Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
 
Mr. Pope’s Welcome from Greece
By John Gay (1685–1732)
 
LONG hast thou, friend, been absent from thy soil,
  Like patient Ithacus at siege of Troy;
I have been witness of thy six years’ toil,
  Thy daily labours and thy night’s annoy,
Lost to thy native land with great turmoil,        5
  On the wide sea, oft threatening to destroy:
Methinks with thee I’ve trod Sigæan ground,
And heard the shores of Hellespont resound.
 
Did I not thee see when thou first sett’st sail
  To seek adventures fair in Homer’s land?        10
Did I not see thy sinking spirits fail
  And wish thy bark had never left the strand?
Even in mid ocean often didst thou quail
  And oft lift up thy holy eye and hand,
Praying the virgin dear and saintly choir,        15
Back to the port to bring thy bark entire.
 
Cheer up, my friend, thy dangers now are o’er;
  Methinks—nay, sure the rising coasts appear;
Hark how the guns salute from either shore
  As thy trim vessel cuts the Thames so fair:        20
Shouts answering shouts from Kent and Essex roar,
  And bells break loud from ev’ry gust of air:
Bonfires do blaze, and bones and cleavers ring,
As at the coming of some mighty king.
 
Now pass we Gravesend with a friendly wind,        25
  And Tilbury’s white fort, and long Blackwall;
Greenwich where dwells the friend of human kind,
  More visited than either park or hall.
Withers the good, and (with him ever join’d)
  Facetious Disney 1 greet thee first of all:        30
I see his chimney smoke, and hear him say:
‘Duke! that’s the room for Pope, and that for Gay.’
 
‘Come in, my friends, here shall ye dine and lie,
  And here shall breakfast and here dine again,
And sup and breakfast on (if ye comply)        35
  For I have still some dozens of champagne:’
His voice still lessens as the ship sails by;
  He waves his hand to bring us back in vain;
For now I see, I see proud London’s spires;
Greenwich is lost, and Deptford Dock retires:        40
 
Oh, what a concourse swarms on yonder quay!
  The sky re-echoes with new shouts of joy!
By all this show, I ween, ’tis Lord Mayor’s Day;
  I hear the voice of trumpet and hautboy.
No, now I see them near—oh, these are they        45
  Who come in crowds to welcome thee from Troy.
Hail to the bard whom long as lost we mourn’d,
From siege, from battle, and from storm return’d.
 
Of goodly dames and courteous knights I view
  The silken petticoat and broider’d vest;        50
Yea, peers and mighty dukes, with ribbands blue
  (True blue, fair emblem of unstained breast).
Others I see as noble and more true,
  By no court badge distinguish’d from the rest:
First see I Methuen 2 of sincerest mind,        55
As Arthur 3 grave, as soft as womankind.
 
What lady’s that to whom he gently bends?
  Who knows not her? Ah, those are Wortley’s 4 eyes.
How art thou honour’d, number’d with her friends;
  For she distinguishes the good and wise.        60
The sweet-tongued Murray near her side attends:
  Now to my heart the glance of Howard flies;
Now Hervey, fair of face, I mark full well
With thee, youth’s youngest daughter, sweet Lepell.
 
I see two lovely sisters hand in hand,        65
  The fair-hair’d Martha and Teresa brown; 5
Madge Belleden, the tallest of the land;
  And smiling Mary 6 soft and fair as down.
Yonder I see the cheerful Duchess 7 stand,
  For friendship, zeal, and blithesome humours known:        70
Whence that loud shout in such a hearty strain?
Why, all the Hamiltons are in her train.
 
See next the decent Scudamore 8 advance
  With Winchilsea, 9 still meditating song,
With her perhaps Miss Howe 10 came there by chance,        75
  Nor knows with whom, nor why she comes along.
Far off from these see Santlow famed for dance,
  And frolic Bicknell, and her sister young, 11
With other names by me not to be named,
Much loved in private, not in public famed.        80
 
But now behold the female band retire,
  And the shrill music of their voice is still’d!
Methinks I see famed Buckingham 12 admire,
  That in Troy’s ruins thou hast not been kill’d.
Sheffield who knows to strike the living lyre        85
  With hand judicious like thy Homer skill’d:
Bathurst 13 impetuous, hastens to the coast,
Whom you and I strive who shall love the most.
 
See generous Burlington with goodly Bruce 14
  (But Bruce comes wafted in a soft Sedan),        90
Dan Prior next, beloved by every muse,
  And friendly Congreve, unreproachful man!
Oxford by Cunningham hath sent excuse),
  See hearty Watkins 15 come with cup and can;
And Lewis 16 who has never friend forsaken;        95
And Laughton 17 whispering asks—Is Troy Town taken?
 
Earl Warwick 18 comes, of free and honest mind,
  Bold, generous Craggs 19 whose heart was ne’er disguised,
Ah, why, sweet St. John cannot I thee find? 20
  St. John for every social virtue prized—        100
Alas! to foreign climates he’s confined,
  Or else to see thee here I well surmised;
Thou too, my Swift, dost breathe Bœotian air,
When wilt thou bring back wit and humour here?
 
Harcourt 21 I see for eloquence renown’d,        105
  The mouth of justice, oracle of law!
Another Simon is beside him found,
  Another Simon like as straw to straw.
How Lansdown smiles with lasting laurel crown’d!
  What mitred prelate there commands our awe?        110
See Rochester approving nods the head,
And ranks one modern with the mighty dead.
 
Carlton and Chandos 22 thy arrival grace;
  Hanmer 23 whose eloquence the unbias’d sways;
Harley, 24 whose goodness opens in his face        115
  And shows his heart the seat where virtue stays.
Ned Blount advances next with hasty pace,
  In haste, yet sauntering, hearty in his ways.
I see the friendly Carylls 25 come by dozens,
Their wives, their uncles, daughters, sons, and cousins.        120
 
Arbuthnot 26 there I see, in physic’s art,
  As Galen learnèd or famed Hippocrate;
Whose company drives sorrow from the heart
  As all disease his med’cines dissipate:
Kneller 27 amid the triumph bears his part        125
  Who could (were mankind lost) anew create;
What can th’ extent of his vast soul confine?
A painter, critic, engineer, divine!
 
Thee Jervas 28 hails, robust and debonair,
  ‘Now have we conquer’d Homer, friends!’ he cries;        130
Dartneuf, 29 gay joker, joyous Ford 30 is there,
  And wondering Maine so fat, with laughing eyes,
(Gay, Maine, and Cheney, 31 boon companions dear,
  Gay fat, Maine fatter, Cheney huge of size),
Yea, Dennis, Gildon (hearing thou hast riches)?        135
And honest hatless Cromwell with red breeches.
 
O, Wanley, 32 whence com’st thou with shorten’d hair,
  And visage from thy shelves with dust besprent?
‘Forsooth (quoth he) from placing Homer there,
  As ancients to compyle is mine intent;        140
Of ancients only hath Lord Harley care,
  But hither me hath my meeke lady sent:—
In manuscript of Greek rede we thilke same,
But book reprint best plesyth my gude dame.’
 
Yonder I see among the expecting crowd,        145
  Evans 33 with laugh jocose and Tragic Young; 34
High buskin’d Booth, 35 grave Mawbert, 36 wandering Frowde
  And Titcombe’s belly waddles slow along.
See Digby 37 faints at Southern 38 talking loud,
  Yea, Steele and Tickell 39 mingle in the throng,        150
Tickell, whose skiff (in partnership they say)
Set forth for Greece, but founder’d on the way.
 
Lo, the two Doncastles in Berkshire known!
  Lo, Bickford, Fortescue of Devon land!
Lo, Tooker, Echershall, Sykes, Rawlinson!        155
  See hearty Morley take thee by the hand!
Ayers, Graham, Buckridge, joy thy voyage done;
  But who can count the leaves, the stars, the sand?
Lo, Stoner, Fenton, Caldwell, Ward, and Broome;
Lo, thousands more, but I want rhyme and room!        160
 
How loved, how honour’d thou! Yet be not vain!
  And sure thou art not, for I hear thee say—
‘All this, my friends, I owe to Homer’s strain,
  On whose strong pinions I exalt my lay.
What from contending cities did he gain?        165
  And what rewards his grateful country pay?
None, none were paid—why then all this for me?
These honours, Homer, had been just to thee.’
 
Note 1. Withers the good … Facetious Disney: Major-General Withers and Colonel Disney are buried together in the same grave in the Cloisters of Westminster. [back]
Note 2. Sir Paul Methuen: secretary of state, 1716–17. [back]
Note 3. Arthur: Arthur Moore, Commissioner of Plantations, and father of James Moore Smyth (Courthope). [back]
Note 4. Wortley: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. [back]
Note 5. The fair-haired Martha and Teresa brown: the Blount sisters. [back]
Note 6. Madge Bellenden … and smiling Mary: daughters of Lord Bellenden. [back]
Note 7. Cheerful Duchess: the Duchess of Hamilton. [back]
Note 8. Decent Scudmore: Frances, daughter of Lord Digby. [back]
Note 9. Winchilsea: Anne, Countess of Winchilsea. [back]
Note 10. Miss Howe: Sophia, daughter of General Emanuel Howe and grand-daughter of Prince Rupert by his natural daughter Ruperta. [back]
Note 11. Frolic Bicknell and her sister young: Mrs. Bicknell and Miss Younger, actresses. [back]
Note 12. Famed Buckingham: John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham. [back]
Note 13. Bathurst: Aillen Bathurst, Pope’s friend. [back]
Note 14. Goodly Bruce: Charles, Lord Bruce. [back]
Note 15. Watkins: Henry Watkins, secretary to the Dutch embassy. [back]
Note 16. Lewis: Erasmus Lewis. [back]
Note 17. Laughton: John Lawton, Earl of Halifax’s brother-in-law. [back]
Note 18. Warwick: Addison’s stepson. [back]
Note 19. Generous Craggs: James Craggs. [back]
Note 20. Sweet St. John, cannot I thee find? Lord Bolingbroke was exiled at this time in France. [back]
Note 21. Harcourt: Simon, Lord Harcourt. [back]
Note 22. Carlton and Chandos: George Granville, Lord Lansdowne and James Brydges, Duke of Chandos. [back]
Note 23. Hanmer: Sir Thomas Hanmer, Speaker of Anne’s last Parliament. [back]
Note 24. Harley: Edward, afterwards, Earl of Oxford. [back]
Note 25. Friendly Carylis: who subscribed largely to Pope’s Illiad. [back]
Note 26. Arbuthnot: Dr. Arbuthnot. [back]
Note 27. Kneller: Sir Godfrey Kneller, the portrait painter. [back]
Note 28. Thee Jervas: Charles Jervas, another portrait painter. [back]
Note 29. Dartneuf: Charles Dartneuf, a noted epicure. [back]
Note 30. Ford: Charles Ford, a correspondent of Swift whose influence won him patronage. [back]
Note 31. Cheney: Dr. George Cheyne of Bath. [back]
Note 32. Wanley: Humphrey Wanley, Lord Harley’s librarian. [back]
Note 33. Evans: Dr. Abel Evans of St. John’s College, Oxford. [back]
Note 34. Young: Edward Young, author of Night Thoughts. [back]
Note 35. Booth: tragic actor. [back]
Note 36. Mawbert: James Francis Mawbert, a portrait painter. [back]
Note 37. Digby: Robert Digby who “was so delicate that he had to take asses’ milk.” [back]
Note 38. Southern: Thomas Southern, the dramatist. [back]
Note 39. Tickell: Thomas Tickell. [back]
 
 
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