1731 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

Matthew Pilkington, "To Mira, with the Miscellaneous Works of Pope" Pilkington, Poems on Several Occasions (1731) 49-53.



Mira, to the the fondest of thy Friends
With these soft Works his softest Wishes sends,
Works, form'd with Grandeur, Majesty, and Art,
To raise the Mind, and to delight the Heart,
Sublimely soft, and nervous tho' with Ease,
Inspir'd with ev'ry Excellence to please,
The Pow'r of Numbers governing the whole,
Enchants the Ear, and mixes with the Soul.

If Windsor's sacred Forest be his Theme,
Windsor delights us as a golden Dream,
Sweet are its Lawns and Groves in Fancy seen,
With bloomy Sprays, and ever-living Green,
The Mind, transported with his Scenes, he leads
O'er Hills, or Vales, or Flow'r-embellish'd Meads,
From him new Charms inspiring Windsor gains,
And smiles with Bloom eternal in his Strains.

If Pope describes the Youth prepar'd to chace,
With wing'd Pursuit, the frighted sylvan Race,
To wind the vocal Horn, while Hills resound,
And urge the rapid Steed to skim the Ground,
Th' impatient Fancy, wing'd with equal Speed,
Flies o'er the Lawns, and stretches with the Steed.

When whelm'd in Grief fond Eloisa lies,
With kind Concern we feel our Bosoms rise,
So just, so lively are her Woes exprest,
A strong Compassion throbs in ev'ry Breast,
In ev'ry Sigh, in ev'ry Pang we share,
Bleed at her Wounds, and number Tear for Tear.

To some lone Cell when mournful she retires,
To breathe those Sighs, which Solitude inspires,
Who on a Tomb can see the Mourner spread,
(The dreary Lodgment of the silent Dead,)
Where Damps unwholsome taint the purer Air,
With not one Friend to soften her Despair,
Who sees unmov'd the Soul-distressing Scene,
Who reads her Woes, and feels not all her Pain?
Her Grief enliven'd by the Poet's Art,
With ev'ry kind Emotion sways the Heart.

When loftier Lines describe the peaceful Age,
And God Messiah swells the sacred Page,
How bold! how rais'd his Sentiments appear!
How justly temper'd with an hallow'd Fear!
How is the Bard with heav'nly Raptures fir'd!
How, praising God! by God himself inspir'd!

Messiah born! O sing Messiah's Reign!
When teeming Plenty loads the fruitful Plain:
O smile ye Fields! ye Vallies laugh and sing!
Rejoyce thou Sion! Salem greet thy King!
Ye Clouds, your Fatness on the Earth distill!
Ye feather'd People hymn from ev'ry Hill!
To bless the Earth a God, a God descends,
Whose Wisdom guides, whose Providence defends.

O, cou'd I flow in Cowley's easy Vein,
Or boast the gentle Granville's softer Strain,
Cou'd I aspire to Pope's sublimer Stile,
(The nobler Homer of the British Isle,)
Each lively Thought shou'd, like thy Beauties, warm,
And charm that Maid who lives the World to charm.