Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
 
In Answer to Mr. Pope
By Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (1661–1720)
 
DISARMED with so genteel an air,
  The contest I give o’er,
Yet, Alexander, have a care,
  And shock the sex no more.
We rule the world our life’s whole race,        5
  Men but assume that right,
First slaves to every tempting face,
  Then martyrs to our spite.
You of one Orpheus sure have read,
  Who would like you have writ,        10
Had he in London town been bred,
  And polished, too, his wit;
But he, poor soul, thought all was well,
  And great should be his fame,
When he had left his wife in hell,        15
  And birds and beasts could tame.
Yet venturing then with scoffing rhymes
  The women to incense,
Resenting heroines of those times
  Soon punished his offence;        20
And as the Hebrus rolled his skull,
  And harp besmeared with blood,
They, clashing as the waves grew full,
  Still harmonised the flood.
But you our follies gently treat,        25
  And spin so fine the thread,
You need not fear his awkward fate
  The Lock won’t cost the Head.
Our admiration you command
  For all that ’s gone before,        30
What next we look for at your hand
  Can only raise it more.
Yet soothe the ladies, I advise,—
  As me, too, pride has wrought,—
We ’re born to wit, but to be wise        35
  By admonitions taught.
 
 
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