1735 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

T. N., "To the Author of the Essay on Man" Grub-Street Journal (20 February 1735).



Resign, vain bard, your laurell'd throne,
And fame, not yours, resolve to slight.
You print — but little is your own,
For Pallas dictates half you write.

Tho' with your borrow'd sense and wit,
Each learned shelf in Britain shine,
Give up but what the goddess writ,
Your works wou'd then be few as mine.

Oh! learn from bards more bold and wise,
On your own genius to rely,
Who merit fame, and mount the skies
On their wing, no Pallas nigh.

Write but one sheet without the aid
And guidance of celestial pow'rs,
Not prompted by that heavenly maid,
Your verse would then be much like ours.

But with the fairest light to shine,
And with the strongest force to move,
In ev'ry period, thought and line,
You feel yourself, the god, you prove.