1744 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

Anonymous, "Verses occasioned by the Death of Alexander Pope" London Magazine 13 (September 1744) 461.



When some high monarch mingles with the dust,
His grateful people rear the polish'd bust,
The conscious marble but records a name,
To sound the ruler's and the hero's fame;
His private virtues seldom are reveal'd,
His faults in dark oblivion lie conceal'd.
Here justice tamely yields her right away,
And partial custom bears a rigid sway.

In this, how blest would be the poet's lot!
His keen reflections and mistakes forgot!
But, ah! th' inimitable lines remain,
An endless monument! a lasting stain!
Cou'd these be rescu'd from the age to come,
The sorrowing muse would thus inscribe the tomb;
"Pope dies! Britannia groans beneath her wound!
And Europe echoes to the mournful sound!
The sons of learning shudder at the stroke!
And universal goodness feels a shock!"