Verse > Alexander Pope > Complete Poetical Works
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Alexander Pope (1688–1744).  Complete Poetical Works.  1903.
 
Later Poems
On Receiving from the Right Hon. the Lady Frances Shirley a Standish and Two Pens
 
          Lady Frances Shirley was daughter of Earl Ferrers, a neighbor of Pope’s at Twickenham.

YES, I beheld th’ Athenian Queen
  Descend in all her sober charms;
‘And take’ (she said, and smiled serene),
  ‘Take at this hand celestial arms:
 
‘Secure the radiant weapons wield;        5
  This golden lance shall guard Desert,
And if a Vice dares keep the field,
  This steel shall stab it to the heart.’
 
Awed, on my bended knees I fell,
  Received the weapons of the sky;        10
And dipt them in the sable well,
  The fount of Fame or Infamy.
 
‘What well? what weapons?’ (Flavia cries,)
  ‘A standish, steel and golden pen!
It came from Bertrand’s, not the skies;        15
  I gave it you to write again.
 
‘But, Friend, take heed whom you attack;
  You ’ll bring a House (I mean of Peers)
Red, blue, and green, nay white and black,
  L[ambeth] and all about your ears.        20
 
‘You ’d write as smooth again on glass,
  And run, on ivory, so glib,
As not to stick at Fool or Ass,
  Nor stop at Flattery or Fib.
 
‘Athenian Queen! and sober charms!        25
  I tell ye, fool, there ’s nothing in ’t:
’T is Venus, Venus gives these arms;
  In Dryden’s Virgil see the print.
 
‘Come, if you ’ll be a quiet soul,
  That dares tell neither Truth nor Lies,        30
I ’ll lift you in the harmless roll
  Of those that sing of these poor eyes.’
 
 
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