1758 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

John Upton, note in Faerie Queene (1758); Todd, Works of Spenser (1805) 5:86n.



This Alexandrine verse [FQ 3.11.28: "Like to a discolourd snake, whose hidden snares | Through the greene gras his long bright burnisht back declares"], as generally called, is very expressive and picturesque. I believe Mr. Pope had it in view, in his Art of Criticism:

A needless Alexandrine ends the song,
Which like a wounded snake drags its slow length along.