Monday, May 22, 2006

Mr Pope Takes the Piss-2

The two contestants who line up for the contest are Edmund Curll, the notorious pornographer, and Osborne, a bookseller who had claimed to sell Pope's subscription edition of Iliad at half price, when he had merely pirated it, cut the size of the book to octavo, and printed on low quality paper. Curll wins Eliza, and Osborne is crowed with the pot.

One on his manly confidence relies,
One on his vigour and superior size.
First Osborne lean'd against his letter'd post;
It rose, and labour'd to a curve at most.
So Jove's bright bow displays its wat'ry round,
(Sure sign, that no spectator shall be drown'd)
A second effort brought but new disgrace,
The wild Meander wash'd the Artist's face:
Thus the small jett, which hasty hands unlock,
Spirts in the gard'ner's eyes who turns the cock.
Not so from shameless Curl; impetuous spread
The stream, and smoking flourish'd o'er his head.
So (fam'd like thee for turbulence and horns)
Eridanus his humble fountain scorns;

Thro' half the heav'ns he pours th'exalted urn;
His rapid waters in their passage burn.
Swift as it mounts, all follow with their eyes:
Still happy Impudence obtains the prize.

Thou triumph'st, Victor of the high-wrought day,
And the pleas'd dame, soft-smiling, lead'st away.
Osborne, thro' perfect modesty o'ercome,
Crown'd with the Jordan, walks contented home.


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