Thomas Edwards (1699-1757)
On the Edition of Mr. Pope's Works with a Commentary and Notes
In evil hour did Pope's declining age,
Deceived and dazzled by the tinsel show
Of wordy science and the nauseous flow
Of mean, officious flatteries, engage
Thy venal quill to deck his laboured page
With ribald nonsense, and permit to strew
Amidst his flowers, the baleful weeds that grow
In the unblessed soil of rude and rancorous rage.
Yet this the avenging muse ordainéd so,
When, by his counsel or weak sufferance,
To thee were trusted Shakespeare's fame and fate:
She doomed him down the stream of time to tow
Thy foul, dirt-loaded hulk, or sink perchance,
Dragged to oblivion by the foundering weight.
To the Editor of Mr. Pope's Works
O born in luckless hour, with every muse
And every grace to foe! what wayward fate
Drives thee with fell and unrelenting hate
Each choicest work of genius to abuse?
Sufficed it not with sacrilegious views
Great Shakespeare's awful shade to violate:
And his fair Paradise contaminate,
Whom impious Lauder blushes to accuse?
Must Pope, thy friend, mistaken, hapless bard!
(To prove no sprig of laurel ever can grow
Unblasted by thy venom) must he groan
Now daubed with flattery, now by censure scarred,
Disguised, deformed, and made the public show
In motley weeds and colours not his own?
To the Author of "Clarissa"
O master of the heart, whose magic skill
The close recesses of the soul can find,
Can rouse, becalm, and terrify the mind,
Now melt with pity, now with anguish thrill,
Thy moral page while virtuous precepts fill,
Warm from the heart, to mend the age designed,
Wit, strength, truth, decency all conjoined
To lead our youth to good, and guard from ill:
O long enjoy what thou so well hast won--
The grateful tribute of each honest heart
Sincere, nor hackneyed in the ways of men;
At each distressful stroke their true tears run,
And nature, unsophisticate by art,
Owns and applauds the labours of thy pen.
To His Grace Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury
Prelate, whose steady hand and watchful eye
The sacred vessel of religion guide,
Secure from superstition's dangerous tide
And fateful rocks of infidelity;
Think not, in this bad age of obloquy,
When Christian virtues Christians dare deride
And worth by party zeal alone is tried,
To escape the poisoned shafts of calumny;
No--though the tenor of thy blameless life,
Like His whose flock is to thy care consigned,
Be spent in teaching truth and doing good,
Yet, amongst the sons of bigotry and strife
Thou too, like Him, must hear thy good maligned,
Thy person slandered, and thy truths withstood.
Imitated from the Spanish of Lopez de Vega (Menagiana, tom.iv.)
Capricious wray a sonnet needs must have;
I ne'er was so put to 't before--a sonnet!
Why, fourteen verses must be spent upon it:
"Tis good, howe'er, t' have conquered the first stave.
Yet I shall ne'er find rhymes enough by half,"
Said I, and found myself i' the midst o' the second.
If twice four verses were but fairly reckoned,
I shall turn back on th' hardest part and laugh.
Thus far, with good success I think I've scribbled,
And of the twice seven lines have clean got o'er ten,
Courage! another'll finish the first triplet.
Thanks to thee, muse, my work begins to shorten.
There's thirteen lines got through, driblet by driblet,
'Tis done! count how you will, I warr'nt there's fourteen.