It’s hard out there for A. Pope.

It’s hard out there for A. Pope.

It’s easy to get frustrated with Pope, especially when he’s being a misogynistic ass. But then you remember that almost everyone was really dickish* to him–what with his being Catholic, 4’6″, and hunchbacked, at a time when none of those qualities were very popular–and you think, okay, that would put me in a bad mood, too. John Dennis, why don’t you say something dickish about Pope?:

*official literary terminology

“Natural deformity comes not by our fault; ’tis often occasioned by calamities and diseases, which a man can no more help than a monster can his deformity. There is no one misfortune, and no one disease, but what all the rest of mankind are subject to.–But the deformity of this author is visible, present, lasting, unalterable, and peculiar to himself. ‘Tis the mark of God and Nature upon him, to give us warning that we would hold no society with him, as a creature not of our original, nor of our species: and they who have refused to take this warning which God and nature have given them, and have in spite of it by a senseless presumption ventured to be familiar with him, have severely suffered, etc. ‘Tis certain his original is not from Adam, but from the Devil.”
(Dunciad Book 2, note l. 142)

Yowza. And even though I’ve been reading far too much Pope lately (you might say I’m Poped!…sorry), and it’s making me really want to tear my hair out, there are still a few things that I just can’t help but love–especially the final couplet here:

“Oh blindness to the future! kindly given,
That each may fill the circle marked by Heaven;
Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
Atoms or systems into ruin hurled,
And now a bubble burst, and now a world.”
(An Essay on Man Epistle 1 l. 85-90)

(Thanks to Savanna, whose A. Pope joke I stole.)


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