1744 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

Anonymous, "To the Memory of Mr. Pope" Daily Gazetteer (3 July 1744).



Adieu! and let the Funeral Honours claim
The Verse, which living, I refus'd thy Fame;
This late Return a Pen, to Friendship, pays,
That held thee still above the Reach of Praise;
And drops its mourning Tribute on the Bier,
Sacred, to all that can of Thee expire.

For down thy laurel'd Page and deathless Line
Still breaths that Soul of Harmony divine,
Still social, lives, Companion of the Mind,
Goes forth, instructs, and speaks to all Mankind;
Still smiles with Innocence, with Honour glows,
Still leagu'd with Virtue, wars on all her Foes;
Lifts Worth o'er Want, to Merit weds Acclaim,
And plucks from guilty Pow'r the Mask of Shame.
This is to live, when Time itself is pass'd,
And all who now are living, breath their last.

Alas! who hopes thy Monument to raise,
Means to himself the Building and the Praise;
Thou like the mighty Monarchs of the Nile,
When living, built thine own eternal Pile,
To stand, where Tempests bear, and Bolts are hurl'd,
The future Gaze and Wonder of the World.

As the last Phoenix, brightest of his Kind,
That on the Sun's proud Temple dy'd inshrin'd;
Thy Birth consum'd the Sweets of Nature's Store,
Nor left from whence a future Heir shou'd soar.

It is enough, nor Britain thou repine,
Tho' Genius from its tow'ring Noon decline,
Heav'n gave thee all Ambition's Height cou'd hope,
To Greece a Homer, and to Thee a POPE,
O'er ev'ry Realm distinguish'd by the Birth
Of Two, whose Fires shou'd lighten all the Earth.

What's Time, whose whirling Ages roll away?
Or Life, still less perdurable than they?
Whelm'd in the Gulph of transitory Things
Sinks Pomp, Pow'r, Mitres, Demi-gods and Kings;
O'er drowning Years, far distant Aeras close,
Tho' Bards prophetic of long Fame oppose;
Till some immortal Genius steps between,
And fixes where his Century has been;
Thence to each kindred Period gives a Date,
And throws a Glory round some free-born State.

Thus, mighty Bard, shall thy triumphant Page
Point out the pristine Annals of our Age;
And hence, succeeding Nations may be taught
When Albion conquer'd, and when Brunswick fought.
And if — for what so stable and sublime
To stand the Shock of all-o'erturning Time,
If, when the Pow'rs of Nature feel Decay,
And all her high Memorials melt away;
If Britain too her Glories must resign
Lost with her Liberty and Guelphian Line,
Still on late Honour shall her Isle adorn,
And Fame's last Trumpet speak where POPE was born.