By Alexander Pope, Robin Sowerby
Alexander Pope's technical polish and highbrow poise entice the subtlest viewers. this feature contains The Rape of the Lock, Eloisa to Abelard, and extracts from The Dunciad and the interpretation of Homer.
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Extra info for Alexander Pope: Selected Poetry and Prose (Routledge English Texts)
Some, to whom Heaven in wit has been profuse, Want as much more to turn it to its use; For wit and judgement often are at strife, Though meant each other’s aid, like man and wife. ’Tis more to guide, than spur the Muse’s steed; Restrain his fury, than provoke his speed: The winged courser, like a generous horse, Shows most true mettle when you check his course. Those rules of old discovered, not devised, Are Nature still, but Nature methodized: Nature, like liberty, is but restrained By the same laws which first herself ordained.
630 But where’s the man who counsel can bestow, Still pleased to teach, and yet not proud to know? Unbiased, or by favour, or by spite; Not dully prepossessed, nor blindly right; Though learned, well-bred; and though well-bred, sincere; Modestly bold, and humanly severe: Who to a friend his faults can freely show, And gladly praise the merit of a foe? Blessed with a taste exact, yet unconfined; A knowledge both of books and human kind; 640 52 [255–9] Generous converse; a soul exempt from pride; And love to praise, with reason on his side?
On whose honoured brow The poet’s bays and critic’s ivy grow: Cremona now shall ever boast thy name, As next in place to Mantua, next in fame! But soon by impious arms from Latium chased, Their ancient bounds the banished Muses passed; Thence Arts o’er all the northern world advance, But critic-learning flourished most in France; The rules, a nation born to serve, obeys; And Boileau still in right of Horace sways. But we, brave Britons, foreign laws despised, And kept unconquered, and uncivilized; Fierce for the liberties of wit, and bold, We still defied the Romans, as of old.