"I love to pour out all myself, as plain / As downright Shippen, or as old Montagne. / In them, as certain to be lov'd as seen, / The Soul stood forth, nor kept a Thought within; / In me what Spots (for Spots I have) appear, / Will prove at least the Medium must be clear."
— Pope, Alexander (1688-1744)
Each Mortal has his Pleasure: None deny
Sc--le his Bottle, D--ty his Ham-Pye;
Ridotta sips and dances, till she see
The doubling Lustres dance as well as she;
-- loves the Senate, Hockley-Hole his Brother,
Like in all else, as one Egg to another.
I love to pour out all myself, as plain
As downright Shippen, or as old Montagne.
In them, as certain to be lov'd as seen,
The Soul stood forth, nor kept a Thought within;
In me what Spots (for Spots I have) appear,
Will prove at least the Medium must be clear.
In this impartial Glass, my Muse intends
Fair to expose myself, my Foes, my Friends;
Publish the present Age, but where my Text
Is Vice too high, reserve it for the next:
My Foes shall wish my Life a longer date,
And ev'ry Friend the less lament my Fate.
My Head and Heart thus flowing thro' my Quill,
Verse-man or Prose-man, term me which you will,
Papist or Protestant, or both between,
Like good Erasmus in an honest Mean,
In Moderation placing all my Glory,
While Tories call me Whig, and Whigs a Tory.
Satire's my Weapon, but I'm too discreet
To run a Muck, and tilt at all I meet;
I only wear it in a Land of Hectors,
Thieves, Supercargoes, Sharpers, and Directors.
Save but our Army! and let Jove incrust
Swords, Pikes, and Guns, with everlasting Rust!
Peace is my dear Delight--not Fleury's more:
But touch me, and no Minister so sore.
Who-e'er offends, at some unlucky Time
Slides into Verse, and hitches in a Rhyme,
Sacred to Ridicule! his whole Life long,
And the sad Burthen of some merry Song.
Slander or Poyson, dread from Delia's Rage,
Hard Words or Hanging, if your J--ge be--
From furious Sappho yet a sadder Fate,
P--x'd by her Love, or libell'd by her Hate:
Its proper Pow'r to hurt, each Creature feels,
Bulls aim their horns, and Asses lift their heels,
'Tis a Bear's Talent not to kick, but hug,
And no man wonders he's not stung by Pug:
So drink with W--t--rs, or with Ch--t--rs eat,
They'll never poison you, they'll only cheat.
Then learned Sir! (to cut the Matter short)
What-e'er my Fate, or well or ill at Court,
Whether old Age, with faint, but chearful Ray,
Attends to gild the Evening of my Day,
Or Death's black Wing already be display'd
To wrap me in the Universal Shade;
Whether the darken'd Room to muse invite,
Or whiten'd Wall provoke the Skew'r to write,
In Durance, Exile, Bedlam, or the Mint,
Like Lee or B--ll, I will Rhyme and Print.
Reading The Poems of Alexander Pope, A One-Volume Edition of the Twickenham Text with Selected Annotations, ed. John Butt (New Haven: Yale UP, 1963).