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

Poems: 1718–27

On a Certain Lady at Court

  • Catharine Howard, one of Queen Caroline’s waiting-women; afterward Countess of Suffolk and mistress to George II. Her identification as the Chloe of Moral Essays, II., makes it easier to believe Walpole’s statement that this lady once reprieved a condemned criminal that ‘an experiment might be made on his ears for her benefit.’

  • I KNOW the thing that ’s most uncommon;

    (Envy, be silent, and attend!)

    I know a reasonable Woman,

    Handsome and witty, yet a friend:

    Not warp’d by Passion, awed by Rumour,

    Not grave thro’ Pride, nor gay thro’ Folly,

    An equal mixture of Good-humour,

    And sensible soft Melancholy.

    ‘Has she no faults then (Envy says), sir?’

    Yes, she has one, I must aver:

    When all the world conspires to praise her,

    The woman’s deaf and does not hear.