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-Dr. Swift to Mr. Pope

WHILE HE WAS WRITING THE "DUNCIAD"

1727


POPE has the talent well to speak,
But not to reach the ear;
His loudest voice is low and weak,
The Dean too deaf to hear.

Awhile they on each other look,
Then different studies choose;
The Dean sits plodding on a book;
Pope walks, and courts the Muse.

Now backs of letters, though design'd
For those who more will need 'em,
Are fill'd with hints, and interlined,
Himself can hardly read 'em.

Each atom by some other struck,
All turns and motions tries;
Till in a lump together stuck,
Behold a poem rise:

Yet to the Dean his share allot;
He claims it by a canon;
That without which a thing is not,
Is causa sine qua non.

Thus, Pope, in vain you boast your wit;
For, had our deaf divine
Been for your conversation fit,
You had not writ a line.

Of Sherlock, thus, for preaching framed
The sexton reason'd well;
And justly half the merit claim'd,
Because he rang the bell.



Jonathan Swift

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