Literary Allusions: Address to Tobacco

Originally Posted by Miss Sneyd on January 30, 2010, 9:00 AM

“I dare say he [Mr. Rushworth] will be in parliament soon.  When Sir Thomas comes, I dare say he will be in for some borough, but there has been nobody to put him in the way of doing anything yet.”

“Sir Thomas is to achieve many mighty things when he comes home,” said Mary, after a pause.  “Do you remember Hawkins Browne’s ‘Address to Tobacco,’ in imitation of Pope?—

Blest leaf! whose aromatic gales dispense
To Templars modesty, to Parsons sense.

I will parody them—

Blest Knight! whose dictatorial looks dispense
To Children affluence, to Rushworth sense.

Will not that do, Mrs. Grant?  Everything seems to depend upon Sir Thomas’s return.”

“You will find his consequence very just and reasonable when you see him in his family, I assure you.  I do not think we do so well without him.  He has a fine dignified manner, which suits the head of such a house, and keeps everybody in their place.  Lady Bertram seems more of a cipher now than when he is at home; and nobody else can keep Mrs. Norris in order.” (Mansfield Park, Chapter XVII)

Isaac Hawkins Browne was born in Burton-upon-Trent in England and lived from January 21, 1705-February 14, 1760. He wrote several imitations of contemporary poets on A Pipe of Tobacco. They were in imitation of Cibber, Ambrose Phillips, Thomson, Young, Pope, and Swift, although the imitation of Ambrose Phillips was not written by Browne, but by a friend of his. In Mansfield Park, Miss Crawford quotes the fifth imitation, the one of Pope:


–Solis ad ortus
Vanescit fumus. Lucan.

Blest leaf! whose aromatic gales dispense
To templars modesty, to parsons sense:
So raptur’d priests, at fam’d Dodona’s shrine
Drank inspiration from the steam divine.
Poison that cures, a vapour that affords
Content, more solid than the smile of lords:
Rest to the weary, to the hungry food,
The last kind refuge of the Wise and Good.
Inspir’d by thee, dull cits adjust the scale
Of Europe’s peace, when other statesmen fail.
By thee protected, and thy sister, beer,
Poets rejoice, nor think the bailiff near.
Nor less the critic owns thy genial aid,
While supperless he plies the piddling trade.
What tho’ to love and softs delights a foe,
By ladies hated, hated by the beau,
Yet social freedom, long to courts unknown,
Fair health, fair truth, and virtue are thy own.
Come to thy poet, come with healing wings,
And let me taste thee unexcis’d by kings.

A book published by Browne’s son, containing all six of the imitations, can be found on Google Books.

Alexander Pope

Alexander Pope (May 21, 1688 – May 30, 1744) was an English poet. His family was Catholic, and around 1700 they were forced to move from London due to a statute prohibiting Catholics from living within ten miles of London or Westminster. He contracted Pott’s disease (a tuberculosis affecting the bones) at age twelve. Because of this he become hunchbacked and never grew taller than four feet, six inches. In 1709, following the publication of his Pastorals, Pope became famous. His next publication, An Essay on Criticism, was also very well received. One of his best known works is his Essay on Man. At his death, he was considered one of the greatest poets of his time.

Jane Austen mentions Pope in Sense and Sensibility (“Well, Marianne,” said Elinor, … “You have already ascertained Mr. Willoughby’s opinion in almost every matter of importance. You know what he thinks of Cowper and Scott; you are certain of his estimating their beauties as he ought, and you have received every assurance of his admiring Pope no more than is proper.”–Chapter X), and quotes him in both Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. In one of her letters to her sister Cassandra, Jane Austen wrote, ‘ “Whatever is, is best.” There has been one infallible Pope in the world.’


4 comments on “Literary Allusions: Address to Tobacco

  1. says:

    Thanks for the marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you could be a great author.
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  2. Muthusamy says:

    Could someone explain the meaning of, Blest leaf! whose aromatic gales dispense To Templars modesty, to Parson’s sense

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