1728 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

Anonymous, "To the Authors of the Weekly Medley" Flying-Post (9 November 1728).



GENTLEMEN,

For such your Writings speak you: can you, without Indignation, read the little scurrilous Invectives, which a Set of Hackney Scribblers throw like so many nasty Jordans from their miserable Garrets, on the Head of the brightest Genius of our Age. Should any of you see a Croud of rude Rabble insult a Gentleman, would not your Hearts burn with Resentments? How then can you tamely look on and see so great a Man abus'd and not engage in Quarel? Shew your selves different from the Vulgar, by siding with true Merit. Satyr consists in Wit, not in Scurrility. All their Writings against him, are full of the latter; void of the former. In justice therefore to him who does honour to the Muses, and the British Nation, let your Journal merit the Thanks of the Polite; for doing Justice to our British Homer; as much as another Paper merits our Rage, for throwing Dirt in his Face. If you insert the Under-written, you may probably hear farther from one who heartily loves our Poetical Pope and is not a worse Protestant upon that Account. I am,

Gentlemen, Yours, &c.

Envy will Merit still pursue,
And Fools with Wisemen cope;
Thus is it with the doggrel Crew,
And dear, delightful POPE.

But all their Artifice and Spight,
Must on their Heads return.
Alas! they ne'er like him can write,
Or with his Pathos burn.

For whilst, or Truth, or Wit remain,
Whilst Man can read or think;
POPE shall triumphant keep the Plain,
And they in Bathos Sink.