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On a Certain Lady at Court by Alexander Pope

Short Analysis: This poem is thought to be written about Catharine Howard, one of Queen Caroline's waiting-women and later Countess of Suffolk. It is written in ABAB rhyme scheme in the first two stanzas followed by ABBC. The last stanza is a near-rhyme, but not quite. The near-rhyme is meant to show a change of pace and emphasize that the woman's fault is that she doesn't hear what the "world" is saying to her. The "world" in this case is most likely Alexander. He praises her yet she doesn't hear him and possibly shuns his advances.


On a Certain Lady at Court

I know a thing that's most uncommon;
  (Envy, be silent and attend!)
I know a reasonable woman,
  Handsome and witty, yet a friend.

Not warp'd by passion, awed by rumour;
  Not grave through pride, nor gay through folly;
An equal mixture of good-humour
  And sensible soft melancholy.

'Has she no faults then (Envy says), Sir?'
  Yes, she has one, I must aver:
When all the world conspires to praise her,
  The woman's deaf, and does not hear.


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