The Poetry Corner

To Mr John Moore, Author Of The Celebrated Worm-Powder.

By Alexander Pope

How much, egregious Moore, are we Deceived by shows and forms! Whate'er we think, whate'er we see, All humankind are worms. Man is a very worm by birth, Vile reptile, weak and vain! A while he crawls upon the earth, Then shrinks to earth again. That woman is a worm, we find E'er since our grandame's evil; She first conversed with her own kind, That ancient worm, the Devil. The learn'd themselves we book-worms name, The blockhead is a slow-worm; The nymph whose tail is all on flame, Is aptly term'd a glow-worm: The fops are painted butterflies, That flutter for a day; First from a worm they take their rise, And in a worm decay. The flatterer an earwig grows; Thus worms suit all conditions; Misers are muck-worms, silk-worms beaux. And death-watches, physicians. That statesmen have the worm, is seen By all their winding play; Their conscience is a worm within, That gnaws them night and day. Ah, Moore! thy skill were well employ'd, And greater gain would rise, If thou couldst make the courtier void The worm that never dies! O learned friend of Abchurch Lane, Who sett'st our entrails free! Vain is thy art, thy powder vain, Since worms shall eat even thee. Our fate thou only canst adjourn Some few short years--no more; Even Button's Wits to worms shall turn, Who maggots were before.