A Character of Mr. POPE'S WRITINGS.
BEING An Episode from the Poem call'd SICKNESS, Book II.
By the Rev. Mr. THOMPSON.
1 — In measur'd time
2 (So heav'n has will'd) together with their snows,
3 The everlasting hills shall melt away:
4 This solid globe dissolve, as ductile wax
5 Before the breath of Vulcan; like a scroll
6 Shrivel th' unfolded curtains of the sky;
7 Thy planets, NEWTON, tumble from their spheres;
8 The moon be perish'd from her bloody orb;
9 The sun himself, in liquid ruin, rush
10 And deluge with destroying flames the globe —
11 Peace then, my soul, nor grieve that POPE is dead.
12 If e'er the tuneful spirit, sweetly strong,
13 Spontaneous numbers, teeming in my breast,[Page 340]
14 Enkindle; O, at that exalting name,
15 Be favourable, be propitious now,
16 While, in the gratitude of praise, I sing
17 The works and wonders of this man divine.
18 I tremble while I write — His lisping Muse
19 Surmounts the loftiest efforts of my age.
20 What wonder? when an infant, he apply'd
21 The louda
a Translation of the First Book of Statius's Thebais. Papinian trumpet to his lips,
22 Fir'd by a sacred fury, and inspir'd
23 With all the god, in sounding numbers sung
24 "Fraternal rage, and guilty Thebes' alarms."
25 Sure at his birth (things not unknown of old)
26 The Graces round his cradle wove the dance,
27 And led the maze of harmony: the Nine
28 Prophetick of his future honours, pour'd
29 Plenteous, upon his lips, Castalian dews;
30 And Attick bees their golden store distill'd.
31 The soul of HOMER, sliding from its star,
32 Where, radiant, over the poetick world
33 It rules and sheds its influence, for joy
34 Shouted, and bless'd the birth: the sacred choir
35 Of poets, born in elder, better times,
36 Enraptur'd catch'd the elevating sound,
37 And roll'd the gladd'ning news from sphere to sphere.
b Windsor Forest: Mr. POPE born there.Imperial [Windsor]! raise thy brow august,
39 Superbly gay exalt thy tow'ry head;[Page 341]
40 And bid thy forests dance, and nodding, wave
41 A verdant testimony of thy joy:
42 A native ORPHEUS warbling in thy shades.
43 O listen toc
c Pastorals. ALEXIS' tender plaint!
44 How gently rural! without coarseness plain;
45 How simple in his elegance of grief!
46 A shepherd, but no clown. His every lay
47 Sweet as the early pipe along the dale,
48 When hawthorns bud, or on the thymy brow
49 When all the mountains bleat, and vallies sing.
50 Soft as the nightingale's harmonious woe,
51 In dewy even-tide, when cowslips drop
52 Their sleepy heads, and languish in the breeze.
[Page 342] 53 d
d Essay on Criticism.Next in the critick-chair survey him thron'd,
54 Imperial in his art, prescribing laws
55 Clear from the knitted brow, and squinted sneer;
56 Learn'd without pedantry; correctly bold,
57 And regularly easy. Gentle, now,
58 As rising incense, or descending dews,
59 The variegated echo of his theme:
60 Now, animated flame commands the soul
61 To glow with sacred wonder. Pointed wit
62 And keen discernment form the certain page.
63 Just, as the STAGYRITE; as HORACE, free;
64 As FABIAN, clear; and as PETRONIUS, gay.
e Rape of the Lock.But whence those peals of laughter shake the sides
66 Of decent mirth? Am I in Fairy-land?
67 Young, evanescent forms, before my eyes,
68 Or skim, or seen to skim; thin essences
69 Of fluid light; zilphs, zilphids, elves, and gnomes;
70 Genii of Rosicruce, and ladies' gods! —
71 And, lo, in shining trails BELINDA'S hair,
72 Bespangling with dishevell'd beams the skies,
73 Flames o'er the night. Behind, a satyr grins,
74 And, jocund, holds a glass, reflecting, fair,
75 Hoops, crosses, mattadores; beaux, shocks, and belles,
76 Promiscuously whimsical and gay.
77 TASSONI, hiding his diminish'd head,
78 Droops o'er the laughing page: while BOILEAU skulks,
79 With blushes cover'd, low beneath the desk.
[Page 343] 80 Moref
f OVID's SAPPHO to PHAON: And ELOISE to ABELARD. mournful scenes invite. The milky vein
81 Of amorous grief devolves its placid wave
82 Soft-streaming o'er the soul, in weeping woe
83 And tenderness of anguish. While we read
84 Th' infectious page, we sicken into love,
85 And languish with involuntary fires.
86 The Zephyr, panting on the silken buds
87 Of breathing violets; the virgin's sigh,
88 Rosy with youth, are turbulent and rude,
89 To SAPPHO'S plaint, and ELOÏSA'S moan.
90 Heav'ns! what a flood of empyréal day
91 My aking eyes involves! Ag
g Temple of FAME. temple soars,
92 Rising like exhalations on a mount,
93 And wide its adamantine valves expands.
94 Three monumental columns, bright in air,
95 Of figur'd gold, the center of the quire
96 With lustre fill. POPE on the midmost shines
97 Betwixt his HOMER and his HORACE plac'd,
98 Superior, by the hand of Justice. FAME,
99 With all her mouths, th' eternal trumpet swells,
100 Exulting at his name; and, grateful, pours
101 The lofty notes of never-dying praise,
102 Triumphant, floating on the wings of wind,
103 Sweet o'er the world: th' ambrosial spirit flies
104 Diffusive, in its progress wid'ning still,
105 "Dear to the earth, and grateful to the sky."
106 FAME owes him more than e'er she can repay:
107 She owes her very temple to his hands;
108 Like Ilium built; by hands no less divine!
109 Attention, rouze thyself! the master's hand,
110 (The master of our souls!) has chang'd the key,
111 And bids the thunder of the battle roar
h Translation of HOMER. . HOMER, HOMER is our own!
113 And Grecian heroes flame in British lines.
114 What pomp of words! what nameless energy
115 Kindles the verse; invigours every line;[Page 344]
116 Astonishes, and overwhelms the soul
117 In transports toss'd! when fierce ACHILLES raves,
118 And flashes, like a comet, o'er the field,
119 To wither armies with his martial frown.
120 I see the battle rage; I hear the wheels
121 Careering with their brazen orbs! The shout
122 Of nations roll (the labour of the winds)
123 Full on my ear, and shakes my inmost soul.
124 Description never cou'd so well deceive:
125 'Tis real! TROY is here, or I at TROY
126 Enjoy the war. My spirits, all on fire,
127 With unextinguish'd violence are borne
128 Above the world, and mingle with the gods.
129 Olympus rings with arms! the firmament,
130 Beneath the lightning of Minerva's shield,
131 Burns to the center: rock the tow'rs of heav'n,
132 All nature trembles, save the throne of JOVE.
i Ethick Epistles.To root excesses from the human breast;
134 Behold a beauteous pile of Ethicks rise;
135 Sense, the foundation; harmony, the walls;
136 (The Dorique grave, and gay Corinthian join'd)
137 Where SOCRATES and HORACE jointly reign.
138 Best of philosophers! of poets too
139 The best! he teaches thee thy self to know:
140 That virtue is the noblest gift of heav'n:
141 "And vindicates the ways of GOD to man."[Page 345]
142 O hearken to the moralist polite!
143 Enter his school of truth: where PLATO'S self
144 Might preach; and TULLY deign to lend an ear.
k Dunciad.Last see him waging with the fools of rhyme
146 A wanton, harmless war. Dunce after dunce;
147 Beaux, doctors, templars, courtiers; sophs and cits,
148 Condemn'd to suffer life. The motley crew,
149 Emerging from oblivion's muddy pool,
150 Give the round face to view; and shameless front
151 Proudly expose; till laughter have her fill.
152 Born to improve the age, and cheat mankind
153 Into the road of honour! — Vice again
154 The gilded chariot drives: — For he is dead!
155 I saw the sable barge, along his Thames,
156 In slow solemnity beating the tide,
157 Convey his sacred dust! — Its swains expir'd;
158 Wither'd, in Twit'nam bow'rs, the laurel-bough;
159 Silent, the Muses broke their idle lyres:
160 Th' attendant Graces check'd the sprightly dance,
161 Their arms unlock'd, and catch'd the starting tear:
162 And Virtue for her lost defender mourn'd!