Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CHALLENGE, by ALEXANDER POPE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE CHALLENGE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: To one fair lady out of court
Last Line: With a fa.
Variant Title(s): The Court Ballad
Subject(s): Courts & Courtiers; Townshend, Charles, 2d Viscount; Royal Court Life; Royalty; Kings; Queens

To the Tune of 'To all you Ladies now at Land,' &c.

To one fair Lady out of court
And two fair Ladies in
Who think the Turk and Pope a sport
And Wit and Love no Sin,
Come these soft lines with nothing Stiff in
To Bellenden Lepell and Griffin
With a fa.

What passes in the dark third row
And what behind the Scene,
Couches and crippled Chairs I know,
And Garrets hung with green;
I know the Swing of sinful Hack,
Where many a Damsel cries oh lack.
With a fa.

Then why to court should I repair
Where's such ado with Townsend.
To hear each mortal stamp and swear
And ev'ry speech in Z--nds end,
To hear 'em rail at honest Sunderland
And rashly blame the realm of Blunderland.
With a fa.

Alas, like Shutz I cannot pun
Like Clayton court the Germans
Tell Pickenburg how slim she's grown
Like Meadows run to sermons,
To court ambitious men may roam,
But I and Marlbro' stay at home.
With a fa.

In truth by what I can discern,
Of Courtiers from you Three,
Some Wit you have and more may learn,
From Court than Gay or me,
Perhaps in time you'll leave High Diet,
And Sup with us on Mirth or Quiet,
With a fa.

In Leister fields, in house full nigh,
With door all painted green,
Where Ribbans wave upon the tye,
(A Milliner's I ween)
There may you meet us, three to three,
For Gay can well make two of me.
With a fa.

But shou'd you catch the Prudish itch,
And each become a coward,

Bring sometimes with you Lady Rich
And sometimes Mistress Howard,
For Virgins, to keep chaste, must go
Abroad with such as are not so.
With a fa.

And thus fair Maids, my ballad ends,
God send the King safe landing,
And makes all honest ladies friends,
To Armies that are Standing.
Preserve the Limits of these nations,
And take off Ladies Limitations.
With a fa.

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