William Wycherley, extract from letter to Pope, 7 April 1705, Corresp., i. 6-7.
Wycherley (1640?-1716), the aging poet and dramatist, quickly befriended the young poet. In return Pope helped Wycherley correct his poems, which later led to an estrangement between the two men. On their relationship, see Spence, Anecdotes, i. 32-41. Wycherley saw the manuscript version of the Pastorals, not published till 1709.
As to my enquiry after your Intrigues with the Muses, you may allow me to make it, since no old Man can give so young, so great, so able a Favourite of theirs, Jealousy. I am, in my Enquiry, like old Sir Bernard Gascoign,1 who us'd to say, That when he was grown too old to have his Visits admitted alone by the Ladies, he always took along with him a young Man, to ensure his Welcome to them; who, had he come alone had been rejected, only because his Visits were not scandalous to them. So I am (like an old Rook, who is ruin'd by Gaming) forc'd to live on the good Fortune of the pushing young Man, whose Fancies are so vigorous, that they ensure their Success in their Adventures with the Muses, by the Strength of their Imagination.
1 [An Italian who served Charles I, and was favoured in Charles II's court]