1726 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

William Pattison, "To Mr. Pope" 1726 ca.; in Pattison, Works (1728) 199-201.



Dear Sir,
And sure that fond, familiar Name,
May hint, that Friendship is my gen'rous Aim,
O then this Frankness of my Heart excuse,
And with a Smile confirm the Blushing Muse;
Ambitious Hope! yet say, to bless our Eyes,
Thy mighty Homer should again arise,
Wouldst Thou not pant the wondrous Man to see?
Speak from thy inmost Soul! — then censure Me!
And as Aloft in laurell'd State you sit,
And view below the Subject Sons of Wit;
O teach those arduous Ways thro' which you came,
And lead Her thro' the flowery Paths of Fame.
A Child, as yet, no certain Steps she takes,
But, now and then, a wild Excursion makes,
Mocks the grave Dictates of Her Guardian Art,
Steals from Her Sight, and plays a Wanton's Part:
Tho' cross'd my self in every glorious Aim,
'Tis Hope, at least, to be allay'd to Fame.
And whilst the Witty, and the Fair commend,
It hints some Merit to be call'd Thy Friend.
Fir'd at that Word, against my Fate I'll strive,
An dare to emulate that Praise I'd give.
What, tho' I fail the bold Attempt to gain,
Mean were the Thoughts to think it made in vain.
The richest Ore shines useless unreveal'd,
And smallest Talents should not be conceal'd.
For sure the Muse that Gen'rous Verse inspires,
Which Friendship dictates, and Affection fires;
Warm'd by a faint Reflexion of thy Flame,
My Bosom kindles at immortal Fame;
But well I know the Rashness of my Youth,
Perhaps these Lines confirm the fatal Truth!
No sordid Views could ever yet seduce,
The Virgin-Chasteness of my youthful Muse;
Let venal Bards in State-Promotion play,
There Sport like Atoms in the Stream of Day.
I never made a wealthy Ideot laugh,
Or Israel-like ador'd a Golden-Calf;
But when I see truth Worth conspicuous shine,
I burn to make the bright Alliance mine.
Superior to the formal World's controul,
Pride in its Charms, and claim a kindred Soul;
O! then this Token of my Zeal receive,
For next to Merit Praises, is to Give.