1709 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elizabeth Thomas

Alexander Pope to Henry Cromwell, 7 May 1709; Works of Pope, ed. Elwin and Courthope (1871-1889) 6:177.



The time is now drawing nigh, when you use with Sappho to cross the water in an evening to Spring-Garden, I hope you will have a fair opportunity of ravishing her: I mean only, as Oldfox, in the Plain Dealer, says, of ravishing her through the ear with your well-penned verses. I have been told of a lucky compliment of an officer to his mistress in the same place, which I cannot but set down (and desire you at present to take it in good part instead of a Latin quotation) that it may some time or other be improved by your pronunciation, while you walk, "solus cum sola," in those amorous shades.

When at Spring-Garden Sappho deigns t' appear,
The flowers march in her van, musk in her rear.

I wish you all the pleasures which the season and the nymph can afford; the best company, and the best coffee, and the best news you can desire. And what more to wish you than this I do not know, unless it be a great deal of patience to read and examine the verses I send you, and I promise you in return a great deal of deference to your judgment, and an extraordinary obedience to your sentiments for the future, to which you know I have been sometimes a little refractory.