1777 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

Elizabeth Montagu to Mrs. Vesey, August 1777; Reginald Blunt, Mrs. Montagu, 1762-1800 (1923) 2:269.



The next day I dined at Mr. Ellis's, walked where Pope had walked, and sat where he had sat; but alas! I came back as prosaic as I went, nor did I feel that kind of enthusiasm I should have done if the place had once belonged to Shakespear or Milton, or Spencer. I admire and honour Mr. Pope, he is a charming writer, and has every perfection a satirist and moral writer can have, but that something which makes a poet divine, that lifts him "above the visible diurnal sphere," that gives him visions of worlds unknown, makes him sing like a seraphim, tune his harp to the musick of the spheres, and raise enchantments around him, was not in the said Mr. Pope; so though I pay him great respect I keep my enthusiastick adoration for the great magicians who work supernatural wonders.