1729 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

Thomas Cooke, in "The Battle of the Poets" Tales, Epistles, Odes, Fables (1729) 138-40.



Perish the Verse of Spleen, th' abusive Song,
Where Malice weakly jumbles Right and Wrong.
Let Fancy image, to her utmost Powr,
The Poet's Anguish in the lab'ring Hour:
Behold the Bard; aghast his Eyeballs roll,
And the malignant Passion shakes his Soul;
In all his tumultuous Breast a Fury reigns,
And with the fellest Venom swells his Veins;
At ev'ry Age, and at each Sex, he flings,
And with his Satire daubs but never stings:
He scribles on, but what he scarcely knows,
While from his Pen the scurril Nonsense flows!
Slander and Lewdness he for Wit would pass,
As Knaves would oft' for Gold impose their Brass.
Too long the Task, the Toil of Moons, to Name,
His ev'ry guilty Line that fed the Flame,
How he purloin'd from the immortal dead,
And in his Thefts converted Gold to Lead.
To this Confession Justice sways the Mind,
That in the Mass confus'd we Beautys find,
But so dispos'd, as in the rustic Dance
Colin treads courtly from th' Effect of Chance;
Beautys like Vi'lets which adorn the Ground
That Briars, Thorns, and Weeds, and Mud, surround.

Of all who fought beneath this Chief's Command
Not one escap'd the Critic's vengeful Hand;
High rais'd they ly upon the fatal Fire,
And in one Blaze, to live no more, expire.