The Complete Critical Guide to Alexander Pope

By Paul Baines | Go to book overview

not made (Hammond 1986). Such critiques, however, have not seriously dented the poem's position as Pope's most complex, meaningful and dynamic apologia for his role as poet in society.


(h)

IMITATIONS OF HORACE (1733-40) [TE IV]

The Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot offers an autobiographical image of the platform from which the critique of society in Epistles to Several Persons is launched; but in his poetry of the 1730s Pope increasingly utilised the Roman satirist Horace as mentor, sounding board and model. The series of poems published in the Horatian mode between 1733 and 1738 presents a great range of voice (there are lyrics, as well as epistles and satires), giving Pope the opportunity to try out in extended form the many tonal variants he had deployed in To Arbuthnot: domestic, filial, fraternal; witty, ironic, self-mocking; bitter, angry, cold. Imitations of Donne and Swift (and, in a double-bluff, of Pope himself) are woven into the sequence. Taken as a whole the series selects the values of retirement, friendship, independence, and poetry itself from Horace's oeuvre, and conspicuously ditches Horace's imperial panegyric and 'insider' status: the only patron Pope can come up with to match Horace's Maecenas is Bolingbroke, the 'Patriot' outsider in permanent internal exile. Horace's Sabine farm, the place of his sober economy, is a gift from the noble patron Maecenas; Pope's Twickenham is more hard-won, and less protected. [35-7]

The first poem in the series (The First Satire of the Second Book of Horace, Imitated [35]) was occasioned, Pope tells us, 'by the Clamour raised on some of my epistles. An answer from Horace was both more full, and of more Dignity, than any I could have made in my own person' (TE IV:3). But he goes on to make the point that both Horace and Donne (who had also imitated Horace) 'were acceptable to the Princes and Ministers under whom they lived', a condition which, he implies, has disappeared from the current literary scene; in presenting the Latin text opposite the English version (his habit throughout), Pope makes it immediately obvious that his poem is not far short of twice the length of Horace's (he also used typographical emphasis to show up particular deviations from his model). The additions greatly enrich the irony of the self-presentation:

There are (I scarce can think it, but am told)

There are to whom my Satire seems too bold,

-119-

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The Complete Critical Guide to Alexander Pope
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Series Editors' Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Abbreviations and Referencing xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Life and Contexts 3
  • (A) - A Catholic Childhood 5
  • (B) - Forest Retreats 7
  • (C) - Literary London 10
  • (D) - Kings and Queens 14
  • (E) - Scriblerus 15
  • (F) - Epic Intent 17
  • (G) - Booksellers and Ladies 19
  • (H) - Works and Days 21
  • (I) - Twickenham 23
  • (J) - Shakespeare 26
  • (K) - Epic of Fleet Street 28
  • (L) - System and Satire 32
  • (M) - Horace 35
  • (N) - Letters 38
  • (O) - Laureate in Opposition 40
  • (Q) - The End 44
  • Part II - Work 47
  • (A) - An Essay on Criticism (1711) [Te I:195-326] 49
  • (C) - The Rape of the Lock (1712/1714/1717) [Te Ii:79-212] 65
  • (D) - Eloisa to Abelard (1717) [Te Ii:291-349] 77
  • (E) - Essay on Man (1733-34) [Te Iii:I] 82
  • (F) - Epistles to Several Persons (1731-35) [Te Iii:Ii] 93
  • (G) - Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot (1735) [Te Iv:91-127] 110
  • (H) - Imitations of Horace (1733-40) [Te Iv] 119
  • (I) - The Dunciad (1728-42) [Te V] 130
  • Part III - Criticism 151
  • (A) - Pope and Poetry 153
  • (B) - Politics 163
  • (C) - Gender and Body 171
  • (D) - Pope in Print and Manuscript 189
  • Bibliography 205
  • Index 215
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