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Biography of Alexander Pope...

A Universal Prayer..

Essay on Man ....




EPISTLE I.-Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to the Universe... 11-21 EPISTLE II.-Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to Himself as an




EPISTLE III.-Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to Society
EPISTLE IV.-Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to Happiness.... 41-53






1. Portrait of Alexander Pope..

2. " Expatiate free o'er all this scene of man".

3. "He who through vast immensity can pierce".

4. "Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutored mind"

5. "The proper study of mankind is Man".

6. "Love, Hope, and Joy, fair pleasure's smiling train". 7. "Vice is a monster of so frightful mien".

8. "See some strange comfort every state attend".

9. "Learn of the little nautilus to sail".


"The bounding steed you pompously bestride". 11. "Taught to command the fire, control the flood" 12. "Oh, Happiness! our being's end and aim".

13. "One flaunts in rags, one flutters in brocade" 14. "Look but on Gripus, or on Gripus' wife". 15. "Whatever is, is Right".

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LEXANDER POPE was born in London, May 21, 1688. His father was a linen merchant of that city, who had acquired a small fortune in trade, and further increased it by his marriage with a lady of good family. He then withdrew from business, and settled on a small estate at Benfield, in Windsor Forest. From his father, Pope is said to have inherited a crooked person, and from his mother, "constitutional headaches." He speaks of himself as lean and short, afflicted with a cough like Horace, and having one shoulder higher than the other, like Alexander the Great. He has described his life as "a long disease;" and is said to have been from his infancy of a delicate constitution, though it was not till he was about twelve years of age that his features assumed the appearance of ill-health. He is recorded to have been a gentle and sweet-tempered child, with a voice so pleasing as to obtain for him the name of the Little Nightingale.

Pope had not the advantages of a thorough education, but acquired a good knowledge of Latin and Greek from a private tutor. His great love for poetry showed itself very early in life; and to satisfy his enthusiasm, he dipped into a great number of the English, French, Italian, Latin, and Greek poets. In this way he gained a knowledge of the languages of the modern poets he read. Five or six years of his life were thus happily spent, following wherever fancy led him, like a boy gathering flowers in the fields and woods just as they fall in his way.

Pope was a poet almost from infancy. He has said, in his "Epistle to Arbuthnot,"

"As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame,

I lisped in numbers, for the numbers came;

I left no calling for this idle trade,
No duty broke, no father disobeyed."

Before he was twenty-one he had composed several pastorals and written several translations. His "Ode on Solitude" was written when only twelve years old. He gave to the world the "Essay on Criticism," in 1711; "Rape of the Lock," 1714; "Windsor Forest," 1713; "Temple of Fame," 1715; "Epistle of Eloisa" and "Elegy on an Unfortunate Lady," in 1716, 1717, two poems inimitable for pathetic beauty and finished versification. From 1715 till 1726 he was chiefly engaged on his translations of the "Iliad" and "Odyssey," which realized to him the sum of $40,000. He next edited an edition of Shakspeare, which proved unworthy of his reputation. In 1728, 1729 he published a satire called "The Dunciad," an attack on some persons against whom the sensitive poet had conceived an enmity.

In 1731 appeared his epistle on "Taste," and in the next year an epistle "On the

Use of Riches." These are now known as the fourth and third of the "Moral Essays;" the first, "On the Knowledge and Characters of Men," appeared in 1733; and the second, "On the Characters of Women," in 1735. The four epistles comprising the "Essay on Man" were published anonymously in 1732, 1733, 1734. They were inscribed to Lord Bolingbroke, from whom it has been wrongfully supposed that the substance of the poem was borrowed, a suspicion which Lord Bolingbroke himself never entertained. The "Moral Essays" and "Essay on Man" were but parts of a great scheme which the author did not live to accomplish.

Feeling that his life was drawing to a close, Pope determined to devote the remainder of his days to a revision of his works. He lived, however, to revise only the "Dunciad," the "Essay on Man," and the "Essay on Criticism." He was afflicted with dropsy, and died at Twickenham, on the Thames, May 30, 1744, where he had lived ever since 1717 with his widowed mother, to whom he was most devotedly attached, cultivating his little domain with exquisite taste and skill, and embellishing it with a grotto, temple, wilderness, and other adjuncts, poetical and picturesque.

Pope's physical infirmity, his susceptible temperament, and incessant study rendered his character somewhat vacillating. He was warm in his friendships, social, generous, and benevolent; yet petulant and vain at times. The deformity of his person was redeemed by a fine, thoughtful countenance, and a quick, piercing eye. Toward the close of his life he was so weak that he could hardly stand erect, and required assistance to dress and undress. To the last he was a diligent student. No poet has ever exerted so decided an influence on the literary tastes of his age; and none have had more imitators. His position is now recognized as among the first of English poets.

Phrenologically considered, Pope had an intense mental temperament, a keenly susceptible and sensitive organization, and a bodily constitution weak and delicate from his birth. The appearance of the face is that of ill-health and depressed spirits. The ungainly cap or turban rather adds to the sadness of the expression. The prominence of the eyebrows indicates power of perception and a keen appreciation of material things. Imitation, Ideality, and Language were largely developed, imparting the ability to copy the models he admired, to cull from the world of fancy choice flowers, and to express his burning thoughts in suitable language. He was evidently courageous, though very sensitive to criticism, and his courage imparted boldness in the execution of his ambitious projects. His sympathy appears to have been strong and his affection tender and impulsive. Vitativeness was influential, and the basilar organs generally well indicated, giving him much tenacity of life and an appreciation of those things which are conducive to existence; so that, notwithstanding deformity and a naturally delicate constitution, he attained to the age of fifty-six.

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