Colley Cibber Always Has Something To Say; A Satire

Can you believe that Alexander Pope?---

he is a craven and conniving jerk.

With feelings' poetry, he cannot cope;

and borrows, for his poems, from others' work.

To me, that is just dawdling disrespect---

the kind that I most totally reject.

I am quite serious about my craft;

and I am quite convinced that it is art.

I write of my existence, from the heart,

and my truth never stymies, stalls, nor smothers

beneath that burden of some ancient others'

dusty traditions, cold and dark, like tombs

full of mould, worms, and dead men's skeletons.

And now this horse's pompous ass presumes

to name me in his poem, The Dunciad,

as London's---even England's---chiefest Dunce.

He says I only write from ignorance

because, in one poem, I said, "I feel bad."

I do not need to waste my time with looks

into forgotten poets' haughty books.

I do not need to make examination

of Vergil's verses to find inspiration,

or use his epics to make imitation

for which my readers would make celebration---

all them who will love me for the duration

of their wrecked lives, and seek a confirmation

that I am more than an effaced headstone,

more than a slopjar full of piss and moan;

and that I offer them the sound and sense

of my most literate experience

expressed well.  I offered to mentor him---

to turn about his rather questionable

achievements (and, they do seem mightly slim)

to some purpose that is redeemable.

But my offer was, off the cuff, refused;

and, in his sore rage, verbally abused;

not quite the answer that I had expected;

and toward me, rather (I think) misdirected;

as if, to refined Art, I was a traitor.

He said that even the most hungry rooks

would not find my flesh a flavorful dish.

And that, in dead canals, I like to fish

with sewing threads, and rusted, bent fishooks---

of which I am a proven master-baiter.

I hate that hunchbacked freak, who should have kissed

my better verse a long, long time ago.

He should have shown a better courtesy

toward my proven originality.

He puts my panties in a ghastly twist---

not good for my unsteady mind, you know.



Author's Notes/Comments: 

This poem is a satire against Colley Cibber (1671-1757), who is satirzed in Alexander Pope's mock- (but very Vergilian) epic, The Dunciad.

Like my poem about John Polidori, posted today, this is a satire on literary history.

Alexander Pope's poetry is in the public domain.

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