The wonderful Alexander Pope…….

Poor old Pope: He was a hunchback,barely five feet tall, and he was a Catholic. On account of the latter he sits forever on the naughty step of the (read Protestant) Tradition of English poetry. His revenge: being more epigrammatic than anybody ever (with the possible exception of Oscar Wilde) and so quotable you don’t even know you’re quoting him—e.g., “A little learning is a dangerous thing,” “Damn with faint praise,” “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread,”

It may come as no surprise that he is the second-most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations after Shakespeare. It is worth remembering that was “the Augustan Age” (starring Swift, Addison, and Steele; so called because London had come to fancy itself the equal of Augustus’ Rome).This was a conservative, well ordered time when rhyming couplets, fine manners, syphilis, powdered wigs, and elaborate gardens were all you needed to get a reputation as a tastemaker.

Nevertheless for sheer venom and bile, his satires oozed vitriol to such an extent, that he made so many enemies that at one point he deemed it necessary to carry pistols whilst walking his dog..

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