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1.246. Atterbury: Francis Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester. See the notes to the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot.

1.274. Ajax Spectre: this refers to an episode in The Odyssey, Book XI, where Ajax's spectre, when Odysseus encounters it in the underworld, strides silently away from the man who had been his enemy in life.

1.289. Thy kind cloud o'er cast: in the Aenid, Book I, Venus conceals Aeneas with a cloud of invisibility while he enters Carthage.

1.278. Op'ning: giving tongue.

1.308. The Lion of the Deeps: the winged lion of St. Mark, emblem of Venice. 1.364. Nay, Mahomet, the pigeon at thine ear: Pope in this passage is referring to the sale of forged antiques and coins. Annius, possibly Sir Andrew Fountain, who bought antiques for the museums, was originally the name of a fifteenthcentury Italian monk who forged MSS. of the classics. Here he can produce not only coins of minor Roman emperors and of the legendary kings Attys and Cecrops, but even of the Prophet Mahomet. A medieval Christian slander accused the latter of training a pigeon to feed out of his ear, so that his followers might think he was inspired by the Holy Ghost-so that the image on his supposed coin is itself indicative of charlatanism.

1.371. Mummius: various identifications of this character with a real antiquary of the period have been attempted, but none is certain.

1.372. Cheops: Khufu, an Egyptian Pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty, builder of the Great Pyramid.

1.380. Sallee Rovers: Barbary pirates.

1.387. Ammon: the Egyptian god Jupiter Ammon, who was represented with rams' horns.

1.394. Douglas: Dr. James Douglas (1675-1742), Physician to Queen Caroline. He made a great collection of editions of Horace.

1.452. Wilkins: John Wilkins, Bishop of Chester (d. 1672), one of the founders of the Royal Society. In his The Discovery of a World in the Moon, 1684, he suggested the possibility of flight to that satellite by means of artificial wings.

1.459. A gloomy clerk: this character represents the Freethinkers. Pope is probably punning on the name of Dr. Samuel Clarke (1675–1729) who argued for natural religion, but who nevertheless opposed the Deists. 1.488. Theocles: one of the interlocutors in Shaftesbury's dialogue The Moralists.

1.492. Tindal: Matthew Tindal (d. 1733), Deistic writer, author of Christianity as Old as the Creation.

1.492. Silenus: Thomas Gordon (d. 1750). Translator of Tacitus and pamphleteer. Originally an opponent of Walpole's Government, he later changed sides and was made Commissioner of Wine Licences. He was strongly critical of the clergy.

1.511. So K✶ so B⋆⋆ sneak'd into the grave: Kent and Berkeley, Henry de

Grey, Duke of Kent (1671–1740), held appointments as Lord Chamberlain of the Household, Lord Steward of the Household, and Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal. James, Earl of Berkeley (1680-1735), First Lord of the Admiralty under George I. Pope is suggesting that they owed their preferment to the influence of one of the king's mistresses.

1.513. Poor W⋆⋆ nipt in Folly's broadest bloom: possibly the Duke of Wharton (see the notes to the Epistle to a Lady), but more probably the young and dissipated Earl of Warwick, who died in 1721.

1.517. A Wizard old: probably Sir Robert Walpole.

1.545. Great C * *, R **, H * *, P * *, K* *: Couper, Raymond, Harcourt, Parker, King. All newly enobled Whig peers. Their sons, otherwise undistinguished, were all patrons of the opera.

1.549. A Priest in amice white: i.e. a chef. The passage following refers to fancy French cookery.

1.556 Sève and Verdeur of the Vine: seve is the particular strength and flavour of a wine. Verdeur is 'the freshness or agreeable briskness of taste' (OED). 1.560. Wash Bladen white and expiate Hays's stain: two gamesters. 1.561. Knight: Robert Knight (d. 1744). Cashier to the notorious South Sea Company. When the bubble burst he fled to France, but was later pardoned and allowed to return.

1.562. Three essential Partridges in One: two dissolved to make sauce for the third.

1.576. One rose a Gregorian, one a Gormogon: the Gregorians and the Gormogons were early eighteenth-century societies founded as parodies of Freemasonry.

1.585. The Cap and Switch: the insignia of a jockey. His Grace is probably the Duke of Devonshire, notoriously interested in horse-racing.

1.586. Staff and Pumps: running footmen wore pumps. Some young noblemen were accustomed to challenge their footmen at races. The Marquis may be the Duke of Devonshire's son, the Marquis of Hartington.

1.587. The licens'd Earl: the sixth Earl of Salisbury (1713-1780) drove a stage-coach.

1.589. The learned Baron: Baron Charles de Geer, a noted Swedish entomologist of the period.

1.591. The Judge to dance his brother Sergeant call: a call of sergeants was an old country dance. The allusion is probably to the revels held at the Inns of Court.

1.603. Tyrant supreme: Sir Robert Walpole had been Prime Minister and virtual ruler of the country from 1721 to 1742.

1.608. Leaden Gilbert: Dr. John Gilbert (1693-1761). He later became Archbishop of York.

1.610. The Convocation gap'd, but could not speak: Convocation had been prorogued in 1717, and did not sit again till 1861.

1.614. Palinurur: the helmsman of Aeneas, who fell asleep at his post and was drowned. Walpole is here meant.


First printed in 1717. According to Pope's own statement it was written before he was twelve. It was, of course, subsequently revised. This, the earliest surviving poem of Pope, is significantly a Horation imitation—not of any particular poem, though suggestive of the first part of Epodes I.


First printed in 1717 as the fourth of 'Verses in Imitation of Waller by a Youth of Thirteen'.



First printed in 1717 as one of 'Verses in Imitation of Cowley by a Youth of Thirteen'.



First printed in 1713. An imitation of Rochester's poem 'On Nothing'. According to Pope's own statement, written at the age of fourteen: it was subsequently much revised. It seems to show greater promise of intellectual force than the other early imitations.



First printed in The Spectator in 1717. Probably written at least before Pope was twenty-one. The story of Cephalus and Procris is from Ovid's Metamorphoses. The hunter Cephalus, resting after the chase, invoked the cooling breeze with the words 'Veni aura'. His wife Procris, hearing of this, mistook the word aura (breeze) for a woman's name, and jealously concealed herself in a thicket to spy upon him. Cephalus, hearing something stirring, and thinking it was a deer, threw his spear and thus inadvertently killed his wife.


First printed in 1736. Another youthful piece.



First printed in 1730. Pope translated the deathbed poem, ‘animula, blandula vagula...', supposed to have been addressed by the Emperor Hadrian to his soul, which expresses a pagan scepticism, and added to it this original piece as a Christian imitation. Its manner, suggestive of late baroque French catholic pietism, may not be to all tastes; but it is probably the most memorable religious lyric of its tinie (outside the best work of Isaac Watts).

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First printed in 1717, but written earlier. Addressed originally not to Martha Blount (see the commentary on the Epistle to a Lady) but to her sister Teresa, with whom Pope subsequently quarrelled. The Coronation was that of George I (1715).

1.15. Bohea: see the notes to The Rape of the Lock.

1.24. Whisk: Whist.

1.46. Parthenia: as Xephalinda is Teresa, Parthenia is presumably Martha.


Originally written in 1715, but in 1738 printed by Pope in an altered and expanded form as a pendant to The Essay on Man, to vindicate himself from the charge of Fatalism. It may be read as Pope's attempt to summarize his somewhat ambiguous religious position. Basically a paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer in naturalistic religious terms, it also seems to owe something to a Hymn of St. Francis Xavier which Pope himself translated.



Written in 1717, when Pope, on a journey to Oxford, revisited the haunts of his youth. This very personal poem was not published during Pope's lifetime. It was first printed in Dyce's Edition of 1831.

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