1735 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

Camilla, "To Mr. Pope, on his Characters of Women" Weekly Miscellany (10 May 1735).



What SAPPHO told Thee once, we all approv'd;
No more for loving made, than to be lov'd.
There's Truth, and ample Vengeance in the Line;
Better — no Character — than One like Thine:
A canker'd Foe to all the Fair and Brave,
Yet doom'd with tuneful Impotence to rave.

Cou'd Sentiments like These thy Soul engage
To rock the Cradle of thy Mother's Age!
Grow not like Her, and the whole World must grant
'Tis all the Cradles Thou are like to want.

In gross Exceptions to our gen'ral Rules,
How coarse thy Dawb, to draw a Group of Fools!
Distorted Features rise beneath thy Hand,
No graceful Touches, and no free Command:
Meanly design'd, — and, as we all agree,
Unworthy of thy Pencil — worthy Thee!

'Mongst these thy Ideots be thy great Reward!
They'll pay the Debt, or else they'll struggle hard:
Vultures, or Vipers, wound with half the Smart,
They'll grow thy Liver, and they'll sting thy Heart.

From Birds we guard with Nets the rip'ning Fruit;
These taste the Sweets, but Swine delight to root:
Such filthy Spoilers, head-strong in their Ill,
Demand a Pitchfork, rather than a Quill.

I won't return the Satire, tho' I might;
(Crouds of Male-fools are op'ning to my Sight.)
May I not give to some a darker Name,
And emulate the Fury of thy Flame?
I'll not be tax'd on that dissembling Score,
I own, I like the Sex, — and yet no Wh—e.
Do but relent; for Me with Passion burn,
Then — know thyself, and — die of Female Scorn!