By G. Atkins
A clean examine the best poet of early eighteenth-century England, this hugely readable publication makes a speciality of Pope's spiritual considering and significant poems. G. Douglas Atkins extends the argument that the Roman Catholic poet was once no Deist, 'closet' or another way.
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Additional info for Alexander Pope’s Catholic Vision: “Slave to no sect”
316)—man is precisely this tension, this site of contention. The issue now, though, is not so much participation as mutual dependence: Parts relate to whole; One all-extending, all-preserving Soul Connects each being, greatest with the least; Made Beast in aid of Man, and Man of Beast; All serv’d, all serving! nothing stands alone; The chain holds on, and where it ends, unknown. 231–32). Pope proceeds then to a fervent description of postlapsarian dogmatism and tyranny, a triumph of partiality, which deserves quoting at length.
But even if a woman show the “temper” of Martha Blount, to whom the poem is addressed, and who, “if she rules” her mate, “never shows she rules, / Charms by accepting, by submitting sways, / Yet has her humour most, when she obeys,” “Woman’s at best a Contradiction still” (267–70). Pope then offers these verses, elaborating on that conclusion: Heav’n, when it strives to polish all it can Its last best work, but forms a softer Man; Picks from each sex, to make its Fav’rite blest, Your love of Pleasure, our desire of Rest, Blends, in exception to all gen’ral rules, Your Taste of Follies, with our Scorn of Fools, Reserve with Frankness, Art with Truth ally’d, Courage with Softness, Modesty with Pride, Fix’d Principles, with Fancy ever new; Shakes all together, and produces—You.
B. White (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 15–42. 8 William Empson, “Wit in the Essay on Criticism,” The Structure of Complex Words (New York: New Directions, 1951), 84–100. S. Eliot, “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism (London: Methuen, 1920), 42–53. 10 Ronald Paulson, Theme and Structure in Swift’s “Tale of a Tub” (New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 1960), 225. 11 Eliot, “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” 45. 12 “Imperfect Critics,” The Sacred Wood, 33.
Alexander Pope’s Catholic Vision: “Slave to no sect” by G. Atkins