The Downlow

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austin, texas, United States
aspiring writer, English and journalism student, hails from Texas. likes include writing, coffee, books, whisky and people.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I'm just so tired

From: Verses Adressed to the Imitator of the First Satire of the Second Book of Horace
(A Reply to Alexander Pope)

When God created thee, one would believe
He said the same as to the snake of Eve:
'To human race antipathy declare,
'Twixt them and thee be everlasting war.'
But oh! the sequal of the sentence dread,
And whilst you bruise their heel, beware your head.
     Nor think thy weakness shall be thy defense,
The female scold's protection is offence.
Sure 'tis as fair to beat who cannot fight,
As 'tis to libel those who cannot write.
And if thou draw'st thy pen to aid the law,
Others a cudgel, or a rod, may draw.
     If none with vengeance yet thy crimes persue
Or give thy manifold affronts their due;
If limbs unbroken, skin without a stain,
Wunshipped, unblanketed unkicked, unslain,
That wretched little carcase you retain,
The reason is, not that the world wants eyes,
But thou'rt so mean, they see, and they despise:
When fretful porcupine, with rancorous will,
From mounted back shoots forth a harmless quill,
Cool the spectators stand; and all the while
Upon the angry little monster smile.
Thus 'tis with thee:- whilst impotently safe,
You strike unwounding, we unhurt can laugh.
'Who but must laugh, this bully when he sees,
A puny insect shivering at a breeze?'
One over-matched by every blast of wind,
Insulting and provoking all mankind. 
     Is this the thing to keep mankind in awe,
'To make those tremble who escape the law?'
Is this the ridicule to live so long,
'The deathless satire and immortal song?'
No: like thy self-blown praise, thy scandal flies;
And, as we're told of wasps, it stings and dies.
     If none do yet return th' intended blow,
You all your safety to your dullness owe:
But whilst that armour thy poor corpse defends,
'Twill make thy readers few, as are thy friends:
Those, who thy nature loathed, yet loved thy art,
Who liked thy head, and yet abhorred thy heart:
Chose thee to read, but never to converse,
And scorned in prose him who they prized in verse:
Even they shall now their partial error see,
Shall shun thy writings like thy company;
And to thy books shall ope their eyes no more
Than to thy person they would do their door.
     Nor thou the justice of the world disown,
That leaves thee thus an outcast and alone;
For though in law to murder be to kill
In equity the murder's in the will:
The whilst with coward-hand you stab a name,
And try at least t'assassinate our fame,
Like the first bold assassin's be thy lot,
Ne'er be thy guilt forgiven, or forgot;
But, as thou hat'st, be hated by mankind,
and with the emblem of they crooked mind
Marked on thy back, like Cain, by God's own hand,
Wander, like him, accursed through the land.

I would genuinely really like to eat dinner with Lady Wortley Montagu, because everyone needs someone with that level of sass in their lives. Basically this poem was written to tell off Alexander Pope and this poem he wrote that bashed her/women poets in general and I think that she is absolutely hysterical, plus I give her props for being so good at bitching people out because I didn't even know they did that in the eighteenth century. She is generally impressive and would be a fabulous dinner partner. She does a really awesome job of saying that nothing he says matters, despite his talent, and no one really cares about him at all and people are basically laughing at him because he's so pathetic. I would hate to upset her and have something like this published about me, but I would love to have her on my side in any fight because her wit and words alone could win.
This poem is also a really amazing example of what makes words so powerful. While I'm sure Pope would have been too pompous to admit it, having this published about him by a woman he was scorned by was probably horribly humiliating, especially since the two ran in the same crowd. That quote, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me," is completely inaccurate, because while a broken bone may suck, after a while it'll heal. The embarrassment and insult and sting in a poem like this will never truly be forgotten, not really, especially since students like us are still reading it in English classes. Montagu really knew how to hurt.


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