1716 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Gay

Jonathan Swift to Alexander Pope, 30 August 1716; Works of Pope, ed. Warton (1797) 9:15.



There is a young ingenious Quaker in this town, who writes verses to his mistress, not very correct, but in a strain purely what a poetical Quaker should do, commending her look and habit, etc. It gave me a hint that a set of Quaker pastorals might succeed, if your friend Gay could fancy it, and I think it a fruitful subject; pray hear what he says. I believe further, the pastoral ridicule is not exhausted; and that a porter, footman, or chairman's pastoral might do well. Or what think you of a Newgate pastoral, among the whores and thieves there?