I

  • Descend, ye Nine, descend and sing:
  • The breathing instruments inspire,
  • Wake into voice each silent string,
  • And sweep the sounding lyre.
  • In a sadly pleasing strain
  • Let the warbling lute complain;
  • Let the loud trumpet sound,
  • Till the roofs all around
  • The shrill echoes rebound;
  • While in more lengthen’d notes and slow
  • The deep, majestic, solemn organs blow.1903: 11
  • Hark! the numbers soft and clear
  • Gently steal upon the ear;
  • Now louder, and yet louder rise,
  • And fill with spreading sounds the skies:
  • Exulting in triumph now swell the bold notes,
  • In broken air, trembling, the wild music floats:
  • Till by degrees, remote and small,
  • The strains decay,
  • And melt away1903: 20
  • In a dying, dying fall.
  • II

  • By Music minds an equal temper know,
  • Nor swell too high, nor sink too low.
  • If in the breast tumultuous joys arise,
  • Music her soft assuasive voice applies;
  • Or when the soul is press’d with cares,
  • Exalts her in enlivening airs.
  • Warriors she fires with animated sounds,
  • Pours balm into the bleeding lover’s wounds;
  • Melancholy lifts her head,1903: 30
  • Morpheus rouses from his bed,
  • Sloth unfolds her arms and wakes,
  • List’ning Envy drops her snakes;
  • Intestine war no more our passions wage,
  • And giddy Factions hear away their rage.
  • III

  • But when our country’s cause provokes to arms,
  • How martial music ev’ry bosom warms!
  • So when the first bold vessel dared the seas,
  • High on the stern the Thracian rais’d his strain,
  • While Argo saw her kindred trees1903: 40
  • Descend from Pelion to the main:
  • Transported demigods stood round,
  • And men grew heroes at the sound,
  • Inflamed with Glory’s charms:
  • Each chief his sev’nfold shield display’d,
  • And half unsheath’d the shining blade;
  • And seas, and rocks, and skies rebound
  • To arms, to arms, to arms!
  • IV

  • But when thro’ all th’ infernal bounds,
  • Which flaming Phlegethon surrounds,1903: 50
  • Love, strong as Death, the Poet led
  • To the pale nations of the dead,
  • What sounds were heard,
  • What scenes appear’d,
  • O’er all the dreary coasts!
  • Dreadful gleams,
  • Dismal screams,
  • Fires that glow,
  • Shrieks of woe,
  • Sullen moans,1903: 60
  • Hollow groans,
  • And cries of tortured ghosts!
  • But hark! he strikes the golden lyre,
  • And see! the tortured ghosts respire!
  • See, shady forms advance!
  • Thy stone, O Sisyphus, stands still,
  • Ixion rests upon his wheel,
  • And the pale spectres dance;
  • The Furies sink upon their iron beds,
  • And snakes uncurl’d hang list’ning round their heads.1903: 70
  • V

  • By the streams that ever flow,
  • By the fragrant winds that blow
  • O’er th’ Elysian flowers;
  • By those happy souls who dwell
  • In yellow meads of Asphodel,
  • Or Amaranthine bowers;
  • Edition: current; Page: [79]
  • By the heroes’ armed shades,
  • Glitt’ring thro’ the gloomy glades;
  • By the youths that died for love,
  • Wand’ring in the myrtle grove,1903: 80
  • Restore, restore Eurydice to life!
  • Oh, take the husband, or return the wife!
  • He sung, and Hell consented
  • To hear the Poet’s prayer:
  • Stern Proserpine relented,
  • And gave him back the Fair.
  • Thus song could prevail
  • O’er Death and o’er Hell,
  • A conquest how hard and how glorious!
  • Tho’ fate had fast bound her,1903: 90
  • With Styx nine times round her,
  • Yet music and love were victorious.
  • VI

  • But soon, too soon, the lover turns his eyes:
  • Again she falls, again she dies, she dies!
  • How wilt thou now the fatal sisters move?
  • No crime was thine, if ’t is no crime to love.
  • Now under hanging mountains,
  • Beside the falls of fountains,
  • Or where Hebrus wanders,
  • Rolling in meanders,1903: 100
  • All alone,
  • Unheard, unknown,
  • He makes his moan;
  • And calls her ghost,
  • For ever, ever, ever lost!
  • Now with Furies surrounded,
  • Despairing, confounded,
  • He trembles, he glows,
  • Amidst Rhodope’s snows.
  • See, wild as the winds, o’er the desert he flies!1903: 110
  • Hark! Hæmus resounds with the Bacchanals’ cries—
  • Ah see, he dies!
  • Yet ev’n in death Eurydice he sung,
  • Eurydice still trembled on his tongue;
  • Eurydice the woods,
  • Eurydice the floods,
  • Eurydice the rocks and hollow mountains rung.
  • VII

  • Music the fiercest grief can charm,
  • And Fate’s severest rage disarm:
  • Music can soften pain to ease,1903: 120
  • And make despair and madness please:
  • Our joys below it can improve,
  • And antedate the bliss above.
  • This the divine Cecilia found,
  • And to her Maker’s praise confin’d the sound.
  • When the full organ joins the tuneful quire,
  • Th’ immortal Powers incline their ear;
  • Borne on the swelling notes our souls aspire,
  • While solemn airs improve the sacred fire,
  • And Angels lean from Heav’n to hear.1903: 130
  • Of Orpheus now no more let poets tell;
  • To bright Cecilia greater power is giv’n:
  • His numbers rais’d a shade from Hell,
  • Hers lift the soul to Heav’n.

ARGUS

Written in 1709 and sent in a letter to Henry Cromwell in 1711.

  • When wise Ulysses, from his native coast
  • Long kept by wars, and long by tempests toss’d,
  • Arrived at last, poor, old, disguised, alone,
  • To all his friends, and ev’n his Queen unknown,
  • Changed as he was, with age, and toils, and cares,
  • Furrow’d his rev’rend face, and white his hairs,
  • In his own palace forc’d to ask his bread,
  • Scorn’d by those slaves his former bounty fed,
  • Forgot of all his own domestic crew,
  • The faithful Dog alone his rightful master knew!
  • Unfed, unhous’d, neglected, on the clay,
  • Like an old servant now cashier’d, he lay;
  • Touch’d with resentment of ungrateful man,
  • And longing to behold his ancient lord again.
  • Him when he saw he rose, and crawl’d to meet,
  • (’T was all he could) and fawn’d and kiss’d his feet,
  • Seiz’d with dumb joy; then falling by his side,
  • Own’d his returning lord, look’d up, and died!

THE BALANCE OF EUROPE

  • Now Europe balanc’d, neither side prevails:
  • For nothing’s left in either of the scales.
Edition: current; Page: [80]

THE TRANSLATOR

‘Egbert Sanger,’ says Warton, ‘served his apprenticeship with Jacob Tonson, and succeeded Bernard Lintot in his shop at Middle Temple Gate, Fleet Street. Lintot printed Ozell’s translation of Perrault’s Characters, and Sanger his translation of Boileau’s Lutrin, recommended by Rowe, in 1709.’

  • Ozell, at Sanger’s call, invoked his Muse—
  • For who to sing for Sanger could refuse?
  • His numbers such as Sanger’s self might use.
  • Reviving Perrault, murd’ring Boileau, he
  • Slander’d the ancients first, then Wycherley;
  • Which yet not much that old bard’s anger rais’d,
  • Since those were slander’d most whom Ozell prais’d.
  • Nor had the gentle satire caused complaining,
  • Had not sage Rowe pronounc’d it entertaining;
  • How great must be the judgment of that writer,
  • Who The Plain Dealer damns, and prints The Biter!

ON MRS. TOFTS, A FAMOUS OPERA-SINGER

Katharine Tofts was an English opera singer popular in London between 1703 and 1709.

  • So bright is thy beauty, so charming thy song,
  • As had drawn both the beasts and their Orpheus along:
  • But such is thy av’rice, and such is thy pride,
  • That the beasts must have starv’d, and the poet have died.

EPISTLE TO MRS. BLOUNT, WITH THE WORKS OF VOITURE.

To Teresa Blount. First published in Lintot’s Miscellany, in 1712. See note.

    • In these gay thoughts the Loves and Graces shine,
    • And all the writer lives in ev’ry line;
    • His easy Art may happy Nature seem,
    • Trifles themselves are elegant in him.
    • Sure to charm all was his peculiar fate,
    • Who without flatt’ry pleas’d the Fair and Great;
    • Still with esteem no less convers’d than read,
    • With wit well-natured, and with books well-bred:
    • His heart his mistress and his friend did share,1903: 9
    • His time the Muse, the witty, and the fair.
    • Thus wisely careless, innocently gay,
    • Cheerful he play’d the trifle, Life, away;
    • Till Fate scarce felt his gentle breath supprest,
    • As smiling infants sport themselves to rest.
    • Ev’n rival Wits did Voiture’s death deplore,
    • And the gay mourn’d who never mourn’d before;
    • The truest hearts for Voiture heav’d with sighs,
    • Voiture was wept by all the brightest eyes:
    • The Smiles and Loves had died in Voiture’s death,1903: 19
    • But that for ever in his lines they breathe.
    • Let the strict life of graver mortals be
    • A long, exact, and serious Comedy;
    • In ev’ry scene some Moral let it teach,
    • And, if it can, at once both please and preach.
    • Let mine an innocent gay farce appear,
    • And more diverting still than regular,
    • Have Humour, Wit, a native Ease and Grace,
    • Tho’ not too strictly bound to Time and Place:
    • Critics in Wit, or Life, are hard to please,
    • Few write to those, and none can live to these.1903: 30
    • Too much your Sex is by their forms confin’d,
    • Severe to all, but most to Womankind;
    • Custom, grown blind with Age, must be your guide;
    • Your pleasure is a vice, but not your pride;
    • By Nature yielding, stubborn but for fame,
    • Made slaves by honour, and made fools by shame;
    • Marriage may all those petty tyrants chase;
    • But sets up one, a greater, in their place;
    • Well might you wish for change by those accurst,1903: 39
    • But the last tyrant ever proves the worst.
    • Edition: current; Page: [81]
    • Still in constraint your suff’ring Sex remains,
    • Or bound in formal, or in real chains:
    • Whole years neglected, for some months ador’d,
    • The fawning Servant turns a haughty Lord.
    • Ah, quit not the free innocence of life,
    • For the dull glory of a virtuous Wife;
    • Nor let false shows, or empty titles please;
    • Aim not at Joy, but rest content with Ease.
    • The Gods, to curse Pamela with her pray’rs,
    • Gave the gilt coach and dappled Flanders mares,1903: 50
    • The shining robes, rich jewels, beds of state,
    • And, to complete her bliss, a fool for mate.
    • She glares in Balls, front Boxes, and the Ring,
    • A vain, unquiet, glitt’ring, wretched thing!
    • Pride, Pomp, and State but reach her outward part;
    • She sighs, and is no Duchess at her heart.
    • But, Madam, if the fates withstand, and you
    • Are destin’d Hymen’s willing victim too;
    • Trust not too much your now resistless charms,
    • Those Age or Sickness soon or late disarms:1903: 60
    • Good humour only teaches charms to last,
    • Still makes new conquests, and maintains the past;
    • Love, rais’d on Beauty, will like that decay,
    • Our hearts may bear its slender chain a day;
    • As flow’ry bands in wantonness are worn,
    • A morning’s pleasure, and at evening torn;
    • This binds in ties more easy, yet more strong,
    • The willing heart, and only holds it long.
    • Thus Voiture’s early care still shone the same,1903: 69
    • And Montausier was only changed in name;
    • By this, ev’n now they live, ev’n now they charm,
    • Their wit still sparkling, and their flames still warm.
    • Now crown’d with myrtle, on th’ Elysian coast,
    • Amid those lovers, joys his gentle Ghost:
    • Pleas’d, while with smiles his happy lines you view,
    • And finds a fairer Rambouillet in you.
    • The brightest eyes of France inspired his Muse;
    • The brightest eyes of Britain now peruse;
    • And dead, as living, ’t is our Author’s pride
    • Still to charm those who charm the world beside.1903: 80

THE DYING CHRISTIAN TO HIS SOUL

This Ode was written, we find [in 1712], at the desire of Steele; and our Poet, in a letter to him on that occasion, says,—‘You have it, as Cowley calls it, just warm from the brain; it came to me the first moment I waked this morning; yet you ’ll see, it was not so absolutely inspiration, but that I had in my head, not only the verses of Hadrian, but the fine fragment of Sappho.’ It is possible, however, that our Author might have had another composition in his head, besides those he here refers to: for there is a close and surprising resemblance between this Ode of Pope, and one of an obscure and forgotten rhymer of the age of Charles the Second, Thomas Flatman. (Warton). Pope’s version of the Adriani morientis ad Animam was written at about this date, and sent to Steele for publication in The Spectator. It ran as follows:—

  • ‘Ah, fleeting Spirit! wand’ring fire,
  • That long hast warm’d my tender breast,
  • Must thou no more this frame inspire,
  • No more a pleasing cheerful guest?
  • Whither, ah whither, art thou flying,
  • To what dark undiscover’d shore?
  • Thou seem’st all trembling, shiv’ring, dying,
  • And Wit and Humour are no more!’
  • I

  • Vital spark of heav’nly flame,
  • Quit, oh quit, this mortal frame!
  • Trembling, hoping, ling’ring, flying,
  • Oh, the pain, the bliss of dying!
  • Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife,
  • And let me languish into life!
  • II

  • Hark! they whisper; Angels say,
  • Sister Spirit, come away.
  • What is this absorbs me quite,
  • Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
  • Drowns my spirits, draws my breath?
  • Tell me, my Soul! can this be Death?
  • III

  • The world recedes; it disappears;
  • Heav’n opens on my eyes; my ears
  • Edition: current; Page: [82]
  • With sounds seraphic ring:
  • Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
  • O Grave! where is thy Victory?
  • O Death! where is thy Sting?

EPISTLE TO MR. JERVAS[ ]
WITH DRYDEN’S TRANSLATION OF FRESNOY’S ART OF PAINTING

Charles Jervas was an early and firm friend of Pope’s, and, himself an indifferent painter, at one time gave Pope some instruction in painting. Dryden’s translation of Fresnoy appears to have been a hasty and perfunctory piece of work. The poem was first published in 1712.

    • This verse be thine, my friend, nor thou refuse
    • This from no venal or ungrateful Muse.
    • Whether thy hand strike out some free design,
    • Where life awakes, and dawns at ev’ry line,
    • Or blend in beauteous tints the colour’d mass,
    • And from the canvas call the mimic face:
    • Read these instructive leaves, in which conspire
    • Fresnoy’s close Art and Dryden’s native Fire;
    • And reading wish like theirs our fate and fame,
    • So mix’d our studies, and so join’d our name;1903: 10
    • Like them to shine thro’ long succeeding age,
    • So just thy skill, so regular my rage.
    • Smit with the love of Sister-Arts we came,
    • And met congenial, mingling flame with flame;
    • Like friendly colours found them both unite,
    • And each from each contract new strength and light.
    • How oft in pleasing tasks we wear the day,
    • While summer suns roll unperceiv’d away!
    • How oft our slowly growing works impart,
    • While images reflect from art to art!1903: 20
    • How oft review; each finding, like a friend,
    • Something to blame, and something to commend.
    • What flatt’ring scenes our wand’ring fancy wrought,
    • Rome’s pompous glories rising to our thought!
    • Together o’er the Alps methinks we fly,
    • Fired with ideas of fair Italy.
    • With thee on Raphael’s monument I mourn,
    • Or wait inspiring dreams at Maro’s urn:
    • With thee repose where Tully once was laid,
    • Or seek some ruin’s formidable shade:1903: 30
    • While Fancy brings the vanish’d piles to view,
    • And builds imaginary Rome anew.
    • Here thy well-studied marbles fix our eye;
    • A fading fresco here demands a sigh;
    • Each heav’nly piece unwearied we compare,
    • Match Raphael’s grace with thy lov’d Guido’s air,
    • Carracci’s strength, Correggio’s softer line,
    • Paulo’s free stroke, and Titian’s warmth divine.
    • How finish’d with illustrious toil appears
    • This small well-polish’d Gem, the work of years,1903: 40
    • Yet still how faint by precept is exprest
    • The living image in the painter’s breast!
    • Thence endless streams of fair ideas flow,
    • Strike in the sketch, or in the picture glow;
    • Thence Beauty, waking all her forms, supplies
    • An Angel’s sweetness, or Bridgewater’s eyes.
    • Muse! at that name thy sacred sorrows shed
    • Those tears eternal that embalm the dead;
    • Call round her tomb each object of desire,
    • Each purer frame inform’d with purer fire;1903: 50
    • Bid her be all that cheers or softens life,
    • The tender sister, daughter, friend, and wife;
    • Bid her be all that makes mankind adore,
    • Then view this marble, and be vain no more!
    • Yet still her charms in breathing paint engage,
    • Her modest cheek shall warm a future age.
    • Beauty, frail flower, that ev’ry season fears,
    • Blooms in thy colours for a thousand years.
    • Thus Churchill’s race shall other hearts surprise,
    • And other beauties envy Worsley’s eyes;1903: 60
    • Each pleasing Blount shall endless smiles bestow,
    • And soft Belinda’s blush for ever glow.
  • Edition: current; Page: [83]
    • O, lasting as those colours may they shine,
    • Free as thy stroke, yet faultless as thy line;
    • New graces yearly like thy works display,
    • Soft without weakness, without glaring gay!
    • Led by some rule that guides, but not constrains,
    • And finish’d more thro’ happiness than pains.
    • The kindred arts shall in their praise conspire,1903: 69
    • One dip the pencil, and one string the lyre.
    • Yet should the Graces all thy figures place,
    • And breathe an air divine on ev’ry face;
    • Yet should the Muses bid my numbers roll
    • Strong as their charms, and gentle as their soul;
    • With Zeuxis’ Helen thy Bridgewater vie,
    • And these be sung till Granville’s Myra die;
    • Alas! how little from the grave we claim!
    • Thou but preserv’st a Face and I a Name!

IMPROMPTU TO LADY WINCHILSEA
OCCASIONED BY FOUR SATIRICAL VERSES ON WOMEN WITS, IN THE RAPE OF THE LOCK

‘The four verses,’ says Ward, ‘are apparently Canto IV. vv. 59-62. The Countess of Winchilsea, a poetess whom Rowe hailed as inspired by ‘more than Delphic ardour,’ replied by some pretty lines, where she declares that “disarmed with so genteel an air,” she gives over the contest.’

  • In vain you boast poetic names of yore,
  • And cite those Sapphos we admire no more:
  • Fate doom’d the fall of every female wit;
  • But doom’d it then, when first Ardelia writ.
  • Of all examples by the world confess’d,
  • I knew Ardelia could not quote the best;
  • Who, like her mistress on Britannia’s throne,
  • Fights and subdues in quarrels not her own.
  • To write their praise you but in vain essay:
  • Ev’n while you write, you take that praise away.
  • Light to stars the sun does thus restore,
  • But shines himself till they are seen no more.

ELEGY TO THE MEMORY OF AN UNFORTUNATE LADY

It was long rumored that this poem was literally founded on fact: that the unfortunate lady was a maiden with whom Pope was in love, and from whom he was separated. The fact seems to be that the poem’s only basis in truth lay in Pope’s sympathy for an unhappy married woman about whom he wrote to Caryll in 1712. The verses were not published till 1717, but were probably written several years earlier.

    • What beck’ning ghost along the moonlight shade
    • Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade?
    • ’T is she!—but why that bleeding bosom gor’d?
    • Why dimly gleams the visionary sword?
    • Oh ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell,
    • Is it, in Heav’n, a crime to love too well?
    • To bear too tender or too firm a heart,
    • To act a lover’s or a Roman’s part?
    • Is there no bright reversion in the sky
    • For those who greatly think, or bravely die?1903: 10
    • Why bade ye else, ye Powers! her soul aspire
    • Above the vulgar flight of low desire?
    • Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes,
    • The glorious fault of Angels and of Gods:
    • Thence to their images on earth it flows,
    • And in the breasts of Kings and Heroes glows.
    • Most souls, ’t is true, but peep out once an age,
    • Dull sullen pris’ners in the body’s cage;
    • Dim lights of life, that burn a length of years
    • Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres;1903: 20
    • Like eastern Kings a lazy state they keep,
    • And, close confin’d to their own palace, sleep.
    • From these, perhaps (ere Nature bade her die),
    • Fate snatch’d her early to the pitying sky.
    • Edition: current; Page: [84]
    • As into air the purer spirits flow,
    • And sep’rate from their kindred dregs below;
    • So flew the soul to its congenial place,
    • Nor left one virtue to redeem her race.
    • But thou, false guardian of a charge too good,
    • Thou, mean deserter of thy brother’s blood!1903: 30
    • See on these ruby lips the trembling breath,
    • These cheeks now fading at the blast of death;
    • Cold is that breast which warm’d the world before,
    • And those love-darting eyes must roll no more.
    • Thus, if eternal justice rules the ball,
    • Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall;
    • On all the line a sudden vengeance waits,
    • And frequent hearses shall besiege your gates;
    • There passengers shall stand, and pointing say
    • (While the long funerals blacken all the way),1903: 40
    • Lo! these were they whose souls the furies steel’d,
    • And cursed with hearts unknowing how to yield.
    • Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
    • The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day!
    • So perish all, whose breast ne’er learn’d to glow
    • For others’ good, or melt at others’ woe.
    • What can atone, O ever injured shade!
    • Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid?
    • No friend’s complaint, no kind domestic tear
    • Pleas’d thy pale ghost, or graced thy mournful bier;1903: 50
    • By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed,
    • By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed,
    • By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn’d,
    • By strangers honour’d, and by strangers mourn’d.
    • What tho’ no friends in sable weeds appear,
    • Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year,
    • And bear about the mockery of woe
    • To midnight dances, and the public show?
    • What tho’ no weeping loves thy ashes grace,
    • Nor polish’d marble emulate thy face?1903: 60
    • What tho’ no sacred earth allow thee room,
    • Nor hallow’d dirge be mutter’d o’er thy tomb?
    • Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be dress’d,
    • And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast:
    • There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow,
    • There the first roses of the year shall blow;
    • While angels with their silver wings o’ershade
    • The ground, now sacred by thy relics made.
    • So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name,
    • What once had Beauty, Titles, Wealth and Fame.1903: 70
    • How lov’d, how honour’d once, avails thee not,
    • To whom related, or by whom begot;
    • A heap of dust alone remains of thee;
    • ’T is all thou art, and all the proud shall be!
    • Poets themselves must fall like those they sung,
    • Deaf the prais’d ear, and mute the tuneful tongue.
    • Ev’n he whose soul now melts in mournful lays,
    • Shall shortly want the gen’rous tear he pays;
    • Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part,
    • And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart;1903: 80
    • Life’s idle bus’ness at one gasp be o’er,
    • The Muse forgot, and thou belov’d no more!

MESSIAH

Written, according to Courthope, in 1712.

ADVERTISEMENT

In reading several passages of the prophet Isaiah, which foretell the coming of Christ, and the felicities attending it, I could not but observe a remarkable parity between many of Edition: current; Page: [85] the thoughts and those in the Pollio of Virgil. This will not seem surprising, when we reflect that the Eclogue was taken from a Sibylline prophecy on the same subject. One may judge that Virgil did not copy it line by line, but selected such ideas as best agreed with the nature of Pastoral Poetry, and disposed them in that manner which served most to beautify his piece. I have endeavoured the same in this imitation of him, though without admitting any thing of my own; since it was written with this particular view, that the reader, by comparing the several thoughts, might see how far the images and descriptions of the Prophet are superior to those of the Poet. But as I fear I have prejudiced them by my management, I shall subjoin the passages of Isaiah, and those of Virgil, under the same disadvantage of a literal translation.

    • Ye Nymphs of Solyma! begin the song:
    • To heav’nly themes sublimer strains belong.
    • The mossy fountains, and the sylvan shades,
    • The dreams of Pindus, and th’ Aonian maids,
    • Delight no more—O Thou my voice inspire
    • Who touch’d Isaiah’s hallow’d lips with fire!
    • Rapt into future times, the bard begun:
    • A virgin shall conceive, a virgin bear a son!1
    • From Jesse’s2 root behold a branch arise,
    • Whose sacred flower with fragrance fills the skies;1903: 10
    • Th’ ethereal spirit o’er its leaves shall move,
    • And on its top descends the mystic dove.
    • Ye Heav’ns!3 from high the dewy nectar pour,
    • And in soft silence shed the kindly shower!
    • The sick4 and weak the healing plant shall aid,
    • From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade.
    • All crimes shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail,
    • Returning Justice5 lift aloft her scale;
    • Peace o’er the world her olive wand extend,
    • And white-robed Innocence from Heav’n descend.1903: 20
    • Swift fly the years, and rise th’ expected morn!
    • O spring to light, auspicious babe! be born.
    • See Nature hastes her earliest wreaths to bring,6
    • With all the incense of the breathing spring:
    • See lofty Lebanon7 his head advance,
    • See nodding forests on the mountains dance:
    • Edition: current; Page: [86]
    • See spicy clouds from lowly Saron rise,
    • And Carmel’s flow’ry top perfumes the skies!
    • Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert cheers;1
    • Prepare the way!2 a God, a God appears!
    • A God, a God! the vocal hills reply;1903: 31
    • The Rocks proclaim th’ approaching Deity.
    • Lo, Earth receives him from the bending skies!
    • Sink down, ye Mountains, and, ye valleys, rise;
    • With heads declin’d, ye Cedars, homage pay;
    • Be smooth, ye Rocks; ye rapid floods, give way;
    • The Saviour comes, by ancient bards foretold!
    • Hear him,3 ye deaf, and all ye blind, behold!
    • He from thick films shall purge the visual ray,
    • And on the sightless eyeball pour the day:1903: 40
    • ’T is he th’ obstructed paths of sound shall clear,
    • And bid new music charm th’ unfolding ear:
    • The dumb shall sing, the lame his crutch forego,
    • And leap exulting like the bounding roe.
    • No sigh, no murmur, the wide world shall hear,
    • From every face he wipes off every tear.
    • In4 adamantine chains shall Death be bound,
    • And Hell’s grim tyrant feel th’ eternal wound.
    • As the good Shepherd5 tends his fleecy care,
    • Seeks freshest pasture and the purest air,
    • Explores the lost, the wand’ring sheep directs,1903: 51
    • By day o’ersees them, and by night protects;
    • The tender lambs he raises in his arms,
    • Feeds from his hand, and in his bosom warms;
    • Thus shall mankind his guardian care engage,
    • The promis’d Father6 of the future age.
    • No more shall7 nation against nation rise,
    • Nor ardent warriors meet with hateful eyes,
    • Nor fields with gleaming steel be cover’d o’er,
    • The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more;
    • But useless lances into scythes shall bend,1903: 61
    • And the broad falchion in a ploughshare end.
    • Then palaces shall rise; the joyful8 son
    • Shall finish what his short-lived sire begun;
    • Their vines a shadow to their race shall yield,
    • And the same hand that sow’d shall reap the field:
    • The swain in barren9 deserts with surprise
    • See lilies spring, and sudden verdure rise;10
    • And start, amidst the thirsty wilds, to hear
    • New falls of water murm’ring in his ear.1903: 70
    • Edition: current; Page: [87]
    • On rifted rocks, the dragon’s late abodes,
    • The green reed trembles, and the bulrush nods;
    • Waste1 sandy valleys, once perplex’d with thorn,
    • The spiry fir and shapely box adorn;
    • To leafless shrubs the flow’ring palms succeed,
    • And od’rous myrtle to the noisome weed.
    • The lambs2 with wolves shall graze the verdant mead,
    • And boys in flow’ry bands the tiger lead;3
    • The steer and lion at one crib shall meet,
    • And harmless serpents4 lick the pilgrim’s feet;1903: 80
    • The smiling infant in his hand shall take
    • The crested basilisk and speckled snake,
    • Pleas’d, the green lustre of the scales survey,
    • And with their forky tongue shall innocently play.
    • Rise, crown’d with light, imperial Salem,5 rise!6
    • Exalt thy tow’ry head, and lift thy eyes!
    • See a long race7 thy spacious courts adorn;
    • See future sons and daughters, yet unborn,
    • In crowding ranks on every side arise,
    • Demanding life, impatient for the skies!1903: 90
    • See barb’rous nations8 at thy gates attend,
    • Walk in thy light, and in thy temple bend!
    • See thy bright altars throng’d with prostrate kings,
    • And heap’d with products of Sabæan9 springs;
    • For thee Idume’s spicy forests blow,
    • And seeds of gold in Ophir’s mountains glow;
    • See Heav’n its sparkling portals wide display,
    • And break upon thee in a flood of day!
    • No more the rising sun10 shall gild the morn,
    • Nor ev’ning Cynthia fill her silver horn;
    • But lost, dissolv’d in thy superior rays,1903: 101
    • One tide of glory, one unclouded blaze
    • O’erflow thy courts: the light himself shall shine
    • Reveal’d, and God’s eternal day be thine!
    • The seas11 shall waste, the skies in smoke decay,
    • Rocks fall to dust, and mountains melt away;
    • But fix’d his word, his saving power remains;—
    • Thy realm for ever lasts, thy own Messiah reigns!
Edition: current; Page: [88]

THE RAPE OF THE LOCK AN HEROI-COMICAL POEM[ ]

  • Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos;
  • Sed juvat, hoc precibus me tribuisse tuis.
  • Mart. Epig. xii. 84.

‘It appears by this motto,’ says Pope, in a footnote supplied for Warburton’s edition, ‘that the following poem was written or published at the lady’s request. But there are some other circumstances not unworthy relating. Mr. Caryll (a gentleman who was secretary to Queen Mary, wife of James II., whose fortunes he followed into France, author of the comedy of Sir Solomon Single, and of several translations in Dryden’s Miscellanies) originally proposed it to him in a view of putting an end, by this piece of ridicule, to a quarrel that was risen between two noble families, those of Lord Petre and Mrs. Fermor, on the trifling occasion of his having cut off a lock of her hair. The author sent it to the lady, with whom he was acquainted; and she took it so well as to give about copies of it. That first sketch (we learn from one of his letters) was written in less than a fortnight, in 1711, in two cantos only, and it was so printed first, in a Miscellany of Bern. Lintot’s, without the name of the author. But it was received so well that he made it more considerable the next year by the addition of the machinery of the Sylphs, and extended it to five cantos.’

Alexander Pope
Pope, Alexander
Arabella Fermor
Fermor, Arabella

TO MRS. ARABELLA FERMOR

Madam,

It will be in vain to deny that I have some regard for this piece, since I dedicate it to you. Yet you may bear me witness it was intended only to divert a few young ladies, who have good sense and good humour enough to laugh not only at their sex’s little unguarded follies, but at their own. But as it was communicated with the air of a secret, it soon found its way into the world. An imperfect copy having been offer’d to a bookseller, you had the good-nature for my sake, to consent to the publication of one more correct: this I was forced to, before I had executed half my design, for the Machinery was entirely wanting to complete it.

The Machinery, Madam, is a term invented by the critics, to signify that part which the Deities, Angels, or Dæmons, are made to act in a poem: for the ancient poets are in one respect like many modern ladies; let an action be never so trivial in itself, they always make it appear of the utmost importance. These Machines I determined to raise on a very new and odd foundation, the Rosicrucian doctrine of Spirits.

I know how disagreeable it is to make use of hard words before a lady; but it is so much the concern of a poet to have his works understood, and particularly by your sex, that you must give me leave to explain two or three difficult terms. The Rosicrucians are a people I must bring you acquainted with. The best account I know of them is in a French book called La Comte de Gabalis, which, both in its title and size, is so like a novel, that many of the fair sex have read it for one by mistake. According to these gentlemen, the four elements are inhabited by Spirits, which they call Sylphs, Gnomes, Nymphs, and Salamanders. The Gnomes, or Dæmons of earth, delight in mischief; but the Sylphs, whose habitation is in the air, are the best-conditioned creatures imaginable; for, they say, any mortal may enjoy the most intimate familiarities with these gentle spirits, upon a condition very easy to all true adepts,—an inviolate preservation of chastity.

As to the following cantos, all the passages of them are as fabulous as the Vision at the beginning, or the Transformation at the end (except the loss of your hair, which I always mention with reverence). The human persons are as fictitious as the airy ones; and the character of Belinda, as it is now managed, resembles you in nothing but in beauty.

If this poem had as many graces as there are in your person or in your mind, yet I could never hope it should pass thro’ the world half so uncensured as you have done. But let its fortune be what it will, mine is happy enough, to have given me this occasion of assuring you that I am, with the truest esteem, Madam,

Your most obedient, humble servant,
A. Pope.
Edition: current; Page: [89]

CANTO I

    • What dire offence from am’rous causes springs,
    • What mighty contests rise from trivial things,
    • I sing—This verse to Caryll, muse! is due:
    • This, ev’n Belinda may vouchsafe to view:
    • Slight is the subject, but not so the praise,
    • If she inspire, and he approve my lays.
    • Say what strange motive, Goddess! could compel
    • A well-bred Lord t’ assault a gentle Belle?
    • O say what stranger cause, yet unexplor’d,
    • Could make a gentle Belle reject a Lord?1903: 10
    • In tasks so bold can little men engage,
    • And in soft bosoms dwells such mighty rage?
    • Sol thro’ white curtains shot a tim’rous ray,
    • And oped those eyes that must eclipse the day.
    • Now lapdogs give themselves the rousing shake,
    • And sleepless lovers just at twelve awake:
    • Thrice rung the bell, the slipper knock’d the ground,
    • And the press’d watch return’d a silver sound.
    • Belinda still her downy pillow prest,
    • Her guardian Sylph prolong’d the balmy rest.1903: 20
    • ’T was he had summon’d to her silent bed
    • The morning-dream that hover’d o’er her head;
    • A youth more glitt’ring than a Birthnight Beau
    • (That ev’n in slumber caus’d her cheek to glow)
    • Seem’d to her ear his winning lips to lay,
    • And thus in whispers said, or seem’d to say:
    • ‘Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish’d care
    • Of thousand bright Inhabitants of Air!
    • If e’er one vision touch’d thy infant thought,
    • Of all the nurse and all the priest have taught—1903: 30
    • Of airy elves by moonlight shadows seen,
    • The silver token, and the circled green,
    • Or virgins visited by Angel-powers,
    • With golden crowns and wreaths of heav’nly flowers;
    • Hear and believe! thy own importance know,
    • Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.
    • Some secret truths, from learned pride conceal’d,
    • To maids alone and children are reveal’d:
    • What tho’ no credit doubting Wits may give?
    • The fair and innocent shall still believe.1903: 40
    • Know, then, unnumber’d Spirits round thee fly,
    • The light militia of the lower sky:
    • These, tho’ unseen, are ever on the wing,
    • Hang o’er the Box, and hover round the Ring.
    • Think what an equipage thou hast in air,
    • And view with scorn two pages and a chair.
    • As now your own, our beings were of old,
    • And once inclosed in woman’s beauteous mould;
    • Thence, by a soft transition, we repair
    • From earthly vehicles to these of air.1903: 50
    • Think not, when woman’s transient breath is fled,
    • That all her vanities at once are dead;
    • Succeeding vanities she still regards,
    • And, tho’ she plays no more, o’erlooks the cards.
    • Her joy in gilded chariots, when alive,
    • And love of Ombre, after death survive.
    • For when the Fair in all their pride expire,
    • To their first elements their souls retire.
    • The sprites of fiery termagants in flame1903: 59
    • Mount up, and take a Salamander’s name.
    • Soft yielding minds to water glide away,
    • And sip, with Nymphs, their elemental tea.
    • The graver prude sinks downward to a Gnome
    • In search of mischief still on earth to roam.
    • The light coquettes in Sylphs aloft repair,
    • And sport and flutter in the fields of air.
    • ‘Know further yet: whoever fair and chaste
    • Rejects mankind, is by some Sylph embraced;
    • For spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease
    • Assume what sexes and what shapes they please.1903: 70
    • What guards the purity of melting maids,
    • In courtly balls, and midnight masquerades,
    • Safe from the treach’rous friend, the daring spark,
    • The glance by day, the whisper in the dark;
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    • When kind occasion prompts their warm desires,
    • When music softens, and when dancing fires?
    • ’T is but their Sylph, the wise Celestials know,
    • Tho’ Honour is the word with men below.
    • ‘Some nymphs there are, too conscious of their face,
    • For life predestin’d to the Gnome’s embrace.1903: 80
    • These swell their prospects and exalt their pride,
    • When offers are disdain’d, and love denied:
    • Then gay ideas crowd the vacant brain,
    • While peers, and dukes, and all their sweeping train,
    • And garters, stars, and coronets appear,
    • And in soft sounds, “Your Grace” salutes their ear.
    • ’T is these that early taint the female soul,
    • Instruct the eyes of young conquettes to roll,
    • Teach infant cheeks a bidden blush to know,
    • And little hearts to flutter at a Beau.1903: 90
    • ‘Oft, when the world imagine women stray,
    • The Sylphs thro’ mystic mazes guide their way;
    • Thro’ all the giddy circle they pursue,
    • And old impertinence expel by new.
    • What tender maid but must a victim fall
    • To one man’s treat, but for another’s ball?
    • When Florio speaks, what virgin could withstand,
    • If gentle Damon did not squeeze her hand?
    • With varying vanities, from every part,
    • They shift the moving toyshop of their heart;1903: 100
    • Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots sword-knots strive,
    • Beaux banish beaux, and coaches coaches drive.
    • This erring mortals levity may call;
    • Oh blind to truth! the Sylphs contrive it all.
    • ‘Oh these am I, who thy protection claim,
    • A watchful sprite, and Ariel is my name.
    • Late, as I ranged the crystal wilds of air,
    • In the clear mirror of thy ruling star
    • I saw, alas! some dread event impend,
    • Ere to the main this morning sun descend,
    • But Heav’n reveals not what, or how or where.1903: 111
    • Warn’d by the Sylph, O pious maid, beware!
    • This to disclose is all thy guardian can:
    • Beware of all, but most beware of Man!’
    • He said; when Shock, who thought she slept too long,
    • Leap’d up, and waked his mistress with his tongue.
    • ’T was then, Belinda, if report say true,
    • Thy eyes first open’d on a billet-doux;
    • Wounds, charms, and ardours were no sooner read,1903: 119
    • But all the vision vanish’d from thy head.
    • And now, unveil’d, the toilet stands display’d,
    • Each silver vase in mystic order laid.
    • First, robed in white, the nymph intent adores,
    • With head uncover’d, the cosmetic powers.
    • A heav’nly image in the glass appears;
    • To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears.
    • Th’ inferior priestess, at her altar’s side,
    • Trembling begins the sacred rites of Pride.
    • Unnumber’d treasures ope at once, and here
    • The various off’rings of the world appear;
    • From each she nicely culls with curious toil,1903: 131
    • And decks the Goddess with the glitt’ring spoil.
    • This casket India’s glowing gems unlocks,
    • And all Arabia breathes from yonder box.
    • The tortoise here and elephant unite,
    • Transform’d to combs, the speckled, and the white.
    • Here files of pins extend their shining rows,
    • Puffs, powders, patches, bibles, billet-doux.
    • Now awful beauty puts on all its arms;1903: 139
    • The Fair each moment rises in her charms,
    • Repairs her smiles, awakens every grace,
    • And calls forth all the wonders of her face;
    • Sees by degrees a purer blush arise,
    • And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes.
    • The busy Sylphs surround their darling care,
    • These set the head, and those divide the hair,
    • Some fold the sleeve, whilst others plait the gown;
    • And Betty’s prais’d for labours not her own.

CANTO II

    • Not with more glories, in th’ ethereal plain,
    • The sun first rises o’er the purpled main,
    • Than, issuing forth, the rival of his beams
    • Edition: current; Page: [91]
    • Launch’d on the bosom of the silver Thames.
    • Fair nymphs, and well-dress’d youths around her shone,
    • But every eye was fix’d on her alone.
    • On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore,
    • Which Jews might kiss, and infidels adore.
    • Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose,
    • Quick as her eyes, and as unfix’d as those:
    • Favours to none, to all she smiles extends;1903: 11
    • Oft she rejects, but never once offends.
    • Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike,
    • And, like the sun, they shine on all alike.
    • Yet graceful ease, and sweetness void of pride,
    • Might hide her faults, if belles had faults to hide;
    • If to her share some female errors fall,
    • Look on her face, and you’ll forget ’em all.
    • This nymph, to the destruction of mankind,
    • Nourish’d two locks, which graceful hung behind1903: 20
    • In equal curls, and well conspired to deck
    • With shining ringlets the smooth iv’ry neck.
    • Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains,
    • And mighty hearts are held in slender chains.
    • With hairy springes we the birds betray,
    • Slight lines of hair surprise the finny prey,
    • Fair tresses man’s imperial race ensnare,
    • And beauty draws us with a single hair.
    • Th’ adventurous Baron the bright locks admired;
    • He saw, he wish’d, and to the prize aspired.
    • Resolv’d to win, he meditates the way,1903: 31
    • By force to ravish, or by fraud betray;
    • For when success a lover’s toil attends,
    • Few ask if fraud or force attain’d his ends.
    • For this, ere Phœbus rose, he had implor’d
    • Propitious Heav’n, and every Power ador’d,
    • But chiefly Love—to Love an altar built
    • Of twelve vast French romances, neatly gilt.
    • There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves,
    • And all the trophies of his former loves;1903: 40
    • With tender billet-doux he lights the pyre,
    • And breathes three am’rous sighs to raise the fire.
    • Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes
    • Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize:
    • The Powers gave ear, and granted half his prayer,
    • The rest the winds dispers’d in empty air.
    • But now secure the painted vessel glides,
    • The sunbeams trembling on the floating tides;
    • While melting music steals upon the sky,
    • And soften’d sounds along the waters die:
    • Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gently play,1903: 51
    • Belinda smil’d, and all the world was gay.
    • All but the Sylph—with careful thoughts opprest
    • Th’ impending woe sat heavy on his breast.
    • He summons straight his denizens of air;
    • The lucid squadrons round the sails repair:
    • Soft o’er the shrouds aërial whispers breathe
    • That seem’d but zephyrs to the train beneath.
    • Some to the sun their insect-wings unfold,
    • Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold;1903: 60
    • Transparent forms too fine for mortal sight,
    • Their fluid bodies half dissolv’d in light,
    • Loose to the wind their airy garments flew,
    • Thin glitt’ring textures of the filmy dew,
    • Dipt in the richest tincture of the skies,
    • Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes,
    • While ev’ry beam new transient colours flings,
    • Colours that change whene’er they wave their wings.
    • Amid the circle, on the gilded mast,
    • Superior by the head was Ariel placed;1903: 70
    • His purple pinions opening to the sun,
    • He raised his azure wand, and thus begun:
    • ‘Ye Sylphs and Sylphids, to your chief give ear.
    • Fays, Fairies, Genii, Elves, and Dæmons, hear!
    • Ye know the spheres and various tasks assign’d
    • By laws eternal to th’ aërial kind.
    • Some in the fields of purest ether play,
    • And bask and whiten in the blaze of day:
    • Edition: current; Page: [92]
    • Some guide the course of wand’ring orbs on high,
    • Or roll the planets thro’ the boundless sky:1903: 80
    • Some, less refin’d, beneath the moon’s pale light
    • Pursue the stars that shoot athwart the night,
    • Or suck the mists in grosser air below,
    • Or dip their pinions in the painted bow,
    • Or brew fierce tempests on the wintry main,
    • Or o’er the glebe distil the kindly rain.
    • Others, on earth, o’er human race preside,
    • Watch all their ways, and all their actions guide:
    • Of these the chief the care of nations own,
    • And guard with arms divine the British Throne.1903: 90
    • ‘Our humbler province is to tend the Fair,
    • Not a less pleasing, tho’ less glorious care;
    • To save the Powder from too rude a gale;
    • Nor let th’ imprison’d Essences exhale;
    • To draw fresh colours from the vernal flowers;
    • To steal from rainbows ere they drop in showers
    • A brighter Wash; to curl their waving hairs,
    • Assist their blushes and inspire their airs;
    • Nay oft, in dreams invention we bestow,
    • To change a Flounce, or add a Furbelow.
    • ‘This day black omens threat the brightest Fair,1903: 101
    • That e’er deserv’d a watchful spirit’s care;
    • Some dire disaster, or by force or slight;
    • But what, or where, the Fates have wrapt in night.
    • Whether the nymph shall break Diana’s law,
    • Or some frail China jar receive a flaw;
    • Or stain her honour, or her new brocade,
    • Forget her prayers, or miss a masquerade,
    • Or lose her heart, or necklace, at a ball;
    • Or whether Heav’n has doom’d that Shock must fall.1903: 110
    • Haste, then, ye Spirits! to your charge repair:
    • The flutt’ring fan be Zephyretta’s care;
    • The drops to thee, Brillaute, we consign;
    • And, Momentilla, let the watch be thine;
    • Do thou, Crispissa, tend her fav’rite Lock;
    • Ariel himself shall be the guard of Shock.
    • ‘To fifty chosen sylphs, of special note,
    • We trust th’ important charge, the petticoat;
    • Oft have we known that sev’n-fold fence to fail,
    • Tho’ stiff with hoops, and arm’d with ribs of whale:1903: 120
    • Form a strong line about the silver bound,
    • And guard the wide circumference around.
    • ‘Whatever spirit, careless of his charge,
    • His post neglects, or leaves the Fair at large,
    • Shall feel sharp vengeance soon o’ertake his sins:
    • Be stopp’d in vials, or transfix’d with pins,
    • Or plunged in lakes of bitter washes lie,
    • Or wedg’d whole ages in a bodkin’s eye;
    • Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain,
    • While clogg’d he beats his silken wings in vain,1903: 130
    • Or alum styptics with contracting power
    • Shrink his thin essence like a rivell’d flower:
    • Or, as Ixion fix’d, the wretch shall feel
    • The giddy motion of the whirling mill,
    • In fumes of burning chocolate shall glow,
    • And tremble at the sea that froths below!’
    • He spoke; the spirits from the sails descend;
    • Some, orb in orb, around the nymph extend;
    • Some thread the mazy ringlets of her hair;
    • Some hang upon the pendants of her ear;
    • With beating hearts the dire event they wait,1903: 141
    • Anxious, and trembling for the birth of Fate.

CANTO III

    • Close by those meads, for ever crown’d with flowers,
    • Where Thames with pride surveys his rising towers
    • There stands a structure of majestic frame,
    • Which from the neighb’ring Hampton takes its name.
    • Here Britain’s statesmen oft the fall foredoom
    • Of foreign tyrants, and of nymphs at home;
    • Edition: current; Page: [93]
    • Here, thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey,
    • Dost sometimes counsel take—and sometimes tea.
    • Hither the Heroes and the Nymphs resort,
    • To taste awhile the pleasures of a court;1903: 10
    • In various talk th’ instructive hours they past,
    • Who gave the ball, or paid the visit last;
    • One speaks the glory of the British Queen,
    • And one describes a charming Indian screen;
    • A third interprets motions, looks, and eyes;
    • At every word a reputation dies.
    • Snuff, or the fan, supply each pause of chat,
    • With singing, laughing, ogling, and all that.
    • Meanwhile, declining from the noon of day,
    • The sun obliquely shoots his burning ray;
    • The hungry judges soon the sentence sign,1903: 21
    • And wretches hang that jurymen may dine;
    • The merchant from th’ Exchange returns in peace,
    • And the long labours of the toilet cease.
    • Belinda now, whom thirst of fame invites,
    • Burns to encounter two adventurous knights,
    • At Ombre singly to decide their doom,
    • And swells her breast with conquests yet to come.
    • Straight the three bands prepare in arms to join,
    • Each band the number of the sacred Nine.
    • Soon as she spreads her hand, th’ aerial guard1903: 31
    • Descend, and sit on each important card:
    • First Ariel perch’d upon a Matadore,
    • Then each according to the rank they bore;
    • For Sylphs, yet mindful of their ancient race,
    • Are, as when women, wondrous fond of place.
    • Behold four Kings in majesty revered,
    • With hoary whiskers and a forky beard;
    • And four fair Queens, whose hands sustain a flower
    • Th’ expressive emblem of their softer power;1903: 40
    • Four Knaves, in garbs succinct, a trusty band,
    • Caps on their heads, and halberts in their hand
    • And party-colour’d troops, a shining train,
    • Draw forth to combat on the velvet plain.
    • The skilful nymph reviews her force with care;
    • ‘Let Spades be trumps!’ she said, and trumps they were.
    • Now move to war her sable Matadores,
    • In show like leaders of the swarthy Moors.
    • Spadillio first, unconquerable lord!
    • Led off two captive trumps, and swept the board.1903: 50
    • As many more Manillio forced to yield,
    • And march’d a victor from the verdant field.
    • Him Basto follow’d, but his fate more hard
    • Gain’d but one trump and one plebeian card.
    • With his broad sabre next, a chief in years,
    • The hoary Majesty of Spades appears,
    • Puts forth one manly leg, to sight reveal’d;
    • The rest his many colour’d robe conceal’d.
    • The rebel Knave, who dares his prince engage,
    • Proves the just victim of his royal rage.1903: 60
    • Ev’n mighty Pam, that kings and queens o’erthrew,
    • And mow’d down armies in the fights of Loo,
    • Sad chance of war! now destitute of aid,
    • Falls undistinguish’d by the victor Spade.
    • Thus far both armies to Belinda yield;
    • Now to the Baron Fate inclines the field.
    • His warlike amazon her host invades,
    • Th’ imperial consort of the crown of Spades.
    • The Club’s black tyrant first her victim died,
    • Spite of his haughty mien and barb’rous pride:1903: 70
    • What boots the regal circle on his head,
    • His giant limbs, in state unwieldy spread;
    • That long behind he trails his pompous robe,
    • And of all monarchs only grasps the globe?
    • The Baron now his Diamonds pours apace;
    • Th’ embroider’d King who shows but half his face,
    • And his refulgent Queen, with powers combin’d,
    • Of broken troops an easy conquest find.
    • Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, in wild disorder seen,
    • With throngs promiscuous strew the level green.1903: 80
    • Thus when dispers’d a routed army runs,
    • Of Asia’s troops, and Afric’s sable sons,
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    • With like confusion diff’rent nations fly,
    • Of various habit, and of various dye;
    • The pierced battalions disunited fall
    • In heaps on heaps; one fate o’erwhelms them all.
    • The Knave of Diamonds tries his wily arts,
    • And wins (oh shameful chance!) the Queen of Hearts.
    • At this, the blood the virgin’s cheek forsook,
    • A livid paleness spreads o’er all her look;
    • She sees, and trembles at th’ approaching ill,1903: 91
    • Just in the jaws of ruin, and Codille.
    • And now (as oft in some distemper’d state)
    • On one nice trick depends the gen’ral fate!
    • An Ace of Hearts steps forth: the King unseen
    • Lurk’d in her hand, and mourn’d his captive Queen.
    • He springs to vengeance with an eager pace,
    • And falls like thunder on the prostrate Ace.
    • The nymph, exulting, fills with shouts the sky;
    • The walls, the woods, and long canals reply.1903: 100
    • Oh thoughtless mortals! ever blind to fate,
    • Too soon dejected, and too soon elate:
    • Sudden these honours shall be snatch’d away,
    • And curs’d for ever this victorious day.
    • For lo! the board with cups and spoons is crown’d,
    • The berries crackle, and the mill turns round;
    • On shining altars of japan they raise
    • The silver lamp; the fiery spirits blaze:
    • From silver spouts the grateful liquors glide,
    • While China’s earth receives the smoking tide.1903: 110
    • At once they gratify their scent and taste,
    • And frequent cups prolong the rich repast.
    • Straight hover round the Fair her airy band;
    • Some, as she sipp’d, the fuming liquor fann’d,
    • Some o’er her lap their careful plumes display’d,
    • Trembling, and conscious of the rich brocade.
    • Coffee (which makes the politician wise,
    • And see thro’ all things with his half-shut eyes)
    • Sent up in vapors to the Baron’s brain
    • New stratagems, the radiant Lock to gain.
    • Ah, cease, rash youth! desist ere ’t is too late,1903: 121
    • Fear the just Gods, and think of Scylla’s fate!
    • Changed to a bird, and sent to flit in air,
    • She dearly pays for Nisus’ injured hair!
    • But when to mischief mortals bend their will,
    • How soon they find fit instruments of ill!
    • Just then, Clarissa drew with tempting grace
    • A two-edg’d weapon from her shining case:
    • So ladies in romance assist their knight,
    • Present the spear, and arm him for the fight.1903: 130
    • He takes the gift with rev’rence, and extends
    • The little engine on his fingers’ ends;
    • This just behind Belinda’s neck he spread,
    • As o’er the fragrant steams she bends her head.
    • Swift to the Lock a thousand sprites repair;
    • A thousand wings, by turns, blow back the hair;
    • And thrice they twitch’d the diamond in her ear;
    • Thrice she look’d back, and thrice the foe drew near.1903: 138
    • Just in that instant, anxious Ariel sought
    • The close recesses of the virgin’s thought:
    • As on the nosegay in her breast reclin’d,
    • He watch’d th’ ideas rising in her mind,
    • Sudden he view’d, in spite of all her art,
    • An earthly Lover lurking at her heart.
    • Amazed, confused, he found his power expired,
    • Resign’d to fate, and with a sigh retired.
    • The Peer now spreads the glitt’ring forfex wide,
    • T’ inclose the Lock; now joins it, to divide.
    • Ev’n then, before the fatal engine closed,
    • A wretched Sylph too fondly interposed;
    • Fate urged the shears, and cut the Sylph in twain1903: 151
    • (But airy substance soon unites again).
    • The meeting points the sacred hair dissever
    • From the fair head, for ever, and for ever!
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    • Then flash’d the living lightning from her eyes,
    • And screams of horror rend th’ affrighted skies.
    • Not louder shrieks to pitying Heav’n are cast,
    • When husbands, or when lapdogs breathe their last;
    • Or when rich China vessels, fall’n from high,
    • In glitt’ring dust and painted fragments lie!1903: 160
    • ‘Let wreaths of triumph now my temples twine,’
    • The Victor cried, ‘the glorious prize is mine!
    • While fish in streams, or birds delight in air,
    • Or in a coach and six the British Fair,
    • As long as Atalantis shall be read,
    • Or the small pillow grace a lady’s bed,
    • While visits shall be paid on solemn days,
    • When numerous wax-lights in bright order blaze:
    • While nymphs take treats, or assignations give,
    • So long my honour, name, and praise shall live!1903: 170
    • What Time would spare, from Steel receives its date,
    • And monuments, like men, submit to Fate!
    • Steel could the labour of the Gods destroy,
    • And strike to dust th’ imperial towers of Troy;
    • Steel could the works of mortal pride confound
    • And hew triumphal arches to the ground.
    • What wonder, then, fair Nymph! thy hairs should feel
    • The conquering force of unresisted steel?’

CANTO IV

    • But anxious cares the pensive nymph opprest,
    • And secret passions labour’d in her breast.
    • Not youthful kings in battle seiz’d alive,
    • Not scornful virgins who their charms survive,
    • Not ardent lovers robb’d of all their bliss,
    • Not ancient ladies when refused a kiss,
    • Not tyrants fierce that unrepenting die,
    • Not Cynthia when her mantua’s pinn’d awry,
    • E’er felt such rage, resentment, and despair,
    • As thou, sad Virgin! for thy ravish’d hair.
    • For, that sad moment, when the Sylphs withdrew,1903: 11
    • And Ariel weeping from Belinda flew,
    • Umbriel, a dusky, melancholy sprite
    • As ever sullied the fair face of light,
    • Down to the central earth, his proper scene,
    • Repair’d to search the gloomy cave of Spleen.
    • Swift on his sooty pinions flits the Gnome,
    • And in a vapour reach’d the dismal dome.
    • No cheerful breeze this sullen region knows,
    • The dreaded East is all the wind that blows.1903: 20
    • Here in a grotto shelter’d close from air,
    • And screen’d in shades from day’s detested glare,
    • She sighs for ever on her pensive bed,
    • Pain at her side, and Megrim at her head.
    • Two handmaids wait the throne; alike in place,
    • But diff’ring far in figure and in face.
    • Here stood Ill-nature, like an ancient maid,
    • Her wrinkled form in black and white array’d!
    • With store of prayers for mornings, nights, and noons,
    • Her hand is fill’d; her bosom with lampoons.1903: 30
    • There Affectation, with a sickly mien,
    • Shows in her cheek the roses of eighteen,
    • Practis’d to lisp, and hang the head aside,
    • Faints into airs, and languishes with pride;
    • On the rich quilt sinks with becoming woe,
    • Wrapt in a gown for sickness and for show.
    • The fair ones feel such maladies as these,
    • When each new night-dress gives a new disease.
    • A constant vapour o’er the palace flies
    • Strange phantoms rising as the mists arise;
    • Dreadful as hermits’ dreams in haunted shades,1903: 41
    • Or bright as visions of expiring maids:
    • Now glaring fiends, and snakes on rolling spires,
    • Pale spectres, gaping tombs, and purple fires;
    • Now lakes of liquid gold, Elysian scenes,
    • And crystal domes, and angels in machines.
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    • Unnumber’d throngs on ev’ry side are seen,
    • Of bodies changed to various forms by Spleen.
    • Here living Teapots stand, one arm held out,
    • One bent; the handle this, and that the spout:1903: 50
    • A Pipkin there, like Homer’s Tripod walks;
    • Here sighs a Jar, and there a Goose-pie talks;
    • Men prove with child, as powerful fancy works,
    • And maids turn’d bottles call aloud for corks.
    • Safe pass’d the Gnome thro’ this fantastic band,
    • A branch of healing spleenwort in his hand.
    • Then thus address’d the Power—‘Hail, wayward Queen!
    • Who rule the sex to fifty from fifteen:
    • Parent of Vapours and of female wit,
    • Who give th’ hysteric or poetic fit,1903: 60
    • On various tempers act by various ways,
    • Make some take physic, others scribble plays;
    • Who cause the proud their visits to delay,
    • And send the godly in a pet to pray.
    • A nymph there is that all your power disdains,
    • And thousands more in equal mirth maintains.
    • But oh! if e’er thy Gnome could spoil a grace,
    • Or raise a pimple on a beauteous face,
    • Like citron-waters matrons’ cheeks inflame,
    • Or change complexions at a losing game;1903: 70
    • If e’er with airy horns I planted heads,
    • Or rumpled petticoats, or tumbled beds,
    • Or caused suspicion when no soul was rude,
    • Or discomposed the head-dress of a prude,
    • Or e’er to costive lapdog gave disease,
    • Which not the tears of brightest eyes could ease,
    • Hear me, and touch Belinda with chagrin;
    • That single act gives half the world the spleen.’
    • The Goddess, with a discontented air,
    • Seems to reject him tho’ she grants his prayer.1903: 80
    • A wondrous Bag with both her hands she binds,
    • Like that where once Ulysses held the winds;
    • There she collects the force of female lungs,
    • Sighs, sobs, and passions, and the war of tongues.
    • A Vial next she fills with fainting fears,
    • Soft sorrows, melting griefs, and flowing tears.
    • The Gnome rejoicing bears her gifts away,
    • Spreads his black wings, and slowly mounts to day.
    • Sunk in Thalestris’ arms the nymph he found,
    • Her eyes dejected, and her hair unbound.1903: 90
    • Full o’er their heads the swelling Bag he rent,
    • And all the Furies issued at the vent.
    • Belinda burns with more than mortal ire,
    • And fierce Thalestris fans the rising fire.
    • ‘O wretched maid!’ she spread her hands, and cried
    • (While Hampton’s echoes, ‘Wretched maid!’ replied),
    • Was it for this you took such constant care
    • The bodkin, comb, and essence to prepare?
    • For this your locks in paper durance bound?
    • For this with torturing irons wreathed around?1903: 100
    • For this with fillets strain’d your tender head,
    • And bravely bore the double loads of lead?
    • Gods! shall the ravisher display your hair,
    • While the fops envy, and the ladies stare!
    • Honour forbid! at whose unrivall’d shrine
    • Ease, Pleasure, Virtue, all, our sex resign.
    • Methinks already I your tears survey,
    • Already hear the horrid things they say,
    • Already see you a degraded toast,
    • And all your honour in a whisper lost!1903: 110
    • How shall I, then, your hapless fame defend?
    • ’T will then be infamy to seem your friend!
    • And shall this prize, th’ inestimable prize,
    • Exposed thro’ crystal to the gazing eyes,
    • And heighten’d by the diamond’s circling rays,
    • On that rapacious hand for ever blaze?
    • Sooner shall grass in Hyde Park Circus grow,
    • And Wits take lodgings in the sound of Bow;
    • Sooner let earth, air, sea, to chaos fall,
    • Men, monkeys, lapdogs, parrots, perish all!’1903: 120
    • She said; then raging to Sir Plume repairs,
    • And bids her beau demand the precious hairs
    • Edition: current; Page: [97]
    • (Sir Plume, of amber snuff-box justly vain,
    • And the nice conduct of a clouded cane):
    • With earnest eyes, and round unthinking face,
    • He first the snuff-box open’d, then the case,
    • And thus broke out—‘My lord, why, what the devil!
    • Z—ds! damn the Lock! ’fore Gad, you must be civil!
    • Plague on ’t! ’t is past a jest—nay, prithee, pox!
    • Give her the hair.’—He spoke, and rapp’d his box.1903: 130
    • ‘It grieves me much,’ replied the Peer again,
    • ‘Who speaks so well should ever speak in vain:
    • But by this Lock, this sacred Lock, I swear
    • (Which never more shall join its parted hair;
    • Which never more its honours shall renew,
    • Clipp’d from the lovely head where late it grew),
    • That, while my nostrils draw the vital air,
    • This hand, which won it, shall for ever wear.’
    • He spoke, and speaking, in proud triumph spread
    • The long-contended honours of her head.1903: 140
    • But Umbriel, hateful Gnome, forbears not so;
    • He breaks the Vial whence the sorrows flow.
    • Then see! the nymph in beauteous grief appears,
    • Her eyes half-languishing, half drown’d in tears;
    • On her heav’d bosom hung her drooping head,
    • Which with a sigh she rais’d, and thus she said:
    • ‘For ever curs’d be this detested day,
    • Which snatch’d my best, my fav’rite curl away!
    • Happy! ah, ten times happy had I been,
    • If Hampton Court these eyes had never seen!1903: 150
    • Yet am not I the first mistaken maid,
    • By love of courts to numerous ills betray’d.
    • O had I rather unadmired remain’d
    • In some lone isle, or distant northern land;
    • Where the gilt chariot never marks the way,
    • Where none learn Ombre, none e’er taste Bohea!
    • There kept my charms conceal’d from mortal eye,
    • Like roses, that in deserts bloom and die.
    • What mov’d my mind with youthful lords to roam?
    • O had I stay’d, and said my prayers at home;1903: 160
    • ’T was this the morning omens seem’d to tell,
    • Thrice from my trembling hand the patchbox fell;
    • The tott’ring china shook without a wind;
    • Nay, Poll sat mute, and Shock was most unkind!
    • A Sylph, too, warn’d me of the threats of fate,
    • In mystic visions, now believ’d too late!
    • See the poor remnants of these slighted hairs!
    • My hands shall rend what ev’n thy rapine spares.
    • These, in two sable ringlets taught to break,
    • Once gave new beauties to the snowy neck;
    • The sister-lock now sits uncouth alone,1903: 171
    • And in its fellow’s fate foresees its own;
    • Uncurl’d it hangs, the fatal shears demands,
    • And tempts once more thy sacrilegious hands.
    • O hadst thou, cruel! been content to seize
    • Hairs less in sight, or any hairs but these!’

CANTO V

    • She said: the pitying audience melt in tears;
    • But Fate and Jove had stopp’d the Baron’s ears.
    • In vain Thalestris with reproach assails,
    • For who can move when fair Belinda fails?
    • Not half so fix’d the Trojan could remain,
    • While Anna begg’d and Dido raged in vain.
    • Then grave Clarissa graceful waved her fan;
    • Silence ensued, and thus the nymph began:
    • ‘Say, why are beauties prais’d and honour’d most,
    • The wise man’s passion, and the vain man’s toast?1903: 10
    • Why deck’d with all that land and sea afford,
    • Why angels call’d, and angel-like ador’d?
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    • Why round our coaches crowd the whiteglov’d beaux?
    • Why bows the side-box from its inmost rows?
    • How vain are all these glories, all our pains,
    • Unless Good Sense preserve what Beauty gains;
    • That men may say when we the front-box grace,
    • “Behold the first in virtue as in face!”
    • Oh! if to dance all night, and dress all day,
    • Charm’d the smallpox, or chased old age away;1903: 20
    • Who would not scorn what housewife’s cares produce,
    • Or who would learn one earthly thing of use?
    • To patch, nay, ogle, might become a saint,
    • Nor could it sure be such a sin to paint.
    • But since, alas! frail beauty must decay,
    • Curl’d or uncurl’d, since locks will turn to gray;
    • Since painted, or not painted, all shall fade,
    • And she who scorns a man must die a maid;
    • What then remains, but well our power to use,
    • And keep good humour still whate’er we lose?1903: 30
    • And trust me, dear, good humour can prevail,
    • When airs, and flights, and screams, and scolding fail.
    • Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll;
    • Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.’
    • So spoke the dame, but no applause ensued;
    • Belinda frown’d, Thalestris call’d her prude.
    • ‘To arms, to arms!’ the fierce virago cries,
    • And swift as lightning to the combat flies.
    • All side in parties, and begin th’ attack;
    • Fans clap, silks rustle, and tough whale-bones crack;1903: 40
    • Heroes’ and heroines’ shouts confusedly rise,
    • And bass and treble voices strike the skies.
    • No common weapons in their hands are found,
    • Like Gods they fight nor dread a mortal wound.
    • So when bold Homer makes the Gods engage,
    • And heav’nly breasts with human passions rage;
    • ’Gainst Pallas, Mars; Latona, Hermes arms;
    • And all Olympus rings with loud alarms;
    • Jove’s thunder roars, Heav’n trembles all around,
    • Blue Neptune storms, the bell’wing deeps resound:1903: 50
    • Earth shakes her nodding towers, the ground gives way,
    • And the pale ghosts start at the flash of day!
    • Triumphant Umbriel, on a sconce’s height,
    • Clapp’d his glad wings, and sat to view the fight:
    • Propp’d on their bodkin-spears, the sprites survey
    • The growing combat, or assist the fray.
    • While thro’ the press enraged Thalestris flies,
    • And scatters death around from both her eyes,
    • A Beau and Witling perish’d in the throng,
    • One died in metaphor, and one in song:1903: 60
    • ‘O cruel Nymph! a living death I bear,’
    • Cried Dapperwit, and sunk beside his chair.
    • A mournful glance Sir Fopling upwards cast,
    • ‘Those eyes are made so killing’—was his last.
    • Thus on Mæander’s flowery margin lies
    • Th’ expiring swan, and as he sings he dies.
    • When bold Sir Plume had drawn Clarissa down,
    • Chloe stepp’d in, and kill’d him with a frown;
    • She smiled to see the doughty hero slain,
    • But, at her smile, the beau revived again.
    • Now Jove suspends his golden scales in air,1903: 71
    • Weighs the men’s wits against the lady’s hair;
    • The doubtful beam long nods from side to side;
    • At length the wits mount up, the hairs subside.
    • See fierce Belinda on the Baron flies,
    • With more than usual lightning in her eyes;
    • Edition: current; Page: [99]
    • Nor fear’d the chief th’ unequal fight to try,
    • Who sought no more than on his foe to die.
    • But this bold lord, with manly strength endued,
    • She with one finger and a thumb subdued:
    • Just where the breath of life his nostrils drew,1903: 81
    • A charge of snuff the wily virgin threw;
    • The Gnomes direct, to every atom just,
    • The pungent grains of titillating dust.
    • Sudden, with starting tears each eye o’erflows,
    • And the high dome reechoes to his nose.
    • ‘Now meet thy fate,’ incens’d Belinda cried,
    • And drew a deadly bodkin from her side.
    • (The same, his ancient personage to deck,
    • Her great-great-grandsire wore about his neck,1903: 90
    • In three seal-rings; which after, melted down,
    • Form’d a vast buckle for his widow’s gown:
    • Her infant grandame’s whistle next it grew,
    • The bells she jingled, and the whistle blew;
    • Then in a bodkin graced her mother’s hairs,
    • Which long she wore and now Belinda wears.)
    • ‘Boast not my fall,’ he cried, ‘insulting foe!
    • Thou by some other shalt be laid as low;
    • Nor think to die dejects my lofty mind:
    • All that I dread is leaving you behind!1903: 100
    • Rather than so, ah, let me still survive,
    • And burn in Cupid’s flames—but burn alive.’
    • ‘Restore the Lock!’ she cries; and all around
    • ‘Restore the Lock!’ the vaulted roofs rebound.
    • Not fierce Othello in so loud a strain
    • Roar’d for the handkerchief that caus’d his pain.
    • But see how oft ambitious aims are cross’d,
    • And chiefs contend till all the prize is lost!
    • The lock, obtain’d with guilt, and kept with pain,
    • In ev’ry place is sought, but sought in vain:1903: 110
    • With such a prize no mortal must be blest.
    • So Heav’n decrees! with Heav’n who can contest?
    • Some thought it mounted to the lunar sphere,
    • Since all things lost on earth are treasured there.
    • There heroes’ wits are kept in pond’rous vases,
    • And beaux’ in snuffboxes and tweezercases.
    • There broken vows, and deathbed alms are found,
    • And lovers’ hearts with ends of riband bound,
    • The courtier’s promises, and sick man’s prayers,
    • The smiles of harlots, and the tears of heirs,1903: 120
    • Cages for gnats, and chains to yoke a flea,
    • Dried butterflies, and tomes of casuistry.
    • But trust the Muse—she saw it upward rise,
    • Tho’ mark’d by none but quick poetic eyes
    • (So Rome’s great founder to the heav’ns withdrew,
    • To Proculus alone confess’d in view):
    • A sudden star, it shot thro’ liquid air,
    • And drew behind a radiant trail of hair.
    • Not Berenice’s locks first rose so bright,
    • The heav’ns bespangling with dishevell’d light.1903: 130
    • The Sylphs behold it kindling as it flies,
    • And pleas’d pursue its progress thro’ the skies.
    • This the beau monde shall from the Mall survey,
    • And hail with music its propitious ray;
    • This the blest lover shall for Venus take,
    • And send up vows from Rosamonda’s lake;
    • This Partridge soon shall view in cloudless skies,
    • When next he looks thro’ Galileo’s eyes;
    • And hence th’ egregious wizard shall foredoom
    • The fate of Louis, and the fall of Rome.1903: 140
    • Then cease, bright Nymph! to mourn thy ravish’d hair,
    • Which adds new glory to the shining sphere!
    • Not all the tresses that fair head can boast
    • Shall draw such envy as the Lock you lost.
    • For after all the murders of your eye,
    • When, after millions slain, yourself shall die;
    • When those fair suns shall set, as set they must,
    • And all those tresses shall be laid in dust,
    • This Lock the Muse shall consecrate to fame,
    • And ’midst the stars inscribe Belinda’s name.1903: 150
Edition: current; Page: [100]

POEMS WRITTEN BETWEEN 1713 AND 1717

PROLOGUE TO MR. ADDISON’S CATO

This prologue was written in 1713, after Addison had given Pope two of the main causes which led to their estrangement; and itself led the way for the third. Addison’s faint praise of the Pastorals, and disagreement with Pope as to the advisability of revising The Rape of the Lock, had not as yet led to their estrangement. But when not long after the presentation of Cato, Pope ventured to become its champion against the attacks of John Dennis, Addison’s quiet disclaimer of responsibility for his anonymous defender cut Pope to the quick.

    • To wake the soul by tender strokes of art,
    • To raise the genius, and to mend the heart;
    • To make mankind, in conscious virtue bold,
    • Live o’er each scene, and be what they behold:
    • For this the Tragic Muse first trod the stage,
    • Commanding tears to stream thro’ ev’ry age:
    • Tyrants no more their savage nature kept,
    • And foes to virtue wonder’d how they wept.
    • Our author shuns by vulgar springs to move
    • The Hero’s glory, or the Virgin’s love;1903: 10
    • In pitying Love, we but our weakness show,
    • And wild Ambition well deserves its woe.
    • Here tears shall flow from a more gen’rous cause,
    • Such tears as patriots shed for dying laws.
    • He bids your breasts with ancient ardour rise,
    • And calls forth Roman drops from British eyes:
    • Virtue confess’d in human shape he draws,
    • What Plato thought, and godlike Cato was:
    • No common object to your sight displays,
    • But what with pleasure Heav’n itself surveys,1903: 20
    • A brave man struggling in the storms of fate,
    • And greatly falling with a falling state.
    • While Cato gives his little senate laws,
    • What bosom beats not in his country’s cause?
    • Who sees him act, but envies ev’ry deed?
    • Who hears him groan, and does not wish to bleed?
    • Ev’n when proud Cæsar, midst triumphal cars,
    • The spoils of nations, and the pomp of wars,
    • Ignobly vain, and impotently great,
    • Show’d Rome her Cato’s figure drawn in state;1903: 30
    • As her dead father’s rev’rend image past,
    • The pomp was darken’d, and the day o’ercast;
    • The triumph ceas’d, tears gush’d from ev’ry eye,
    • The world’s great Victor pass’d unheeded by;
    • Her last good man dejected Rome ador’d,
    • And honour’d Cæsar’s less than Cato’s sword.
    • Britons, attend: be worth like this approv’d,
    • And show you have the virtue to be mov’d.
    • With honest scorn the first famed Cato view’d
    • Rome learning arts from Greece, whom she subdued;1903: 40
    • Your scene precariously subsists too long
    • On French translation and Italian song.
    • Dare to have sense yourselves; assert the stage;
    • Be justly warm’d with your own native rage:
    • Such plays alone should win a British ear
    • As Cato’s self had not disdain’d to hear.

EPILOGUE TO MR. ROWE’S JANE SHORE
DESIGNED FOR MRS. OLDFIELD

Nicholas Rowe’s play was acted at Drury Lane in February, 1714. Mrs. Oldfield played the leading part, but Pope’s Epilogue was not used.

    • Prodigious this! the Frail-one of our play
    • From her own sex should mercy find today!
    • Edition: current; Page: [101]
    • You might have held the pretty head aside,
    • Peep’d in your fans, been serious, thus, and cried,—
    • ‘The play may pass—but that strange creature, Shore,
    • I can’t—indeed now—I so hate a whore!’
    • Just as a blockhead rubs his thoughtless skull,
    • And thanks his stars he was not born a fool;
    • So from a sister sinner you shall hear,
    • ‘How strangely you expose yourself, my dear!1903: 10
    • But let me die, all raillery apart,
    • Our sex are still forgiving at their heart;
    • And, did not wicked custom so contrive,
    • We’d be the best good-natured things alive.’
    • There are, ’t is true, who tell another tale,
    • That virtuous ladies envy while they rail;
    • Such rage without betrays the fire within;
    • In some close corner of the soul they sin;
    • Still hoarding up, most scandalously nice,
    • Amidst their virtues a reserve of vice.1903: 20
    • The godly dame, who fleshly failings damns,
    • Scolds with her maid, or with her chaplain crams.
    • Would you enjoy soft nights and solid dinners?
    • Faith, gallants, board with saints, and bed with sinners.
    • Well, if our author in the Wife offends,
    • He has a Husband that will make amends:
    • He draws him gentle, tender, and forgiving;
    • And sure such kind good creatures may be living.
    • In days of old, they pardon’d breach of vows;1903: 29
    • Stern Cato’s self was no relentless spouse.
    • Plu—Plutarch, what ’s his name that writes his life,
    • Tells us, that Cato dearly lov’d his wife:
    • Yet if a friend, a night or so, should need her,
    • He ’d recommend her as a special breeder.
    • To lend a wife, few here would scruple make;
    • But, pray, which of you all would take her back?
    • Tho’ with the Stoic Chief our stage may ring,
    • The Stoic Husband was the glorious thing.
    • The man had courage, was a sage, ’t is true,
    • And lov’d his country—but what ’s that to you?1903: 40
    • Those strange examples ne’er were made to fit ye,
    • But the kind cuckold might instruct the city:
    • There, many an honest man may copy Cato
    • Who ne’er saw naked sword, or look’d in Plato.
    • If, after all, you think it a disgrace,
    • That Edward’s Miss thus perks it in your face,
    • To see a piece of failing flesh and blood,
    • In all the rest so impudently good:
    • Faith, let the modest matrons of the town
    • Come here in crowds, and stare the strumpet down.1903: 50

TO A LADY, WITH THE TEMPLE OF FAME

  • What ’s Fame with men, by custom of the nation,
  • Is call’d, in women, only Reputation:
  • About them both why keep we such a pother?
  • Part you with one, and I ’ll renounce the other.

UPON THE DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH’S HOUSE AT WOODSTOCK

  • Atria longa patent; sed nec coenantibus usquam,
  • Nec somno, locus est: quam bene non habitas.
  • Martial.

These verses were first published in 1714. There is no actual proof that they are Pope’s, but as his editors have always retained them, they are here given.

    • See, Sir, here ’s the grand approach,
    • This way is for his Grace’s coach;
    • There lies the bridge, and here ’s the clock;
    • Observe the lion and the cock,
    • The spacious court, the colonnade,
    • And mark how wide the hall is made!
    • The chimneys are so well design’d,
    • They never smoke in any wind.
    • This gallery ’s contrived for walking,
    • The windows to retire and talk in;
    • Edition: current; Page: [102]
    • The council-chamber for debate,
    • And all the rest are rooms of state.
    • Thanks, Sir, cried I, ’t is very fine,
    • But where d’ye sleep, or where d’ ye dine?
    • I find by all you have been telling
    • That ’t is a house, but not a dwelling.

LINES TO LORD BATHURST

In illustration Mitford refers to Pope’s letter to Lord Bathurst of September 13, 1732, where ‘Mr. L.’ is spoken of as ‘more inclined to admire God in his greater works, the tall timber.’ (Ward.) Proof is lacking that these lines belong to Pope. They were printed by E. Curll in 1714.

  • A Wood!’ quoth Lewis, and with that
  • He laugh’d, and shook his sides of fat.
  • His tongue, with eye that mark’d his cunning,
  • Thus fell a-reas’ning, not a-running:
  • ‘Woods are—not to be too prolix—
  • Collective bodies of straight sticks.
  • It is, my lord, a mere conundrum
  • To call things woods for what grows under ’em.
  • For shrubs, when nothing else at top is,
  • Can only constitute a coppice.
  • But if you will not take my word,
  • See anno quint. of Richard Third;
  • And that’s a coppice call’d, when dock’d,
  • Witness an. prim. of Harry Oct.
  • If this a wood you will maintain,
  • Merely because it is no plain,
  • Holland, for all that I can see,
  • May e’en as well be term’d the sea,
  • Or C[onings]by be fair harangued
  • An honest man, because not hang’d.’

MACER[ ]
A CHARACTER

This was first printed in 1727 in the Miscellanies of Pope and Swift, but was probably written in 1715. Macer is supposed to be Ambrose Philips. The ‘borrow’d Play’ of the eighth line would then have been The Distrest Mother, adapted by Philips from Racine.

    • When simple Macer, now of high renown,
    • First sought a poet’s fortune in the town,
    • ’T was all th’ ambition his high soul could feel
    • To wear red stockings, and to dine with Steele.
    • Some ends of verse his betters might afford,
    • And gave the harmless fellow a good word:
    • Set up with these he ventured on the town,
    • And with a borrow’d play outdid poor Crowne.
    • There he stopp’d short, nor since has writ a tittle,
    • But has the wit to make the most of little;
    • Like stunted hide-bound trees, that just have got1903: 11
    • Sufficient sap at once to bear and rot.
    • Now he begs verse, and what he gets commends,
    • Not of the Wits his foes, but Fools his friends.
    • So some coarse country wench, almost decay’d,
    • Trudges to town and first turns chamber-maid;
    • Awkward and supple each devoir to pay,
    • She flatters her good lady twice a day;
    • Thought wondrous honest, tho’ of mean degree,
    • And strangely liked for her simplicity:1903: 20
    • In a translated suit then tries the town,
    • With borrow’d pins and patches not her own:
    • But just endured the winter she began,
    • And in four months a batter’d harridan:
    • Now nothing left, but wither’d, pale, and shrunk,
    • To bawd for others, and go shares with punk.

EPISTLE TO MRS. TERESA BLOUNT
ON HER LEAVING THE TOWN AFTER THE CORONATION

This was written shortly after the coronation of George I. ‘Zephalinda’ was a fanciful name employed by Teresa Blount in correspondence.

    • As some fond virgin, whom her mother’s care
    • Drags from the town to wholesome country air,
    • Edition: current; Page: [103]
    • Just when she learns to roll a melting eye,
    • And hear a spark, yet think no danger nigh—
    • From the dear man unwilling she must sever,
    • Yet takes one kiss before she parts for ever—
    • Thus from the world fair Zephalinda flew,
    • Saw others happy, and with sighs withdrew;
    • Not that their pleasures caus’d her discontent;
    • She sigh’d not that they stay’d, but that she went.1903: 10
    • She went to plain-work, and to purling brooks,
    • Old-fashion’d halls, dull aunts, and croaking rooks:
    • She went from Op’ra, Park, Assembly, Play,
    • To morning walks, and prayers three hours a day;
    • To part her time ’twixt reading and Bohea,
    • To muse, and spill her solitary tea;
    • Or o’er cold coffee trifle with the spoon,
    • Count the slow clock, and dine exact at noon;
    • Divert her eyes with pictures in the fire,
    • Hum half a tune, tell stories to the squire;
    • Up to her godly garret after sev’n,1903: 21
    • There starve and pray, for that’s the way to Heav’n.
    • Some Squire, perhaps, you take delight to rack,
    • Whose game is Whist, whose treat a toast in sack;
    • Who visits with a gun, presents you birds,
    • Then gives a smacking buss, and cries—‘No words!’
    • Or with his hounds comes hollowing from the stable,
    • Makes love with nods, and knees beneath a table;
    • Whose laughs are hearty, tho’ his jests are coarse,
    • And loves you best of all things—but his horse.1903: 30
    • In some fair ev’ning, on your elbow laid,
    • You dream of triumphs in the rural shade;
    • In pensive thought recall the fancied scene,
    • See coronations rise on ev’ry green:
    • Before you pass th’ imaginary sights
    • Of Lords and Earls and Dukes and garter’d Knights,
    • While the spread fan o’ershades your closing eyes;
    • Then gives one flirt, and all the vision flies.
    • Thus vanish sceptres, coronets, and balls,
    • And leave you in lone woods, or empty walls!1903: 40
    • So when your Slave, at some dear idle time
    • (Not plagued with headaches or the want of rhyme)
    • Stands in the streets, abstracted from the crew,
    • And while he seems to study, thinks of you;
    • Just when his fancy paints your sprightly eyes,
    • Or sees the blush of soft Parthenia rise,
    • Gay pats my shoulder, and you vanish quite,
    • Streets, Chairs, and Coxcombs rush upon my sight;
    • Vext to be still in town, I knit my brow,
    • Look sour, and hum a tune, as you may now.1903: 50

LINES OCCASIONED BY SOME VERSES OF HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM

  • Muse, ’t is enough, at length thy labour ends,
  • And thou shalt live, for Buckingham commends.
  • Let crowds of critics now my verse assail,
  • Let Dennis write, and nameless numbers rail:
  • This more than pays whole years of thankless pain;
  • Time, health, and fortune, are not lost in vain.
  • Sheffield approves, consenting Phœbus bends,
  • And I and malice from this hour are friends.

A FAREWELL TO LONDON[ ]
IN THE YEAR 1715

    • Dear, damn’d, distracting town, farewell!
    • Thy fools no more I’ll tease:
    • This year in peace, ye Critics, dwell,
    • Ye Harlots, sleep at ease!
  • Edition: current; Page: [104]
    • Soft B—s and rough C[ragg]s, adieu!
    • Earl Warwick, make your moan;
    • The lively II[inchenbroo]k and you
    • May knock up whores alone.
    • To drink and droll be Rowe allow’d
    • Till the third watchman’s toll;
    • Let Jervas gratis paint, and Froude
    • Save threepence and his soul.
    • Farewell Arbuthnot’s raillery
    • On every learned sot;
    • And Garth, the best good Christian he,
    • Although he knows it not.
    • Lintot, farewell! thy bard must go;
    • Farewell, unhappy Tonson!
    • Heav’n gives thee for thy loss of Rowe,
    • Lean Philips and fat Johnson.
    • Why should I stay? Both parties rage;
    • My vixen mistress squalls;
    • The Wits in envious feuds engage;
    • And Homer (damn him!) calls.
    • The love of arts lies cold and dead
    • In Halifax’s urn;
    • And not one Muse of all he fed
    • Has yet the grace to mourn.
    • My friends, by turns, my friends confound,
    • Betray, and are betray’d:
    • Poor Y[ounge]r’s sold for fifty pounds,
    • And B[ickne]ll is a jade.
    • Why make I friendships with the great,
    • When I no favour seek?
    • Or follow girls seven hours in eight?—
    • I need but once a week.
    • Still idle, with a busy air,
    • Deep whimseys to contrive;
    • The gayest valetudinaire,
    • Most thinking rake alive.
    • Solicitous for others’ ends,
    • Tho’ fond of dear repose;
    • Careless or drowsy with my friends,
    • And frolic with my foes.
    • Luxurious lobster-nights, farewell,
    • For sober, studious days!
    • And Burlington’s delicious meal,
    • For salads, tarts, and pease!
    • Adieu to all but Gay alone,
    • Whose soul sincere and free,
    • Loves all mankind but flatters none,
    • And so may starve with me.

IMITATION OF MARTIAL

Referred to in a letter from Trumbull to Pope dated January, 1716. The epigram imitated is the twenty-third of the tenth book.

  • At length, my Friend (while Time, with still career,
  • Wafts on his gentle wing his eightieth year),
  • Sees his past days safe out of Fortune’s power,
  • Nor dreads approaching Fate’s uncertain hour;
  • Reviews his life, and in the strict survey, }
  • Finds not one moment he could wish away, }
  • Pleased with the series of each happy day. }
  • Such, such a man extends his life’s short space,
  • And from the goal again renews the race;
  • For he lives twice, who can at once employ
  • The present well, and ev’n the past enjoy.

IMITATION OF TIBULLUS

See the fourth elegy of Tibullus, lines 55, 56. In the course of his high-flown correspondence with Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, after her departure for the East, Pope often suggests the possibility of his travelling to meet her. ‘But if my fate be such,’ he says on the occasion which brought forth this couplet, ‘that this body of mine (which is as ill matched to my mind as any wife to her husband) be left behind in the journey, let the epitaph of Tibullus be set over it!’

  • Here, stopt by hasty Death, Alexis lies,
  • Who cross’d half Europe, led by Wortley’s eyes.

THE BASSET-TABLE[ ]
AN ECLOGUE

This mock pastoral was one of three which made up the original volume of Town Eclogues, published anonymously in 1716. Three more appeared in a later edition. It is now known that only the Basset-Table is Pope’s, the rest being the work of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.

Edition: current; Page: [105]

cardelia, smilinda, lovet

Card.
  • The Basset-Table spread, the Tallier come,
  • Why stays Smilinda in the dressing-room?
  • Rise, pensive nymph! the Tallier waits for you. }
Smil.
  • Ah, madam! since my Sharper is untrue, }
  • I joyless make my once adored Alpeu. }
  • I saw him stand behind Ombrelia’s chair, }
  • And whisper with that soft deluding air, }
  • And those feign’d sighs which cheat the list’ning Fair. }
Card.
  • Is this the cause of your romantic strains?
  • A mightier grief my heavy heart sustains:
  • As you by love, so I by Fortune crost;1903: 11
  • One, one bad Deal, three Septlevas have lost.
Smil.
  • Is that the grief which you compare with mine?
  • With ease the smiles of fortune I resign:
  • Would all my gold in one bad Deal were gone,
  • Were lovely Sharper mine, and mine alone.
Card.
  • A lover lost is but a common care,
  • And prudent nymphs against that change prepare:
  • The Knave of Clubs thrice lost: Oh! who could guess1903: 19
  • This fatal stroke, this unforeseen distress?
Smil.
  • See Betty Lovet! very àpropos;
  • She all the cares of love and play does know.
  • Dear Betty shall th’ important point decide;
  • Betty! who oft the pain of each has tried;
  • Impartial she shall say who suffers most,
  • By cards’ ill usage, or by lovers lost.
Lov.
  • Tell, tell your griefs; attentive will I stay,
  • Though time is precious, and I want some tea.
Card.
  • Behold this equipage, by Mathers wrought,
  • With fifty guineas (a great pen’worth) bought.1903: 30
  • See on the toothpick Mars and Cupid strive,
  • And both the struggling figures seem alive.
  • Upon the bottom shines the Queen’s bright face;
  • A myrtle foliage round the thimble case.
  • Jove, Jove himself does on the scissors shine:
  • The metal, and the workmanship, divine.
Smil.
  • This snuff-box—once the pledge of Sharper’s love,
  • When rival beauties for the present strove;
  • At Corticelli’s he the raffle won;1903: 39
  • Then first his passion was in public shown:
  • Hazardia blush’d, and turn’d her head aside,
  • A rival’s envy (all in vain) to hide.
  • This snuffbox—on the hinge see brilliants shine—
  • This snuffbox will I stake, the Prize is mine.
Card.
  • Alas! far lesser losses than I bear
  • Have made a soldier sigh, a lover swear.
  • And oh! what makes the disappointment hard,
  • ’T was my own Lord that drew the fatal card.
  • In complaisance I took the Queen he gave,
  • Tho’ my own secret wish was for the Knave.1903: 50
  • The Knave won Sonica, which I had chose,
  • And the next pull my Septleva I lose.
Smil.
    • But ah! what aggravates the killing smart,
    • The cruel thought that stabs me to the heart,
    • This curs’d Ombrelia, this undoing Fair,
    • By whose vile arts this heavy grief I bear,
    • She, at whose name I shed these spiteful tears,
    • She owes to me the very charms she wears.
    • An awkward thing when first she came to town,
    • Her shape unfashion’d, and her face unknown:1903: 60
    • She was my friend; I taught her first to spread
    • Upon her sallow cheeks enlivening red;
    • I introduced her to the park and plays,
    • And by my int’rest Cozens made her Stays.
    • Ungrateful wretch! with mimic airs grown pert,
    • She dares to steal my favourite lover’s heart.
Card.
  • Wretch that I was, how often have I swore,
  • When Winnall tallied, I would punt no more!
  • I know the bite, yet to my ruin run,
  • And see the folly which I cannot shun.1903: 70
Edition: current; Page: [106]
Smil.
  • How many maids have Sharper’s vows deceiv’d?
  • How many curs’d the moment they believ’d?
  • Yet his known falsehoods could no warning prove:
  • Ah! what is warning to a maid in love?
Card.
  • But of what marble must that breast be form’d,
  • To gaze on Basset, and remain unwarm’d?
  • When Kings, Queens, Knaves, are set in decent rank,
  • Exposed in glorious heaps the tempting Bank,
  • Guineas, half-guineas, all the shining train,
  • The winner’s pleasure, and the loser’s pain.1903: 80
  • In bright confusion open Rouleaux lie,
  • They strike the soul, and glitter in the eye:
  • Fired by the sight, all reason I disdain,
  • My passions rise, and will not bear the rein.
  • Look upon Basset, you who reason boast,
  • And see if reason must not there be lost.
Smil.
  • What more than marble must that heart compose
  • Can harken coldly to my Sharper’s vows?
  • Then when he trembles! when his blushes rise!
  • When awful love seems melting in his eyes!1903: 90
  • With eager beats his Mechlin cravat moves:
  • ‘He loves’—I whisper to myself, ‘He loves!’
  • Such unfeign’d passion in his looks appears,
  • I lose all mem’ry of my former fears;
  • My panting heart confesses all his charms,
  • I yield at once, and sink into his arms.
  • Think of that moment, you who Prudence boast;
  • For such a moment Prudence well were lost.
Card.
Smil.
  • Soft Simplicetta dotes upon a beau;
  • Prudina likes a man, and laughs at show:
  • Their several graces in my Sharper meet,
  • Strong as the footman, as the master sweet.
Lov.
  • Cease your contention, which has been too long;
  • I grow impatient, and the tea ’s too strong.
  • Attend, and yield to what I now decide;
  • The equipage shall grace Smilinda’s side;1903: 110
  • The snuffbox to Cardelia I decree;
  • Now leave complaining, and begin your tea.

EPIGRAM ON THE TOASTS OF THE KIT-CAT CLUB[ ]
ANNO 1716

    • Whence deathless ‘Kit-cat’ took its name,
    • Few critics can unriddle:
    • Some say from ‘Pastrycook’ it came,
    • And some, from ‘cat’ and ‘fiddle.’
    • From no trim Beaux its name it boasts,
    • Gray Statesmen, or green wits;
    • But from this pellmell pack of Toasts
    • Of old ‘cats’ and young ‘kits.’

THE CHALLENGE
A COURT BALLAD

TO THE TUNE OF ‘TO ALL YOU LADIES NOW AT LAND,’ ETC.

This lively ballad, written in 1717, belongs to the period of Pope’s intimacy with court society. The three ladies here addressed were attached to the court of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

    • I

    • To one fair lady out of Court,
    • And two fair ladies in,
    • Who think the Turk and Pope a sport,
    • And wit and love no sin;
    • Come these soft lines, with nothing stiff in,
    • To Bellenden, Lepell, and Griffin.
    • With a fa, la, la.
    • II

    • What passes in the dark third row,
    • And what behind the scene,
    • Couches and crippled chairs I know,
    • And garrets hung with green;
    • I know the swing of sinful hack,
    • Where many damsels cry alack.
    • With a fa, la, la.
  • Edition: current; Page: [107]
    • III

    • Then why to Courts should I repair,
    • Where’s such ado with Townshend?
    • To hear each mortal stamp and swear,
    • And every speech with Zounds end;
    • To hear ’em rail at honest Sunderland,
    • And rashly blame the realm of Blunderland.
    • With a fa, la, la.
    • IV

    • Alas! like Schutz, I cannot pun,
    • Like Grafton court the Germans;
    • Tell Pickenbourg how slim she ’s grown,
    • Like Meadows run to sermons;
    • To Court ambitious men may roam,
    • But I and Marlbro’ stay at home.
    • With a fa, la, la.
    • V

    • In truth, by what I can discern,
    • Of courtiers ’twixt you three,
    • Some wit you have, and more may learn
    • From Court, than Gay or me;
    • Perhaps, in time, you ’ll leave high diet,
    • To sup with us on milk and quiet.
    • With a fa, la, la.
    • VI

    • At Leicester-Fields, a house full high,
    • With door all painted green,
    • Where ribbons wave upon the tie
    • (A milliner I mean),
    • There may you meet us three to three,
    • For Gay can well make two of me.
    • With a fa, la, la.
    • VII

    • But should you catch the prudish itch
    • And each become a coward,
    • Bring sometimes with you lady Rich,
    • And sometimes mistress Howard;
    • For virgins to keep chaste must go
    • Abroad with such as are not so.
    • With a fa, la, la.
    • VIII

    • And thus, fair maids, my ballad ends:
    • God send the King safe landing;
    • And make all honest ladies friends
    • To armies that are standing;
    • Preserve the limits of those nations,
    • And take off ladies’ limitations.
    • With a fa, la, la.

THE LOOKING-GLASS
ON MRS. PULTENEY

Mrs. Pulteney was a daughter of one John Gumley, who had made a fortune by a glass manufactory.

  • With scornful mien, and various toss of air,
  • Fantastic, vain, and insolently fair,
  • Grandeur intoxicates her giddy brain,
  • She looks ambition, and she moves disdain.
  • Far other carriage graced her virgin life,
  • But charming Gumley’s lost in Pulteney’s wife.
  • Not greater arrogance in him we find,
  • And this conjunction swells at least her mind.
  • O could the sire, renown’d in glass, produce
  • One faithful mirror for his daughter’s use!
  • Wherein she might her haughty errors trace,
  • And by reflection learn to mend her face:
  • The wonted sweetness to her form restore,
  • Be what she was, and charm mankind once more.

PROLOGUE, DESIGNED FOR MR. D’URFEY’S LAST PLAY

‘Tom’ D’Urfey was a writer of popular farces under the Restoration. Through Addison’s influence his play The Plotting Sisters was revived for his benefit; and the present prologue was possibly written for that occasion. It was first published in 1727.

    • Grown old in rhyme, ’t were barb’rous to discard
    • Your persevering, unexhausted Bard:
    • Damnation follows death in other men,
    • But your damn’d poet lives and writes again.
    • The adventurous lover is successful still,
    • Who strives to please the Fair against her will.
    • Be kind, and make him in his wishes easy,
    • Who in your own despite has strove to please ye.
    • He scorn’d to borrow from the Wits of yore,
    • But ever writ, as none e’er writ before.1903: 10
    • You modern Wits, should each man bring his claim,
    • Have desperate debentures on your fame;
    • Edition: current; Page: [108]
    • And little would be left you, I’m afraid,
    • If all your debts to Greece and Rome were paid.
    • From this deep fund our author largely draws,
    • Nor sinks his credit lower than it was.
    • Tho’ plays for honour in old time he made,
    • ’T is now for better reasons—to be paid.
    • Believe him, he has known the world too long,
    • And seen the death of much immortal song.1903: 20
    • He says, poor poets lost, while players won,
    • As pimps grow rich while gallants are undone.
    • Though Tom the poet writ with ease and pleasure,
    • The comic Tom abounds in other treasure.
    • Fame is at best an unperforming cheat;
    • But ’t is substantial happiness to eat.
    • Let ease, his last request, be of your giving,
    • Nor force him to be damn’d to get his living.

PROLOGUE TO THE ‘THREE HOURS AFTER MARRIAGE’

Three Hours after Marriage was a dull and unsuccessful farce produced in January, 1717, at the Drury Lane Theatre. Though it was attributed to the joint authorship of Pope, Gay, and Arbuthnot, direct proof is lacking not only of Pope’s share in the play, but of his authorship of the Prologue. Of the latter fact, at least, we have, however, indirect evidence in Pope’s resentment of the ridicule cast by Cibber, in a topical impromptu, upon the play; the incident which first roused Pope’s enmity for Cibber, which resulted in his eventually displacing Theobald as the central figure in The Dunciad.

    • Authors are judged by strange capricious rules,
    • The great ones are thought mad, the small ones fools:
    • Yet sure the best are most severely fated;
    • For Fools are only laugh’d at, Wits are hated.
    • Blockheads with reason men of sense abhor;
    • But fool ’gainst fool, is barb’rous civil war.
    • Why on all Authors then should Critics fall?
    • Since some have writ, and shown no wit at all.
    • Condemn a play of theirs, and they evade it;
    • Cry, ‘Damn not us, but damn the French, who made it.’1903: 10
    • By running goods these graceless Owlers gain;
    • Theirs are the rules of France, the plots of Spain:
    • But wit, like wine, from happier climates brought,
    • Dash’d by these rogues, turns English common draught.
    • They pall Molière’s and Lopez’ sprightly strain,
    • And teach dull Harlequins to grin in vain.
    • How shall our Author hope a gentler fate,
    • Who dares most impudently not translate?
    • It had been civil, in these ticklish times,
    • To fetch his fools and knaves from foreign climes.1903: 20
    • Spaniards and French abuse to the world’s end,
    • But spare old England, lest you hurt a friend.
    • If any fool is by our satire bit,
    • Let him hiss loud, to show you all he ’s hit.
    • Poets make characters, as salesmen clothes;
    • We take no measure of your Fops and Beaux;
    • But here all sizes and all shapes you meet,
    • And fit yourselves like chaps in Monmouth Street.
    • Gallants, look here! this Foolscap has an air1903: 29
    • Goodly and smart, with ears of Issachar.
    • Let no one fool engross it, or confine
    • A common blessing! now ’t is yours, now mine.
    • But poets in all ages had the care
    • To keep this cap for such as will, to wear.
    • Our Author has it now (for every Wit
    • Of course resign’d it to the next that writ)
    • And thus upon the stage ’t is fairly thrown;
    • Let him that takes it wear it as his own.

PRAYER OF BRUTUS
FROM GEOFFREY OF MONMOUTH

The Rev. Aaron Thompson, of Queen’s College, Oxon., translated the Chronicle of Geoffrey of Monmouth. He submitted the translation to Pope, 1717, who gave him the following Edition: current; Page: [109] lines, being a translation of a Prayer of Brutus. (Carruthers.)

  • Goddess of woods, tremendous in the chase
  • To mountain wolves and all the savage race,
  • Wide o’er th’ aerial vault extend thy sway,
  • And o’er th’ infernal regions void of day.
  • On thy Third Reign look down; disclose our fate;
  • In what new station shall we fix our seat?
  • When shall we next thy hallow’d altars raise,
  • And choirs of virgins celebrate thy praise?

TO LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU

While there is no absolute date to be given for this or the following poem, both evidently belong to the period of Pope’s somewhat fanciful attachment for Lady Mary.

    • I

    • In beauty, or wit,
    • No mortal as yet
    • To question your empire has dar’d;
    • But men of discerning
    • Have thought that in learning,
    • To yield to a lady was hard.
    • II

    • Impertinent schools,
    • With musty dull rules,
    • Have reading to females denied:
    • So Papists refuse
    • The Bible to use,
    • Lest flocks should be wise as their guide.
    • III

    • ’T was a woman at first,
    • (Indeed she was curst)
    • In Knowledge that tasted delight,
    • And sages agree
    • The laws should decree
    • To the first possessor the right.
    • IV

    • Then bravely, fair Dame,
    • Resume the old claim,
    • Which to your whole sex does belong;
    • And let men receive,
    • From a second bright Eve,
    • The knowledge of right and of wrong.
    • V

    • But if the first Eve
    • Hard doom did receive,
    • When only one apple had she,
    • What a punishment new
    • Shall be found out for you,
    • Who tasting have robb’d the whole tree?

EXTEMPORANEOUS LINES
ON A PORTRAIT OF LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU, PAINTED BY KNELLER

  • The playful smiles around the dimpled mouth,
  • That happy air of majesty and truth,
  • So would I draw (but oh! ’t is vain to try;
  • My narrow Genius does the power deny;)
  • The equal lustre of the heav’nly mind,
  • Where ev’ry grace with ev’ry virtue ’s join’d;
  • Learning not vain, and Wisdom not severe,
  • With Greatness easy, and with Wit sincere;
  • With just description show the work divine,
  • And the whole Princess in my work should shine.
Edition: current; Page: [110]

ELOISA TO ABELARD[ ]

The origin of this famous poem seems to have lain jointly in Pope’s perception of the poetic availability of the Héloise-Abelard legend, and in his somewhat factitious grief in his separation from Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. They met in 1715, became friends, and in 1716 Lady Mary left England. In a letter of June, 1717, Pope commends the poem to her consideration, with a suggestion of the personal applicability of the concluding lines to his own suffering under the existing circumstance of their separation.

ELOISA TO ABELARD

ARGUMENT

Abelard and Eloisa flourished in the twelfth century; they were two of the most distinguished persons of their age in Learning and Beauty, but for nothing more famous than for their unfortunate passion. After a long course of calamities, they retired each to a several convent, and consecrated the remainder of their days to Religion. It was many years after this separation that a letter of Abelard’s to a friend, which contained the history of his misfortune, fell into the hands of Eloisa. This, awakening all her tenderness, occasioned those celebrated letters (out of which the following is partly extracted), which give so lively a picture of the struggles of Grace and Nature, Virtue and Passion.

    • In these deep solitudes and awful cells,
    • Where heav’nly-pensive Contemplation dwells,
    • And ever-musing Melancholy reigns,
    • What means this tumult in a vestal’s veins?
    • Why rove my thoughts beyond this last retreat?
    • Why feels my heart its long-forgotten heat?
    • Yet, yet I love!—From Abelard it came,
    • And Eloisa yet must kiss the name.
    • Dear fatal name! rest ever unreveal’d,
    • Nor pass these lips, in holy silence seal’d:1903: 10
    • Hide it, my heart, within that close disguise,
    • Where, mix’d with God’s, his lov’d idea lies:
    • O write it not, my hand—the name appears
    • Already written—wash it out, my tears!
    • In vain lost Eloisa weeps and prays,
    • Her heart still dictates, and her hand obeys.
    • Relentless walls! whose darksome round contains
    • Repentant sighs, and voluntary pains:
    • Ye rugged rocks, which holy knees have worn;
    • Ye grots and caverns shagg’d with horrid thorn!1903: 20
    • Shrines! where their vigils pale-eyed virgins keep,
    • And pitying saints, whose statues learn to weep!
    • Tho’ cold like you, unmov’d and silent grown,
    • I have not yet forgot myself to stone.
    • All is not Heav’n’s while Abelard has part,
    • Still rebel Nature holds out half my heart;
    • Nor prayers nor fasts its stubborn pulse restrain,
    • Nor tears, for ages taught to flow in vain.
    • Soon as thy letters trembling I unclose,
    • That well-known name awakens all my woes.1903: 30
    • Oh name for ever sad! for ever dear!
    • Still breathed in sighs, still usher’d with a tear.
    • I tremble too, where’er my own I find,
    • Some dire misfortune follows close behind.
    • Line after line my gushing eyes o’erflow,
    • Led thro’ a safe variety of woe:
    • Now warm in love, now with’ring in my bloom,
    • Lost in a convent’s solitary gloom!
    • There stern religion quench’d th’ unwilling flame,
    • There died the best of passions, Love and Fame.1903: 40
    • Yet write, O write me all, that I may join
    • Griefs to thy griefs, and echo sighs to thine.
    • Nor foes nor fortune take this power away;
    • And is my Abelard less kind than they?
    • Tears still are mine, and those I need not spare;
    • Love but demands what else were shed in prayer.
    • No happier task these faded eyes pursue;
    • To read and weep is all they now can do.
  • Edition: current; Page: [111]
    • Then share thy pain, allow that sad relief;
    • Ah, more than share it, give me all thy grief.1903: 50
    • Heav’n first taught letters for some wretch’s aid,
    • Some banish’d lover, or some captive maid;
    • They live, they speak, they breathe what love inspires,
    • Warm from the soul, and faithful to its fires;
    • The virgin’s wish without her fears impart,
    • Excuse the blush, and pour out all the heart,
    • Speed the soft intercourse from soul to soul,
    • And waft a sigh from Indus to the Pole.
    • Thou know’st how guiltless first I met thy flame,
    • When Love approach’d me under Friendship’s name;1903: 60
    • My fancy form’d thee of angelic kind,
    • Some emanation of th’ all-beauteous Mind.
    • Those smiling eyes, attemp’ring every ray,
    • Shone sweetly lambent with celestial day,
    • Guiltless I gazed; Heav’n listen’d while you sung;
    • And truths divine came mended from that tongue.
    • From lips like those what precept fail’d to move?
    • Too soon they taught me ’t was no sin to love:
    • Back thro’ the paths of pleasing sense I ran,1903: 69
    • Nor wish’d an angel whom I loved a man.
    • Dim and remote the joys of saints I see;
    • Nor envy them that Heav’n I lose for thee.
    • How oft, when press’d to marriage, have I said,
    • Curse on all laws but those which Love has made!
    • Love, free as air, at sight of human ties,
    • Spreads his light wings, and in a moment flies.
    • Let Wealth, let Honour, wait the wedded dame,
    • August her deed, and sacred be her fame;
    • Before true passion all those views remove;
    • Fame, Wealth, and Honour! what are you to Love?1903: 80
    • The jealous God, when we profane his fires,
    • Those restless passions in revenge inspires,
    • And bids them make mistaken mortals groan,
    • Who seek in love for aught but love alone.
    • Should at my feet the world’s great master fall,
    • Himself, his throne, his world, I ’d scorn ’em all:
    • Not Cæsar’s empress would I deign to prove;
    • No, make me mistress to the man I love;
    • If there be yet another name more free,
    • More fond than mistress, make me that to thee!1903: 90
    • O happy state! when souls each other draw,
    • When Love is liberty, and Nature law;
    • All then is full, possessing and possess’d,
    • No craving void left aching in the breast:
    • Ev’n thought meets thought, ere from the lips it part,
    • And each warm wish springs mutual from the heart.
    • This sure is bliss (if bliss on earth there be),
    • And once the lot of Abelard and me.
    • Alas, how changed! what sudden horrors rise!
    • A naked lover bound and bleeding lies!1903: 100
    • Where, where was Eloise? her voice, her hand,
    • Her poniard had opposed the dire command.
    • Barbarian, stay! that bloody stroke restrain;
    • The crime was common, common be the pain.
    • I can no more; by shame, by rage suppress’d,
    • Let tears and burning blushes speak the rest.
    • Canst thou forget that sad, that solemn day,
    • When victims at you altar’s foot we lay?
    • Canst thou forget what tears that moment fell,
    • When, warm in youth, I bade the world farewell?1903: 110
    • As with cold lips I kiss’d the sacred veil,
    • The shrines all trembled, and the lamps grew pale:
    • Heav’n scarce believ’d the conquest it survey’d,
    • And saints with wonder heard the vows I made.
    • Yet then, to those dread altars as I drew,
    • Not on the cross my eyes were fix’d, but you:
    • Not grace, or zeal, love only was my call,
    • And if I lose thy love, I lose my all.
    • Edition: current; Page: [112]
    • Come! with thy looks, thy words, relieve my woe;1903: 119
    • Those still at least are left thee to bestow.
    • Still on that breast enamour’d let me lie,
    • Still drink delicious poison from thy eye,
    • Pant on thy lip, and to thy heart be press’d;
    • Give all thou canst—and let me dream the rest.
    • Ah, no! instruct me other joys to prize,
    • With other beauties charm my partial eyes!
    • Full in my view set all the bright abode,
    • And make my soul quit Abelard for God.
    • Ah, think at least thy flock deserves thy care,
    • Plants of thy hand, and children of thy prayer.1903: 130
    • From the false world in early youth they fled,
    • By thee to mountains, wilds, and deserts led.
    • You raised these hallow’d walls; the desert smil’d,
    • And Paradise was open’d in the wild.
    • No weeping orphan saw his father’s stores
    • Our shrines irradiate or emblaze the floors;
    • No silver saints, by dying misers giv’n,
    • Here bribed the rage of ill-requited Heav’n;
    • But such plain roofs as piety could raise,
    • And only vocal with the Maker’s praise.1903: 140
    • In these lone walls (their day’s eternal bound),
    • These moss-grown domes with spiry turrents crown’d,
    • Where awful arches make a noonday night,
    • And the dim windows shed a solemn light,
    • Thy eyes diffused a reconciling ray,
    • And gleams of glory brighten’d all the day.
    • But now no face divine contentment wears,
    • ’T is all blank sadness, or continual tears.
    • See how the force of others’ prayers I try,
    • (O pious fraud of am’rous charity!)1903: 150
    • But why should I on others’ prayers depend?
    • Come thou, my father, brother, husband, friend!
    • Ah, let thy handmaid, sister, daughter, move,
    • And all those tender names in one, thy love!
    • The darksome pines, that o’er yon rocks reclin’d,
    • Wave high, and murmur to the hollow wind,
    • The wand’ring streams that shine between the hills,
    • The grots that echo to the tinkling rills,
    • The dying gales that pant upon the trees,
    • The lakes that quiver to the curling breeze—1903: 160
    • No more these scenes my meditation aid,
    • Or lull to rest the visionary maid:
    • But o’er the twilight groves and dusky caves,
    • Long-sounding aisles and intermingled graves,
    • Black Melancholy sits, and round her throws
    • A death-like silence, and a dread repose:
    • Her gloomy presence saddens all the scene,
    • Shades every flower, and darkens every green,
    • Deepens the murmur of the falling floods,
    • And breathes a browner horror on the woods.1903: 170
    • Yet here for ever, ever must I stay;
    • Sad proof how well a lover can obey!
    • Death, only Death can break the lasting chain;
    • And here, ev’n then shall my cold dust remain;
    • Here all its frailties, all its flames resign,
    • And wait till ’t is no sin to mix with thine.
    • Ah, wretch! believ’d the spouse of God in vain.
    • Confess’d within the slave of Love and man.
    • Assist me, Heav’n! but whence arose that prayer?
    • Sprung it from piety or from despair?1903: 180
    • Ev’n here, where frozen Chastity retires,
    • Love finds an altar for forbidden fires.
    • I ought to grieve, but cannot what I ought;
    • I mourn the lover, not lament the fault;
    • I view my crime, but kindle at the view,
    • Repent old pleasures, and solicit new;
    • Now turn’d to Heav’n, I weep my past offence,
    • Now think of thee, and curse my innocence.
    • Of all affliction taught a lover yet,
    • ’T is sure the hardest science to forget!1903: 190
    • How shall I lose the sin, yet keep the sense,
    • And love th’ offender, yet detest th’ offence?
    • How the dear object from the crime remove,
    • Or how distinguish Penitence from Love?
    • Unequal task! a passion to resign,
    • For hearts so touch’d, so pierced, so lost as mine:
    • Ere such a soul regains its peaceful state,
    • How often must it love, how often hate!
    • Edition: current; Page: [113]
    • How often hope, despair, resent, regret,
    • Conceal, disdain—do all things but forget!1903: 200
    • But let Heav’n seize it, all at once ’t is fired;
    • Not touch’d, but rapt; not waken’d, but inspired!
    • O come! O teach me Nature to subdue,
    • Renounce my love, my life, myself—and You:
    • Fill my fond heart with God alone, for he
    • Alone can rival, can succeed to thee.
    • How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
    • The world forgetting, by the world forgot;
    • Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind,
    • Each prayer accepted, and each wish resign’d;1903: 210
    • Labour and rest, that equal periods keep;
    • Obedient slumbers that can wake and weep;
    • Desires composed, affections ever ev’n;
    • Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to Heav’n.
    • Grace shines around her with serenest beams,
    • And whisp’ring angels prompt her golden dreams.
    • For her th’ unfading rose of Eden blooms,
    • And wings of seraphs shed divine perfumes;
    • For her the spouse prepares the bridal ring;
    • For her white virgins hymeneals sing;1903: 220
    • To sounds of heav’nly harps she dies away,
    • And melts in visions of eternal day.
    • Far other dreams my erring soul employ,
    • Far other raptures of unholy joy.
    • When at the close of each sad, sorrowing day,
    • Fancy restores what vengeance snatch’d away,
    • Then conscience sleeps, and leaving Nature free,
    • All my loose soul unbounded springs to thee!
    • Oh curst, dear horrors of all-conscious night!
    • How glowing guilt exalts the keen delight!
    • Provoking demons all restraint remove,1903: 231
    • And stir within me every source of love.
    • I hear thee, view thee, gaze o’er all thy charms,
    • And round thy phantom glue my clasping arms.
    • I wake:—no more I hear, no more I view,
    • The phantom flies me, as unkind as you.
    • I call aloud; it hears not what I say:
    • I stretch my empty arms; it glides away.
    • To dream once more I close my willing eyes;
    • Ye soft illusions, dear deceits, arise!1903: 240
    • Alas, no more! methinks we wand’ring go
    • Thro’ dreary wastes, and weep each other’s woe,
    • Where round some mould’ring tower pale ivy creeps,
    • And low-brow’d rocks hang nodding o’er the deeps.
    • Sudden you mount, you beckon from the skies;
    • Clouds interpose, waves roar, and winds arise.
    • I shriek, start up, the same sad prospect find,
    • And wake to all the griefs I left behind.
    • For thee the Fates, severely kind, ordain
    • A cool suspense from pleasure and from pain;1903: 250
    • Thy life a long dead calm of fix’d repose;
    • No pulse that riots, and no blood that glows.
    • Still as the sea, ere winds were taught to blow,
    • Or moving spirit bade the waters flow;
    • Soft as the slumbers of a saint forgiv’n,
    • And mild as opening gleams of promised Heav’n.
    • Come, Abelard! for what hast thou to dread?
    • The torch of Venus burns not for the dead.
    • Nature stands check’d; Religion disapproves;
    • Ev’n thou art cold—yet Eloisa loves.1903: 260
    • Ah, hopeless, lasting flames; like those that burn
    • To light the dead, and warm th’ unfruitful urn!
    • What scenes appear where’er I turn my view;
    • The dear ideas, where I fly, pursue;
    • Rise in the grove, before the altar rise,
    • Stain all my soul, and wanton in my eyes.
    • I waste the matin lamp in sighs for thee,
    • Thy image steals between my God and me:
    • Thy voice I seem in every hymn to hear,
    • With every bead I drop too soft a tear.1903: 270
    • When from the censer clouds of fragrance roll,
    • And swelling organs lift the rising soul,
    • One thought of thee puts all the pomp to flight,
    • Priests, tapers, temples, swim before my sight:
    • Edition: current; Page: [114]
    • In seas of flame my plunging soul is drown’d,
    • While altars blaze, and angels tremble round.
    • While prostrate here in humble grief I lie,
    • Kind virtuous drops just gath’ring in my eye,
    • While praying, trembling, in the dust I roll,
    • And dawning grace is opening on my soul:
    • Come, if thou dar’st, all charming as thou art!1903: 281
    • Oppose thyself to Heav’n; dispute my heart;
    • Come, with one glance of those deluding eyes
    • Blot out each bright idea of the skies;
    • Take back that grace, those sorrows and those tears,
    • Take back my fruitless penitence and prayers;
    • Snatch me, just mounting, from the blest abode:
    • Assist the fiends, and tear me from my God!
    • No, fly me, fly me, far as pole from pole;
    • Rise Alps between us! and whole oceans roll!1903: 290
    • Ah, come not, write not, think not once of me,
    • Nor share one pang of all I felt for thee.
    • Thy oaths I quit, thy memory resign;
    • Forget, renounce me, hate whate’er was mine.
    • Fair eyes, and tempting looks (which yet I view),
    • Long lov’d, ador’d ideas, all adieu!
    • O Grace serene! O Virtue heav’nly fair!
    • Divine Oblivion of low-thoughted care!
    • Fresh blooming Hope, gay daughter of the sky!
    • And Faith, our early immortality!1903: 300
    • Enter each mild, each amicable guest;
    • Receive, and wrap me in eternal rest!
    • See in her cell sad Eloisa spread,
    • Propt on some tomb, a neighbour of the dead.
    • In each low wind methinks a spirit calls,
    • And more than echoes talk along the walls.
    • Here, as I watch’d the dying lamps around,
    • From yonder shrine I heard a hollow sound:
    • ‘Come, sister, come! (it said, or seem’d to say)
    • Thy place is here, sad sister, come away;
    • Once, like thyself, I trembled, wept, and pray’d,1903: 311
    • Love’s victim then, tho’ now a sainted maid:
    • But all is calm in this eternal sleep;
    • Here grief forgets to groan, and love to weep;
    • Ev’n superstition loses ev’ry fear:
    • For God, not man, absolves our frailties here.’
    • I come, I come! prepare your roseate bowers,
    • Celestial palms, and ever-blooming flowers.
    • Thither, where sinners may have rest, I go,
    • Where flames refin’d in breasts seraphic glow;1903: 320
    • Thou, Abelard! the last sad office pay,
    • And smooth my passage to the realms of day:
    • See my lips tremble, and my eyeballs roll,
    • Suck my last breath, and catch my flying soul!
    • Ah, no—in sacred vestments mayst thou stand,
    • The hallow’d taper trembling in thy hand,
    • Present the cross before my lifted eye,
    • Teach me at once, and learn of me, to die.
    • Ah then, thy once lov’d Eloisa see!
    • It will be then no crime to gaze on me.1903: 330
    • See from my cheek the transient roses fly!
    • See the last sparkle languish in my eye!
    • Till ev’ry motion, pulse, and breath be o’er,
    • And ev’n my Abelard be lov’d no more.
    • O Death, all-eloquent! you only prove
    • What dust we doat on, when ’t is man we love.
    • Then too, when Fate shall thy fair frame destroy
    • (That cause of all my guilt, and all my joy),
    • In trance ecstatic may thy pangs be drown’d,
    • Bright clouds descend, and angels watch thee round;1903: 340
    • From opening skies may streaming glories shine,
    • And saints embrace thee with a love like mine.
    • May one kind grave unite each hapless name,
    • And graft my love immortal on thy fame!
    • Then, ages hence, when all my woes are o’er,
    • When this rebellious heart shall beat no more;
    • Edition: current; Page: [115]
    • If ever chance two wand’ring lovers brings,
    • To Paraclete’s white walls and silver springs,
    • O’er the pale marble shall they join their heads,
    • And drink the falling tears each other sheds;1903: 350
    • Then sadly say, with mutual pity mov’d,
    • ‘O may we never love as these have lov’d!’
    • From the full choir, when loud hosannas rise,
    • And swell the pomp of dreadful sacrifice,
    • Amid that scene if some relenting eye
    • Glance on the stone where our cold relics lie,
    • Devotion’s self shall steal a thought from Heav’n,
    • One human tear shall drop, and be forgiv’n.
    • And sure if Fate some future bard shall join
    • In sad similitude of griefs to mine,1903: 360
    • Condemn’d whole years in absence to deplore,
    • And image charms he must behold no more,—
    • Such if there be, who loves so long, so well,
    • Let him our sad, our tender story tell;
    • The well-sung woes will soothe my pensive ghost;
    • He best can paint them who shall feel them most.

POEMS WRITTEN BETWEEN 1718 AND 1727

AN INSCRIPTION UPON A PUNCH-BOWL
IN THE SOUTH SEA YEAR, FOR A CLUB: CHASED WITH JUPITER PLACING CALLISTO IN THE SKIES, AND EUROPA WITH THE BULL

Pope himself became seriously involved in the South Sea speculations, and while he does not appear to have been a heavy loser in the end, his unwise action for friends, notably for Lady Mary Wortley seems to have gotten him into some difficulties. This was of course written before the bursting of the bubble; presumably in 1720.

  • Come, fill the South Sea goblet full;
  • The gods shall of our stock take care;
  • Europa pleased accepts the Bull,
  • And Jove with joy puts off the Bear.

EPISTLE TO JAMES CRAGGS, ESQ.
SECRETARY OF STATE

Craggs was made Secretary of War in 1717, when Addison was Secretary of State. He succeeded Addison in 1720, and died in the following year. He was an intimate friend and correspondent of Pope’s after 1711.

  • A soul as full of Worth as void of Pride,
  • Which nothing seeks to show, or needs to hide,
  • Which nor to guilt nor fear its Caution owes,
  • And boasts a Warmth that from no passion flows;
  • A face untaught to feign; a judging eye,
  • That darts severe upon a rising lie,
  • And strikes a blush thro’ frontless Flattery—
  • All this thou wert; and being this before,
  • Know, Kings and Fortune cannot make thee more.
  • Then scorn to gain a friend by servile ways,
  • Nor wish to lose a foe these virtues raise;
  • But candid, free, sincere, as you began,
  • Proceed, a Minister, but still a Man.
  • Be not (exalted to whate’er degree)
  • Ashamed of any friend, not ev’n of me:
  • The patriot’s plain but untrod path pursue;
  • If not, ’t is I must be ashamed of you.

A DIALOGUE

    • POPE

    • Since my old friend is grown so great,
    • As to be Minister of State,
    • I ’m told, but ’t is not true, I hope,
    • That Craggs will be ashamed of Pope.
    • CRAGGS

    • Alas! if I am such a creature,
    • To grow the worse for growing greater,
    • Why, faith, in spite of all my brags,
    • ’T is Pope must be ashamed of Craggs.
Edition: current; Page: [116]

VERSES TO MR. C.
ST. JAMES’S PALACE, LONDON, OCT. 22

Probably Craggs, who was in office at the time when Pope established himself at Twickenham. (Ward.)

    • Few words are best; I wish you well;
    • Bethel, I ’m told, will soon be here;
    • Some morning walks along the Mall,
    • And ev’ning friends, will end the year.
    • If, in this interval, between
    • The falling leaf and coming frost,
    • You please to see, on Twit’nam green,
    • Your friend, your poet, and your host:
    • For three whole days you here may rest
    • From Office bus’ness, news, and strife;
    • And (what most folks would think a jest)
    • Want nothing else, except your wife.
Alexander Pope
Pope, Alexander
1722
Mr. Gay
Mr. Gay

TO MR. GAY
WHO HAD CONGRATULATED POPE ON FINISHING HIS HOUSE AND GARDENS

Written early in 1722.

    • Ah, friend! ’t is true—this truth you lovers know—
    • In vain my structures rise, my gardens grow,
    • In vain fair Thames reflects the double scenes
    • Of hanging mountains, and of sloping greens;
    • Joy lives not here, to happier seats it flies,
    • And only dwells where Wortley casts her eyes.
    • What are the gay Parterre, the chequer’d Shade,
    • The morning Bower, the ev’ning Colonnade,
    • But soft recesses of uneasy minds,
    • To sigh unheard in to the passing winds?
    • So the struck deer in some sequester’d part
    • Lies down to die, the arrow at his heart;
    • He stretch’d unseen in coverts hid from day,
    • Bleeds drop by drop, and pants his life away.

ON DRAWINGS OF THE STATUES OF APOLLO, VENUS, AND HERCULES
MADE FOR POPE BY SIR GODFREY KNELLER

These drawings were made for the adornment of Pope’s house at Twickenham.

  • What god, what genius did the pencil move,
  • When Kneller painted these?
  • ’T was friendship, warm as Phœbus, kind as Love,
  • And strong as Hercules.

EPISTLE TO ROBERT EARL OF OXFORD AND MORTIMER
PREFIXED TO PARNELL’S POEMS

    • Such were the notes thy once-lov’d Poet sung,
    • Till Death untimely stopp’d his tuneful tongue.
    • Oh, just beheld and lost! admired and mourn’d!
    • With softest manners, gentlest arts, adorn’d!
    • Bless’d in each science! bless’d in ev’ry strain!
    • Dear to the Muse! to Harley dear—in vain!
    • For him thou oft hast bid the world attend,
    • Fond to forget the statesman in the friend;
    • For Swift and him despised the farce of state,
    • The sober follies of the wise and great,1903: 10
    • Dext’rous the craving, fawning crowd to quit,
    • And pleas’d to ’scape from Flattery to Wit.
    • Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear
    • (A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear);
    • Recall those nights that closed thy toilsome days,
    • Still hear thy Parnell in his living lays;
    • Who, careless now of Int’rest, Fame, or Fate,
    • Perhaps forgets that Oxford e’er was great;
    • Or deeming meanest what we greatest call,
    • Beholds thee glorious only in thy fall.1903: 20
  • Edition: current; Page: [117]
    • And sure if aught below the seats divine
    • Can touch immortals, ’t is a soul like thine;
    • A soul supreme, in each hard instance tried,
    • Above all pain, all passion, and all pride,
    • The rage of power, the blast of public breath,
    • The lust of lucre, and the dread of death.
    • In vain to deserts thy retreat is made;
    • The Muse attends thee to thy silent shade;
    • ’T is hers the brave man’s latest steps to trace,
    • Rejudge his acts, and dignify disgrace.1903: 30
    • When Int’rest calls off all her sneaking train,
    • And all th’ obliged desert, and all the vain,
    • She waits, or to the scaffold or the cell,
    • When the last ling’ring friend has bid farewell.
    • Ev’n now she shades thy evening walk with bays
    • (No hireling she, no prostitute to praise);
    • Ev’n now, observant of the parting ray,
    • Eyes the calm sunset of thy various day,
    • Thro’ fortune’s cloud one truly great can see,
    • Nor fears to tell that Mortimer is he.1903: 40

TWO CHORUSES TO THE TRAGEDY OF BRUTUS

Brutus, says Pope, was a play ‘altered from Shakespeare by the Duke of Buckingham, at whose desire these choruses were composed to supply as many wanting in his play.’ Marcus Brutus was one of two plays (the other retaining Shakespeare’s title) manufactured by John Sheffield, Duke of Buckinghamshire, out of Julius Cæsar. Both were published in 1722. Pope’s choruses stand after the first and second acts of Brutus. The plays have no literary merit.

CHORUS OF ATHENIANS

  • Strophe I

  • Ye shades, where sacred truth is sought,
  • Groves, where immortal sages taught,
  • Where heav’nly visions Plato fired,
  • And Epicurus lay inspired!
  • In vain your guiltless laurels stood
  • Unspotted long with human blood.
  • War, horrid war, your thoughtful walks invades,
  • And steel now glitters in the Muses’ shades.
  • Antistrophe I

  • O Heav’n-born sisters! source of Art!
  • Who charm the sense, or mend the heart;
  • Who lead fair Virtue’s train along,
  • Moral Truth and mystic Song!
  • To what new clime, what distant sky,
  • Forsaken, friendless, shall ye fly?
  • Say, will ye bless the bleak Atlantic shore?
  • Or bid the furious Gaul be rude no more?
  • Strophe II

  • When Athens sinks by fates unjust,
  • When wild Barbarians spurn her dust;
  • Perhaps ev’n Britain’s utmost shore
  • Shall cease to blush with strangers’ gore,
  • See Arts her savage sons control,
  • And Athens rising near the pole!
  • Till some new tyrant lifts his purple hand,
  • And civil madness tears them from the land.
  • Antistrophe II

  • Ye Gods! what justice rules the ball?
  • Freedom and Arts together fall;
  • Fools grant whate’er Ambition craves,
  • And men, once ignorant, are slaves.
  • O curs’d effects of civil hate,
  • In ev’ry age, in ev’ry state!
  • Still, when the lust of tyrant Power succeeds,
  • Some Athens perishes, some Tully bleeds.

CHORUS OF YOUTHS AND VIRGINS

  • Semichorus

  • O tyrant Love! hast thou possest
  • The prudent, learned, and virtuous breast?
  • Wisdom and wit in vain reclaim,
  • And arts but soften us to feel thy flame.
  • Love, soft intruder, enters here,
  • But ent’ring learns to be sincere.
  • Marcus with blushes owns he loves,
  • And Brutus tenderly reproves.
  • Why, Virtue, dost thou blame desire
  • Which Nature hath imprest?
  • Why, Nature, dost thou soonest fire
  • The mild and gen’rous breast?
  • Chorus

  • Love’s purer flames the Gods approve;
  • The Gods and Brutus bend to love:
  • Brutus for absent Portia sighs,
  • And sterner Cassius melts at Junia’s eyes.
  • What is loose love? a transient gust,
  • Spent in a sudden storm of lust,
  • Edition: current; Page: [118]
  • A vapour fed from wild desire,
  • A wand’ring, self-consuming fire.
  • But Hymen’s kinder flames unite,
  • And burn for ever one;
  • Chaste as cold Cynthia’s virgin light,
  • Productive as the sun.
  • Semichorus

  • O source of ev’ry social tie,
  • United wish, and mutual joy!
  • What various joys on one attend,
  • As son, as father, brother, husband, friend?
  • Whether his hoary sire he spies,
  • While thousand grateful thoughts arise;
  • Or meets his spouse’s fonder eye,
  • Or views his smiling progeny;
  • What tender passions take their turns!
  • What home-felt raptures move!
  • His heart now melts, now leaps, now burns,
  • With Rev’rence, Hope, and Love.
  • Chorus

  • Hence guilty joys, distastes, surmises,
  • Hence false tears, deceits, disguises,
  • Dangers, doubts, delays, surprises,
  • Fires that scorch, yet dare not shine!
  • Purest Love’s unwasting treasure,
  • Constant faith, fair hope, long leisure,
  • Days of ease, and nights of pleasure,
  • Sacred Hymen! these are thine.
Alexander Pope
Pope, Alexander
1723
Martha Blount
Blount, Martha

TO MRS. M. B. ON HER BIRTHDAY

Written to Martha Blount in 1723. Lines 5-10 were elsewhere adapted for a versified celebration of his own birthday, and for an epitaph on a suicide!

    • Oh, be thou blest with all that Heav’n can send,
    • Long Health, long Youth, long Pleasure, and a Friend:
    • Not with those Toys the female world admire,
    • Riches that vex, and Vanities that tire.
    • With added years if Life bring nothing new,
    • But, like a sieve, let ev’ry blessing thro’,
    • Some joy still lost, as each vain year runs o’er,
    • And all we gain, some sad Reflection more;
    • Is that a birthday? ’t is alas! too clear,
    • ’T is but the funeral of the former year.
    • Let Joy or Ease, let Affluence or Content,
    • And the gay Conscience of a life well spent,
    • Calm ev’ry thought, inspirit ev’ry grace,
    • Glow in thy heart, and smile upon thy face.
    • Let day improve on day, and year on year,
    • Without a Pain, a Trouble, or a Fear;
    • Till Death unfelt that tender frame destroy,
    • In some soft dream, or extasy of joy,
    • Peaceful sleep out the Sabbath of the Tomb,
    • And wake to raptures in a life to come.

ANSWER TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTION OF MRS. HOWE

Mary Howe was appointed Maid of Honour to Queen Caroline, in 1720. ‘Lepell’ was another Maid of Honour, referred to in The Challenge.

  • What is Prudery?
  • ’T is a beldam,
  • Seen with Wit and Beauty seldom.
  • ’T is a fear that starts at shadows;
  • ’T is (no, ’t is n’t) like Miss Meadows.
  • ’T is a virgin hard of feature,
  • Old, and void of all good-nature;
  • Lean and fretful; would seem wise,
  • Yet plays the fool before she dies.
  • ’T is an ugly envious shrew,
  • That rails at dear Lepell and you.

ON A CERTAIN LADY AT COURT

Catharine Howard, one of Queen Caroline’s waiting-women; afterward Countess of Suffolk and mistress to George II. Her identification as the Chloe of Moral Essays, II., makes it easier to believe Walpole’s statement that this lady once reprieved a condemned criminal that ‘an experiment might be made on his ears for her benefit.’

    • I know the thing that ’s most uncommon;
    • (Envy, be silent, and attend!)
    • I know a reasonable Woman,
    • Handsome and witty, yet a friend:
    • Not warp’d by Passion, awed by Rumour,
    • Not grave thro’ Pride, nor gay thro’ Folly,
    • An equal mixture of Good-humour,
    • And sensible soft Melancholy.
  • Edition: current; Page: [119]
    • ‘Has she no faults then (Envy says), sir?’
    • Yes, she has one, I must aver:
    • When all the world conspires to praise her,
    • The woman ’s deaf and does not hear.
Alexander Pope
Pope, Alexander
John Moore
John Moore

TO MR. JOHN MOORE
AUTHOR OF THE CELEBRATED WORM-POWDER

    • How much, egregious Moore! are we
    • Deceiv’d by shows and forms!
    • Whate’er we think, whate’er we see,
    • All humankind are Worms.
    • Man is a very Worm by birth,
    • Vile reptile, weak, and vain!
    • A while he crawls upon the earth,
    • Then shrinks to earth again.
    • That woman is a Worm we find,
    • E’er since our Grandam’s evil:
    • She first convers’d with her own kind,
    • That ancient Worm, the Devil.
    • The learn’d themselves we Bookworms name,
    • The blockhead is a Slowworm;
    • The nymph whose tail is all on flame,
    • Is aptly term’d a Glowworm.
    • The fops are painted Butterflies,
    • That flutter for a day;
    • First from a Worm they take their rise,
    • And in a Worm decay.
    • The flatterer an Earwig grows;
    • Thus worms suit all conditions;
    • Misers are Muckworms; Silkworms, beaux;
    • And Deathwatches, physicians.
    • That statesmen have the worm, is seen
    • By all their winding play;
    • Their conscience is a Worm within,
    • That gnaws them night and day.
    • Ah, Moore, thy skill were well employ’d,
    • And greater gain would rise,
    • If thou couldst make the courtier void
    • The Worm that never dies!
    • O learned friend of Abchurch-Lane,
    • Who sett’st our entrails free,
    • Vain is thy Art, thy Powder vain,
    • Since Worms shall eat ev’n thee.
    • Our fate thou only canst adjourn
    • Some few short years, no more!
    • Ev’n Button’s Wits to Worms shall turn,
    • Who Maggots were before.

THE CURLL MISCELLANIES UMBRA

Though speculation has connected several other persons with this poem, it is probably still another hit at the luckless Ambrose Philips. It, with the three following poems, was first published in the Miscellanies, 1727.

    • Close to the best known author Umbra sits,
    • The constant index to old Button’s Wits.
    • ‘Who ’s here?’ cries Umbra. ‘Only Johnson.’—‘O!
    • Your slave,’ and exit; but returns with Rowe.
    • ‘Dear Rowe, let’s sit and talk of tragedies:’
    • Ere long Pope enters, and to Pope he flies.
    • Then up comes Steele: he turns upon his heel,
    • And in a moment fastens upon Steele;
    • But cries as soon, ‘Dear Dick, I must be gone,
    • For, if I know his tread, here’s Addison.’
    • Says Addison to Steele, ‘’T is time to go:’
    • Pope to the closet steps aside with Rowe.
    • Poor Umbra, left in this abandon’d pickle,
    • Ev’n sits him down, and writes to honest Tickell.
    • Fool! ’t is in vain from Wit to Wit to roam;
    • Know, Sense, like Charity, ‘begins at home.’

BISHOP HOUGH

  • A Bishop, by his neighbors hated,
  • Has cause to wish himself translated;
  • But why should Hough desire translation,
  • Loved and esteem’d by all the nation?
  • Yet if it be the old man’s case,
  • I’ll lay my life I know the place:
  • ’T is where God sent some that adore him,
  • And whither Enoch went before him.
Edition: current; Page: [120]

SANDYS’ GHOST[ ]
OR, A PROPER NEW BALLAD ON THE NEW OVID’S METAMORPHOSES: AS IT WAS INTENDED TO BE TRANSLATED BY PERSONS OF QUALITY

This refers to the translation undertaken by Sir Samuel Garth, which aimed to complete Dryden’s translation of Ovid, avoiding the rigidness of Sandys’ method. The enterprise was begun in 1718, when these verses were probably written.

    • Ye Lords and Commons, men of wit
    • And pleasure about town,
    • Read this, ere you translate one bit
    • Of books of high renown.
    • Beware of Latin authors, all,
    • Nor think your verses sterling,
    • Tho’ with a golden pen you scrawl,
    • And scribble in a Berlin.
    • For not the desk with silver nails,
    • Nor bureau of expense,
    • Nor standish well japann’d, avails
    • To writing of good sense.
    • Hear how a Ghost in dead of night,
    • With saucer eyes of fire,
    • In woful wise did sore affright
    • A Wit and courtly Squire:
    • Rare imp of Phœbus, hopeful youth!
    • Like puppy tame, that uses
    • To fetch and carry in his mouth
    • The works of all the Muses.
    • Ah! why did he write poetry,
    • That hereto was so civil;
    • And sell his soul for vanity
    • To Rhyming and the Devil?
    • A desk he had of curious work,
    • With glitt’ring studs about;
    • Within the same did Sandys lurk,
    • Tho’ Ovid lay without.
    • Now, as he scratch’d to fetch up thought,
    • Forth popp’d the sprite so thin,
    • And from the keyhole bolted out,
    • All upright as a pin.
    • With whiskers, band, and pantaloon,
    • And ruff composed most duly,
    • This Squire he dropp’d his pen full soon,
    • While as the light burnt bluely.
    • Ho! master Sam, quoth Sandys’ sprite,
    • Write on, nor let me scare ye!
    • Forsooth, if rhymes fall not in right,
    • To Budgell seek or Carey.
    • I hear the beat of Jacob’s drums,
    • Poor Ovid finds no quarter!
    • See first the merry P[embroke] comes
    • In haste without his garter.
    • Then Lords and Lordlings, Squires and Knights,
    • Wits, Witlings, Prigs, and Peers:
    • Garth at St. James’s, and at White’s,
    • Beats up for volunteers.
    • What Fenton will not do, nor Gay,
    • Nor Congreve, Rowe, nor Stanyan,
    • Tom B[urne]t, or Tom D’Urfey may,
    • John Dunton, Steele, or any one.
    • If Justice Philips’ costive head
    • Some frigid rhymes disburses,
    • They shall like Persian tales be read,
    • And glad both babes and nurses.
    • Let W[a]rw[ic]k’s Muse with Ash[urs]t join,
    • And Ozell’s with Lord Hervey’s,
    • Tickell and Addison combine,
    • And P[o]pe translate with Jervas.
    • L[ansdowne] himself, that lively lord,
    • Who bows to every lady,
    • Shall join with F[rowde] in one accord,
    • And be like Tate and Brady.
    • Ye ladies, too, draw forth your pen;
    • I pray, where can the hurt lie?
    • Since you have brains as well as men,
    • As witness Lady Wortley.
    • Now, Tonson, list thy forces all,
    • Review them and tell noses;
    • For to poor Ovid shall befall
    • A strange metamorphosis;
    • A metamorphosis more strange
    • Than all his books can vapour—
    • ‘To what (quoth ’Squire) shall Ovid change?’
    • Quoth Sandys, ‘To waste paper.’
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EPITAPH

Imitated from a Latin couplet on Joannes Mirandula:—

  • Joannes jacet hic Mirandula: cætera norunt
  • Et Tagus et Ganges—forsan et Antipodes.

First applied by Pope to Francis Chartres, but published in this form in 1727.

  • Here lies Lord Coningsby—be civil!
  • The rest God knows—perhaps the Devil.

THE THREE GENTLE SHEPHERDS

  • Of gentle Philips will I ever sing,
  • With gentle Philips shall the valleys ring.
  • My numbers too for ever will I vary,
  • With gentle Budgell, and with gentle Carey.
  • Or if in ranging of the names I judge ill,
  • With gentle Carey and with gentle Budgell.
  • Oh! may all gentle bards together place ye,
  • Men of good hearts, and men of delicacy.
  • May Satire ne’er befool ye or beknave ye,
  • And from all Wits that have a knack, God save ye!

ON THE COUNTESS OF BURLINGTON CUTTING PAPER

    • Pallas grew vapourish once and odd;
    • She would not do the least right thing,
    • Either for Goddess or for God,
    • Nor work, nor play, nor paint, nor sing.
    • Jove frown’d, and ‘Use (he cried) those eyes
    • So skilful, and those hands so taper;
    • Do something exquisite and wise—’
    • She bow’d, obey’d him, and cut paper.
    • This vexing him who gave her birth,
    • Thought by all Heav’n a burning shame,
    • What does she next, but bids, on earth,
    • Her Burlington do just the same.
    • Pallas, you give yourself strange airs;
    • But sure you ’ll find it hard to spoil
    • The Sense and Taste of one that bears
    • The name of Saville and of Boyle.
    • Alas! one bad example shown,
    • How quickly all the sex pursue!
    • See, madam, see the arts o’erthrown
    • Between John Overton and you!

EPIGRAM
AN EMPTY HOUSE

  • You beat your Pate, and fancy Wit will come:
  • Knock as you please, there ’s nobody at home.

POEMS SUGGESTED BY GULLIVER

ODE TO QUINBUS FLESTRIN
THE MAN MOUNTAIN, BY TITTY TIT, POET LAUREATE TO HIS MAJESTY OF LILLIPUT. TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH

This ‘Ode’ and the three following poems, were written by Pope after reading Gulliver’s Travels, and first published in the Miscellanies of Pope and Swift, in 1727.

  • In amaze
  • Lost I gaze!
  • Can our eyes
  • Reach thy size!
  • May my lays
  • Swell with praise,
  • Worthy thee!
  • Worthy me!
  • Muse, inspire
  • All thy fire!
  • Bards of old
  • Of him told,
  • When they said
  • Atlas’ head
  • Propp’d the skies:
  • See! and believe your eyes!
  • See him stride
  • Valleys wide,
  • Over woods,
  • Over floods!
  • When he treads,
  • Mountains’ heads
  • Groan and shake,
  • Armies quake;
  • Lest his spurn
  • Overturn
  • Man and steed:
  • Troops, take beed!
  • Left and right,
  • Speed your flight!
  • Lest an host
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  • Beneath his foot be lost;
  • Turn’d aside
  • From his hide
  • Safe from wound,
  • Darts rebound.
  • From his nose
  • Clouds he blows!
  • When he speaks,
  • Thunder breaks!
  • When he eats,
  • Famine threats!
  • When he drinks,
  • Neptune shrinks!
  • Nigh thy ear
  • In mid air,
  • On thy hand
  • Let me stand;
  • So shall I,
  • Lofty poet! touch the sky.

THE LAMENTATION OF GLUMDALCLITCH FOR THE LOSS OF GRILDRIG

A PASTORAL

    • Soon as Glumdalclitch miss’d her pleasing care,
    • She wept, she blubber’d, and she tore her hair;
    • No British miss sincerer grief has known,
    • Her squirrel missing, or her sparrow flown.
    • She furl’d her sampler, and haul’d in her thread,
    • And stuck her needle into Grildrig’s bed;
    • Then spread her hands, and with a bonnce let fall
    • Her baby, like the giant in Guildhall.
    • In peals of thunder now she roars, and now
    • She gently whimpers like a lowing cow:1903: 10
    • Yet lovely in her sorrow still appears:
    • Her locks dishevell’d, and her flood of tears,
    • Seem like the lofty barn of some rich swain,
    • When from the thatch drips fast a shower of rain.
    • In vain she search’d each cranny of the house,
    • Each gaping chink, impervious to a mouse.
    • ‘Was it for this (she cried) with daily care
    • Within thy reach I set the vinegar,
    • And fill’d the cruet with the acid tide,
    • While pepper-water worms thy bait supplied?1903: 20
    • Where twined the silver eel around thy hook,
    • And all the little monsters of the brook!
    • Sure in that lake he dropt; my Grilly’s drown’d!’
    • She dragg’d the cruet, but no Grildrig found.
    • ‘Vain is thy courage, Grilly, vain thy boast!
    • But little creatures enterprise the most.
    • Trembling I’ ve seen thee dare the kitten’s paw,
    • Nay, mix with children, as they play’d at taw,
    • Nor fear the marbles as they bounding flew;
    • Marbles to them, but rolling rocks to you!1903: 30
    • ‘Why did I trust thee with that giddy youth?
    • Who from a page can ever learn the truth?
    • Versed in court tricks, that money-loving boy
    • To some lord’s daughter sold the living toy;
    • Or rent him limb from limb in cruel play,
    • As children tear the wings of flies away.
    • From place to place o’er Brobdingnag I’ ll roam,
    • And never will return, or bring thee home.
    • But who hath eyes to trace the passing wind?
    • How then thy fairy footsteps can I find?1903: 40
    • Dost thou bewilder’d wander all alone
    • In the green thicket of a mossy stone;
    • Or, tumbled from the toadstool’s slipp’ry round,
    • Perhaps, all maim’d, lie grovelling on the ground
    • Dost thou, embosom’d in the lovely rose,
    • Or, sunk within the peach’s down repose?
    • Within the kingcup if thy limbs are spread,
    • Or in the golden cowslip’s velvet head,
    • O show me, Flora, midst those sweets, the flower
    • Where sleeps my Grildrig in the fragrant bower.1903: 50
    • ‘But ah! I fear thy little fancy roves
    • On little females, and on little loves;
    • Thy pigmy children, and thy tiny spouse,
    • The baby playthings that adorn thy house,
    • Doors, windows, chimneys, and the spacious rooms,
    • Equal in size to cells of honeycombs.
    • Hast thou for these now ventured from the shore,
    • Thy bark a bean shell, and a straw thy oar?
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    • Or in thy box now bounding on the main,
    • Shall I ne’er bear thyself and house again?
    • And shall I set thee on my hand no more,1903: 61
    • To see thee leap the lines, and traverse o’er
    • My spacious palm; of stature scarce a span,
    • Mimic the actions of a real man?
    • No more behold thee turn my watch’s key,
    • As seamen at a capstan anchors weigh?
    • How wert thou wont to walk with cautious tread,
    • A dish of tea, like milkpail, on thy head!
    • How chase the mite that bore thy cheese away,
    • And keep the rolling maggot at a bay!’1903: 70
    • She spoke; but broken accents stopp’d her voice,
    • Soft as the speaking-trumpet’s mellow noise:
    • She sobb’d a storm, and wiped her flowing eyes,
    • Which seem’d like two broad suns in misty skies.
    • O squander not thy grief! those tears command
    • To weep upon our cod in Newfoundland;
    • The plenteous pickle shall preserve the fish,
    • And Europe taste thy sorrows in a dish.
Alexander Pope
Pope, Alexander
Lemuel Gulliver
Gulliver, Lemuel

TO MR. LEMUEL GULLIVER
THE GRATEFUL ADDRESS OF THE UNHAPPY HOUYHNHNMS NOW IN SLAVERY AND BONDAGE IN ENGLAND

    • To thee, we wretches of the Houyhnhnm band,
    • Condemn’d to labour in a barb’rous land,
    • Return our thanks. Accept our humble lays,
    • And let each grateful Houyhnhnms neigh thy praise.
    • O happy Yahoo, purged from human crimes,
    • By thy sweet sojourn in those virtuous climes,
    • Where reign our sires; there, to thy country’s shame,
    • Reason, you found, and Virtue were the same.
    • Their precepts razed the prejudice of youth,
    • And ev’n a Yahoo learn’d the love of Truth.1903: 10
    • Art thou the first who did the coast explore?
    • Did never Yahoo tread that ground before?
    • Yes, thousands! But in pity to their kind,
    • Or sway’d by envy, or thro’ pride of mind,
    • They hid their knowledge of a nobler race,
    • Which own’d, would all their sires and sons disgrace.
    • You, like the Samian, visit lands unknown,
    • And by their wiser morals mend your own.
    • Thus Orpheus travell’d to reform his kind,
    • Came back, and tamed the brutes he left behind.1903: 20
    • You went, you saw, you heard: with virtue fought,
    • Then spread those morals which the Houyhnhnms taught.
    • Our labours here must touch thy gen’rous heart,
    • To see us strain before the coach and cart;
    • Compell’d to run each knavish jockey’s heat!
    • Subservient to Newmarket’s annual cheat!
    • With what reluctance do we lawyers bear,
    • To fleece their country clients twice a year!
    • Or managed in your schools, for fops to ride,
    • How foam, how fret beneath a load of pride!1903: 30
    • Yes, we are slaves—but yet, by reason’s force,
    • Have learn’d to bear misfortune like a horse.
    • O would the stars, to ease my bonds ordain
    • That gentle Gulliver might guide my rein!
    • Safe would I bear him to his journey’s end,
    • For ’t is a pleasure to support a friend.
    • But if my life be doom’d to serve the bad,
    • Oh! mayst thou never want an easy pad!
    • Houyhnhnm

MARY GULLIVER TO CAPTAIN LEMUEL GULLIVER

AN EPISTLE

ARGUMENT

The captain, some time after his return, being retired to Mr. Sympson’s in the country, Mrs. Gulliver, apprehending from his late behaviour some estrangement of his affections, writes him the following expostulatory, soothing, and tenderly complaining epistle.

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    • Welcome, thrice welcome to thy native place!
    • What, touch me not? what, shun a wife’s embrace?
    • Have I for this thy tedious absence borne,
    • And waked, and wish’d whole nights for thy return?
    • In five long years I took no second spouse;
    • What Redriff wife so long hath kept her vows?
    • Your eyes, your nose, inconstancy betray;
    • Your nose you stop, your eyes you turn away.
    • ’T is said, that thou shouldst ‘cleave unto thy wife;’
    • Once thou didst cleave, and I could cleave for life.1903: 10
    • Hear, and relent! hark how thy children moan!
    • Be kind at least to these; they are thy own:
    • Behold, and count them all; secure to find
    • The honest number that you left behind.
    • See how they bat thee with their pretty paws:
    • Why start you? are they snakes? or have they claws?
    • Thy Christian seed, our mutual flesh and bone:
    • Be kind at least to these; they are thy own.
    • Biddel, like thee, might farthest India rove;
    • He changed his country, but retain’d his love.1903: 20
    • There’s Captain Pannel, absent half his life,
    • Comes back, and is the kinder to his wife;
    • Yet Pannel’s wife is brown compared to me,
    • And Mrs. Biddel sure is fifty-three.
    • Not touch me! never neighbour call’d me slut!
    • Was Flimnap’s dame more sweet in Lilliput?
    • I’ve no red hair to breathe an odious fume;
    • At least thy Consort’s cleaner than thy Groom.
    • Why then that dirty stable-boy thy care?
    • What mean those visits to the Sorrel Mare?1903: 30
    • Say, by what witchcraft, or what demon led,
    • Preferr’st thou litter to the marriage-bed?
    • Some say the Devil himself is in that mare:
    • If so, our Dean shall drive him forth by prayer.
    • Some think you mad, some think you are possess’d,
    • That Bedlam and clean straw will suit you best.
    • Vain means, alas, this frenzy to appease!
    • That straw, that straw would heighten the disease.
    • My bed (the scene of all our former joys,
    • Witness two lovely girls, two lovely boys)
    • Alone I press: in dreams I call my dear,1903: 41
    • I stretch my hand; no Gulliver is there!
    • I wake, I rise, and shiv’ring with the frost
    • Search all the house; my Gulliver is lost!
    • Forth in the street I rush with frantic cries;
    • The windows open, all the neighbours rise:
    • ‘Where sleeps my Gulliver? O tell me where.’
    • The neighbours answer, ‘With the Sorrel Mare.’
    • At early morn I to the market haste
    • (Studious in every thing to please thy taste);1903: 50
    • A curious fowl and ’sparagus I chose
    • (For I remember’d you were fond of those);
    • Three shillings cost the first, the last seven groats;
    • Sullen you turn from both, and call for oats.
    • Others bring goods and treasure to their houses,
    • Something to deck their pretty babes and spouses:
    • My only token was a cup like horn,
    • That’s made of nothing but a lady’s corn.
    • ’T is not for that I grieve; O, ’t is to see
    • The Groom and Sorrel Mare preferr’d to me!1903: 60
    • These, for some moments when you deign to quit,
    • And at due distance sweet discourse admit,
    • ’T is all my pleasure thy past toil to know;
    • For pleas’d remembrance builds delight on woe.
    • At ev’ry danger pants thy consort’s breast,
    • And gaping infants squall to hear the rest.
    • How did I tremble, when by thousands bound,
    • I saw thee stretch’d on Lilliputian ground!
    • When scaling armies climb’d up every part,
    • Each step they trod I felt upon my heart.
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    • But when thy torrent quench’d the dreadful blaze,1903: 71
    • King, Queen, and Nation staring with amaze,
    • Full in my view how all my husband came;
    • And what extinguish’d theirs increas’d my flame.
    • Those spectacles, ordain’d thine eyes to save,
    • Were once my present; love that armour gave.
    • How did I mourn at Bolgolam’s decree!
    • For when he sign’d thy death, he sentenc’d me.
    • When folks might see thee all the country round
    • For sixpence, I’d have giv’n a thousand pound.1903: 80
    • Lord! when the giant babe that head of thine
    • Got in his mouth, my heart was up in mine!
    • When in the marrow bone I see thee ramm’d,
    • Or on the housetop by the monkey cramm’d,
    • The piteous images renew my pain,
    • And all thy dangers I weep o’er again.
    • But on the maiden’s nipple when you rid,
    • Pray Heav’n, ’t was all a wanton maiden did!
    • Glumdalclitch, too! with thee I mourn her case,
    • Heaven guard the gentle girl from all disgrace!1903: 90
    • O may the king that one neglect forgive,
    • And pardon her the fault by which I live!
    • Was there no other way to set him free?
    • My life, alas! I fear prov’d death to thee.
    • O teach me, dear, new words to speak my flame;
    • Teach me to woo thee by thy best lov’d name!
    • Whether the style of Grildrig please thee most,
    • So call’d on Brobdingnag’s stupendous coast,
    • When on the monarch’s ample hand you sate,1903: 99
    • And halloo’d in his ear intrigues of state;
    • Or Quinbus Flestrin more endearment brings,
    • When like a mountain you look’d down on kings:
    • If ducal Nardac, Lilliputian peer,
    • Or Glumglum’s humbler title soothe thy ear:
    • Nay, would kind Jove my organs so dispose,
    • To hymn harmonious Houyhnhnm thro’ the nose,
    • I’d call thee Houyhnhnm, that high sounding name
    • Thy children’s noses all should twang the same;
    • So might I find my loving spouse of course
    • Endued with all the virtues of a horse.1903: 110

LATER POEMS

ON CERTAIN LADIES

  • When other fair ones to the shades go down,
  • Still Chloë, Flavia, Delia, stay in town:
  • Those ghosts of beauty wand’ring here reside,
  • And haunt the places where their honour died.

CELIA

  • Celia, we know, is sixty-five,
  • Yet Celia’s face is seventeen;
  • Thus winter in her breast must live,
  • While summer in her face is seen.
  • How cruel Celia’s fate, who hence
  • Our heart’s devotion cannot try;
  • Too pretty for our reverence,
  • Too ancient for our gallantry!

PROLOGUE
TO A PLAY FOR MR. DENNIS’S BENEFIT, IN 1733, WHEN HE WAS OLD, BLIND, AND IN GREAT DISTRESS, A LITTLE BEFORE HIS DEATH

  • As when that hero, who in each campaign
  • Had braved the Goth, and many a Vandal slain,
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  • Lay fortune-struck, a spectacle of woe,
  • Wept by each friend, forgiv’n by ev’ry foe;
  • Was there a gen’rous, a reflecting mind,
  • But pitied Belisarius old and blind?
  • Was there a chief but melted at the sight?
  • A common soldier but who clubb’d his mite?
  • Such, such emotions should in Britons rise,
  • When, press’d by want and weakness, Dennis lies;
  • Dennis! who long had warr’d with modern Huns,
  • Their quibbles routed, and defied their puns;
  • A desp’rate bulwark, sturdy, firm, and fierce,
  • Against the Gothic sons of frozen verse.
  • How changed from him who made the boxes groan,
  • And shook the stage with thunders all his own!
  • Stood up to dash each vain pretender’s hope,
  • Maul the French tyrant, or pull down the Pope!
  • If there’s a Briton, then, true bred and born,
  • Who holds dragoons and wooden shoes in scorn;
  • If there’s a critic of distinguish’d rage;
  • If there’s a senior who contemns this age;
  • Let him to-night his just assistance lend,
  • And be the Critic’s, Briton’s, old man’s friend.

SONG, BY A PERSON OF QUALITY
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1733

The public astonished Pope by taking this burlesque seriously, and praising it as poetry.

    • I

    • Flutt’ring spread thy purple Pinions,
    • Gentle Cupid, o’er my Heart;
    • I a Slave in thy Dominions;
    • Nature must give Way to Art.
    • II

    • Mild Arcadians, ever blooming,
    • Nightly nodding o’er your Flocks,
    • See my weary Days consuming,
    • All beneath you flow’ry Rocks.
    • III

    • Thus the Cyprian Goddess weeping,
    • Mourn’d Adonis, darling Youth:
    • Him the Boar in Silence creeping,
    • Gored with unrelenting Tooth.
    • IV

    • Cynthia, tune harmonious Numbers;
    • Fair Discretion, string the Lyre;
    • Soothe my ever-waking Slumbers:
    • Bright Apollo, lend thy Choir.
    • V

    • Gloomy Pluto, King of Terrors,
    • Arm’d in adamantine Chains,
    • Lead me to the Crystal Mirrors,
    • Wat’ring soft Elysian Plains.
    • VI

    • Mournful Cypress, verdant Willow,
    • Gilding my Aurelia’s Brows,
    • Morpheus hov’ring o’er my Pillow,
    • Hear me pay my dying Vows.
    • VII

    • Melancholy smooth Mœander,
    • Swiftly purling in a Round,
    • On thy Margin Lovers wander,
    • With thy flow’ry Chaplets crown’d.
    • VIII

    • Thus when Philomela drooping,
    • Softly seeks her silent Mate,
    • See the Bird of Juno stooping;
    • Melody resigns to Fate.

VERSES LEFT BY MR. POPE
ON HIS LYING IN THE SAME BED WHICH WILMOT, THE CELEBRATED EARL OF ROCHESTER, SLEPT IN AT ADDERBURY, THEN BELONGING TO THE DUKE OF ARGYLE, JULY 9TH, 1739

    • With no poetic ardour fired
    • I press the bed where Wilmot lay;
    • That here he lov’d, or here expired,
    • Begets no numbers grave or gay.
    • Beneath thy roof, Argyle, are bred
    • Such thoughts as prompt the brave to lie
    • Stretch’d out in honour’s nobler bed,
    • Beneath a nobler roof—the sky.
    • Edition: current; Page: [127]
    • Such flames as high in patriots burn,
    • Yet stoop to bless a child or wife;
    • And such as wicked kings may mourn,
    • When Freedom is more dear than Life.

ON HIS GROTTO AT TWICKENHAM
COMPOSED OF MARBLES, SPARS, GEMS, ORES, AND MINERALS

These lines were enclosed in a letter to Bolingbroke, dated September 3, 1740.

  • Thou who shalt stop where Thames’ translucent wave
  • Shines a broad mirror thro’ the shadowy cave;
  • Where ling’ring drops from min’ral roofs distil,
  • And pointed crystals break the sparkling rill;
  • Unpolish’d gems no ray on pride bestow,
  • And latent metals innocently glow;
  • Approach. Great Nature studiously behold!
  • And eye the mine without a wish for gold.
  • Approach; but awful! lo! the Ægerian grot,
  • Where, nobly pensive, St. John sate and thought;
  • Where British sighs from dying Wyndham stole,
  • And the bright flame was shot thro’ Marchmont’s soul.
  • Let such, such only, tread this sacred floor,
  • Who dare to love their country, and be poor.

ON RECEIVING FROM THE RIGHT HON. THE LADY FRANCES SHIRLEY A STANDISH AND TWO PENS

Lady Frances Shirley was daughter of Earl Ferrers, a neighbor of Pope’s at Twickenham.

    • Yes, I beheld th’ Athenian Queen
    • Descend in all her sober charms;
    • ‘And take’ (she said, and smiled serene),
    • ‘Take at this hand celestial arms:
    • ‘Secure the radiant weapons wield;
    • This golden lance shall guard Desert,
    • And if a Vice dares keep the field,
    • This steel shall stab it to the heart.’
    • Awed, on my bended knees I fell,
    • Received the weapons of the sky;1903: 10
    • And dipt them in the sable well,
    • The fount of Fame or Infamy.
    • ‘What well? what weapons?’ (Flavia cries,)
    • ‘A standish, steel and golden pen!
    • It came from Bertrand’s, not the skies;
    • I gave it you to write again.
    • ‘But, Friend, take heed whom you attack;
    • You ’ll bring a House (I mean of Peers)
    • Red, blue, and green, nay white and black,
    • L[ambeth] and all about your ears.
    • ‘You ’d write as smooth again on glass,
    • And run, on ivory, so glib,
    • As not to stick at Fool or Ass,
    • Nor stop at Flattery or Fib.
    • Athenian Queen! and sober charms!
    • I tell ye, fool, there ’s nothing in ’t:
    • ’T is Venus, Venus gives these arms;
    • In Dryden’s Virgil see the print.
    • ‘Come, if you ’ll be a quiet soul,
    • That dares tell neither Truth nor Lies,
    • I ’ll lift you in the harmless roll
    • Of those that sing of these poor eyes.’

ON BEAUFORT HOUSE GATE AT CHISWICK

The Lord Treasurer Middlesex’s house at Chelsea, after passing to the Duke of Beaufort, was called Beaufort House. It was afterwards sold to Sir Hans Sloane. When the house was taken down in 1740, its gateway, built by Inigo Jones, was given by Sir Hans Sloane to the Earl of Burlington, who removed it with the greatest care to his garden at Chiswick, where it may be still seen. (Ward.)

  • I was brought from Chelsea last year,
  • Batter’d with wind and weather;
  • Inigo Jones put me together;
  • Sir Hans Sloane let me alone;
  • Burlington brought me hither.
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Alexander Pope
Pope, Alexander
1742
Thomas Southern
Southern, Thomas

TO MR. THOMAS SOUTHERN
ON HIS BIRTHDAY, 1742

Southern was invited to dine on his birthday with Lord Orrery, who had prepared the entertainment, of which the bill of fare is here set down.

  • Resign’d to live, prepared to die,
  • With not one sin but poetry,
  • This day Tom’s fair account has run
  • (Without a blot) to eighty-one.
  • Kind Boyle before his poet lays
  • A table with a cloth of bays;
  • And Ireland, mother of sweet singers,
  • Presents her harp still to his fingers.
  • The feast, his tow’ring Genius marks
  • In yonder wildgoose and the larks!
  • The mushrooms show his Wit was sudden!
  • And for his Judgment, lo, a pudden!
  • Roast beef, tho’ old, proclaims him stout,
  • And grace, although a bard, devout.
  • May Tom, whom Heav’n sent down to raise
  • The price of Prologues and of Plays,
  • Be ev’ry birthday more a winner,
  • Digest his thirty-thousandth dinner,
  • Walk to his grave without reproach,
  • And scorn a Rascal and a Coach.

EPIGRAM

  • My Lord complains that Pope, stark mad with gardens,
  • Has cut three trees, the value of three farthings.
  • ‘But he’s my neighbour,’ cries the Peer polite:
  • ‘And if he visit me, I’ll waive the right.’
  • What! on compulsion, and against my will,
  • A lord’s acquaintance? Let him file his bill!

EPIGRAM

Explained by Carruthers to refer to the large sums of money given in charity on account of the severity of the weather about the year 1740.

    • Yes! ’t is the time (I cried), impose the chain,
    • Destin’d and due to wretches self-enslaved;
    • But when I saw such charity remain,
    • I half could wish this people should be saved.
    • Faith lost, and Hope, our Charity begins;
    • And ’t is a wise design in pitying Heav’n,
    • If this can cover multitude of sins,
    • To take the only way to be forgiv’n.

1740: A POEM[ ]

‘I shall here,’ says Dr. Warton, ‘present the reader with a valuable literary curiosity, a Fragment of an unpublished Satire of Pope, entitled, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Forty; communicated to me by the kindness of the learned and worthy Dr. Wilson, formerly fellow and librarian of Trinity College, Dublin; who speaks of the Fragment in the following terms:—

‘ “This poem I transcribed from a rough draft in Pope’s own hand. He left many blanks for fear of the Argus eye of those who, if they cannot find, can fabricate treason; yet, spite of his precaution, it fell into the hands of his enemies. To the hieroglyphics there are direct allusions, I think, in some of the notes on the Dunciad. It was lent me by a grandson of Lord Chetwynd, an intimate friend of the famous Lord Bolingbroke, who gratified his curiosity by a boxful of the rubbish and sweepings of Pope’s study, whose executor he was, in conjunction with Lord Marchmont.” ’

    • O wretched B[ritain], jealous now of all,
    • What God, what Mortal shall prevent thy fall?
    • Turn, turn thy eyes from wicked men in place,
    • And see what succour from the patriot race.
    • C[ampbell], his own proud dupe, thinks Monarchs things
    • Made just for him, as other fools for Kings;
    • Controls, decides, insults thee ev’ry hour,
    • And antedates the hatred due to power.
    • Thro’ clouds of passion P[ulteney]’s views are clear;
    • He foams a Patriot to subside a Peer;1903: 10
    • Impatient sees his country bought and sold,
    • And damns the market where he takes no gold.
    • Grave, righteous S[andys] jogs on till, past belief,
    • He finds himself companion with a thief.
    • To purge and let thee blood with fire and sword
    • Is all the help stern S[hippen] would afford.
  • Edition: current; Page: [129]
    • That those who bind and rob thee would not kill,
    • Good C[ornbury] hopes, and candidly sits still.
    • Of Ch[arle]s W[illiams] who speaks at all?1903: 19
    • No more than of Sir Har[r]y or Sir P[aul]:
    • Whose names once up, they thought it was not wrong
    • To lie in bed, but sure they lay too long.
    • G[owe]r, C[obha]m, B[athurs]t, pay thee due regards.
    • Unless the ladies bid them mind their cards.

with wit that must

  • And C[hesterfiel]d who speaks so well and writes,
  • Whom (saving W.) every S[harper bites,]

must needs

    • Whose wit and . . . equally provoke one,
    • Finds thee, at best, the butt to crack his joke on.
    • As for the rest, each winter up they run,
    • And all are clear, that something must be done.1903: 30
    • Then urged by C[artere]t, or by C[artere]t stopp’d,
    • Inflamed by P[ultene]y, and by P[ultene]y dropp’d;
    • They follow rev’rently each wondrous wight,
    • Amazed that one can read, that one can write
    • (So geese to gander prone obedience keep,
    • Hiss if he hiss, and if he slumber, sleep);
    • Till having done whate’er was fit or fine,
    • Utter’d a speech, and ask’d their friends to dine,
    • Each hurries back to his paternal ground,
    • Content but for five shillings in the pound,1903: 40
    • Yearly defeated, yearly hopes they give,
    • And all agree Sir Robert cannot live.
    • Rise, rise, great W[alpole], fated to appear,
    • Spite of thyself a glorious minister!
    • Speak the loud language princes . . .
    • And treat with half the . . .
    • At length to B[ritain] kind, as to thy . . .
    • Espouse the nation, you . . .
    • What can thy H[orace] . . .
    • Dress in Dutch . . .1903: 50
    • Though still he travels on no bad pretence,
    • To show . . .
    • Or those foul copies of thy face and tongue,
    • Veracious W[innington] and frontless Yonge;
    • Sagacious Bub, so late a friend, and there
    • So late a foe, yet more sagacious H[are]?
    • Hervey and Hervey’s school, F[ox], H[enle]y, H[into]n,
    • Yea, moral Ebor, or religious Winton.
    • How! what can O[nslo]w, what can D[elaware],
    • The wisdom of the one and other chair,1903: 60
    • N[ewcastle] laugh, or D[orset]’s sager [sneer],
    • Or thy dread truncheon M[arlboro]’s mighty Peer?
    • What help from J[ekyl]l’s opiates canst thou draw
    • Or H[ardwic]k’s quibbles voted into law?
    • C[ummins], that Roman in his nose alone,
    • Who hears all causes, B[ritain], but thy own,
    • Or those proud fools whom nature, rank, and fate
    • Made fit companions for the sword of state.
    • Can the light Packhorse, or the heavy Steer,1903: 69
    • The sowzing Prelate, or the sweating Peer,
    • Drag out with all its dirt and all its weight,
    • The lumb’ring carriage of thy broken state?
    • Alas! the people curse, the carman swears,
    • The drivers quarrel, and the master stares.
    • The plague is on thee, Britain, and who tries
    • To save thee, in th’ infectious office dies.
    • The first firm P[ultene]y soon resign’d his breath,
    • Brave S[carboro] loved thee, and was lied to death.
    • Good M[arch]m[on]t’s fate tore P[olwar]th from thy side,
    • And thy last sigh was heard when W[yndha]m died.1903: 80
    • Thy nobles sl[ave]s, thy se[nate]s bought with gold,
    • Thy clergy perjured, thy whole people sold,
    • An atheist dqtrmoon, a circledplus″′s ad. . . . . . . . .
    • Blotch thee all o’er, and sink. . . . . .
    • Alas! on one alone our all relies,
    • Let him be honest, and he must be wise.
    • Let him no trifler from his school,
    • Nor like his. . . . . . . . . still a. . . .
    • Edition: current; Page: [130]
    • Be but a man! unminister’d, alone,
    • And free at once the Senate and the Throne;1903: 90
    • Esteem the public love his best supply,
    • A circleface’s true glory his integrity;
    • Rich with his. . . . . . in his. . . . . strong,
    • Affect no conquest, but endure no wrong.
    • Whatever his religion or his blood,
    • His public Virtue makes his title good.
    • Europe’s just balance and our own may stand,
    • And one man’s honesty redeem the land.

POEMS OF UNCERTAIN DATE

Alexander Pope
Pope, Alexander
Erinna
Erinna

TO ERINNA

  • Tho’ sprightly Sappho force our love and praise,
  • A softer wonder my pleas’d soul surveys,
  • The mild Erinna, blushing in her bays.
  • So, while the sun’s broad beam yet strikes the sight,
  • All mild appears the moon’s more sober light;
  • Serene, in virgin majesty she shines,
  • And, unobserv’d, the glaring sun declines.

LINES WRITTEN IN WINDSOR FOREST

Sent in an undated letter to Martha Blount.

  • All hail, once pleasing, once inspiring shade,
  • Scene of my youthful loves, and happier hours!
  • Where the kind Muses met me as I stray’d,
  • And gently press’d my hand, and said, ‘Be ours.’
  • Take all thou e’er shalt have, a constant Muse:
  • At Court thou mayst be liked, but nothing gain:
  • Stocks thou mayst buy and sell, but always lose;
  • And love the brightest eyes, but love in vain.

VERBATIM FROM BOILEAU
FIRST PUBLISHED BY WARBURTON IN 1751

Un jour, dit un auteur, etc.

  • Once (says an author, where I need not say)
  • Two travellers found an Oyster in their way:
  • Both fierce, both hungry, the dispute grew strong,
  • While, scale in hand, dame Justice pass’d along.
  • Before her each with clamour pleads the laws,
  • Explain’d the matter, and would win the cause.
  • Dame Justice weighing long the doubtful right,
  • Takes, opens, swallows it before their sight.
  • The cause of strife remov’d so rarely well,
  • ‘There take (says Justice), take ye each a shell.
  • We thrive at Westminster on fools like you:
  • ’T was a fat Oyster—Live in peace—Adieu.’

LINES ON SWIFT’S ANCESTORS

Swift set up a plain monument to his grandfather, and also presented a cup to the church of Goodrich, or Gotheridge (in Herefordshire). He sent a pencilled elevation of the monument (a simple tablet) to Mrs. Howard, who returned it with the following lines, inscribed on the drawing by Pope. The paper is endorsed, in Swift’s hand: ‘Model of a monument for my grandfather, with Pope’s roguery.’ (Scott’s Life of Swift.)

    • Jonathan Swift
    • Had the gift,
    • By fatherige, motherige,
    • And by brotherige
    • To come from Gotherige,
    • But now is spoil’d clean,
    • And an Irish dean;
    • In this church he has put
    • A stone of two foot,
    • Edition: current; Page: [131]
    • With a cup and a can, sir,
    • In respect to his grandsire;
    • So, Ireland, change thy tone,
    • And cry, O hone! O hone!
    • For England hath its own.

ON SEEING THE LADIES AT CRUX EASTON WALK IN THE WOODS BY THE GROTTO
EXTEMPORE BY MR. POPE

  • Authors the world and their dull brains have traced
  • To fix the ground where Paradise was placed;
  • Mind not their learned whims and idle talk;
  • Here, here ’s the place where these bright angels walk.

INSCRIPTION ON A GROTTO, THE WORK OF NINE LADIES

  • Here, shunning idleness at once and praise,
  • This radiant pile nine rural sisters raise;
  • The glitt’ring emblem of each spotless dame,
  • Clear as her soul and shining as her frame;
  • Beauty which Nature only can impart,
  • And such a polish as disgraces Art;
  • But Fate disposed them in this humble sort,
  • And hid in deserts what would charm a Court.
Alexander Pope
Pope, Alexander

TO THE RIGHT HON. THE EARL OF OXFORD
UPON A PIECE OF NEWS IN MIST [MIST’S JOURNAL] THAT THE REV. MR. W. REFUSED TO WRITE AGAINST MR. POPE BECAUSE HIS BEST PATRON HAD A FRIENDSHIP FOR THE SAID POPE

    • Wesley, if Wesley ’t is they mean,
    • They say on Pope would fall,
    • Would his best Patron let his Pen
    • Discharge his inward gall.
    • What Patron this, a doubt must be,
    • Which none but you can clear,
    • Or father Francis, ’cross the sea,
    • Or else Earl Edward here.
    • That both were good must be confess’d,
    • And much to both he owes;
    • But which to him will be the best
    • The Lord of Oxford knows.

EPIGRAMS AND EPITAPHS

ON A PICTURE OF QUEEN CAROLINE
DRAWN BY LADY BURLINGTON

It is not known who the Bishop was. The ‘lying Dean’ refers to Dr. Alured Clarke, who preached a fulsome sermon upon the Queen’s death.

  • Peace, flatt’ring Bishop! lying Dean!
  • This portrait only paints the Queen!

EPIGRAM ENGRAVED ON THE COLLAR OF A DOG WHICH I GAVE TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS

  • ‘His Highness’ was Frederick, Prince of Wales.
  • I am his Highness’ dog at Kew;
  • Pray tell me, Sir, whose dog are you?

LINES WRITTEN IN EVELYN’S BOOK ON COINS

First printed in the Gentleman’s Magazine in 1735.

  • Tom Wood of Chiswick, deep divine,
  • To Painter Kent gave all this coin.
  • ’T is the first coin, I ’m bold to say,
  • That ever churchman gave to lay.

FROM THE GRUB-STREET JOURNAL

This Journal was established in January, 1730, and carried on for eight years by Pope Edition: current; Page: [132] and his friends, in answer to the attacks provoked by the Dunciad. It corresponds in some measure to the Xenien of Goethe and Schiller. Only such pieces are here inserted as bear Pope’s distinguishing signature A.; several others are probably his. (Ward.)

I: EPIGRAM

Occasioned by seeing some sheets of Dr. Bentley’s edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost.

  • Did Milton’s prose, O Charles, thy death defend?
  • A furious Foe unconscious proves a Friend.
  • On Milton’s verse does Bentley comment?—Know
  • A weak officious Friend becomes a Foe.
  • While he but sought his Author’s fame to further,
  • The murd’rous critic has avenged thy murder.

II: EPIGRAM

  • Should D[enni]s print, how once you robb’d your brother,
  • Traduced your monarch, and debauch’d your mother;
  • Say, what revenge on D[enni]s can be had;
  • Too dull for laughter, for reply too mad?
  • Of one so poor you cannot take the law;
  • On one so old your sword you scorn to draw.
  • Uncaged then let the harmless monster rage,
  • Secure in dulness, madness, want, and age.

III: MR. J. M. S[MYTH]E
CATECHISED ON HIS ONE EPISTLE TO MR. POPE

  • What makes you write at this odd rate?
  • Why, Sir, it is to imitate.
  • What makes you steal and trifle so?
  • Why, ’t is to do as others do.
  • But there ’s no meaning to be seen.
  • Why, that ’s the very thing I mean.

IV: EPIGRAM
ON MR. M[OO]RE’S GOING TO LAW WITH MR. GILIVER: INSCRIBED TO ATTORNEY TIBBALD

  • Once in his life M[oo]re judges right:
  • His sword and pen not worth a straw,
  • An author that could never write,
  • A gentleman that dares not fight,
  • Has but one way to tease—by law.
  • This suit, dear Tibbald, kindly hatch;
  • Thus thou may’st help the sneaking elf;
  • And sure a printer is his match,
  • Who ’s but a publisher himself.

V: EPIGRAM

  • A gold watch found on cinder whore,
  • Or a good verse on J[emm]y M[oor]e,
  • Proves but what either should conceal,
  • Not that they’re rich, but that they steal.

VI: EPITAPH
ON JAMES MOORE-SMYTHE

  • Here lies what had nor birth, nor shape, nor fame;
  • No gentleman! no man! no-thing! no name!
  • For Jamie ne’er grew James; and what they call
  • More, shrunk to Smith—and Smith ’s no name at all.
  • Yet die thou can’st not, phantom, oddly fated:
  • For how can no-thing be annihilated?

VII: A QUESTION BY ANONYMOUS

  • Tell, if you can, which did the worse,
  • Caligula or Gr[afto]n’s Gr[a]ce?
  • That made a Consul of a horse,
  • And this a Laureate of an ass.
Edition: current; Page: [133]

VIII: EPIGRAM

The sting of this epigram was for Cibber, then Poet Laureate.

  • Great G[eorge] such servants since thou well canst lack,
  • Oh! save the salary, and drink the sack.

IX: EPIGRAM

  • Behold! ambitious of the British bays,
  • Cibber and Duck contend in rival lays,
  • But, gentle Colley, should thy verse prevail,
  • Thou hast no fence, alas! against his flail:
  • Therefore thy claim resign, allow his right:
  • For Duck can thresh, you know, as well as write.

EPITAPHS

His saltem accumulem donis, et fungar inani Munere!

Virg. [Æn. vii. 885.]

ON CHARLES EARL OF DORSET
IN THE CHURCH OF WITHYAM, SUSSEX

  • Dorset, the Grace of Courts, the Muses’ Pride,
  • Patron of Arts, and Judge of Nature, died.
  • The scourge of Pride, tho’ sanctified or great,
  • Of Fops in Learning, and of Knaves in State:
  • Yet soft his Nature, tho’ severe his Lay,
  • His Anger moral, and his Wisdom gay.
  • Bless’d Satirist! who touch’d the mean so true,
  • As show’d, Vice had his hate and pity too.
  • Bless’d Courtier! who could King and Country please,
  • Yet sacred keep his Friendships and his Ease.
  • Bless’d Peer! his great Forefathers’ ev’ry grace
  • Reflecting, and reflected in his race;
  • Where other Buckhursts, other Dorsets shine,
  • And Patriots still, or Poets, deck the line.

ON SIR WILLIAM TRUMBULL
ONE OF THE PRINCIPAL SECRETARIES OF STATE TO KING WILLIAM III

Who, having resigned his Place, died in his retirement at Easthamsted, in Berkshire, 1716.

  • A pleasing Form, a firm, yet cautious Mind;
  • Sincere, tho’ prudent; constant, yet resign’d:
  • Honour unchanged, a Principle profest,
  • Fix’d to one side, but mod’rate to the rest:
  • An honest Courtier, yet a Patriot too,
  • Just to his Prince, and to his Country true:
  • Fill’d with the Sense of age, the Fire of youth,
  • A scorn of Wrangling, yet a zeal for Truth;
  • A gen’rous Faith, from superstition free,
  • A love to Peace, and hate of Tyranny;
  • Such this Man was, who now, from earth remov’d,
  • At length enjoys that Liberty he lov’d.

ON THE HON. SIMON HARCOURT
ONLY SON OF THE LORD CHANCELLOR HARCOURT

At the Church of Stanton-Harcourt, Oxfordshire, 1720.

  • To this sad shrine, whoe’er thou art, draw near;
  • Here lies the Friend most lov’d, the Son most dear;
  • Who ne’er knew Joy but Friendship might divide,
  • Or gave his father grief but when he died.
  • How vain is Reason, Eloquence how weak!
  • If Pope must tell what Harcourt cannot speak.
  • Oh, let thy once-lov’d friend inscribe thy stone,
  • And with a father’s sorrows mix his own!
Edition: current; Page: [134]

ON JAMES CRAGGS, ESQ.
IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY

JACOBUS CRAGGS
REGI MAGNÆ BRITANNIÆ A SECRETIS, ET CONSILIIS SANCTIORIBUS: PRINCIPIS PARITER AC POPULI AMOR ET DELICIÆ: VIXIT TITULIS ET INVIDIA MAJOR ANNOS, HEU PAUCOS, XXXV. OB. FEB. XIV. MDCCXX.

  • Statesman, yet Friend to Truth! of Soul sincere,
  • In Action faithful, and in Honour clear!
  • Who broke no Promise, served no private end,
  • Who gain’d no Title, and who lost no Friend;
  • Ennobled by himself, by all approv’d,
  • Prais’d, wept, and honour’d, by the Muse he lov’d.

ON MR. ROWE
IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY

    • Thy reliques, Rowe! to this sad shrine we trust,
    • And near thy Shakspeare place thy honour’d bust,
    • Oh, next him, skill’d to draw the tender tear—
    • For never heart felt passion more sincere—
    • To nobler sentiment to fire the brave—
    • For never Briton more disdain’d a slave!
    • Peace to thy gentle shade, and endless rest;
    • Blest in thy Genius, in thy Love too blest!
    • And blest, that timely from our scene remov’d,
    • Thy soul enjoys the Liberty it lov’d.
    • To these, so mourn’d in death, so lov’d in life,
    • The childless parent and the widow’d wife
    • With tears inscribes this monumental stone,
    • That holds their ashes and expects her own.

ON MRS. CORBET
WHO DIED OF A CANCER IN HER BREAST

  • Here rests a Woman, good without pretence,
  • Bless’d with plain Reason and with sober Sense:
  • No Conquests she but o’er herself desired,
  • No Arts essay’d but not to be admired.
  • Passion and Pride were to her soul unknown,
  • Convinc’d that Virtue only is our own.
  • So unaffected, so composed, a mind,
  • So firm, yet soft, so strong, yet so refin’d,
  • Heav’n, as its purest gold, by Tortures tried:
  • The Saint sustain’d it, but the Woman died.

ON THE MONUMENT OF THE HON. R. DIGBY AND OF HIS SISTER MARY
ERECTED BY THEIR FATHER, LORD DIGBY, IN THE CHURCH OF SHERBORNE, IN DORSETSHIRE, 1727.

    • Go! fair example of untainted youth,
    • Of modest Wisdom and pacific Truth:
    • Composed in Suff’rings, and in Joy sedate,
    • Good without noise, without pretension great:
    • Just of thy word, in ev’ry thought sincere,
    • Who knew no wish but what the world might hear:
    • Of softest Manners, unaffected Mind,
    • Lover of Peace, and Friend of humankind!
    • Go live! for Heav’n’s eternal year is thine;
    • Go, and exalt thy Mortal to Divine.
    • And thou, bless’d Maid! attendant on his doom,
    • Pensive hath follow’d to the silent Tomb,
    • Steer’d the same course to the same quiet shore,
    • Not parted long, and now to part no more!
    • Go then, where only bliss sincere is known!
    • Go where to love and to enjoy are one!
    • Yet take these tears, mortality’s relief,
    • And till we share your joys, forgive our grief:
    • These little rites, a Stone, a Verse, receive;
    • ’T is all a Father, all a Friend can give!

ON SIR GODFREY KNELLER
IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY, 1723

    • Kneller, by Heav’n, and not a master, taught,
    • Whose Art was Nature, and whose pictures thought;
    • Edition: current; Page: [135]
    • Now for two ages having snatch’d from fate
    • Whate’er was beauteous, or whate’er was great,
    • Lies crown’d with Princes’ honours, Poets’ lays,
    • Due to his Merit and brave thirst of Praise.
    • Living, great Nature fear’d he might outvie
    • Her works; and, dying, fears herself may die.

ON GENERAL HENRY WITHERS
IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY, 1729

    • Here, Withers! rest; thou bravest, gentlest mind,
    • Thy Country’s friend, but more of Humankind.
    • O born to Arms! O Worth in youth approv’d!
    • O soft Humanity, in age belov’d!
    • For thee the hardy Vet’ran drops a tear,
    • And the gay Courtier feels the sigh sincere.
    • Withers, adieu! yet not with thee remove
    • Thy martial spirit or thy social love!
    • Amidst Corruption, Luxury, and Rage,
    • Still leave some ancient Virtues to our age;
    • Nor let us say (those English glories gone)
    • The last true Briton lies beneath this stone.

ON MR. ELIJAH FENTON
AT EASTHAMSTEAD, BERKS, 1729

  • This modest stone, what few vain marbles can,
  • May truly say, Here lies an Honest Man;
  • A Poet bless’d beyond the Poet’s fate,
  • Whom Heav’n kept sacred from the proud and great;
  • Foe to loud Praise, and friend to learned Ease,
  • Content with Science in the vale of peace.
  • Calmly he look’d on either life, and here
  • Saw nothing to regret, or there to fear;
  • From Nature’s temp’rate feast rose satisfied,
  • Thank’d Heav’n that he had lived, and that he died.

ON MR. GAY
IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY, 1730

  • Of Manners gentle, of Affections mild;
  • In Wit a man; Simplicity a child:
  • With native Humour temp’ring virtuous Rage,
  • Form’d to delight at once and lash the age:
  • Above temptation, in a low estate,
  • And uncorrupted ev’n among the Great:
  • A safe Companion, and an easy Friend,
  • Unblamed thro’ life, lamented in thy End.
  • These are thy Honours! not that here thy bust
  • Is mix’d with Heroes, or with Kings thy dust:
  • But that the Worthy and the Good shall say,
  • Striking their pensive bosoms—‘Here lies Gay!’

INTENDED FOR SIR ISAAC NEWTON
IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY

ISAACUS NEWTONUS
QUEM IMMORTALEM TESTANTUR TEMPUS, NATURA, CŒLUM: MORTALEM HOC MARMOR FATETUR

  • Nature and Nature’s laws lay hid in Night:
  • God said, Let Newton be! and all was Light.

ON DR. FRANCIS ATTERBURY
BISHOP OF ROCHESTER, WHO DIED IN EXILE AT PARIS, 1732

His only daughter having expired in his arms immediately after she arrived in France to see him.

DIALOGUE

    • She. Yes, we have liv’d—One pang, and then we part!
    • May Heav’n, dear Father! now have all thy heart.
    • Edition: current; Page: [136]
    • Yet ah! how once we lov’d, remember still,
    • Till you are dust like me.
    • He. Dear Shade! I will:
    • Then mix this dust with thine—O spotless Ghost!
    • O more than Fortune, Friends, or Country lost!
    • Is there on earth one care, one wish beside?
    • Yes—‘Save my country, Heav’n!’ he said, and died.

ON EDMUND DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM
WHO DIED IN THE NINETEENTH YEAR OF HIS AGE, 1735

  • If modest Youth, with cool Reflection crown’d,
  • And ev’ry opening Virtue blooming round,
  • Could save a Parent’s justest Pride from fate,
  • Or add one Patriot to a sinking state,
  • This weeping marble had not ask’d thy tear,
  • Or sadly told, how many hopes lie here!
  • The living Virtue now had shone approv’d;
  • The Senate heard him, and his country lov’d.
  • Yet softer honours and less noisy fame
  • Attend the shade of gentle Buckingham:
  • In whom a race, for Courage famed and Art,
  • Ends in the milder merit of the Heart;
  • And, Chiefs or Sages long to Britain giv’n,
  • Pays the last tribute of a Saint to Heav’n.

FOR ONE WHO WOULD NOT BE BURIED IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY

  • Heroes and Kings! your distance keep;
  • In peace let one poor Poet sleep,
  • Who never flatter’d folks like you:
  • Let Horace blush, and Virgil too.

ANOTHER ON THE SAME

  • Under this Marble, or under this Sill,
  • Or under this Turf, or ev’n what they will,
  • Whatever an Heir, or a Friend in his stead,
  • Or any good creature shall lay o’er my head,
  • Lies one who ne’er cared, and still cares not, a pin
  • What they said, or may say, of the mortal within;
  • But who, living and dying, serene, still and free,
  • Trusts in God that as well as he was he shall be.

ON TWO LOVERS STRUCK DEAD BY LIGHTNING

John Hughes and Sarah Drew. See Pope’s letter to Lady Mary written in September, 1718.

  • I

  • When Eastern lovers feed the Funeral Fire,
  • On the same pile their faithful Fair expire;
  • Here pitying Heav’n that Virtue mutual found,
  • And blasted both, that it might neither wound.
  • Hearts so sincere th’ Almighty saw well pleas’d,
  • Sent his own lightning, and the victims seiz’d.
  • II

  • Think not by rig’rous judgment seiz’d,
  • A pair so faithful could expire;
  • Victims so pure Heav’n saw well pleas’d,
  • And snatch’d them in celestial fire.
  • III

  • Live well, and fear no sudden fate:
  • When God calls Virtue to the grave,
  • Alike ’t is Justice, soon or late,
  • Mercy alike to kill or save.
  • Virtue unmov’d can hear the call,
  • And face the flash that melts the ball.

EPITAPH

The subject is supposed to be John Gay.

  • Well, then, poor G— lies underground!
  • So there ’s an end of honest Jack—
  • So little justice here be found,
  • ’T is ten to one he ’ll ne’er come back.
Edition: current; Page: [137]

AN ESSAY ON MAN[ ]

IN FOUR EPISTLES TO LORD BOLINGBROKE

The first two epistles of the Essay on Man were written in 1732, the third in the year following, and the fourth in 1734, when the complete Essay was published as we have it.

THE DESIGN

Having proposed to write some pieces on Human Life and Manners, such as, to use my Lord Bacon’s expression, ‘come home to men’s business and bosoms,’ I thought it more satisfactory to begin with considering Man in the abstract, his nature and his state: since to prove any moral duty, to enforce any moral precept, or to examine the perfection or imperfection of any creature whatsoever, it is necessary first to know what condition and relation it is placed in, and what is the proper end and purpose of its being.

The science of Human Nature is, like all other sciences, reduced to a few clear points: there are not many certain truths in this world. It is therefore in the anatomy of the mind, as in that of the body; more good will accrue to mankind by attending to the large, open, and perceptible parts, than by studying too much such finer nerves and vessels, the conformations and uses of which will for ever escape our observation. The disputes are all upon these last; and, I will venture to say, they have less sharpened the wits than the hearts of men against each other, and have diminished the practice more than advanced the theory of morality. If I could flatter myself that this Essay has any merit, it is in steering betwixt the extremes of doctrines seemingly opposite, in passing over terms utterly unintelligible and in forming a temperate, yet not inconsistent, and a short, yet not imperfect, system of ethics.

This I might have done in prose; but I chose verse, and even rhyme, for two reasons. The one will appear obvious; that principles, maxims, or precepts, so written, both strike the reader more strongly at first, and are more easily retained by him afterwards: the other may seem odd, but it is true: I found I could express them more shortly this way than in prose itself; and nothing is more certain than that much of the force as well as grace of arguments or instructions depends on their conciseness. I was unable to treat this part of my subject more in detail without becoming dry and tedious; or more poetically without sacrificing perspicuity to ornament, without wandering from the precision, or breaking the chain of reasoning. If any man can unite all these without diminution of any of them, I freely confess he will compass a thing above my capacity.

What is now published is only to be considered as a general Map of Man, marking out no more than the greater parts, their extent, their limits, and their connexion, but leaving the particular to be more fully delineated in the charts which are to follow; consequently these epistles in their progress (if I have health and leisure to make any progress) will be less dry, and more susceptible of poetical ornament. I am here only opening the fountains, and clearing the passage: to deduce the rivers, to follow them in their course, and to observe their effects, may be a task more agreeable.

EPISTLE I
OF THE NATURE AND STATE OF MAN, WITH RESPECT TO THE UNIVERSE

ARGUMENT

Of Man in the abstract. I. That we can judge only with regard to our own system, being ignorant of the relations of systems and things, verse 17, etc. II. That Man is not to be deemed imperfect, but a being suited to his place and rank in the creation, agreeable to the general order of things, and conformable to ends and relations to him unknown, verse 35, etc. III. That it is partly upon his ignorance of future events, and partly upon the hope of a future state, that all his happiness in the present depends, verse 77, etc. IV. The pride of aiming at more knowledge, and pretending to more perfection, the cause of Man’s error and misery. The impiety of putting himself in the place of God, and judging of the fitness or unfitness, perfection or imperfection, justice or injustice, of his dispensations, verse 113, etc. V. The absurdity of conceiting himself the final cause of the creation, or expecting that perfection in the moral world which is not in the natural, verse 131, etc. VI. The unreasonableness of his complaints against Providence, while, on the one hand, he demands the perfections of Edition: current; Page: [138] the angels, and, on the other, the bodily qualifications of the brutes; though to possess any of the sensitive faculties in a higher degree would render him miserable, verse 173, etc. VII. That throughout the whole visible world a universal order and gradation in the sensual and mental faculties is observed, which causes a subordination of creature to creature, and of all creatures to man. The gradations of Sense, Instinct, Thought, Reflection, Reason: that Reason alone countervails all the other faculties, verse 207, etc. VIII. How much further this order and subordination of living creatures may extend above and below us; were any part of which broken, not that part only, but the whole connected creation must be destroyed, verse 213, etc. IX. The extravagance, madness, and pride of such a desire, verse 209, etc. X. The consequence of all, the absolute submission due to Providence, both as to our present and future state, verse 281, etc., to the end.

    • Awake, my St. John! leave all meaner things
    • To low ambition and the pride of Kings.
    • Let us, since life can little more supply
    • Than just to look about us and to die,
    • Expatiate free o’er all this scene of man;
    • A mighty maze! but not without a plan;
    • A wild, where weeds and flowers promiscuous shoot,
    • Or garden, tempting with forbidden fruit.
    • Together let us beat this ample field,
    • Try what the open, what the covert yield;1903: 10
    • The latent tracts, the giddy heights, explore
    • Of all who blindly creep or sightless soar;
    • Eye Nature’s walks, shoot folly as it flies,
    • And catch the manners living as they rise;
    • Laugh where we must, be candid where we can,
    • But vindicate the ways of God to man.
    • I. Say first, of God above or Man below
    • What can we reason but from what we know?
    • Of man what see we but his station here,
    • From which to reason, or to which refer?1903: 20
    • Thro’ worlds unnumber’d tho’ the God be known,
    • ’T is ours to trace him only in our own.
    • He who thro’ vast immensity can pierce,
    • See worlds on worlds compose one universe,
    • Observe how system into system runs,
    • What other planets circle other suns,
    • What varied being peoples every star,
    • May tell why Heav’n has made us as we are:
    • But of this frame, the bearings and the ties,
    • The strong connexions, nice dependencies,
    • Gradations just, has thy pervading soul1903: 31
    • Look’d thro’; or can a part contain the whole?
    • Is the great chain that draws all to agree,
    • And drawn supports, upheld by God or thee?
    • II. Presumptuous man! the reason wouldst thou find,
    • Why form’d so weak, so little, and so blind?
    • First, if thou canst, the harder reason guess
    • Why form’d no weaker, blinder, and no less!
    • Ask of thy mother earth why oaks are made
    • Taller or stronger than the weeds they shade!1903: 40
    • Or ask of yonder argent fields above
    • Why Jove’s satellites are less than Jove!
    • Of systems possible, if ’t is confest
    • That wisdom infinite must form the best,
    • Where all must fall or not coherent be,
    • And all that rises rise in due degree;
    • Then in the scale of reas’ning life ’t is plain
    • There must be, somewhere, such a rank as Man:
    • And all the question (wrangle e’er so long)
    • Is only this,—if God has placed him wrong?1903: 50
    • Respecting Man, whatever wrong we call,
    • May, must be right, as relative to all.
    • In human works, tho’ labour’d on with pain,
    • A thousand movements scarce one purpose gain;
    • In God’s, one single can its end produce,
    • Yet serve to second too some other use:
    • So man, who here seems principal alone,
    • Perhaps acts second to some sphere unknown,
    • Touches some wheel, or verges to some goal:
    • ’T is but a part we see, and not a whole.1903: 60
    • When the proud steed shall know why man restrains
    • His fiery course, or drives him o’er the plains;
    • When the dull ox, why now he breaks the clod,
    • Is now a victim, and now Egypt’s God;
    • Edition: current; Page: [139]
    • Then shall man’s pride and dulness comprehend
    • His actions’, passions’, being’s, use and end;
    • Why doing, suff’ring, check’d, impell’d; and why
    • This hour a Slave, the next a Deity.
    • Then say not man’s imperfect, Heav’n in fault;
    • Say rather man’s as perfect as he ought;1903: 70
    • His knowledge measured to his state and place,
    • His time a moment, and a point his space.
    • If to be perfect in a certain sphere,
    • What matter soon or late, or here or there?
    • The blest to-day is as completely so
    • As who began a thousand years ago.
    • III. Heav’n from all creatures hides the book of Fate,
    • All but the page prescribed, their present state;
    • From brutes what men, from men what spirits know;
    • Or who could suffer being here below?1903: 80
    • The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day,
    • Had he thy reason would he skip and play?
    • Pleas’d to the last he crops the flowery food,
    • And licks the hand just rais’d to shed his blood.
    • O blindness to the future! kindly giv’n,
    • That each may fill the circle mark’d by Heav’n;
    • Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
    • A hero perish or a sparrow fall,
    • Atoms or systems into ruin hurl’d,1903: 89
    • And now a bubble burst, and now a world.
    • Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar;
    • Wait the great teacher Death, and God adore.
    • What future bliss He gives not thee to know,
    • But gives that hope to be thy blessing now.
    • Hope springs eternal in the human breast:
    • Man never is, but always to be, blest.
    • The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,
    • Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
    • Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutor’d mind
    • Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind;1903: 100
    • His soul proud Science never taught to stray
    • Far as the solar walk or milky way;
    • Yet simple nature to his hope has giv’n,
    • Behind the cloud-topt hill, an humbler Heav’n,
    • Some safer world in depth of woods embraced,
    • Some happier island in the wat’ry waste,
    • Where slaves once more their native land behold,
    • No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold.
    • To be, contents his natural desire;1903: 109
    • He asks no Angel’s wing, no Seraph’s fire;
    • But thinks, admitted to that equal sky,
    • His faithful dog shall bear him company.
    • IV. Go, wiser thou! and in thy scale of sense
    • Weigh thy opinion against Providence;
    • Call imperfection what thou fanciest such;
    • Say, here he gives too little, there too much;
    • Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust,
    • Yet cry, if man ’s unhappy, God ’s unjust;
    • If man alone engross not Heav’n’s high care,1903: 119
    • Alone made perfect here, immortal there:
    • Snatch from his hand the balance and the rod,
    • Rejudge his justice, be the god of God.
    • In pride, in reas’ning pride, our error lies;
    • All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies!
    • Pride still is aiming at the bless’d abodes,
    • Men would be Angels, Angels would be Gods.
    • Aspiring to be Gods if Angels fell,
    • Aspiring to be Angels men rebel:
    • And who but wishes to invert the laws
    • Of order, sins against th’ Eternal Cause.1903: 130
    • V. Ask for what end the heav’nly bodies shine,
    • Earth for whose use,—Pride answers, ‘’T is for mine:
    • For me kind Nature wakes her genial power,
    • Suckles each herb, and spreads out ev’ry flower;
    • Annual for me the grape, the rose, renew
    • The juice nectareous and the balmy dew;
    • For me the mine a thousand treasures brings;
    • For me health gushes from a thousand springs;
    • Seas roll to waft me, suns to light me rise;
    • My footstool earth, my canopy the skies.’
  • Edition: current; Page: [140]
    • But errs not Nature from this gracious end,1903: 141
    • From burning suns when livid deaths descend,
    • When earthquakes swallow, or when tempests sweep
    • Towns to one grave, whole nations to the deep?
    • ‘No,’ ’t is replied, ‘the first Almighty Cause
    • Acts not by partial but by gen’ral laws;
    • Th’ exceptions few; some change since all began
    • And what created perfect?’—Why then man?
    • If the great end be human happiness,
    • Then Nature deviates; and can man do less?1903: 150
    • As much that end a constant course requires
    • Of showers and sunshine, as of man’s desires;
    • As much eternal springs and cloudless skies,
    • As men for ever temp’rate, calm, and wise.
    • If plagues or earthquakes break not Heav’n’s design,
    • Why then a Borgia or a Catiline?
    • Who knows but He, whose hand the lightning forms,
    • Who heaves old ocean, and who wings the storms;
    • Pours fierce ambition in a Cæsar’s mind,
    • Or turns young Ammon loose to scourge mankind?1903: 160
    • From pride, from pride, our very reas’ning springs;
    • Account for moral as for natural things:
    • Why charge we Heav’n in those, in these acquit?
    • In both, to reason right is to submit.
    • Better for us, perhaps, it might appear,
    • Were there all harmony, all virtue here;
    • That never air or ocean felt the wind,
    • That never passion discomposed the mind:
    • But all subsists by elemental strife;
    • And passions are the elements of life.1903: 170
    • The gen’ral order, since the whole began,
    • Is kept in Nature, and is kept in Man.
    • VI. What would this Man? Now upward will he soar,
    • And little less than Angel, would be more;
    • Now looking downwards, just as griev’d appears
    • To want the strength of bulls, the fur of bears.
    • Made for his use all creatures if he call,
    • Say what their use, had he the powers of all?
    • Nature to these without profusion kind,1903: 179
    • The proper organs, proper powers assign’d;
    • Each seeming want compensated of course,
    • Here with degrees of swiftness, there of force;
    • All in exact proportion to the state;
    • Nothing to add, and nothing to abate;
    • Each beast, each insect, happy in its own:
    • Is Heav’n unkind to man, and man alone?
    • Shall he alone, whom rational we call,
    • Be pleas’d with nothing if not bless’d with all?
    • The bliss of man (could pride that blessing find)
    • Is not to act or think beyond mankind;1903: 190
    • No powers of body or of soul to share,
    • But what his nature and his state can bear.
    • Why has not man a microscopic eye?
    • For this plain reason, man is not a fly.
    • Say, what the use, were finer optics giv’n,
    • T’ inspect a mite, not comprehend the Heav’n?
    • Or touch, if tremblingly alive all o’er,
    • To smart and agonize at every pore?
    • Or quick effluvia darting thro’ the brain,
    • Die of a rose in aromatic pain?1903: 200
    • If Nature thunder’d in his opening ears,
    • And stunn’d him with the music of the spheres,
    • How would he wish that Heav’n had left him still
    • The whisp’ring zephyr and the purling rill?
    • Who finds not Providence all good and wise,
    • Alike in what it gives and what denies?
    • VII. Far as creation’s ample range extends,
    • The scale of sensual, mental powers ascends.
    • Mark how it mounts to man’s imperial race
    • From the green myriads in the peopled grass:1903: 210
    • What modes of sight betwixt each wide extreme,
    • The mole’s dim curtain and the lynx’s beam:
    • Of smell, the headlong lioness between
    • And hound sagacious on the tainted green:
    • Of hearing, from the life that fills the flood
    • To that which warbles thro’ the vernal wood.
    • Edition: current; Page: [141]
    • The spider’s touch, how exquisitely fine,
    • Feels at each thread, and lives along the line:
    • In the nice bee what sense so subtly true,
    • From pois’nous herbs extracts the healing dew!1903: 220
    • How instinct varies in the grovelling swine,
    • Compared, half-reas’ning elephant, with thine!
    • ’Twixt that and reason what a nice barrier!
    • For ever separate, yet for ever near!
    • Remembrance and reflection how allied!
    • What thin partitions Sense from Thought divide!
    • And middle natures how they long to join,
    • Yet never pass th’ insuperable line!
    • Without this just gradation could they be
    • Subjected these to those, or all to thee!1903: 230
    • The powers of all subdued by thee alone,
    • Is not thy Reason all these powers in one?
    • VIII. See thro’ this air, this ocean, and this earth
    • All matter quick, and bursting into birth:
    • Above, how high progressive life may go!
    • Around, how wide! how deep extend below!
    • Vast chain of being! which from God began;
    • Natures ethereal, human, angel, man,
    • Beast, bird, fish, insect, who no eye can see,
    • No glass can reach; from infinite to thee;
    • From thee to nothing.—On superior powers1903: 241
    • Were we to press, inferior might on ours;
    • Or in the full creation leave a void,
    • Where, one step broken, the great scale ’s destroy’d:
    • From Nature’s chain whatever link you like,
    • Tenth, or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.
    • And if each system in gradation roll,
    • Alike essential to th’ amazing Whole,
    • The least confusion but in one, not all
    • That system only, but the Whole must fall.1903: 250
    • Let earth unbalanced from her orbit fly,
    • Planets and stars run lawless thro’ the sky;
    • Let ruling angels from their spheres be hurl’d,
    • Being on being wreck’d, and world on world;
    • Heav’n’s whole foundations to their centre nod,
    • And Nature tremble to the throne of God!
    • All this dread order break—for whom? for thee?
    • Vile worm!—O madness! pride! impiety!
    • IX. What if the foot, ordain’d the dust to tread,
    • Or hand to toil, aspired to be the head?1903: 260
    • What if the head, the eye, or ear repin’d
    • To serve mere engines to the ruling mind?
    • Just as absurd for any part to claim
    • To be another in this gen’ral frame;
    • Just as absurd to mourn the tasks or pains
    • The great directing Mind of All ordains.
    • All are but parts of one stupendous Whole,
    • Whose body Nature is, and God the soul;
    • That changed thro’ all, and yet in all the same,1903: 269
    • Great in the earth as in th’ ethereal frame,
    • Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
    • Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees;
    • Lives thro’ all life, extends thro’ all extent,
    • Spreads undivided, operates unspent;
    • Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,
    • As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart;
    • As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns,
    • As the rapt Seraph that adores and burns.
    • To him no high, no low, no great, no small;
    • He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all!
    • X. Cease, then, nor Order imperfection name;1903: 281
    • Our proper bliss depends on what we blame.
    • Know thy own point: this kind, this due degree
    • Of blindness, weakness, Heav’n bestows on thee.
    • Submit: in this or any other sphere,
    • Secure to be as bless’d as thou canst bear;
    • Safe in the hand of one disposing Power,
    • Or in the natal or the mortal hour.
    • All Nature is but Art unknown to thee;
    • All chance direction, which thou canst not see;1903: 290
    • All discord, harmony not understood;
    • All partial evil, universal good:
    • And spite of Pride, in erring Reason’s spite,
    • One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right.

EPISTLE II
OF THE NATURE AND STATE OF MAN WITH RESPECT TO HIMSELF AS AN INDIVIDUAL

ARGUMENT

I. The business of Man not to pry into God, but to study himself. His middle nature; his powers and frailties, verses 1 to 19. The Edition: current; Page: [142] limits of his capacity, verse 19, etc. II. The two principles of Man, Self-love and Reason, both necessary. Self-love the stronger, and why. Their end the same, verse 81, etc. III. The Passions, and their use. The predominant passion, and its force. Its necessity, in directing men to different purposes. Its providential use, in fixing our principle, and ascertaining our virtue, verse 93, etc. IV. Virtue and Vice joined in our mixed nature; the limits near, yet the things separate and evident: what is the office of Reason, verse 203, etc. V. How odious Vice in itself, and how we deceive ourselves into it, verse 217, etc. VI. That, however, the ends of Providence, and general goods, are answered in our passions and imperfections. How usefully these are distributed to all orders of men: how useful they are to Society; and to individuals; in every state, and every age of life, verse 238, etc., to the end.

    • I. Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
    • The proper study of mankind is Man.
    • Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
    • A being darkly wise and rudely great:
    • With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
    • With too much weakness for the Stoic’s pride,
    • He hangs between, in doubt to act or rest;
    • In doubt to deem himself a God or Beast;
    • In doubt his mind or body to prefer;
    • Born but to die, and reas’ning but to err;1903: 10
    • Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
    • Whether he thinks too little or too much;
    • Chaos of thought and passion, all confused;
    • Still by himself abused or disabused;
    • Created half to rise, and half to fall;
    • Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
    • Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl’d;
    • The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!
    • Go, wondrous creature! mount where Science guides;
    • Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides;1903: 20
    • Instruct the planets in what orbs to run,
    • Correct old Time, and regulate the sun;
    • Go, soar with Plato to th’ empyreal sphere,
    • To the first good, first perfect, and first fair;
    • Or tread the mazy round his followers trod,
    • And quitting sense call imitating God;
    • As eastern priests in giddy circles run,
    • And turn their heads to imitate the sun.
    • Go, teach Eternal Wisdom how to rule—
    • Then drop into thyself, and be a fool!1903: 30
    • Superior beings, when of late they saw
    • A mortal man unfold all Nature’s law,
    • Admired such wisdom in an earthly shape,
    • And show’d a Newton as we show an ape.
    • Could he, whose rules the rapid comet bind,
    • Describe or fix one movement of his mind?
    • Who saw its fires here rise, and there descend,
    • Explain his own beginning or his end?
    • Alas! what wonder! Man’s superior part
    • Uncheck’d may rise, and climb from art to art;1903: 40
    • But when his own great work is but begun,
    • What Reason weaves, by Passion is undone.
    • Trace Science then, with modesty thy guide;
    • First strip off all her equipage of pride;
    • Deduct what is but vanity or dress,
    • Or learning’s luxury, or idleness,
    • Or tricks to show the stretch of human brain,
    • Mere curious pleasure, or ingenious pain;
    • Expunge the whole, or lop th’ excrescent parts;
    • Of all our vices have created arts;1903: 50
    • Then see how little the remaining sum,
    • Which serv’d the past, and must the times to come!
    • II. Two principles in Human Nature reign,
    • Self-love to urge, and Reason to restrain;
    • Nor this a good, nor that a bad we call;
    • Each works its end, to move or govern all:
    • And to their proper operation still
    • Ascribe all good, to their improper, ill.
    • Self-love, the spring of motion, acts the soul;
    • Reason’s comparing balance rules the whole.1903: 60
    • Man but for that no action could attend,
    • And but for this were active to no end:
    • Fix’d like a plant on his peculiar spot,
    • To draw nutrition, propagate, and rot;
    • Or meteor-like, flame lawless thro’ the void,
    • Destroying others, by himself destroy’d.
    • Most strength the moving principle requires;
    • Active its task, it prompts, impels, inspires:
    • Sedate and quiet the comparing lies,
    • Edition: current; Page: [143]
    • Form’d but to check, delib’rate, and advise.1903: 70
    • Self-love still stronger, as its objects nigh;
    • Reason’s at distance and in prospect lie:
    • That sees immediate good by present sense;
    • Reason, the future and the consequence.
    • Thicker than arguments, temptations throng;
    • At best more watchful this, but that more strong.
    • The action of the stronger to suspend,
    • Reason still use, to Reason still attend.
    • Attention habit and experience gains;
    • Each strengthens Reason, and Self-love restrains.1903: 80
    • Let subtle schoolmen teach these friends to fight,
    • More studious to divide than to unite;
    • And Grace and Virtue, Sense and Reason split,
    • With all the rash dexterity of Wit.
    • Wits, just like fools, at war about a name,
    • Have full as oft no meaning, or the same.
    • Self-love and Reason to one end aspire,
    • Pain their aversion, Pleasure their desire;
    • But greedy that, its object would devour;
    • This taste the honey, and not wound the flower:1903: 90
    • Pleasure, or wrong or rightly understood,
    • Our greatest evil or our greatest good.
    • III. Modes of Self-love the passions we may call;
    • ’Tis real good or seeming moves them all:
    • But since not every good we can divide,
    • And Reason bids us for our own provide,
    • Passions, tho’ selfish, if their means be fair,
    • List under Reason, and deserve her care;
    • Those that imparted court a nobler aim,
    • Exalt their kind, and take some virtue’s name.1903: 100
    • In lazy apathy let Stoics boast
    • Their virtue fix’d; ’t is fix’d as in a frost;
    • Contracted all, retiring to the breast;
    • But strength of mind is Exercise, not Rest:
    • The rising tempest puts in act the soul,
    • Parts it may ravage, but preserves the whole.
    • On life’s vast ocean diversely we sail,
    • Reason the card, but Passion is the gale;
    • Nor God alone in the still calm we find,
    • He mounts the storm, and walks upon the wind.1903: 110
    • Passions, like elements, tho’ born to fight,
    • Yet, mix’d and soften’d, in his work unite:
    • These ’t is enough to temper and employ;
    • But what composes man can man destroy?
    • Suffice that Reason keep to Nature’s road;
    • Subject, compound them, follow her and God.
    • Love, Hope, and Joy, fair Pleasure’s smiling train,
    • Hate, Fear, and Grief, the family of Pain,
    • These mix’d with art, and to due bounds confin’d,
    • Make and maintain the balance of the mind;1903: 120
    • The lights and shades, whose well-accorded strife
    • Gives all the strength and colour of our life.
    • Pleasures are ever in our hands or eyes,
    • And when in act they cease, in prospect rise:
    • Present to grasp, and future still to find,
    • The whole employ of body and of mind.
    • All spread their charms, but charm not all alike;
    • On diff’rent senses diff’rent objects strike;
    • Hence diff’rent passions more or less inflame,1903: 129
    • As strong or weak the organs of the frame;
    • And hence one Master-passion in the breast,
    • Like Aaron’s serpent, swallows up the rest.
    • As man, perhaps, the moment of his breath,
    • Receives the lurking principle of death,
    • The young disease, that must subdue at length,
    • Grows with his growth, and strengthens with his strength:
    • So, cast and mingled with his very frame,
    • The mind’s disease, its Ruling Passion, came;
    • Each vital humour, which should feed the whole,
    • Soon flows to this in body and in soul;1903: 140
    • Whatever warms the heart or fills the head,
    • As the mind opens and its functions spread,
    • Imagination plies her dangerous art,
    • And pours it all upon the peccant part.
    • Nature its mother, Habit is its nurse;
    • Wit, spirit, faculties, but make it worse;
    • Reason itself but gives it edge and power,
    • As Heav’n’s bless’d beam turns vinegar more sour.
    • We, wretched subjects, tho’ to lawful sway,1903: 149
    • In this weak queen some fav’rite still obey:
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    • Ah! if she lend not arms as well as rules,
    • What can she more than tell us we are fools?
    • Teach us to mourn our nature, not to mend,
    • A sharp accuser, but a helpless friend!
    • Or from a judge turn pleader, to persuade
    • The choice we make, or justify it made;
    • Proud of an easy conquest all along,
    • She but removes weak passions for the strong:
    • So when small humours gather to a gout,
    • The doctor fancies he has driv’n them out.
    • Yes, Nature’s road must ever be preferr’d;1903: 161
    • Reason is here no guide, but still a guard;
    • ’T is hers to rectify, not overthrow,
    • And treat this passion more as friend than foe:
    • A mightier Power the strong direction sends,
    • And sev’ral men impels to sev’ral ends:
    • Like varying winds, by other passions toss’d,
    • This drives them constant to a certain coast.
    • Let Power or Knowledge, Gold or Glory, please,
    • Or (oft more strong than all) the love of ease;1903: 170
    • Thro’ life ’t is follow’d, ev’n at life’s expense;
    • The merchant’s toil, the sage’s indolence,
    • The monk’s humility, the hero’s pride,
    • All, all alike, find Reason on their side.
    • Th’ Eternal Art educing good from ill,
    • Grafts on this passion our best principle:
    • ’T is thus the mercury of man is fix’d,
    • Strong grows the virtue with his nature mix’d;
    • The dross cements what else were too refin’d,
    • And in one int’rest body acts with mind.1903: 180
    • As fruits ungrateful to the planter’s care,
    • On savage stocks inserted, learn to bear,
    • The surest Virtues thus from Passions shoot,
    • Wild Nature’s vigour working at the root.
    • What crops of wit and honesty appear
    • From spleen, from obstinacy, hate, or fear!
    • See anger, zeal, and fortitude supply;
    • Ev’n av’rice prudence, sloth philosophy;
    • Lust, thro’ some certain strainers well refin’d,1903: 189
    • Is gentle love, and charms all womankind;
    • Envy, to which th’ ignoble mind ’s a slave,
    • Is emulation in the learn’d or brave;
    • Nor virtue male or female can we name,
    • But what will grow on pride or grow on shame.
    • Thus Nature gives us (let it check our pride)
    • The Virtue nearest to our Vice allied:
    • Reason the bias turns to good from ill,
    • And Nero reigns a Titus if he will.
    • The fiery soul abhorr’d in Catiline,
    • In Decius charms, in Curtius is divine:1903: 200
    • The same ambition can destroy or save,
    • And makes a patriot as it makes a knave.
    • IV. This light and darkness in our chaos join’d,
    • What shall divide?—the God within the mind.
    • Extremes in Nature equal ends produce;
    • In Man they join to some mysterious use;
    • Tho’ each by turns the other’s bounds invade,
    • As in some well-wrought picture light and shade;
    • And oft so mix, the diff’rence is too nice
    • Where ends the Virtue or begins the Vice.
    • Fools! who from hence into the notion fall1903: 211
    • That Vice or Virtue there is none at all.
    • If white and black blend, soften, and unite
    • A thousand ways, is there no black or white?
    • Ask your own heart, and nothing is so plain;
    • ’T is to mistake them costs the time and pain.
    • V. Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
    • As to be hated needs but to be seen;
    • Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
    • We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
    • But where th’ extreme of Vice was ne’er agreed:1903: 221
    • Ask where ’s the north?—at York ’t is on the Tweed;
    • In Scotland at the Orcades; and there
    • At Greenland, Zembla, or the Lord knows where.
    • No creature owns it in the first degree,
    • But thinks his neighbour farther gone than he;
    • Ev’n those who dwell beneath its very zone,
    • Or never feel the rage or never own;
    • What happier natures shrink at with affright,
    • The hard inhabitant contends is right.1903: 230
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    • Virtuous and vicious ev’ry man must be,
    • Few in th’ extreme, but all in the degree:
    • The rogue and fool by fits is fair and wise,
    • And ev’n the best by fits what they despise.
    • ’T is but by parts we follow good or ill;
    • For Vice or Virtue, Self directs it still;
    • Each individual seeks a sev’ral goal;
    • But Heav’n’s great view is one, and that the Whole.
    • That counterworks each folly and caprice;
    • That disappoints th’ effect of every vice;1903: 240
    • That, happy frailties to all ranks applied,
    • Shame to the virgin, to the matron pride,
    • Fear to the statesman, rashness to the chief,
    • To kings presumption, and to crowds belief:
    • That, virtue’s ends from vanity can raise,
    • Which seeks no int’rest, no reward but praise;
    • And build on wants, and on defects of mind,
    • The joy, the peace, the glory of mankind.
    • Heav’n forming each on other to depend,
    • A master, or a servant, or a friend,1903: 250
    • Bids each on other for assistance call,
    • Till one man’s weakness grows the strength of all.
    • Wants, frailties, passions, closer still ally
    • The common int’rest, or endear the tie.
    • To these we owe true friendship, love sincere,
    • Each home-felt joy that life inherits here;
    • Yet from the same we learn, in its decline,
    • Those joys, those loves, those int’rests to resign;
    • Taught, half by Reason, half by mere decay,
    • To welcome Death, and calmly pass away.
    • Whate’er the passion—knowledge, fame or pelf—1903: 261
    • Not one will change his neighbour with himself.
    • The learn’d is happy Nature to explore,
    • The fool is happy that he knows no more;
    • The rich is happy in the plenty giv’n,
    • The poor contents him with the care of Heav’n.
    • See the blind beggar dance, the cripple sing,
    • The sot a hero, lunatic a king,
    • The starving chymist in his golden views
    • Supremely bless’d, the poet in his Muse.1903: 270
    • See some strange comfort ev’ry state attend,
    • And Pride bestow’d on all, a common friend:
    • See some fit passion every age supply;
    • Hope travels thro’, nor quits us when we die.
    • Behold the child, by Nature’s kindly law,
    • Pleas’d with a rattle, tickled with a straw:
    • Some livelier plaything gives his youth delight,
    • A little louder, but as empty quite:
    • Scarfs, garters, gold, amuse his riper stage,
    • And beads and prayer-books are the toys of age:1903: 280
    • Pleas’d with this bauble still, as that before,
    • Till tired he sleeps, and life’s poor play is o’er.
    • Meanwhile opinion gilds with varying rays
    • Those painted clouds that beautify our days;
    • Each want of happiness by Hope supplied,
    • And each vacuity of sense by Pride:
    • These build as fast as Knowledge can destroy;
    • In Folly’s cup still laughs the bubble joy;
    • One prospect lost, another still we gain,
    • And not a vanity is giv’n in vain:1903: 290
    • Ev’n mean Self-love becomes, by force divine,
    • The scale to measure others’ wants by thine.
    • See! and confess one comfort still must rise;
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