1758 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

G. G., in "To a Young Lady in Scotland" London Magazine 27 (January 1758) 46.



In Pope's harmonious pages you may scan
The proper task and estimate of man;
Thro' various life, his various song pursue,
Which as it leads improves in ev'ry view.
In easy flowing numbers if he sing,
What dire effects from am'rous discord spring;
His pregnant fancy, to our wond'ring eyes,
In various forms, bids various objects rise;
And hangs suspended on a single hair,
All the conceits and whimsies of the fair.

Like grubs in amber thro' the living line,
See Blackmore, Gildon, Dennis, Welsted shine;
For when rash witlings durst his rage inflame,
He damn'd the dunces to eternal fame.

If led by truth, and taste, he trace the scenes,
Where real beauty in full splendor reigns,
Nature gives sanction to the critick's laws,
And shews her son, the great sublime he draws.

If nigh the silver Thames, his Dorick strain
Displays the guiltless passions of the plain,
With force united on the melting heart,
Musick and love, their utmost power exert.

If o'er rough rocks, the torrent pours along,
Thunders the rolling torrent thro' his song.
If sighing breezes wanton in the skies,
Soft in his lay the breathing zephyr sighs,
Thus bright he shines, in every glory crown'd
The test of British elegance, and sound.