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T Stowe in Buckinghamshire, the seat of Earl
Temple, is a building called The Temple of British Worthies, designed by Kent. One of the niches has a bust of Pope, with the following inscription :
ALEXANDER POPE, Who uniting the correctness of judgment to the fire of Genius,
by the melody and power of his numbers,
gave sweetness to sense, and grace to philosophy. He employed the pointed brilliancy of wit to chastise the vices, and the eloquence of poetry to exalt the virtues of human nature;
and being without a rival in his own age, imitated and translated, with a spirit equal to the originals,
the best poets of Antiquity.
TO MR. POPE.
o move the springs of nature as we please,
To think with spirit, but to write with ease:
'Tis yours, like these, with curious toil to trace The pow'rs of language, harmony, and grace,
How nature's self with living lustre shines;
O ever worthy, ever crown'd with praise ;
Yet sure not so must all peruse thy lays; I cannot rival—and yet dare to praise, A thousand charms at once my thoughts engage, Sappho's soft sweetness, Pindar's warmer rage, Statius' free vigour, Virgil's studious care, 35 And Homer's force, and Ovid's easier air.
So seems some Picture, where exact design, And curious pains, and strength and sweetness join :
Where the free thought its pleasing grace bestows, And each warm stroke with living colour glows: 40 Soft without weakness, without labour fair; Wrought up at once with happiness and care!
How blest the man that from the world removes To joys that MORDAUNT, or his Pope approves; Whose taste exact each author can explore, 45 And live the present and past ages o'er : Who free from pride, from penitence, or strife, Move calmly forward to the verge of life: Such be my days, and such my
fortunes be, To live by reason, and to write by thee!
50 Nor deem this verse, tho' humble, thy disgrace; All are not born the glory of their race: Yet all are born t adore the great man's name, And trace his footsteps in the paths to fame. The Muse who now this early homage pays, 55 First learn'd from thee to animate her lays: A Muse as yet unhonour'd, but unftain’d, Who prais'd no vices, no preferment gain’d: Unbyafs’d, or to censure or commend,
59 Who knows no envy, and who grieves no friend; Perhaps too fond to make those virtues known, And fix her fame immortal on thy own.