Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Poetical Works of Pope, Vol. II by Alexander Pope

Part 4 out of 8

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

This king I never could attend too soon;
I miss'd my prayers, to get me dress'd by noon.
For thee, ah! what for thee did I resign?
My passions, pleasures, all that e'er was mine:
I've sacrificed both modesty and ease;
Left operas, and went to filthy plays:
_Double-entendres_ shock'd my tender ear;
Yet even this, for thee, I chose to bear:
In glowing youth, when nature bids be gay,
And every joy of life before me lay; 20
By honour prompted, and by pride restrain'd,
The pleasures of the young my soul disdain'd:
Sermons I sought, and with a mien severe
Censured my neighbours, and said daily prayer.
Alas, how changed! with this same sermon-mien,
The filthy _What-d'ye-call-it_[71]--I have seen.
Ah, royal Princess! for whose sake I lost
The reputation, which so dear had cost;
I, who avoided every public place,
When bloom and beauty bid me show my face, 30
Now near thee, constant, I each night abide,
With never-failing duty, by thy side;
Myself and daughters standing in a row,
To all the foreigners a goodly show.
Oft had your drawing-room been sadly thin,
And merchants' wives close by your side had been,
Had I not amply fill'd the empty place,
And saved your Highness from the dire disgrace:
Yet Cockatilla's artifice prevails,
When all my duty and my merit fails: 40
That Cockatilla, whose deluding airs
Corrupts our virgins, and our youth ensnares;
So sunk her character, and lost her fame,
Scarce visited before your Highness came:
Yet for the bedchamber 'tis she you choose,
Whilst zeal, and lame, and virtue you refuse.
Ah, worthy choice; not one of all your train
Which censures blast not, or dishonours stain.
I know the Court, with all its treacherous wiles,
The false caresses, and undoing smiles. 50
Ah, Princess! learn'd in all the courtly arts,
To cheat our hopes, and yet to gain our hearts.'


1 In beauty or wit,
No mortal as yet
To question your empire has dared;
But men of discerning
Have thought that in learning
To yield to a lady was hard.

2 Impertinent schools,
With musty dull rules,
Have reading to females denied:
So Papists refuse
The Bible to use,
Lest flocks should be wise as their guide.

3 'Twas a woman at first
(Indeed she was cursed)
In knowledge that tasted delight,
And sages agree
The laws should decree
To the first possessor the right.

4 Then bravely, fair dame,
Resume the old claim,
Which to your whole sex does belong;
And let men receive,
From a second bright Eve,
The knowledge of right and of wrong.

5 But if the first Eve
Hard doom did receive,
When only one apple had she,
What a punishment new
Shall be found out for you,
Who, tasting, have robb'd the whole tree!



The playful smiles around the dimpled mouth,
That happy air of majesty and truth,
So would I draw: but, oh! 'tis vain to try,
My narrow genius does the power deny;
The equal lustre of the heavenly mind,
Where every grace with every virtue's join'd:
Learning not vain, and wisdom not severe,
With greatness easy, and with wit sincere;
With just description show the soul divine,
And the whole princess in my work should shine.



1 Generous, gay, and gallant nation,
Bold in arms, and bright in arts;
Land secure from all invasion,
All but Cupid's gentle darts!
From your charms, oh! who would run?
Who would leave you for the sun?
Happy soil, adieu, adieu!

2 Let old charmers yield to new;
In arms, in arts, be still more shining:
All your joys be still increasing;
All your tastes be still refining;
All your jars for ever ceasing;
But let old charmers yield to new:
Happy soil, adieu, adieu!


'See, sir, here's the grand approach,
This way is for his Grace's coach:
There lies the bridge, and here's the clock,
Observe the lion and the cock,
The spacious court, the colonnade,
And mark how wide the hall is made!
The chimneys are so well design'd,
They never smoke in any wind.
This gallery's contrived for walking,
The windows to retire and talk in;
The council chamber for debate,
And all the rest are rooms of state.'

'Thanks, sir,' cried I, ''tis very fine,
But where d'ye sleep, or where d'ye dine?
I find by all you have been telling
That 'tis a house, but not a dwelling.'


JULY 9, 1739.

1 With no poetic ardour fired,
I press the bed where Wilmot lay;
That here he loved, or here expired,
Begets no numbers, grave or gay.

2 Beneath thy roof, Argyll, are bred
Such thoughts as prompt the brave to lie
Stretch'd out in honour's nobler bed,
Beneath a nobler roof--the sky.

3 Such flames as high in patriots burn,
Yet stoop to bless a child or wife;
And such as wicked kings may mourn,
When freedom is more dear than life.



1 To one fair lady out of Court,
And two fair ladies in,
Who think the Turk[72] and Pope[73] a sport,
And wit and love no sin;
Come these soft lines, with nothing stiff in,
To Bellenden, Lepell, and Griffin.[74]
With a fa, la, la.

2 What passes in the dark third row,
And what behind the scene,
Couches and crippled chairs I know,
And garrets hung with green;
I know the swing of sinful hack,
Where many damsels cry alack.
With a fa, la, la.

3 Then why to Courts should I repair,
Where's such ado with Townshend?
To hear each mortal stamp and swear,
And every speech with 'zounds!' end;
To hear 'em rail at honest Sunderland,
And rashly blame the realm of Blunderland.[75]
With a fa, la, la.

4 Alas! like Schutz I cannot pun,
Like Grafton court the Germans;
Tell Pickenbourg how slim she's grown,
Like Meadows[76] run to sermons;
To Court ambitious men may roam,
But I and Marlbro' stay at home.
With a fa, la, la.

5 In truth, by what I can discern
Of courtiers, 'twixt you three,
Some wit you have, and more may learn
From Court, than Gay or me;
Perhaps, in time, you'll leave high diet,
To sup with us on milk and quiet.
With a fa, la, la.

6 At Leicester Fields, a house full high,
With door all painted green,
Where ribbons wave upon the tie,
(A milliner I mean;)
There may you meet us, three to three,
For Gay can well make two of me.
With a fa, la, la.

7 But should you catch the prudish itch
And each become a coward,
Bring sometimes with you Lady Rich,
And sometimes Mistress Howard;
For virgins, to keep chaste, must go
Abroad with such as are not so.
With a fa, la, la.

8 And thus, fair maids, my ballad ends;
God send the king safe landing;[77]
And make all honest ladies friends
To armies that are standing;
Preserve the limits of those nations,
And take off ladies' limitations.
With a fa, la, la.


Of gentle Philips[78] will I ever sing,
With gentle Philips shall the valleys ring;
My numbers, too, for ever will I vary,
With gentle Budgell,[79] and with gentle Carey.[80]
Or if in ranging of the names I judge ill,
With gentle Carey, and with gentle Budgell,
Oh! may all gentle bards together place ye,
Men of good hearts, and men of delicacy.
May satire ne'er befool ye, or beknave ye,
And from all wits that have a knack, God save ye!



I am His Highness' dog at Kew;
Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?


Ozell, at Sanger's call, invoked his Muse,
For who to sing for Sanger could refuse?
His numbers such as Sanger's self might use.
Reviving Perrault, murdering Boileau, he
Slander'd the ancients first, then Wycherley;
Which yet not much that old bard's anger raised,
Since those were slander'd most whom Ozell praised.
Nor had the gentle satire caused complaining,
Had not sage Rowe pronounced it entertaining;
How great must be the judgment of that writer,
Who the Plain Dealer damns, and prints the Biter!



With scornful mien, and various toss of air,
Fantastic, vain, and insolently fair,
Grandeur intoxicates her giddy brain,
She looks ambition, and she moves disdain.
Far other carriage graced her virgin life,
But charming Gumley's lost in Pulteney's wife.
Not greater arrogance in him we find,
And this conjunction swells at least her mind:
Oh could the sire, renown'd in glass, produce
One faithful mirror for his daughter's use!
Wherein she might her haughty errors trace,
And by reflection learn to mend her face:
The wonted sweetness to her form restore,
Be what she was, and charm mankind once more!



1 Dear, damn'd, distracting town, farewell!
Thy fools no more I'll tease:
This year in peace, ye critics, dwell,
Ye harlots, sleep at ease!

2 Soft B----s and rough C----s, adieu!
Earl Warwick, make your moan,
The lively H----k and you
May knock up whores alone.

3 To drink and droll be Rowe allow'd
Till the third watchman's toll;
Let Jervas gratis paint, and Frowde
Save threepence and his soul.

4 Farewell, Arbuthnot's raillery
On every learnèd sot;
And Garth, the best good Christian he,
Although he knows it not.

5 Lintot, farewell! thy bard must go;
Farewell, unhappy Tonson!
Heaven gives thee for thy loss of Rowe,
Lean Philips and fat Johnson.

6 Why should I stay? Both parties rage;
My vixen mistress squalls;
The wits in envious feuds engage;
And Homer (damn him!) calls.

7 The love of arts lies cold and dead
In Halifax's urn;
And not one Muse of all he fed
Has yet the grace to mourn.

8 My friends, by turns, my friends confound,
Betray, and are betray'd:
Poor Y----r's sold for fifty pounds,
And B----ll is a jade.

9 Why make I friendships with the great,
When I no favour seek.
Or follow girls seven hours in eight?--
I need but once a week.

10 Still idle, with a busy air,
Deep whimsies to contrive;
The gayest valetudinaire,
Most thinking rake alive.

11 Solicitous for others' ends,
Though fond of dear repose;
Careless or drowsy with my friends.
And frolic with my foes.

12 Luxurious lobster-nights, farewell,
For sober studious days!
And Burlington's delicious meal,
For salads, tarts, and pease!

13 Adieu to all but Gay alone,
Whose soul, sincere and free,
Loves all mankind, but flatters none,
And so may starve with me.



1 Ye Lords and Commons, men of wit
And pleasure about town,
Read this, ere you translate one bit
Of books of high renown.

2 Beware of Latin authors all!
Nor think your verses sterling,
Though with a golden pen you scrawl,
And scribble in a berlin:

3 For not the desk with silver nails,
Nor bureau of expense,
Nor standish well japann'd, avails
To writing of good sense.

4 Hear how a ghost in dead of night,
With saucer eyes of fire,
In woeful wise did sore affright
A wit and courtly squire.

5 Rare imp of Phoebus, hopeful youth!
Like puppy tame that uses
To fetch and carry, in his mouth,
The works of all the Muses.

6 Ah! why did he write poetry,
That hereto was so civil;
And sell his soul for vanity
To rhyming and the devil?

7 A desk he had of curious work,
With glittering studs about;
Within the same did Sandys lurk,
Though Ovid lay without.

8 Now, as he scratch'd to fetch up thought,
Forth popp'd the sprite so thin,
And from the keyhole bolted out,
All upright as a pin.

9 With whiskers, band, and pantaloon,
And ruff composed most duly,
This squire he dropp'd his pen full soon,
While as the light burnt bluely.

10 'Ho! Master Sam,' quoth Sandys' sprite,
'Write on, nor let me scare ye!
Forsooth, if rhymes fall not in right,
To Budgell seek, or Carey.

11 'I hear the beat of Jacob's[83] drums,
Poor Ovid finds no quarter!
See first the merry P----[84] comes
In haste without his garter.

12 'Then lords and lordlings, squires and knights,
Wits, witlings, prigs, and peers:
Garth at St James's, and at White's
Beats up for volunteers.

13 'What Fenton will not do, nor Gay,
Nor Congreve, Rowe, nor Stanyan,
Tom Burnet, or Tom D'Urfey may,
John Dunton, Steele, or any one.

14 'If Justice Philips' costive head
Some frigid rhymes disburses:
They shall like Persian tales be read,
And glad both babes and nurses.

15 'Let Warwick's Muse with Ashurst join,
And Ozell's with Lord Hervey's,
Tickell and Addison combine,
And Pope translate with Jervas.

16 'L---- himself, that lively lord,
Who bows to every lady,
Shall join with F---- in one accord,
And be like Tate and Brady.

17 'Ye ladies, too, draw forth your pen;
I pray, where can the hurt lie?
Since you have brains as well as men,
As witness Lady Wortley.

18 'Now, Tonson, list thy forces all,
Review them, and tell noses:
For to poor Ovid shall befall
A strange metamorphosis;

19 'A metamorphosis more strange
Than all his books can vapour'--
'To what (quoth squire) shall Ovid change?'
Quoth Sandys, 'To waste paper.'


Close to the best known author Umbra sits,
The constant index to old Button's wits,
'Who's here?' cries Umbra: 'Only Johnson.'[86]--'Oh!
Your slave,' and exit; but returns with Rowe:
'Dear Rowe, let's sit and talk of tragedies;'
Ere long Pope enters, and to Pope he flies.
Then up comes Steele: he turns upon his heel,
And in a moment fastens upon Steele;
But cries as soon, 'Dear Dick, I must be gone,
For, if I know his tread, here's Addison.'
Says Addison to Steele, ''Tis time to go:'
Pope to the closet steps aside with Rowe.
Poor Umbra, left in this abandon'd pickle,
E'en sits him down, and writes to honest Tickell.

Fool! 'tis in vain from wit to wit to roam;
Know, sense, like charity, 'begins at home.'


Sylvia my heart in wondrous wise alarm'd
Awed without sense, and without beauty charm'd:
But some odd graces and some flights she had,
Was just not ugly, and was just not mad:
Her tongue still ran on credit from her eyes,
More pert than witty, more a wit than wise:
Good-nature, she declared it, was her scorn,
Though 'twas by that alone she could be borne:
Affronting all, yet fond of a good name;
A fool to pleasure, yet a slave to fame:
Now coy, and studious in no point to fall,
Now all agog for D----y at a ball:
Now deep in Taylor, and the Book of Martyrs,
Now drinking citron with his Grace and Chartres.

Men, some to business, some to pleasure take;
But every woman's in her soul a rake.
Frail, feverish sex; their fit now chills, now burns:
Atheism and superstition rule by turns;
And a mere heathen in the carnal part,
Is still a sad good Christian at her heart.



In vain you boast poetic names of yore,
And cite those Sapphos we admire no more:
Fate doom'd the fall of every female wit;
But doom'd it then, when first Ardelia writ.
Of all examples by the world confess'd,
I knew Ardelia could not quote the best;
Who, like her mistress on Britannia's throne,
Fights and subdues in quarrels not her own.
To write their praise you but in vain essay;
E'en while you write, you take that praise away:
Light to the stars the sun does thus restore,
But shines himself till they are seen no more.


A Bishop, by his neighbours hated,
Has cause to wish himself translated:
But why should Hough desire translation,
Loved and esteem'd by all the nation?
Yet, if it be the old man's case,
I'll lay my life I know the place:
'Tis where God sent some that adore Him,
And whither Enoch went before him.


Strange! all this difference should be
'Twixt Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee!


So bright is thy beauty, so charming thy song,
As had drawn both the beasts and their Orpheus along:
But such is thy avarice, and such is thy pride,
That the beasts must have starved, and the poet have died.


Now Europe balanced, neither side prevails;
For nothing's left in either of the scales.


Here lies Lord Coningsby--be civil!
The rest God knows--perhaps the Devil.


You beat your pate, and fancy wit will come;
Knock as you please, there's nobody at home.


Sir, I admit your general rule,
That every poet is a fool:
But you yourself may serve to show it,
That every fool is not a poet.


Well, then, poor G---- lies under ground!
So there's an end of honest Jack.
So little justice here he found,
'Tis ten to one he'll ne'er come back.


1 Whence deathless 'Kit-cat' took its name,
Few critics can unriddle:
Some say from 'pastrycook' it came,
And some, from 'cat' and 'fiddle.'

2 From no trim beaux its name it boasts,
Gray statesmen, or green wits;
But from this pell-mell pack of toasts
Of old 'cats' and young 'kits.'


What's fame with men, by custom of the nation,
Is call'd, in women, only reputation:
About them both why keep we such a pother?
Part you with one, and I'll renounce the other.


1 Pallas grew vapourish once, and odd;
She would not do the least right thing,
Either for goddess or for god,
Nor work, nor play, nor paint, nor sing.

2 Jove frown'd, and 'Use (he cried) those eyes
So skilful, and those hands so taper;
Do something exquisite and wise--'
She bow'd, obey'd him, and cut paper.

3 This vexing him who gave her birth,
Thought by all heaven a burning shame;
What does she next, but bids, on earth,
Her Burlington do just the same.

4 Pallas, you give yourself strange airs;
But sure you'll find it hard to spoil
The sense and taste of one that bears
The name of Saville and of Boyle.

5 Alas! one bad example shown,
How quickly all the sex pursue!
See, madam, see the arts o'erthrown
Between John Overton and you!



What god, what genius did the pencil move,
When Kneller painted these?
'Twas friendship, warm as Phoebus, kind as Love,
And strong as Hercules.


Did Milton's prose, O Charles! thy death defend?
A furious foe unconscious proves a friend.
On Milton's verse did Bentley comment? Know,
A weak officious friend becomes a foe.
While he but sought his author's fame to further,
The murderous critic has avenged thy murther.



All hail, once pleasing, once inspiring shade,
Scene of my youthful loves, and happier hours!
Where the kind Muses met me as I stray'd,
And gently press'd my hand, and said, 'Be ours!--
Take all thou e'er shalt have, a constant Muse:
At Court thou mayst be liked, but nothing gain;
Stocks thou mayst buy and sell, but always lose;
And love the brightest eyes, but love in vain.'


Though sprightly Sappho force our love and praise,
A softer wonder my pleased soul surveys,
The mild Erinna, blushing in her bays.
So, while the sun's broad beam yet strikes the sight,
All mild appears the moon's more sober light;
Serene, in virgin majesty she shines,
And, unobserved, the glaring sun declines.


Since my old friend is grown so great,
As to be Minister of State,
I'm told, but 'tis not true, I hope,
That Craggs will be ashamed of Pope.

Alas! if I am such a creature,
To grow the worse for growing greater;
Why, faith, in spite of all my brags,
'Tis Pope must be ashamed of Craggs.



In amaze
Lost I gaze!
Can our eyes
Reach thy size!
May my lays
Swell with praise,
Worthy thee!
Worthy me!
Muse, inspire
All thy fire! 10
Bards of old
Of him told.
When they said
Atlas' head
Propp'd the skies:
See! and believe your eyes!

See him stride
Valleys wide,
Over woods,
Over floods! 20
When he treads,
Mountains' heads
Groan and shake:
Armies quake:
Lest his spurn
Man and steed,
Troops, take heed!
Left and right,
Speed your flight! 30
Lest an host
Beneath his foot be lost!

Turn'd aside
From his hide
Safe from wound,
Darts rebound.
From his nose
Clouds he blows:
When he speaks,
Thunder breaks! 40
When he eats,
Famine threats!
When he drinks,
Neptune shrinks!
Nigh thy ear
In mid air,
On thy hand
Let me stand;
So shall I,
Lofty poet! touch the sky. 50



Soon as Glumdalclitch miss'd her pleasing care,
She wept, she blubber'd, and she tore her hair:
No British miss sincerer grief has known,
Her squirrel missing, or her sparrow flown.
She furl'd her sampler, and haul'd in her thread,
And stuck her needle into Grildrig's bed;
Then spread her hands, and with a bounce let fall
Her baby, like the giant in Guildhall.
In peals of thunder now she roars, and now
She gently whimpers like a lowing cow: 10
Yet lovely in her sorrow still appears:
Her locks dishevell'd, and her flood of tears,
Seem like the lofty barn of some rich swain,
When from the thatch drips fast a shower of rain.

In vain she search'd each cranny of the house,
Each gaping chink impervious to a mouse.
'Was it for this (she cried) with daily care
Within thy reach I set the vinegar,
And fill'd the cruet with the acid tide,
While pepper-water worms thy bait supplied; 20
Where twined the silver eel around thy hook,
And all the little monsters of the brook?
Sure in that lake he dropp'd; my Grilly's drown'd.'
She dragg'd the cruet, but no Grildrig found.

'Vain is thy courage, Grilly, vain thy boast!
But little creatures enterprise the most.
Trembling, I've seen thee dare the kitten's paw,
Nay, mix with children as they play'd at taw,
Nor fear the marbles as they bounding flew;
Marbles to them, but rolling rocks to you! 30

'Why did I trust thee with that giddy youth?
Who from a page can ever learn the truth?
Versed in Court tricks, that money-loving boy
To some lord's daughter sold the living toy;
Or rent him limb from limb in cruel play,
As children tear the wings of flies away.
From place to place o'er Brobdignag I'll roam,
And never will return, or bring thee home.
But who hath eyes to trace the passing wind?
How then thy fairy footsteps can I find? 40
Dost thou bewilder'd wander all alone
In the green thicket of a mossy stone;
Or, tumbled from the toadstool's slippery round,
Perhaps all maim'd, lie grovelling on the ground?
Dost thou, embosom'd in the lovely rose,
Or, sunk within the peach's down, repose?
Within the kingcup if thy limbs are spread,
Or in the golden cowslip's velvet head,
Oh show me, Flora, 'midst those sweets, the flower
Where sleeps my Grildrig in the fragrant bower! 50

'But ah! I fear thy little fancy roves
On little females, and on little loves;
Thy pigmy children, and thy tiny spouse,
The baby playthings that adorn thy house,
Doors, windows, chimneys, and the spacious rooms,
Equal in size to cells of honeycombs:
Hast thou for these now ventured from the shore,
Thy bark a bean-shell, and a straw thy oar?
Or in thy box, now bounding on the main,
Shall I ne'er bear thyself and house again? 60
And shall I set thee on my hand no more,
To see thee leap the lines, and traverse o'er
My spacious palm? Of stature scarce a span,
Mimic the actions of a real man?
No more behold thee turn my watch's key,
As seamen at a capstan anchors weigh?
How wert thou wont to walk with cautious tread,
A dish of tea, like milkpail, on thy head!
How chase the mite that bore thy cheese away,
And keep the rolling maggot at a bay!' 70

She spoke; but broken accents stopp'd her voice,
Soft as the speaking-trumpet's mellow noise:
She sobb'd a storm, and wiped her flowing eyes,
Which seem'd like two broad suns in misty skies.
Oh, squander not thy grief; those tears command
To weep upon our cod in Newfoundland:
The plenteous pickle shall preserve the fish,
And Europe taste thy sorrows in a dish.



To thee, we wretches of the Houyhnhnm band,
Condemn'd to labour in a barbarous land,
Return our thanks. Accept our humble lays,
And let each grateful Houyhnhnm neigh thy praise.

O happy Yahoo! purged from human crimes,
By thy sweet sojourn in those virtuous climes,
Where reign our sires; there, to thy country's shame,
Reason, you found, and virtue were the same.
Their precepts razed the prejudice of youth,
And even a Yahoo learn'd the love of truth. 10

Art thou the first who did the coast explore?
Did never Yahoo tread that ground before?
Yes, thousands! But in pity to their kind,
Or sway'd by envy, or through pride of mind,
They hid their knowledge of a nobler race,
Which own'd, would all their sires and sons disgrace.

You, like the Samian, visit lands unknown,
And by their wiser morals mend your own.
Thus Orpheus travell'd to reform his kind,
Came back, and tamed the brutes he left behind. 20

You went, you saw, you heard; with virtue fought,
Then spread those morals which the Houyhnhnms taught.
Our labours here must touch thy generous heart,
To see us strain before the coach and cart;
Compell'd to run each knavish jockey's heat!
Subservient to Newmarket's annual cheat!
With what reluctance do we lawyers bear,
To fleece their country clients twice a year!
Or managed in your schools, for fops to ride,
How foam, how fret beneath a load of pride! 30
Yes, we are slaves--but yet, by reason's force,
Have learn'd to bear misfortune, like a horse.

Oh would the stars, to ease my bonds, ordain,
That gentle Gulliver might guide my rein!
Safe would I bear him to his journey's end,
For 'tis a pleasure to support a friend.
But if my life be doom'd to serve the bad,
Oh! mayst thou never want an easy pad!




The captain, some time after his return, being retired to Mr Sympson's
in the country, Mrs Gulliver, apprehending from his late behaviour some
estrangement of his affections, writes him the following expostulatory,
soothing, and tenderly complaining epistle:--

Welcome, thrice welcome, to thy native place!--
What, touch me not? what, shun a wife's embrace?
Have I for this thy tedious absence borne,
And waked, and wish'd whole nights for thy return?
In five long years I took no second spouse;
What Redriff wife so long hath kept her vows?
Your eyes, your nose, inconstancy betray;
Your nose you stop, your eyes you turn away.
'Tis said, that thou shouldst 'cleave unto thy wife;'
Once thou didst cleave, and I could cleave for life. 10
Hear, and relent! hark how thy children moan!
Be kind at least to these; they are thy own:
Behold, and count them all; secure to find
The honest number that you left behind.
See how they pat thee with their pretty paws:
Why start you? are they snakes? or have they claws?
Thy Christian seed, our mutual flesh and bone:
Be kind at least to these; they are thy own.

Biddel,[88] like thee, might farthest India rove;
He changed his country, but retain'd his love. 20
There's Captain Pannel,[89] absent half his life,
Comes back, and is the kinder to his wife;
Yet Pannel's wife is brown compared to me,
And Mrs Biddel sure is fifty-three.

Not touch me! never neighbour call'd me slut:
Was Flimnap's dame more sweet in Lilliput?
I've no red hair to breathe an odious fume;
At least thy consort's cleaner than thy groom.
Why then that dirty stable-boy thy care?
What mean those visits to the sorrel mare? 30
Say, by what witchcraft, or what demon led,
Preferr'st thou litter to the marriage-bed?

Some say the devil himself is in that mare:
If so, our Dean shall drive him forth by prayer.
Some think you mad, some think you are possess'd,
That Bedlam and clean straw will suit you best.
Vain means, alas, this frenzy to appease!
That straw, that straw, would heighten the disease.

My bed (the scene of all our former joys,
Witness two lovely girls, two lovely boys), 40
Alone I press: in dreams I call my dear,
I stretch my hand; no Gulliver is there!
I wake, I rise, and, shivering with the frost,
Search all the house; my Gulliver is lost!
Forth in the street I rush with frantic cries;
The windows open, all the neighbours rise:
'Where sleeps my Gulliver? Oh tell me where!'
The neighbours answer, 'With the sorrel mare!'

At early morn I to the market haste 50
(Studious in everything to please thy taste);
A curious fowl and 'sparagus I chose
(For I remember'd you were fond of those);
Three shillings cost the first, the last seven groats;
Sullen you turn from both, and call for oats.
Others bring goods and treasure to their houses,
Something to deck their pretty babes and spouses:
My only token was a cup-like horn,
That's made of nothing but a lady's corn.
'Tis not for that I grieve; oh, 'tis to see
The groom and sorrel mare preferr'd to me! 60

These, for some moments when you deign to quit,
And at due distance sweet discourse admit,
'Tis all my pleasure thy past toil to know;
For pleased remembrance builds delight on woe.
At every danger pants thy consort's breast,
And gaping infants squall to hear the rest.
How did I tremble, when, by thousands bound,
I saw thee stretch'd on Lilliputian ground!
When scaling armies climb'd up every part,
Each step they trod I felt upon my heart. 70
But when thy torrent quench'd the dreadful blaze,
King, queen, and nation staring with amaze,
Full in my view how all my husband came,
And what extinguished theirs increased my flame.
Those spectacles, ordain'd thine eyes to save,
Were once my present; love that armour gave.
How did I mourn at Bolgolam's decree!
For when he sign'd thy death, he sentenced me.
When folks might see thee all the country round
For sixpence, I'd have given a thousand pound. 80
Lord! when the giant babe that head of thine
Got in his mouth, my heart was up in mine!
When in the marrow-bone I see thee ramm'd,
Or on the house-top by the monkey cramm'd,
The piteous images renew my pain,
And all thy dangers I weep o'er again.
But on the maiden's nipple when you rid,
Pray Heaven, 'twas all a wanton maiden did!
Glumdalclitch, too! with thee I mourn her case:
Heaven guard the gentle girl from all disgrace! 90
Oh may the king that one neglect forgive,
And pardon her the fault by which I live!
Was there no other way to set him free?
My life, alas! I fear, proved death to thee.

Oh teach me, dear, new words to speak my flame!
Teach me to woo thee by thy best loved name!
Whether the style of Grildrig please thee most,
So call'd on Brobdignag's stupendous coast,
When on the monarch's ample hand you sate,
And halloo'd in his ear intrigues of state; 100
Or Quinbus Flestrin more endearment brings,
When like a mountain you look'd down on kings:
If ducal Nardac, Lilliputian peer,
Or Glumglum's humbler title soothe thy ear:
Nay, would kind Jove my organs so dispose,
To hymn harmonious Houyhnhnm through the nose,
I'd call thee Houyhnhnm, that high-sounding name;
Thy children's noses all should twang the same;
So might I find my loving spouse of course
Endued with all the virtues of a horse. 110



O Wretched B----,[90] jealous now of all,
What god, what mortal shall prevent thy fall?
Turn, turn thy eyes from wicked men in place,
And see what succour from the patriot race.
C----,[91] his own proud dupe, thinks monarchs things
Made just for him, as other fools for kings;
Controls, decides, insults thee every hour,
And antedates the hatred due to power.

Through clouds of passion P----'s[92] views are clear;
He foams a patriot to subside a peer; 10
Impatient sees his country bought and sold,
And damns the market where he takes no gold.

Grave, righteous S----[93] jogs on till, past belief,
He finds himself companion with a thief.

To purge and let thee blood with fire and sword,
Is all the help stern S----[94] would afford.

That those who bind and rob thee would not kill,
Good C----[95] hopes, and candidly sits still.

Of Ch---s W----[96] who speaks at all,
No more than of Sir Har--y or Sir P----.[97] 20
Whose names once up, they thought it was not wrong
To lie in bed, but sure they lay too long.

G---r, C---m, B---t,[98] pay thee due regards,
Unless the ladies bid them mind their cards.
with wit that must
And C---d[99] who speaks so well and writes,
Whom (saving W.) every S. _harper bites_,
must needs,
Whose wit and ... equally provoke one,
Finds thee, at best, the butt to crack his joke on.

As for the rest, each winter up they run,
And all are clear, and something must be done. 30
Then urged by C---t,[100] or by C---t stopp'd,
Inflamed by P----,[101] and by P---- dropp'd;
They follow reverently each wondrous wight,
Amazed that one can read, that one can write:
So geese to gander prone obedience keep,
Hiss, if he hiss, and if he slumber, sleep.
Till having done whate'er was fit or fine,
Utter'd a speech, and ask'd their friends to dine;
Each hurries back to his paternal ground,
Content but for five shillings in the pound, 40
Yearly defeated, yearly hopes they give,
And all agree Sir Robert cannot live.

Rise, rise, great W----,[102] fated to appear,
Spite of thyself a glorious minister!
Speak the loud language princes ...
And treat with half the ...
At length to B---- kind as to thy ...
Espouse the nation, you ...

What can thy H---[103] ...
Dress in Dutch ... 50

Though still he travels on no bad pretence,
To shew ...

Or those foul copies of thy face and tongue,
Veracious W----[104] and frontless Young;[105]
Sagacious Bub,[106] so late a friend, and there
So late a foe, yet more sagacious H----?[107]
Hervey and Hervey's school, F----, H---y,[108] H---n[109]
Yea, moral Ebor,[110] or religious Winton.
How! what can O---w,[111] what can D----,
The wisdom of the one and other chair, 60
N----[112] laugh, or D---s[113] sager,
Or thy dread truncheon M----'s[114] mighty peer?
What help from J----'s[115] opiates canst thou draw,
Or H---k's[116] quibbles voted into law?

C----,[117] that Roman in his nose alone,
Who hears all causes, B----,[118] but thy own,
Or those proud fools whom nature, rank, and fate
Made fit companions for the sword of state.

Can the light packhorse, or the heavy steer,
The sowzing prelate, or the sweating peer, 70
Drag out, with all its dirt and all its weight,
The lumbering carriage of thy broken state?
Alas! the people curse, the carman swears,
The drivers quarrel, and the master stares.

The plague is on thee, Britain, and who tries
To save thee, in the infectious office _dies_.
The first firm P---y soon resign'd his breath,
Brave S---w[119] loved thee, and was lied to death.
Good M-m-t's[120] fate tore P---th[121] from thy side,
And thy last sigh was heard when W---m[122] died. 80

Thy nobles sl---s,[123] thy se---s[124] bought with gold
Thy clergy perjured, thy whole people sold.
An atheist [symbol] a [symbol]'s ad ... [125]
Blotch thee all o'er, and sink ...

Alas! on one alone our all relies,
Let him be honest, and he must be wise,
Let him no trifler from his school,
Nor like his ... still a ...
Be but a man! unminister'd, alone,
And free at once the senate and the throne; 90
Esteem the public love his best supply,
A [symbol]'s[126] true glory his integrity:
Rich _with_ his ... _in_ his ... strong,
Affect no conquest, but endure no wrong.
Whatever his religion[127] or his blood,
His public virtue makes his title good.
Europe's just balance and our own may stand,
And one man's honesty redeem the land.


Say, St John, who alone peruse
With candid eye the mimic Muse,
What schemes of politics, or laws,
In Gallic lands the patriot draws!
Is then a greater work in hand,
Than all the tomes of Haines's band?
'Or shoots he folly as it flies?
Or catches manners as they rise?'
Or urged by unquench'd native heat,
Does St John Greenwich sports repeat? 10
Where (emulous of Chartres' fame)
E'en Chartres' self is scarce a name.

To you (the all-envied gift of heaven)
The indulgent gods, unask'd, have given
A form complete in every part,
And, to enjoy that gift, the art.

What could a tender mother's care
Wish better, to her favourite heir,
Than wit, and fame, and lucky hours,
A stock of health, and golden showers, 20
And graceful fluency of speech,
Precepts before unknown to teach?

Amidst thy various ebbs of fear,
And gleaming hope, and black despair,
Yet let thy friend this truth impart,
A truth I tell with bleeding heart,
(In justice for your labours past)
That every day shall be your last;
That every hour you life renew
Is to your injured country due. 30

In spite of fears, of mercy spite,
My genius still must rail, and write.
Haste to thy Twickenham's safe retreat,
And mingle with the grumbling great;
There, half-devoured by spleen, you'll find
The rhyming bubbler of mankind;
There (objects of our mutual hate)
We'll ridicule both church and state.



Friend, for your epitaphs I'm grieved,
Where still so much is said;
One half will never be believed,
The other never read.



O gate, how cam'st thou here?
_Gate_. I was brought from Chelsea last year,
Batter'd with wind and weather.
Inigo Jones put me together;
Sir Hans Sloane
Let me alone:
Burlington brought me hither.


What are the falling rills, the pendant shades,
The morning bowers, the evening colonnades,
But soft recesses for th' uneasy mind
To sigh unheard in, to the passing wind!
So the struck deer, in some sequester'd part,
Lies down to die (the arrow in his heart);
There hid in shades, and wasting day by day,
Inly he bleeds, and pants his soul away.



'Ah, friend! 'tis true--this truth you lovers know--
In vain my structures rise, my gardens grow,
In vain fair Thames reflects the double scenes
Of hanging mountains, and of sloping greens:
Joy lives not here, to happier seats it flies,
And only dwells where Wortley casts her eyes.

'What are the gay parterre, the chequer'd shade,
The morning bower, the evening colonnade,
But soft recesses of uneasy minds,
To sigh unheard in, to the passing winds?
So the struck deer in some sequester'd part
Lies down to die, the arrow at his heart,
He, stretch'd unseen in coverts hid from day,
Bleeds drop by drop, and pants his life away.'


When wise Ulysses, from his native coast
Long kept by wars, and long by tempests toss'd,
Arrived at last, poor, old, disguised, alone,
To all his friends, and even his queen unknown:
Changed as he was with age, and toils, and cares,
Furrow'd his reverend face, and white his hairs,
In his own palace forced to ask his bread,
Scorn'd by those slaves his former bounty fed,
Forgot of all his own domestic crew;
The faithful dog alone his rightful master knew:
Unfed, unhoused, neglected, on the clay,
Like an old servant now cashier'd, he lay;
Touch'd with resentment of ungrateful man,
And longing to behold his ancient lord again.
Him when he saw he rose, and crawl'd to meet,
('Twas all he could) and fawn'd and kiss'd his feet,
Seized with dumb joy: then falling by his side,
Own'd his returning lord, look'd up, and died!



Goddess of woods, tremendous in the chase,
To mountain wolves and all the savage race,
Wide o'er th' aerial vault extend thy sway,
And o'er th' infernal regions void of day.
On thy third reign look down; disclose our fate,
In what new station shall we fix our seat?
When shall we next thy hallow'd altars raise,
And choirs of virgins celebrate thy praise?


Here shunning idleness at once and praise,
This radiant pile nine rural sisters[130] raise;
The glittering emblem of each spotless dame,
Clear as her soul, and shining as her frame;
Beauty which nature only can impart,
And such a polish as disgraces art;
But Fate disposed them in this humble sort,
And hid in deserts what would charm a court.



1 Father of all! in every age,
In every clime adored,
By saint, by savage, and by sage,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!

2 Thou great First Cause, least understood:
Who all my sense confined
To know but this, that Thou art good,
And that myself am blind;

3 Yet gave me, in this dark estate,
To see the good from ill;
And, binding nature fast in fate,
Left free the human will.[131]

4 What conscience dictates to be done,
Or warns me not to do,
This, teach me more than hell to shun,
That, more than heaven pursue.

5 What blessings thy free bounty gives,
Let me not cast away;
For God is paid when man receives;
T' enjoy is to obey.

6 Yet not to earth's contracted span
Thy goodness let me bound,
Or think Thee Lord alone of man,
When thousand worlds are round:

7 Let not this weak, unknowing hand
Presume Thy bolts to throw,
And deal damnation round the land,
On each I judge Thy foe.

8 If I am right, Thy grace impart,
Still in the right to stay;
If I am wrong, oh teach my heart
To find that better way!

9 Save me alike from foolish pride,
Or impious discontent,
At ought Thy wisdom has denied.
Or ought Thy goodness lent.[132]

10 Teach me to feel another's woe,
To hide the fault I see;
That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me.

11 Mean though I am, not wholly so,
Since quicken'd by Thy breath;
Oh, lead me, wheresoe'er I go,
Through this day's life or death!

12 This day, be bread and peace my lot:
All else beneath the sun,
Thou know'st if best bestow'd or not,
And let Thy will be done.

13 To Thee, whose temple is all space,
Whose altar, earth, sea, skies!
One chorus let all being raise!
All Nature's incense rise!





It is with pleasure I hear that you have procured a correct copy of 'The
Dunciad,' which the many surreptitious ones have rendered so necessary;
and it is yet with more, that I am informed it will be attended with a
commentary; a work so requisite, that I cannot think the author himself
would have omitted it, had he approved of the first appearance of this

Such notes as have occurred to me I herewith send you: you will oblige
me by inserting them amongst those which are, or will be, transmitted to
you by others; since not only the author's friends but even strangers
appear engaged by humanity, to take some care of an orphan of so much
genius and spirit, which its parent seems to have abandoned from the
very beginning, and suffered to step into the world naked, unguarded,
and unattended.

It was upon reading some of the abusive papers lately published, that my
great regard to a person, whose friendship I esteem as one of the chief
honours of my life, and a much greater respect to truth, than to him or
any man living, engaged me in inquiries, of which the enclosed notes are
the fruit.

I perceived that most of these authors had been (doubtless very wisely)
the first aggressors. They had tried till they were weary, what was to
be got by railing at each other; nobody was either concerned or
surprised, if this or that scribbler was proved a dunce. But every one
was curious to read what could be said to prove Mr Pope one, and was
ready to pay something for such a discovery; a stratagem which, would
they fairly own it, might not only reconcile them to me, but screen them
from the resentment of their lawful superiors, whom they daily abuse,
only (as I charitably hope) to get that _by_ them, which they cannot get
_from_ them.

I found this was not all. Ill success in that had transported them to
personal abuse, either of himself, or (what I think he could less
forgive) of his friends. They had called men of virtue and honour bad
men, long before he had either leisure or inclination to call them bad
writers; and some had been such old offenders, that he had quite
forgotten their persons as well as their slanders, till they were
pleased to revive them.

Now what had Mr Pope done before to incense them? He had published those
works which are in the hands of everybody, in which not the least
mention is made of any of them. And what has he done since? He has
laughed, and written 'The Dunciad.' What has that said of them? A very
serious truth, which the public had said before, that they were dull;
and what it had no sooner said, but they themselves were at great pains
to procure, or even purchase, room in the prints to testify under their
hands to the truth of it.

I should still have been silent, if either I had seen any inclination in
my friend to be serious with such accusers, or if they had only meddled
with his writings; since whoever publishes, puts himself on his trial by
his country. But when his moral character was attacked, and in a manner
from which neither truth nor virtue can secure the most innocent; in a
manner which, though it annihilates the credit of the accusation with
the just and impartial, yet aggravates very much the guilt of the
accusers; I mean by authors without names; then I thought, since the
danger was common to all, the concern ought to be so; and that it was an
act of justice to detect the authors, not only on this account, but as
many of them are the same who, for several years past, have made free
with the greatest names in Church and State, exposed to the world the
private misfortunes of families, abused all, even to women, and whose
prostituted papers (for one or other party, in the unhappy divisions of
their country) have insulted the fallen, the friendless, the exiled, and
the dead.

Besides this, which I take to be a public concern, I have already
confessed I had a private one. I am one of that number who have long
loved and esteemed Mr Pope; and had often declared it was not his
capacity or writings (which we ever thought the least valuable part of
his character), but the honest, open, and beneficent man, that we most
esteemed, and loved in him. Now if what these people say were believed,
I must appear to all my friends either a fool, or a knave; either
imposed on myself, or imposing on them; so that I am as much interested
in the confutation of these calumnies as he is himself.

I am no author, and consequently not to be suspected either of jealousy
or resentment against any of the men, of whom scarce one is known to me
by sight; and as for their writings, I have sought them (on this one
occasion) in vain, in the closets and libraries of all my acquaintance.
I had still been in the dark if a gentleman had not procured me (I
suppose from some of themselves, for they are generally much more
dangerous friends than enemies) the passages I send you. I solemnly
protest I have added nothing to the malice or absurdity of them; which
it behoves me to declare, since the vouchers themselves will be so soon
and so irrecoverably lost. You may in some measure prevent it, by
preserving at least their titles, and discovering (as far as you can
depend on the truth of your information) the names of the concealed

The first objection I have heard made to the poem is, that the persons
are too obscure for satire. The persons themselves, rather than allow
the objection, would forgive the satire; and if one could be tempted to
afford it a serious answer, were not all assassinates, popular
insurrections, the insolence of the rabble without doors, and of
domestics within, most wrongfully chastised, if the meanness of
offenders indemnified them from punishment? On the contrary, obscurity
renders them more dangerous, as less thought of: law can pronounce
judgment only on open facts; morality alone can pass censure on
intentions of mischief; so that for secret calumny, or the arrow flying
in the dark, there is no public punishment left, but what a good writer

The next objection is, that these sort of authors are poor. That might
be pleaded as an excuse at the Old Bailey for lesser crimes than
defamation (for 'tis the case of almost all who are tried there), but
sure it can be none: for who will pretend that the robbing another of
his reputation supplies the want of it in himself? I question not but
such authors are poor, and heartily wish the objection were removed by
any honest livelihood. But poverty is here the accident, not the
subject: he who describes malice and villany to be pale and meagre,
expresses not the least anger against paleness or leanness, but against
malice and villany. The apothecary in Romeo and Juliet is poor; but is
he therefore justified in vending poison? Not but poverty itself becomes
a just subject of satire, when it is the consequence of vice,
prodigality, or neglect of one's lawful calling; for then it increases
the public burden, fills the streets and highways with robbers, and the
garrets with clippers, coiners, and weekly journalists.

But admitting that two or three of these offend less in their morals
than in their writings, must poverty make nonsense sacred? If so, the
fame of bad authors would be much better consulted than that of all the
good ones in the world; and not one of a hundred had ever been called by
his right name.

They mistake the whole matter: it is not charity to encourage them in
the way they follow, but to get them out of it; for men are not bunglers
because they are poor, but they are poor because they are bunglers.

Is it not pleasant enough to hear our authors crying out on the one
hand, as if their persons and characters were too sacred for satire; and
the public objecting on the other, that they are too mean even for
ridicule? But whether bread or fame be their end, it must be allowed,
our author, by and in this poem, has mercifully given them a little of

There are two or three who, by their rank and fortune, have no benefit
from the former objections, supposing them good; and these I was sorry
to see in such company. But if, without any provocation, two or three
gentlemen will fall upon one, in an affair wherein his interest and
reputation are equally embarked, they cannot, certainly, after they have
been content to print themselves his enemies, complain of being put into
the number of them.

Others, I am told, pretend to have been once his friends. Surely they
are their enemies who say so, since nothing can be more odious than to
treat a friend as they have done. But of this I cannot persuade myself,
when I consider the constant and eternal aversion of all bad writers to
a good one.

Such as claim a merit from being his admirers, I would gladly ask, if it
lays him under a personal obligation? At that rate, he would be the most
obliged humble servant in the world. I dare swear for these in
particular, he never desired them to be his admirers, nor promised in
return to be theirs: that had truly been a sign he was of their
acquaintance; but would not the malicious world have suspected such an
approbation of some motive worse than ignorance in the author of the
Essay on Criticism? Be it as it will, the reasons of their admiration
and of his contempt are equally subsisting, for his works and theirs are
the very same that they were.

One, therefore, of their assertions I believe may be true--'That he has
a contempt for their writings.' And there is another, which would
probably be sooner allowed by himself than by any good judge beside--
'That his own have found too much success with the public.' But as it
cannot consist with his modesty to claim this as justice, it lies not on
him, but entirely on the public, to defend its own judgment.

There remains what in my opinion might seem a better plea for these
people than any they have made use of. If obscurity or poverty were to
exempt a man from satire, much more should folly or dulness, which are
still more involuntary; nay, as much so as personal deformity. But even
this will not help them: deformity becomes an object of ridicule when a
man sets up for being handsome; and so must dulness when he sets up for
a wit. They are not ridiculed because ridicule in itself is, or ought to
be, a pleasure, but because it is just to undeceive and vindicate the
honest and unpretending part of mankind from imposition, because
particular interest ought to yield to general, and a great number who
are not naturally fools ought never to be made so, in complaisance to a
few who are. Accordingly we find that in all ages, all vain pretenders,
were they ever so poor or ever so dull, have been constantly the topics
of the most candid satirists, from the Codrus of Juvenal to the Damon of

Having mentioned Boileau, the greatest poet and most judicious critic of
his age and country, admirable for his talents, and yet perhaps more
admirable for his judgment in the proper application of them, I cannot
help remarking the resemblance betwixt him and our author, in qualities,
fame, and fortune, in the distinctions shown them by their superiors, in
the general esteem of their equals, and in their extended reputation
amongst foreigners; in the latter of which ours has met with the better
fate, as he has had for his translators persons of the most eminent rank
and abilities in their respective nations. But the resemblance holds in
nothing more than in their being equally abused by the ignorant
pretenders to poetry of their times, of which not the least memory will
remain but in their own writings, and in the notes made upon them. What
Boileau has done in almost all his poems, our author has only in this: I
dare answer for him he will do it in no more; and on this principle, of
attacking few but who had slandered him, he could not have done it at
all, had he been confined from censuring obscure and worthless persons,
for scarce any other were his enemies. However, as the parity is so
remarkable, I hope it will continue to the last; and if ever he shall
give us an edition of this poem himself, I may see some of them treated
as gently, on their repentance or better merit, as Perrault and Quinault
were at last by Boileau.

In one point I must be allowed to think the character of our English
poet the more amiable. He has not been a follower of fortune or success;
he has lived with the great without flattery--been a friend to men in
power, without pensions, from whom, as he asked, so he received no
favour but what was done him in his friends. As his satires were the
more just for being delayed, so were his panegyrics; bestowed only on
such persons as he had familiarly known, only for such virtues as he had
long observed in them, and only at such times as others cease to praise,
if not begin to calumniate them--I mean, when out of power or out of
fashion. A satire, therefore, on writers so notorious for the contrary
practice, became no man so well as himself; as none, it is plain, was so
little in their friendships, or so much in that of those whom they had
most abused--namely, the greatest and best of all parties. Let me add a
further reason, that, though engaged in their friendships, he never
espoused their animosities; and can almost singly challenge this honour,
not to have written a line of any man, which, through guilt, through
shame, or through fear, through variety of fortune, or change of
interests, he was ever unwilling to own.

I shall conclude with remarking, what a pleasure it must be to every
reader of humanity to see all along, that our author in his very
laughter is not indulging his own ill-nature, but only punishing that of
others. As to his poem, those alone are capable of doing it justice,
who, to use the words of a great writer, know how hard it is (with
regard both to his subject and his manner) _vetustis dare novitatem,
obsoletis nitorem, obscuris lucem, fastiditis gratiam_.--I am

Your most humble servant,

ST JAMES'S, _Dec_. 22, 1728.




I cannot but think it the most reasonable thing in the world to
distinguish good writers, by discouraging the bad. Nor is it an
ill-natured thing, in relation even to the very persons upon whom the
reflections are made. It is true, it may deprive them, a little the
sooner, of a short profit and a transitory reputation; but then it may
have a good effect, and oblige them (before it be too late) to decline
that for which they are so very unfit, and to have recourse to something
in which they may be more successful.


The persons whom Boileau has attacked in his writings have been for the
most part authors, and most of those authors, poets: and the censures he
hath passed upon them have been confirmed by all Europe.


It is the common cry of the poetasters of the town, and their fautors,
that it is an ill-natured thing to expose the pretenders to wit and
poetry. The judges and magistrates may, with full as good reason, be
reproached with ill-nature for putting the laws in execution against a
thief or impostor. The same will hold in the republic of letters, if the
critics and judges will let every ignorant pretender to scribbling pass
on the world.


Attacks may be levelled either against failures in genius, or against
the pretensions of writing without one.


A satire upon dulness is a thing that has been used and allowed in all

Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, wicked scribbler.




Before we present thee with our exercitations on this most delectable
poem (drawn from the many volumes of our Adversaria on modern authors)
we shall here, according to the laudable usage of editors, collect the
various judgments of the learned concerning our Poet: various indeed,
not only of different authors, but of the same author at different
seasons. Nor shall we gather only the testimonies of such eminent wits
as would of course descend to posterity, and consequently be read
without our collection; but we shall likewise, with incredible labour,
seek out for divers others, which, but for this our diligence, could
never, at the distance of a few months, appear to the eye of the most
curious. Hereby thou may'st not only receive the delectation of variety,
but also arrive at a more certain judgment, by a grave and circumspect
comparison of the witnesses with each other, or of each with himself.
Hence also, thou wilt be enabled to draw reflections, not only of a
critical, but a moral nature, by being let into many particulars of the
person as well as genius, and of the fortune as well as merit, of our
author: in which, if I relate some things of little concern peradventure
to thee, and some of as little even to him, I entreat thee to consider
how minutely all true critics and commentators are wont to insist upon
such, and how material they seem to themselves, if to none other.
Forgive me, gentle reader, if (following learned example) I ever and
anon become tedious: allow me to take the same pains to find whether my
author were good or bad, well or ill-natured, modest or arrogant; as
another, whether his author was fair or brown, short or tall, or whether
he wore a coat or a cassock.

We purposed to begin with his life, parentage, and education: but as to
these, even his cotemporaries do exceedingly differ. One saith,[134] he
was educated at home; another,[135] that he was bred at St Omer's by
Jesuits; a third,[136] not at St Omer's, but at Oxford; a fourth,[137]
that he had no University education at all. Those who allow him to be
bred at home differ as much concerning his tutor: one saith,[138] he was
kept by his father on purpose; a second,[139] that he was an itinerant
priest; a third,[140] that he was a parson; one[141] calleth him a
secular clergyman of the Church of Rome; another,[142] a monk. As little
do they agree about his father, whom one[143] supposeth, like the father
of Hesiod, a tradesman or merchant; another,[144] a husbandman;
another,[145] a hatter, &c. Nor has an author been wanting to give our
Poet such a father as Apuleius hath to Plato, Jamblichus to Pythagoras,
and divers to Homer, namely, a demon: For thus Mr Gildon[146]: 'Certain
it is, that his original is not from Adam, but the Devil; and that he
wanteth nothing but horns and tail to be the exact resemblance of his
infernal Father.' Finding, therefore, such contrariety of opinions, and
(whatever be ours of this sort of generation) not being fond to enter
into controversy, we shall defer writing the life of our Poet, till
authors can determine among themselves what parents or education he had,
or whether he had any education or parents at all.

Proceed we to what is more certain, his Works, though not less uncertain
the judgments concerning them; beginning with his Essay on Criticism, of
which hear first the most ancient of critics--


'His precepts are false or trivial, or both; his thoughts are crude and
abortive, his expressions absurd, his numbers harsh and unmusical, his
rhymes trivial and common:--instead of majesty, we have something that
is very mean; instead of gravity, something that is very boyish; and
instead of perspicuity and lucid order, we have but too often obscurity
and confusion.' And in another place: 'What rare numbers are here! Would
not one swear that this youngster had espoused some antiquated Muse, who
had sued out a divorce from some superannuated sinner, upon account of
impotence, and who, being poxed by her former spouse, has got the gout
in her decrepid age, which makes her hobble so damnably.'[147]

No less peremptory is the censure of our hypercritical historian,


'I dare not say anything of the Essay on Criticism in verse; but if any
more curious reader has discovered in it something new which is not in
Dryden's prefaces, dedications, and his Essay on Dramatic Poetry, not to
mention the French critics, I should be very glad to have the benefit of
the discovery.'[148]

He is followed (as in fame, so in judgment) by the modest and


who, out of great respect to our poet not naming him, doth yet glance at
his essay, together with the Duke of Buckingham's, and the criticisms of
Dryden, and of Horace, which he more openly taxeth: 'As to the numerous
treatises, essays, arts, &c., both in verse and prose, that have been
written by the moderns on this ground-work, they do but hackney the same
thoughts over again, making them still more trite. Most of their pieces
are nothing but a pert, insipid heap of common-place. Horace has even,
in his Art of Poetry, thrown out several things which plainly shew he
thought an Art of Poetry was of no use, even while he was writing

To all which great authorities, we can only oppose that of


'The Art of Criticism (saith he), which was published some months since,
is a master-piece in its kind. The observations follow one another, like
those in Horace's Art of Poetry, without that methodical regularity
which would have been requisite in a prose writer. They are some of them
uncommon, but such as the reader must assent to, when he sees them
explained with that ease and perspicuity in which they are delivered. As
for those which are the most known and the most received, they are
placed in so beautiful a light, and illustrated with such apt allusions,
that they have in them all the graces of novelty, and make the reader,
who was before acquainted with them, still more convinced of their truth
and solidity. And here give me leave to mention what Monsieur Boileau
has so well enlarged upon in the preface to his works--that wit and fine
writing doth not consist so much in advancing things that are new, as in
giving things that are known an agreeable turn. It is impossible for us,
who live in the latter ages of the world, to make observations in
criticism, morality, or any art or science, which have not been touched
upon by others; we have little else left us but to represent the common
sense of mankind in more strong, more beautiful, or more uncommon
lights. If a reader examines Horace's Art of Poetry, he will find but
few precepts in it which he may not meet with in Aristotle, and which
were not commonly known by all the poets of the Augustan age. His way of
expressing and applying them, not his invention of them, is what we are
chiefly to admire.'

'Longinus, in his Reflections, has given us the same kind of sublime
which he observes in the several passages that occasioned them: I cannot
but take notice that our English author has, after the same manner,
exemplified several of the precepts in the very precepts themselves.' He
then produces some instances of a particular beauty in the numbers, and
concludes with saying, 'that there are three poems in our tongue of the
same nature, and each a master-piece in its kind--the Essay on
Translated Verse, the Essay on the Art of Poetry, and the Essay on

Of WINDSOR FOREST, positive is the judgment of the affirmative


'That it is a wretched rhapsody, impudently writ in emulation of the
Cooper's Hill of Sir John Denham.[151] The author of it is obscure, is
ambiguous, is affected, is temerarious, is barbarous.'[152]

But the author of the Dispensary,


in the preface to his poem of Claremont, differs from this opinion:
'Those who have seen these two excellent poems of Cooper's Hill and
Windsor Forest--the one written by Sir John Denham, the other by Mr
Pope--will shew a great deal of candour if they approve of this.'

Of the Epistle of ELOISA, we are told by the obscure writer of a poem
called Sawney, 'That because Prior's Henry and Emma charmed the finest
tastes, our author writ his Eloise in opposition to it, but forgot
innocence and virtue: if you take away her tender thoughts and her
fierce desires, all the rest is of no value.' In which, methinks, his
judgment resembleth that of a French tailor on a villa and gardens by
the Thames: 'All this is very fine, but take away the river and it is
good for nothing.'

But very contrary hereunto was the opinion of


himself, saying in his Alma--

'O Abelard! ill-fated youth,
Thy tale will justify this truth.
But well I weet thy cruel wrong
Adorns a nobler poet's song:
Dan Pope, for thy misfortune grieved,
With kind concern and skill has weaved
A silken web; and ne'er shall fade
Its colours: gently has he laid
The mantle o'er thy sad distress,
And Venus shall the texture bless,'[153] &c.

Come we now to his translation of the ILIAD, celebrated by numerous
pens, yet shall it suffice to mention the indefatigable


who (though otherwise a severe censurer of our author) yet styleth this
a 'laudable translation.'[154] That ready writer,


in his forementioned essay, frequently commends the same. And the


thus extols it: 'The spirit of Homer breathes all through this
translation.--I am in doubt whether I should most admire the justness to
the original, or the force and beauty of the language, or the sounding
variety of the numbers: but when I find all these meet, it puts me in
mind of what the poet says of one of his heroes, that he alone raised
and flung with ease a weighty stone, that two common men could not lift
from the ground; just so, one single person has performed in this
translation what I once despaired to have seen done by the force of
several masterly hands.'[155] Indeed, the same gentleman appears to have
changed his sentiment in his Essay on the Art of Sinking in Reputation
(printed in Mist's Journal, March 30, 1728,) where he says thus:--'In
order to sink in reputation, let him take into his head to descend into
Homer (let the world wonder, as it will, how the devil he got there),
and pretend to do him into English, so his version denote his neglect of
the manner how.' Strange variation! We are told in


'That this translation of the Iliad was not in all respects conformable
to the fine taste of his friend, Mr Addison; insomuch that he employed a
younger Muse in an undertaking of this kind, which he supervised
himself.' Whether Mr Addison did find it conformable to his taste or
not, best appears from his own testimony the year following its
publication, in these words:


'When I consider myself as a British freeholder, I am in a particular
manner pleased with the labours of those who have improved our language
with the translations of old Greek and Latin authors.--We have already
most of their historians in our own tongue, and what is more for the
honour of our language, it has been taught to express with elegance the
greatest of their poets in each nation. The illiterate among our own
countrymen may learn to judge from Dryden's Virgil of the most perfect
epic performance. And those parts of Homer which have been published
already by Mr Pope, give us reason to think that the Iliad will appear
in English with as little disadvantage to that immortal poem.'

As to the rest, there is a slight mistake, for this younger Muse was an
elder: nor was the gentleman (who is a friend of our author) employed by
Mr Addison to translate it after him, since he saith himself that he did
it before.[156] Contrariwise that Mr Addison engaged our author in this
work appeareth by declaration thereof in the preface to the Iliad,
printed some time before his death, and by his own letters of October
26, and November 2, 1713, where he declares it his opinion that no other
person was equal to it.

Next comes his Shakspeare on the stage: 'Let him (quoth one, whom I take
to be


publish such an author as he has least studied, and forget to discharge
even the dull duty of an editor. In this project let him lend the
bookseller his name (for a competent sum of money) to promote the credit
of an exorbitant subscription.' Gentle reader, be pleased to cast thine
eye on the proposal below quoted, and on what follows (some months after
the former assertion) in the same journalist of June 8. 'The bookseller
proposed the book by subscription, and raised some thousands of pounds
for the same: I believe the gentleman did not share in the profits of
this extravagant subscription.

'After the Iliad, he undertook (saith


the sequel of that work, the Odyssey; and having secured the success by
a numerous subscription, he employed some underlings to perform what,
according to his proposals, should come from his own hands.' To which
heavy charge we can in truth oppose nothing but the words of


'I take this occasion to declare that the subscription for Shakspeare
belongs wholly to Mr Tonson: And that the benefit of this proposal is
not solely for my own use, but for that of two of my friends, who have
assisted me in this work.' But these very gentlemen are extolled above
our poet himself in another of Mist's Journals, March 30, 1728, saying,
'That he would not advise Mr Pope to try the experiment again of getting
a great part of a book done by assistants, lest those extraneous parts
should unhappily ascend to the sublime, and retard the declension of the
whole.' Behold! these underlings are become good writers!

If any say, that before the said proposals were printed, the
subscription was begun without declaration of such assistance, verily
those who set it on foot, or (as their term is) secured it, to wit, the
Right Honourable the Lord Viscount Harcourt, were he living, would
testify, and the Right Honourable the Lord Bathurst, now living, doth
testify the same is a falsehood.

Sorry I am, that persons professing to be learned, or of whatever rank
of authors, should either falsely tax, or be falsely taxed. Yet let us,
who are only reporters, be impartial in our citations, and proceed.


Book of the day: