1742 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

Henry Jones, "To a Friend who had writ Verses to Mr. Pope, in the Person of Apollo, occasion'd by hearing that Poet abus'd" 1742 ca.; Jones, Poems on Several Occasions (1749) 50-53.



Oh! wonder not, Varus, fell Cynicks should censure,
Who snarl by Retail, and who bark at a Venture,
As Beagles whose Jaws are wide open to swallow,
Can by one single Yelp make all the Pack follow:
Such Criticks at random a Wit would devour;
Unhappy the Author who falls in their Pow'r:
At his Person or Parts they still level their Fury;
When Envy is Judge you will need a good Jury:
For blind to those Beauties which dazzle our Sight,
Whose Glitter amazes and gives such Delight;
Like Moles in the Dark, while they grope for a Fault,
They throw up the Rubbish by which they are caught;
So ill Nature excites a dull Dunce in descanting,
And Malice provokes him where Judgment is wanting;
As Mastiffs in Fury will bark at the Moon,
And Frogs from their Quagmire dare croak at the Sun.
Dan Pope, who was nurs'd by the Muses and Graces,
Whose Worth with his Years still improves and increases,
Above their short Reach while o'er Pindus' high Head,
His Name in wide Circles immortal shall spread;
Yet him, the great Monarch of Genius and Wit,
A Bantling of Dennis endeavour'd to hit;
And labour'd to spatter just like his dull Sire,
What Asses will envy and Mankind admire.
So Madmen, when frantick, throw Dirt at the Skies,
Tho' the Filth in descending still falls in their Eyes.
'Tis surely amazing such Fools should pursue
A Poet defended by Phoebus and you:
Defended by Phoebus who lends him his Lyre,
And brightens his Genius with all his own Fire:
Delighting to visit the Bard in his Way,
To smile over Twickenham with Pleasure each Day,
To dart down Effulgence, and from his high Noon
To gild the green Laurels, and shine on his Son:
While you in the Bower imbibing his Blaze,
Inspir'd by your Friendship and destin'd to please,
Resolving your eminent Leader to follow,
You listed for Pope, and you writ with Apollo.
Thus they by Alliance are bound to sustain
Your affable Talent and humorous Vein;
When impudent Scribblers, who Envy inherit,
Presume to invade or your Person or Merit.
Such Creatures whose Opticks with Film are o'erspread,
Can only perceive what is gloomy and sad;
As Owls at high Noon-tide avoid the clear Ray,
And choose the brown Horror to seek for their Prey:
Or as Ideots, to form a Distinction unable,
Would trample on Corals in search of a Pebble.