On this day… 21st May, 1688 – Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope (21 May 1688 – 30 May 1744) was an 18th-century English poet. He is best known for his satirical verse, as well as for his translation of Homer. Famous for his use of the heroic couplet, he is the second-most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare.
An Essay on Criticism is one of the first major poems written by Pope. It is written in a type of rhyming verse called heroic couplets. The Essay also gives this famous line:
To err is human, to forgive divine.
Did You Know?..
Unlike many eighteenth-century writers of verse and prose—Swift, Addison, Gay, Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, etc.—Pope seems to have reinvented his literary self every five to ten years. Despite his reputation as a satirist, he contributed to virtually every genre from pastoral to rural history to mock epic to translation to moral philosophy to the autobiographical poetry of the Imitations of Horace.