Alexander Pope (1688–1744). Complete Poetical Works. 1903.

Early Poems: Imitations of English Poets


  • These imitations, with the exception of Silence (Lintot, 1712), were not published till 1727. Pope says, however, that they were ‘done as early as the translations, some of them at fourteen and fifteen years old.’ The Happy Life of a Country Parson must have been written later than the rest, as Pope did not know Swift till 1713.

  • WOMEN ben full of ragerie,

    Yet swinken not sans secresie.

    Thilke Moral shall ye understond,

    From schoole-boy’s Tale of fayre Irelond;

    Which to the Fennes hath him betake,

    To filche the grey Ducke fro the Lake.

    Right then there passen by the way

    His Aunt, and eke her Daughters tway.

    Ducke in his trowses hath he hent,

    Not to be spied of ladies gent.

    ‘But ho! our Nephew,’ crieth one;

    ‘Ho!’ quoth another, ‘Cozen John;’

    And stoppen, and lough, and callen out—

    This sely Clerke full low doth lout:

    They asken that, and talken this,

    ‘Lo, here is Coz, and here is Miss.’

    But, as he glozeth with speeches soote,

    The Ducke sore tickleth his Erse-roote:

    Fore-piece and buttons all-to-brest,

    Forth thrust a white neck and red crest.

    ‘Te-hee,’ cried ladies; clerke nought spake;

    Miss stared, and grey Ducke crieth ‘quaake.’

    ‘O Moder, Moder!’ quoth the Daughter,

    ‘Be thilke same thing Maids longen a’ter?

    Bette is to pine on coals and chalke,

    Then trust on Mon whose yerde can talke.’