Pope's Essay on Criticism

By Frederick M. A. Ryland; Alexander Pope | Go to book overview
Save to active project

APPENDIX II

EXTRACTS FROM DENNIS'S "REFLECTIONS
UPON A LATE RHAPSODY ENTITLED AN
ESSAY ON CRITICISM" (1711).

" I am inclined to believe that it was writ by some young, or some raw author, for the following reasons. First, he discovers in every page a sufficiency that is far beyond his little ability; and hath rashly undertaken a task which is infinitely above his force.... Secondly, while this little author struts and affects the dictatorian air, he plainly shows that at the same time he is under the rod, and that while he pretends to give laws to others, he is himself a pedantic slave to authority and opinion.... But a third infallible mark of a young author is that he hath done in this Essay what schoolboys do by their exercises, he hath borrow'd both from living and dead, and particularly from the authors of the two famous Essays upon Poetry and Translated Verse; but so borrow'd, that he seems to have the very reverse of Midas's noble faculty. For as the coarsest and the dullest metals were upon the touch of that Lydian monarch immediately changed into fine gold, so the finest gold, upon this author's handling it, in a moment loses both its lustre and its weight, and is immediately tum'd to lead. A fourth thing that shews him a young man, is the not knowing his own mind and his frequent contradictions of himself. His title seems to promise an essay upon criticism in general, which afterwards dwindles to an essay upon criticism in poetry. And after all, he is all along giving rules, such as they are, for writing rather than judging.... A fifth sign of his being a young author is his being almost perpetually in the wrong. ... Whenever we find a simile, the first line of it is like a warning piece to give us notice that something extraordinary false or foolish is to follow.... But what most shows him a very young author is, that with all these faults and this weakness he has the insolence of a hero, and is a down-right bully of Parnassus, who is every moment thund'ring out, Fool, Sot, Fop, Coxcomb, Blockhead...."

Dennis attributed to the influence of the Italian opera the existence of Pope's Essay on Criticism. "'Tis now almost seven years since I happen'd to say one morning to a certain person distinguish'd

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Pope's Essay on Criticism
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 53

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?