2 May 1709
These extracts from private letters testify to the wide impression created by the Pastorals prior to their publication and immediately after.
[Wycherley] shall bring with him, if you will, a young Poet, newly inspired, in the Neighbourhood of Cooper's-Hill, whom he and Walsh have taken under their Wing; his name is Pope; he is not above Seventeen or Eighteen Years of Age, and promises Miracles: If he goes on as he has begun, in the Pastoral way, as Virgil, first try'd his Strength, we may hope to see English Poetry vie with the Roman, and this Swan of Windsor sing as sweetly as the Mantuan.
I return you the Papers 1 you favour'd me with, and had sent them to you yesterday morning, but that I thought to have brought them to you last night my self. I have read them over several times with great satisfaction. The Preface 2 is very judicious and very learned; and the Verses very tender and easy. The Author seems to have a particular Genius for that kind of Poetry, and a Judgment that much exceeds the
1 [I.e., of the Pastorals]
2 [The Preface was not published until it appeared in Pope's Works (1717)]