Impromptu

By Alexander Pope 1688–1744 Alexander Pope

To Lady Winchelsea,
Occasioned by four Satirical Verses on Women Wits,
In The Rape of the Lock

In vain you boast poetic names of yore,
And cite those Sapphos we admire no more:
Fate doomed the fall of every female wit;
But doomed it then, when first Ardelia writ.
Of all examples by the world confessed,
I knew Ardelia could not quote the best;
Who, like her mistress on Britannia’s throne,
Fights and subdues in quarrels not her own.
To write their praise you but in vain essay;
Even while you write, you take that praise away.
Light to the stars the sun does thus restore,
But shines himself till they are seen no more.

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Poet Alexander Pope 1688–1744

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Augustan

Subjects Relationships, Men & Women, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

 Alexander  Pope

Biography

Alexander Pope was born in London to a Roman Catholic family. A childhood sickness left him with stunted height, a curved spine, and ill health for the rest of his life. Pope earned fame and great financial success as a poet, satirist, and translator. He is perhaps best remembered for his mastery of the heroic couplet, as in An Essay on Man and “The Rape of the Lock.”

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Men & Women, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Augustan

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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