1721 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

Anonymous, "To Mr. Pope on his Translation of Homer" The Grove; or a Collection of Original Poems (1721) 284-86.



Delightful Fav'rite of the tuneful Nine,
Around whose Head unrival'd Glories shine;
Your Heavenly Strains in every Bosom raise
Ambitious Ardours to advance your Praise.
Ev'n I, unskill'd to touch the Vocal Lyre,
To Numbers rise, enliven'd by your Fire.
Above my self I mount with ventrous Wing,
Of You and Homer I attempt to sing:
Attempt, tho' far beneath such Worth I soar,
At Distance keep, and only not Adore.

Too long this Leader in th' Aonian flight
To Such alone disclos'd his sacred Light,
Whose Eyes Minerva had endu'd with Sight.
In Native Habit veil'd, observ'd by few,
The Deathless Name was all the Vulgar knew:
His Works impregnable as Ilium stood,
With ten Years Labour scarce to be subdu'd;
By thy Translation now familiar grown,
Triumphant Albion views him all her own;
All her bold Sons now scale the Trojan Wall,
And each fair Daughter pities Hector's Fall.

Hence be for ever in Oblivion lost
That long Debate, on what distinguish'd Coast
Phoebus first saw his darling Homer smile,
Since we salute him Born in Britain's Isle.
Here his best Life begins, and in our Clime,
More than in Greece, defies the Rage of Time.

Thrice happy Art! could thus refine the Oar,
And with new Lustre all the Weight restore!
His Genuine Beauties still adorn your Lines,
Still the great Soul inimitably shines.
Like his own Hero, the celestial Bard,
Almost Immortal thro' the whole appear'd:
Yet, in some tender, some unguarded Part,
Cou'd feel the Force of an invenom'd Dart;
Had Thetis Hers, as You your Care employ,
The Stygian Wave had cover'd all the God-like Boy.