The Complete Critical Guide to Alexander Pope

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to take sides, and other new allegiances leaned increasingly towards the Tory camp. John Arbuthnot (1667-1735) came from a Jacobite background, was Queen Anne's physician, and author of a series of prose satires against the war known collectively as The History of John Bull (1712). Perhaps most importantly, Pope met Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), clergyman and satirist, recently author of some sophisticated partisan papers, pamphlets and verse satires decrying the profiteering of Marlbrough and urging the necessity of the Tory peace. Swift and Arbuthnot formulated the influential view that the 'landed interest', meaning those aristocrats who farmed large country estates in the traditional way, was being systematically undermined by the 'monied interest', meaning not so much merchants (like Pope's father) but bankers, stockbrokers, and anyone who dealt in money as an abstract entity. This view was to operate very powerfully on Pope and on politics generally during the period, though the reality of the situation was considerably more fluid than satire suggested.

The peace, known as the Treaty of Utrecht, was eventually signed on 31 March 1713. Pope had anticipated the actual signing by publishing Windsor-Forest on 7 March [57-64, 166, 170]. This was a more localised and personal a vision of rural England than the Pastorals, yet once again Pope has several literary models in mind, and the poem depends for some of its effects on a communal literary heritage which would include Virgil's Georgics (poems celebrating a more practical agricultural life than the Eclogues), English topographic poems such as Sir John Denham's Cooper's Hill (1642), and works of national mythology such as Michael Drayton's Poly-Olbion (1622) and William Camden's antiquarian Britannia (1586). In celebrating the Peace as the dawn of a new age of prosperity and empire Pope characterises Windsor Forest, and Windsor Castle, as zones of true sovereignty, celebrating Anne, the last of the Stuarts, as a talismanic sovereign. The poem is at once the last expression of a Tory kind of mythology of kingship and an elegy for it, written in the rather sombre knowledge that on the death of Anne, whose children all died in infancy, the Act of Succession of 1701 would ensure that Britain would be ruled by the House of Hanover, sympathetic to the Whig interest, antipathetic to Catholics and with a far more secular turn of mind.


(e)

SCRIBLERUS

The quality of Pope's poem was immediately recognised by Swift, who instructed 'Stella' (his friend Esther Johnson): 'read it' (Mack 1985:199). Addison was said to be upset by the poem, and is known to have

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