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

Poems: 1718–27

The Curll Miscellanies. I. Umbra

  • Though speculation has connected several other persons with this poem, it is probably still another hit at the luckless Ambrose Philips. It, with the three following poems, was first published in the Miscellanies, 1727.

  • CLOSE to the best known author Umbra sits,

    The constant index to old Button’s Wits.

    ‘Who ’s here?’ cries Umbra. ‘Only Johnson.’—‘O!

    Your slave,’ and exit; but returns with Rowe.

    ‘Dear Rowe, let ’s sit and talk of tragedies:’

    Ere long Pope enters, and to Pope he flies.

    Then up comes Steele: he turns upon his heel,

    And in a moment fastens upon Steele;

    But cries as soon, ‘Dear Dick, I must be gone,

    For, if I know his tread, here ’s Addison.’

    Says Addison to Steele, ‘’T is time to go:’

    Pope to the closet steps aside with Rowe.

    Poor Umbra, left in this abandon’d pickle,

    Ev’n sits him down, and writes to honest Tickell.

    Fool! ’t is in vain from Wit to Wit to roam;

    Know, Sense, like Charity, ‘begins at home.’