1745 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

P. L., "To Alexander Pope, Esq. on his Essay of Man" in Collection of Original Poems and Translations. By John Whaley (1745) 279-80.



Hailm moral Bard! to whose instructive Lay,
E'en Greece must yield, and Rome her Homage pay;
Such are thy Numbers, that with wond'rous Art,
They sooth at once the Ear, and mend the Heart.
Amaz'd we view thy strong poetick Flight,
Where Wit and Judgement, Sense and Sound unite.
Thy Words so justly do thy Thoughts express,
That Reason lovely seems in Fancy's Dress.

Let vulgar Bards indulge the trivial Song,
To thee, sublime and serious Truths belong;
Master of Manners, and of Verse, you show
What to ourselves, our Friend, our God we owe.
Whate'er great Plato, or Chrysippus thought,
Here doubly charms in pleasing Numbers taught,
Though grave the Theme, the Beauties of thy Page
The gay, the young insensibly engage:
E'en Virtue's strictest Precepts yield delight,
And win those Lovers, they were wont to fright.

No more shall Science now be crampt to Rules,
But free and unconfin'd forsake the Schools;
You, her High Priest, expose to vulgar Eye
Her solemn Rites and darkest Mystery.

Oh! let thy Muse attempt a nobler Theme,
And join the Christian to the moral Scheme.
Let her describe Redemption's mystic Plan,
And God's unbounded Clemency to Man;
Then shall thy Verse o'er Infidels prevail,
And conquer Vice, where graver Doctrines fail.