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ALEXANDER POPE was born in Lombard Street, London, May 21, 1688. His father was a linen draper who had amassed a considerable fortune, and his mother, Edith, was one of the seventeen children of William Turner, a Roman Catholic gentleman, lord of a manor in Yorkshire. Both of the poet's parents were Roman Catholics.

On account of his extremely delicate health, he was, at the age of eight, put under the tuition of the family priest, who taught him the rudiments of Latin and Greek. He had early been taught by an aunt to read and write. When he was twelve years old, he was sent to a Catholic school at Twyford, but was soon expelled for having written a lampoon upon one of his teachers.

His father retired from business soon after the poet's birth, and removed to Binfield, on the borders of Windsor Forest. Here, after his expulsion from school, other tutors were provided for him; but, his progress being unsatisfactory to himself, he abandoned this method of study, and laid out for himself a wide and varied course of reading, which he pursued with great diligence.

He began to write verse at an early age, producing his “Ode to Solitude” when but twelve years old. He says of himself:

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