1709 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

Another Hand, "To Mr. Pope" Poetical Miscellanies: the Sixth Part (1709) 257-61.



In Tempe's Shades, thus, to the list'ning Throng
Thy own Apollo taught the Rural Song;
That rough Deucalion-Race he cou'd asswage
With Verse like thine, and sooth their savage Rage;
The Use of Reason Verse cou'd first Inspire,
First strike their flinty Breasts, and light th' Etherial Fire;
Their stupid Souls to Sense and Thought improve,
To Pity soften'd, and refin'd to Love.
The melting Sounds convey'd Love's gentle Dart,
Thus Arm'd, the God subdu'd each stubborn Heart,
And fix'd his Empire by the Poet's Art.
And as the Pow'r of Verse did Love infuse,
To nobler Flights Love wing'd the Infant Muse;
Soon in fierce Strife the Tuneful Swains were found,
The Victor's Brow with Rural Honours crown'd;
Each grateful Nymph her Shepherd's Wreath prepar'd,
And Beauty was the Theam, and the Reward.
Hearts then were pair'd by Love, the mutual Flame
Bright, and unchang'd, to Age and Death the same.

Thus happy Mortals liv'd, e'er Vice had Birth,
When good Old Saturn rul'd the peaceful Earth:
E'er the hoarse Drum had kindl'd fierce Debate,
Or tuneful Trumpets sooth'd 'em into Fate:
The guiltless Lawrel then from Blood was free,
Nor Mars usurp'd the Muses sacred Tree;
While Verse, and Love, their equal Empire sway'd,
E'er Int'rest had debas'd 'em to a Trade:
Celesital Beauties did to Groves repair,
And Gods descending found Elizium there.

Such first were Poets, such the Ancient Wit;
Thus Maro, and the soft Sicilian writ;
Thy early Guides, who tun'd thy Infant Voice,
Refin'd thy Numbers first, and fix'd thy Choice.
With Art like theirs, thy humble Subject's wrought,
So smooth the flowing Verse, so turn'd the beauteous Thought.
Where easie Nature every Grace affords,
And charms without an empty Pomp of Words:
Where the just Thoughts the Sylvan Muse supplies,
Sink without creeping, without soaring Rise.
So form'd the Whole, so well dispos'd each Part,
Nor Greece nor Rome can boast a nobler Art:
Each Age and Passion, ev'ry Rural Care,
Attend the Seasons of the various Year:
The Spring of Youth Life's opening Sweets does prove,
Gay Hopes, and soft Desires, the Bloom of Love:
'Till ripen'd Man his scorching Summer mourns,
And kindl'd into Pain, more fiercely burns:
The glowing Flame, damp'd with Autumnal Storms,
Dark Images of Death and Horrour forms,
Or, when declin'd to Friendship, faintly warms:
A Train of Woes, cold Age like Winter bears,
Lost Hopes, departed Love, and endless Tears!

The Sylvan Song your first Essay you chuse,
The hardest, the least known, most moving Muse:
But soon on Wing, above your Native Plains,
You mount aloft in Homer's Godlike Strains;
While you Divine Sarpedon's Fate deplore,
Sublime with Grecian Energy you Soar:
So just an Art in each Extream you prove,
Or sing with Shepherds, or lament with Jove.
Thus thy bright God with equal Glory gilds
Majestick Palaces, and humble Fields:
Thus warm in Spring his Youthful Beams appear,
Create the Seasons, and adorn the Year;
To Flow'rs their Bloom, to Stars their Light supply,
Paint all the Vales, and Brighten all the Sky.