The Poetry Corner

The Fourth Epistle Of The First Book Of Horace.[128]

By Alexander Pope

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? 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, 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. 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.