Kiss the Pope Goodbye

To a Lady on the Characters of Women by Alexander Pope is a fine screed, and I am the wiser for reading it—however in light of our post-postmodern attention span, I found it a bit LONG and WORDY. Therefore I leave it to you, you lyrical omnivore, to read the whole thing on your own (after you have paid the bills & updated your FeedBook face). Thus, having confessed, I must say goodbye and adieu to Pastora, Fannia, Leda,  Magdalen, Cecilia, Cynthia, Rufa, Sappho, Calista, Papillia, Calypso, Narcissa, and even haughty Philomede. I shall miss you all and I prize more keenly your feminine charms.

The flits who feed on Twitter-seed
and Instagram their meals
are not expected, then, to heed
what poetry reveals.
Alexander’s verses scold
the children of this cyber-age
yet Pope, still witty, waxes bold
to goad the dunces into rage.

.Pope 2

Purchasing Pain with Flavia

Flavia’s a wit, has too much sense to pray,
To Toast our wants and wishes, is her way;
Nor asks of God, but of her stars to give
The mighty blessing, “while we live, to live.”
Then all for death, that opiate of the soul!
Lucretia’s dagger, Rosamonda’s bowl.
Say, what can cause such impotence of mind?
A spark too fickle, or a spouse too kind.
Wise wretch! with pleasures too refin’d to please;
With too much spirit to be e’er at ease;
With too much quickness ever to be taught;
With too much thinking to have common thought:
You purchase pain with all that joy can give,
And die of nothing but a rage to live.
IMAGE CREDIT:  androphilia @


Drunken State: Pope’s Punch

Pope A Purple

See Sin in State, majestically drunk;
Proud as a peeress, prouder as a punk;
Chaste to her husband, frank to all beside,
A teeming mistress, but a barren bride.
What then? let blood and body bear the fault,
Her head’s untouch’d, that noble seat of thought:
Such this day’s doctrine—in another fit
She sins with poets through pure love of wit.
What has not fir’d her bosom or her brain?
Caesar and Tallboy, Charles and Charlema’ne.
As Helluo, late dictator of the feast,
The nose of hautgout, and the tip of taste,
Critiqu’d your wine, and analys’d your meat,
Yet on plain pudding deign’d at home to eat;
So Philomede, lect’ring all mankind
On the soft passion, and the taste refin’d,
Th’ address, the delicacy—stoops at once,
And makes her hearty meal upon a dunce.

Pope Afrom:  To a Lady on the Characters of Women  by Alexander Pope

Narcissa: Heathen in the Carnal Part

  Narcissa’s nature, tolerably mild,
To make a wash, would hardly stew a child;
Has ev’n been prov’d to grant a lover’s pray’r,
And paid a tradesman once to make him stare,
Gave alms at Easter, in a Christian trim,
And made a widow happy, for a whim.
Why then declare good nature is her scorn,
When ’tis by that alone she can be borne?
Why pique all mortals, yet affect a name?
A fool to pleasure, yet a slave to fame:
Now deep in Taylor and the Book of Martyrs
Now drinking citron with his Grace and Chartres.
Now conscience chills her, and now passion burns;
And atheism and religion take their turns;
A very heathen in the carnal part,
Yet still a sad, good Christian at her heart.
from:  To a Lady on the Characters of Women  by Alexander Pope