1757 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

Anonymous, in "The Court of Apollo" The Centinel No. 23 (9 June 1757) 135.



Mark first, yon sickly bard who mounts apace,
Fire in his eyes, and conquest in his face?
'Tis Pope, to Phoebus and to Fame well-known,
Whom ev'ry Muse is fond to call her own.
Happy, had nature still improv'd his frame,
And form'd his heart and intellect the same:
In this we see and own th' etherial ray,
In that we mourn meer mortal clay.
Scarce to the prize a side-long glance he threw;
Nor deign'd to ask the boon, but claim'd his due.
Apollo ey'd his insolence of mien,
And mark'd the embryo dictates of his spleen:
He saw how specious affectation spred
A blaze of mimic candour round his head:
Behold vain glory toiling for applause,
And rancour seize the pen in virtue's cause.
Beheld indignant and with awful frown,
Address'd this haughty tyrant of renown.
"Say, bard, how could'st thou Atticus accuse
Of low-born envy and a jealous muse?
The heart of Atticus betray'd no stain,
Smooth flow'd his verse, and moral was his strain.
Whilst thou thyself by envy's fangs art torn,
Thy frowns o'ercast the genius in it's morn,
Forbid the swelling streams of verse to flow,
And blast the op'ning blossom e'er it blow."—