1737 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

Anonymous, "To Mr. Pope" Grub-Street Journal (10 March 1737).



Pardon, instructive Bard, a trembling Muse,
Accept her homage, nor these lines refuse:
Weak tho' they be, and unadorn'd by art,
Yet the rude Verse comes honest from the heart;
Alike untaught to flatter or to fear,
The Muse can boast she is at least sincere.

When unfed Scriblers for a dinner write,
Pun on thy name, and fain would seem to bite;
The wretches I can pity from my heart,
And Dunciad fully makes the Blockheads smart.
But when embroider'd Coxcombs swell the page,
Fight the dull cause, and drain their feeble rage;
I own, 'tis with astonishment I see,
How Dulness' leaden Sons do all agree;
If bless'd with full, if curs'd with empty bags,
Still Dunce in velvet join's with Dunce in rags.
Sick with the theme, untouch'd by Envy's sting,
To brighter scenes the Muse directs her wing.

Bear me with speed, O ye propitious powers,
Where the clear Thames laves Twittenham's happy bowers.
There Poetry and Learning fix their seat,
Attend their Son, and bless his soft retreat.
To touch that ground would sacred themes inspire,
And quicken thoughts into Poetick fire.
The vaulted grott can ebbing fancy raise,
And the shell'd arch protract the Poet's lays.
Oh! could my Verse by thee be taught to flow,
What joy, what transport would thy Vot'ry know!
Then should I hope my numbers might in time
Bear some faint impress of thy Muse sublime.
What inward pleasure would my days attend,
Could I but call thee by the name of Friend!
Could I but boast, that I a friend was found;
To him who cloath'd Philosophy in sound;
To him, who never cring'd to haughty state,
But to be just still thought was to be great:
To him who scorn'd the wretched to debase,
Or slight the good because without a place;
Who the vile Knave can even laugh to sport,
Tho' shelter'd in the splendours of a court.
The flowry path of peace, who calmly trod,
True to his Prince, and faithful to his his God.
His praise with justice ever must endure,
Whose life is blameless as his lines are pure.
And did my bosom feel that holy fire,
Such as thy matchless numbers does inspire,
Then would I boldly in the lists of fame,
Far before Kings inscribe thy greater name.

Then POPE farewell, and long enjoy those days,
That still revolving still afford new praise.
And when Fate wills to call thy fleeting breath,
And thy eyes darken at th' approach of death;
May weeping friends, a voluntary band,
Around thy bed in tragick order stand;
While You, superior to the fatal hour,
Defy his darts, and mock the tyrant's pow'r;
Smile till the very latest shaft is sent,
Bless'd in the comfort of a life well spent:
While hov'ring Angels bear the soul away,
To the bright regions of eternal day.