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

Later Poems

To Mr. Thomas Southern

  • On His Birthday, 1742
  • Southern was invited to dine on his birthday with Lord Orrery, who had prepared the entertainment, of which the bill of fare is here set down.

  • RESIGN’D to live, prepared to die,

    With not one sin but poetry,

    This day Tom’s fair account has run

    (Without a blot) to eighty-one.

    Kind Boyle before his poet lays

    A table with a cloth of bays;

    And Ireland, mother of sweet singers,

    Presents her harp still to his fingers.

    The feast, his tow’ring Genius marks

    In yonder wildgoose and the larks!

    The mushrooms show his Wit was sudden!

    And for his Judgement, lo, a pudden!

    Roast beef, tho’ old, proclaims him stout,

    And grace, although a bard, devout.

    May Tom, whom Heav’n sent down to raise

    The price of Prologues and of Plays,

    Be ev’ry birthday more a winner,

    Digest his thirty-thousandth dinner,

    Walk to his grave without reproach,

    And scorn a Rascal and a Coach.