1720 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

John Gay, "Mr. Pope's Welcome from Greece" 1720; Additions to the Works of Alexander Pope (1776) 1:90-99.



Long hast thou, friend! been absent from thy soil,
Like patient Ithacus at siege of Troy;
I have been witness of thy six years toil
Thy daily labours and thy night's annoy,
Lost to thy native land, with great turmoil
On the wide sea, oft threat'ning to destroy:
Methinks with thee I've trod Sigaean ground,
And the shores of Hellespont resound.

Did I not see thee when thou first sett'st sail
To seek adventures fair in Homer-land?
Did I not see thy sinking spirits fail,
And wish thy bark had never left the strand?
Ev'n in mid-ocean often didst thou quail,
And oft lift up thy holy eye and hand,
Praying thy Virgin dear, and saintly choir
Back to the port to speed thy bark entire.

Chear up, my friend, thy dangers now are o'er;
Methinks — nay sure the rising coasts appear;
Hark how the guns salute from either shore,
As thy trim vessel cuts the Thames so fair:
Shouts answ'ring shouts, from Kent and Essex roar,
And bells break loud through ev'ry gust of air:
Bonfires do blaze, and bones and cleavers ring,
As at the coming of some mighty king.

Now pass we Gravesend with a friendly wind,
And Tilbury's white fort, and long Blackwall;
Greenwich, where dwells the friend of human kind
More visited than regal park or hall,
Withers the good, and (with him ever join'd)
Facetious Disney greet thee first of all.
I see his chimney smoke, and hear him say,
Duke! that's the room for Pope, and that for Gay.

Come in, my friends, here shall ye dine and lie,
And here shall breakfast, and here dine again,
And sup, and breakfast on, (if ye comply)
For I have still one dozen of champaigne:
His voice still lessens, as the ship sails by,
He waves his hand to bring us back in vain;
For now I see, I see proud London's spires,
Greenwich is lost, and Deptford dock retires.

O what a concourse swarm on yonder key!
The sky re-echoes with new shouts of joy:
By all this show, I ween, 'tis Lord Mayr's day;
I hear the voice of trumpet and hautboy.—
No, now I see them near, oh, these are they
Who come in crowds to welcome thee from Troy:
Hail to the bard whom long as lost we mourn'd,
From siege, from battle, and from storm return'd.

Of goodly dames and courteous knights, I view
The silken petticoat, and 'broider'd vest;
Yea Peers and mighty Dukes, with ribbands blue,
(True blue, fair emblem of unstained breast.)
Others I see, as noble and more true,
By no court-badge distinguish'd from the rest:
First see I Methuen of sincerest mind,
As Arthur brave, yet soft as woman kind.

What lady's that, to whom he gently bends?
Who knows not her? ah those are Wortley's Eyes:
How art thou honour'd, number'd with her friends?
For she distinguishes the good and wise.
The sweet tongu'd Murray near her side attends.
Now to my heart the glance of Howard flies;
Now Havery, fair of face, I mark full well,
With thee, youth's youngest daughter, sweet Lepell.

I see two lovely sisters, hand in hand,
The fair-hair'd Martha, and Teresa brown;
Madge Bellenden, the tallest of the land;
And smiling Mary, soft and fair as down;
Yonder I see the chearful Duchess stand
For friendship, zeal and blythsome humours known:
Whence that loud shout in such a hearty strain?
Why, all the Hamiltons are in her train.

See next the decent Scudamore advance,
With Winchelsea, still meditating song:
With her perhaps Miss Howe came there by chance,
Nor knows with whom, nor why she comes along.
Far off from these see Santlow, fam'd for dance;
With frolick Bicknell and her sister young;
With other names, by me not to be nam'd,
Much lov'd in private, not in publick fam'd!

But now behold the female band retire,
Now the shrill musick of their voice is still'd!
Methinks I see fam'd Buckingham admire,
That in Troy ruin thou hadst not been kill'd;
Sheffield, who knows to strike the living lyre,
With hand judicious, like thy Homer skill'd.
Bathurst impetuous hastens to the coast,
Whom you and I strive who shall love the most.

See generous Burlington, with goodly Bruce,
(But Bruce comes wafted in a soft sedan)
Dan Prior next, belov'd by every muse,
And friendly Congreve, unreproachful man!
(Oxford by Cunningham hath sent excuse)
See hearty Watkins comes with cup and cann;
And Lewis, who has never friend forsaken;
And Laughton whis'pring asks — Is Troy town taken?

Earl Warwick comes, of free and honest mind:
Bold, gen'rous Craggs, whose heart was ne'er disguis'd:
Ah why, sweet St. John, cannot I thee find?
St. John for ev'ry social virtue priz'd.—
Alas! to foreign clime thou art confin'd,
Or else to see thee here I well surmiz'd:
Thou too, my Swift, dost breathe Boetian air;
When wilt thou bring back wit and humour here?

Harcourt I see for eloquence renown'd,
The mouth of justice, oracle of law!
Another Simon is beside him found,
Another Simon, like as straw to straw.
How Lansdown smiles, with lasting laurel crown'd!
What mitred prelate there commands our awe?
See Rochester approving nods his head,
And ranks one modern with the mighty dead.

Carlton and Chandois thy arrival grace;
Hanmer, whose eloquence th' unbiass'd sways;
Harley, whose goodness opens in his face,
And shews his heart the seat where virtue stays.
Ned Blount advances next, with busy pace,
In haste, but sauntring, hearty in his ways:
I see the friendly Carylls come by dozens,
Their wives, their uncles, daughters, sons, and cousins.

Arbuthnot there I see, in physick's art,
As Galen learn'd, or famed Hippocrate;
Whose company drives sorrow from the heart,
As all disease his medicines dissipate:
Kneller amid the triumph bears his part,
Who could (were mankind lost) anew create:
What can th' extent of his vast soul confine?
A painter, critic, engineer, divine!

Thee Jervas hails, robust and debonair,
Now have WE conquer'd Homer, friend, he cries:
Dartneuf, grave joker, joyous Ford is there,
And wond'ring Main, so fat, with laughing eyes:
(Gay, Maine, and Cheny, boon companions dear,
Gay fat, Maine fatter, Cheney huge of size)
Yea, Dennis, Gildon, (hearing thou hast riches)
And honest, hatless Cromwell, with red breeches.

O Wanley, whence com'st thou with shorten'd hair,
And visage fro, thy shelves with dust besprent?
"Forsooth (quoth he) from placing Homer there,
For ancients to compile is myne entente:
Of auncient only hath Lord Harley care:
But hither me hath my meeke Lady sent:—
In manuscript of Greeke rede we thilke fame,
But book yprint best plesyth myn gude dame."

Yonder I see, among th' expecting croud,
Evans with laugh jocose, and tragick Young;
High buskin'd Booth, grave Mawbert, wand'ring Frowd,
And Titcomb's belly waddling slow along.
See Digby faints at Southern talking loud,
Yea, Steele and Tickell mingle in the throng;
Tickell, whose skill (in partnership they say)
Set forth for Greece, but founder'd in the way.

Lo, the two Doncastles in Berkshire known!
Lo, Bickford, Fortescue, of Devon land!
Lo, Tooker, Eckershall, Sykes, Rawlinson!
See, hearty Morley takes thee by the hand!
Ayrs, Graham, Buckridge, joy thy voyage done.
But who can count the leaves, the stars, the sand!
Lo, Stonor, Fenton, Caldwell, Ward, and Broome!
Lo, thousands more, but I want rhyme and room!

How lov'd! how honour'd thou! yet be not vain;
And sure thou art not, for I hear thee say,
All this, my friends, I owe to Homer's strain,
On whose strong pinions I exalt my lay.
What from contending cities did he gain;
And what rewards his grateful country pay?
None, none were paid — why then all this for me?
These honours, Homer, had been just to thee.