1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

John Aikin, in Letters to a Young Lady (1806) 85-86.



Pope had been educated in the French school of literature. His earliest ambition was to be reckoned a man of wit and gallantry in the modish sense; and having naturally a cold and artificial character, he was well fitted to assume the part most conducive to the interests of his reputation. The personal disadvantages too, under which he laboured, and which precluded his success as a real lover, accustomed him to fiction in his addresses to the sex, and probably infused a secret exasperation into his feelings when they were concerned.