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You might find this local information useful. some information on Alexander Pope
From Berkshire here's some information on Alexander Pope - The famous poet was the son of Alexander Pope Senior, a rich merchant and linen-draper, and of Edith, daughter William Turner of York. Alexander Junior was born in Lombard Street in the City of London; but before he had reached his twelfth year, his father - having recently converted to Catholicism - bought a small estate (now Pope's Manor) at Binfield in Berkshire. Here, the boy grew up. He had already begun to lisp in numbers, had dramatized scenes from Homer and had met Dryden. His schooling was obtained at various private Catholic schools and, at home, from priests.Pope's father, the son of an Anglican vicar, had converted to Catholicism, which caused the family many problems. At the time Catholics suffered from repressive legislation and prejudices - they were not allowed to enter any universities or held public employment. Thus Pope had an uneven education, which was often interrupted. From Twyford School he was expelled after writing a satire on one of the teachers. At home, Pope's aunt taught him to read. Latin and Greek he learned from a local priest and later he acquired knowledge of French and Italian poetry. Pope also attended clandestine Catholic schools. In ESSAY ON MAN (1733-34) Pope examined the human condition against Miltonic, cosmic background. Although Pope's perspective is well above our everyday life, and he do not hide his wide knowledge, the dramatic work suggest than humankind is a part of nature and the diversity of living forms: "Each beast, each insect, happy in its own: / Is Heaven unkind to Man, and Man alone?" In MORAL ESSAYS (1731) Pope separated behavior from character: "Not always actions show the man: we find / Who does a kindness is not therefore kind." Pope prepared an edition of his correspondence, doctored to his own advantage. He also employed discreditable artifices to make it appear that the correspondence was published against his wish. With the translation of the Odyssey, Pope was eager to take all the credit, trying to avoid mentioning the contribution of other writers.
How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd;
Alexander Pope, "Eloisa to Abelard"
A little learning is a dangerous thing;
drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
and drinking largely sobers us again.
Alexander Pope, An essay on Criticism
To err is human, to forgive divine.
Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism
An Essay on Criticism
'Tis hard to say, if greater Want of Skill
Appear in Writing or in Judging ill,
But, of the two, less dang'rous is th' Offence,
To tire our Patience, than mis-lead our Sense:
Some few in that, but Numbers err in this,
Ten Censure wrong for one who Writes amiss;
A Fool might once himself alone expose,
Now One in Verse makes many more in Prose.
'Tis with our Judgments as our Watches, none
Go just alike, yet each believes his own.
In Poets as true Genius is but rare,
True Taste as seldom is the Critick's Share;
Both must alike from Heav'n derive their Light,
These born to Judge, as well as those to Write.
Let such teach others who themselves excell,
And censure freely who have written well.
Authors are partial to their Wit, 'tis true,
But are not Criticks to their Judgment too?
Yet if we look more closely, we shall find
Most have the Seeds of Judgment in their Mind;
Nature affords at least a glimm'ring Light;
The Lines, tho' touch'd but faintly, are drawn right.
But as the slightest Sketch, if justly trac'd,
Is by ill Colouring but the more disgrac'd,
So by false Learning is good Sense defac'd.
Some are bewilder'd in the Maze of Schools,
And some made Coxcombs Nature meant but Fools.
In search of Wit these lose their common Sense,
And then turn Criticks in their own Defence.
Each burns alike, who can, or cannot write,
Or with a Rival's or an Eunuch's spite.
All Fools have still an Itching to deride,
And fain wou'd be upon the Laughing Side;
If Maevius Scribble in Apollo's spight,
There are, who judge still worse than he can write
Some have at first for Wits, then Poets past,
Turn'd Criticks next, and prov'd plain Fools at last;
Some neither can for Wits nor Criticks pass,
As heavy Mules are neither Horse or Ass.
Those half-learn'd Witlings, num'rous in our Isle,
As half-form'd Insects on the Banks of Nile:
Unfinish'd Things, one knows now what to call,
Their Generation's so equivocal:
To tell 'em, wou'd a hundred Tongues require,
Or one vain Wit's, that might a hundred tire.