1733 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

Britannicus, in The Daily Courant (16 June 1733).



To Love and Hate all human Pow'rs submit;
The Strength of Reason, and the Life of Wit:
To them the Mind a willing Homage pays;
And Prejudice unseen each Heart betrays.
O Prejudice, unbounded is thy Reign;
Great Dullness toils but to augment thy Train:
Nor are her Sons thy Votaries alone;
Thou mak'st a PULTENEY'S Eloquence thy own.
With Patriot Zeal still cover Private Hate;
And when his Vows are finish'd, make him great:
No Chief's more fit thy Empire to maintain,
Could Friendship bind him in her sacred Chain.
Truth we applaud, yet sacrifice to Thee;
Not Phoebus nor the Nine can set us free.
See POPE to thy almighty Influence bend;
To Virtue and to Bolingbroke a Friend:
Unequall'd Bard; yet still with mortal Mind,
Or false to Freedom, or like Bigots blind.
Can Sires of Slav'ry cheer a Briton's Bowl?
Can ST. JOHN'S Treasons feast a Patriot-Soul?
Has ALBION then a Son, who can forget
BRITANNIA weeping, and the Monster's Threat?
The Tyrant-Boast of Penalties and Pains;
While Conscience trembled at the Hell-forg'd Chains?
See St. John brooding intellectual Night;
And ev'ry Pow'r of Wit made Slave to Spite.
When will thy Crimes be full, thou false to All!
Still Envy, Malice, on thy Aid will call.
Still will a PULTENEY join, a POPE commend;
To Virtue only and her Friends, a Friend,
To Freedom ever sacred be my Pen,
Freedom, that makes us Great, that makes us Men.
Could I, Dan POPE, once reach thy lovely Strain,
No more should Party Rage that Word prophane;
Then should my Verse the Wounds of Treach'ry heal,
And Faction's Brood to ev'ry Eye reveal;
Fair Liberty should every Charm display,
Peace beauteous smile, warm'd with her genial Ray;
In her blest Eden ev'ry Virtue grows,
Folly and Baseness are alone her Foes;
Full are her Cities, Nations crowd her Gates,
Obedient Plenty on her Scepter waits;
Just to her Cause, and to Britannia true,
Oh could my Muse the glorious Theme pursue
With equal Strength, BRUNSWICK should crown my Lays,
While Faction's Tribe is doom'd to Whitehead's Praise.*
Hear the vain Bounce, with Scandal quite grown made,
N—e is a Dunce, his Voice is bad;
G—n is grave and dull; a Dunce is Y—g,
For Melody is natural to his Tongue:
'Tis Dulness governs all, ev'n J—s' Brains;
There's not a Day in which he takes no Pains;
H—y's a Dunce, 'tis prov'd, for he can write,
He's little too, nay more, the Lord can fight:
There's W—m and P—m Dunces plain,
One pays the Army, and one guards the Main:
That W—m is one, thy Proof can't fail,
Rash sightless Thing, of Poetry beware;
Go read thy Dunces G—n, S—k, H—e,
Ask injured POPE thy Fawning to excuse,
Nor like thy APPIUS thy own Friend abuse;
Henceforth be dumb, and merit honest Fame,
Lest W—M should hapless hear thy Name:
Alas! what fatal Star betray'd thy Youth,
As innocent of State Affairs as Truth,
On thy first Voyage to be repairless split,
Poor Bard to think that calling Fool was Wit?
In thy low Scandal ever buried lie,
Beneath the Notice of an human Eye;
No, Pity rises, PULTENEY'S Smiles be thine,
With WALPOLE'S Foes may'st thou at Dowley dine;
Alien to Good, unworthy e'er to hear
How WALPOLE'S Musick wins th' impartial Ear;
I've seen his Truth each guileful Knot untwist,
Till Faction wonder'd how he could exist;
Felt the sweet Charm, and spite of selfish Hate,
Retir'd abash'd, and in just Silence sate.

* Whitehead, the Author of the State-Dunces.