Ten Lines Of Ten Syllables For Alexander Pope

"And Ludwig Richter, turbulent Schlemiel . . ."

---Wallace Stevens, "Chaos In Motion And Not In Motion"

 

My best to you, Great Poet, and to Bounce;

I know you were offended by some bad

scribbles disguised as valid poetry:

I understand your fierce desire to trounce

their carelessnesses in The Dunciad

(the stagnance of their verbal perfidy

contrasted to your verses' purity).

And they replied, with curdled jealousy,

that you had made their precious feelings sad.

 

Starward

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Bounce was Pope's beloved mastiff, who also appears in one of the portraits of him.  They tell me that, after her passing, Pope had her remains interred on the property of his estate, Twickenham, and a monument was raised over her burial site.  In the address to Pope, Bounce is mentioned to express my belief that both are in Heaven.

 

The literary controversies addressed by Pope, op.cit. and in other poems, is really fascinating to read.  The verbal violence with which his poetry was attacked, as much for his faith as for his deformity, is almost horrific.  In addressing this in that place I ain't surposed to menchen, a keen scholar (here remaining anonymous) suggested that one could deduce an perverse proportion between the defects of their poetry and the fierceness of their scurrilous remarks.

 

The final line partially contains a quotation from my daughter, made when she was about four or five years old, in response to a decision of ours that she disputed, that we hade "made her feelings sad."

 

The poem should be read as historical and not metaphorical.

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