Epistle to the Rev. Sir, John Dolben | Anthony Alsop

I have taken this from John Bailey’s book with his kind permission

In the Gentleman’s Magazine of August 1738 appeared a poem by Dr. Anthony Alsop, the poetical writer, penned in 1725 at his Brightwell, Berks., rectory.

It is entitled Epistle to the Rev. Sir, John Dolben and begins:

“Sir John or Doctor, chuse you whether;

Or Friend, a better name than either”.

The writer goes on to complain that he lives too far away to visit Finedon but if he had lived nearer,

“I might have view’d fair Finedon’s tow’rs ,

Its walks, and avenues, and bow’rs,

 The sweet abode of you and yours”


 “Then had I .seen in. ev’ry kind,

 Such beauties both of face and mind,

As oft are read of in romances,

The creatures of poetic fancies,

 But, save at Finedon, hardly found

On English or un-English ground”.


“Would Pegasus. let me bestride him,

And teach me skill, when up, to ride him,

 Or had I wings well glu’d and corded

, Better than Icarus or Ford had,

Away I’d fly, nor stay to bait,

Untill I knock’d at Finedon gate.

Then wo be to the beef and claret,

 For by my faith I would not spare it;

 Nor should I, once possession taken,

 Contrive or care to save your bacon.

But what a sot am I to think

Of such poor things as meat and drink

And not revolve within my mind

The fairest of the fairest kind!

Since to the fair with heart most fervent

I vow myself an humble servant.

How should I joy to see the lady

That makes three sweet ones call you dady!

To see those pretty heirs apparent

Trip it along like fairies errant!

To view those little representers,

Surpassing nicest skill of painters,

Resembling either parent’s face,

The Digby and the Dolben race”.

Finedon must have been truly beautiful in those days.

Author: Adminp

Peter Munton


Peter Munton