ALEXANDER POPE, English poet, was born in Lombard Street, London, on the 21st of May 1688. His father, Alexander Pope, a Roman Catholic, was a linen-draper who afterwards retired from business with a small fortune, and fixed his residence about 1700 at Binfield in Windsor Forest. His father’s religion would have excluded him from the public schools, even had there been no other impediment to his being sent there. There were, among the Roman An essay on man by alexander pope analysis families near Binfield, men capable of giving a direction to his eager ambition, men of literary tastes, and connexions with the literary world.
These held together as members of persecuted communities always do, and were kept in touch with one another by the family priests. Pope was thus brought under the notice of Sir William Trumbull, a retired diplomatist living at Easthampstead, within a few miles of Binfield. It says something for Pope’s docility at this stage that he recognized so soon that a long course of preparation was needed for such a magnum opus, and began steadily and patiently to discipline himself. Pope’s essay was simply a brilliant contribution to the fashionable conversation. Addison and Pope became acquainted with one another, and Pope’s sacred eclogue, “Messiah,” was printed as No.
In the Essay on Criticism Pope provoked one bitter personal enemy in John Dennis, the critic, by a description of him as Appius, who “stares, tremendous, with a threat’ning eye. Windsor Forest, modelled on Sir John Denham’s Cooper’s Hill, had been begun, according to Pope’s account, when he was sixteen or seventeen. It was published in March 1713 with a flattering dedication to the secretary for war, George Granville, Lord Lansdowne, and an opportune allusion to the peace of Utrecht. This was a nearer approach to taking a political side than Pope had yet made. Coolness between Addison and Pope naturally followed this episode.