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Alexander Pope

1688–1744. English poet and translator. { Encyclopedia Britannica }

At a Glance

The Blue Castle (2)

An Essay on Criticism (1711 poem)

Then, at the last and only couplet fraught
With some unmeaning thing they call a thought,
A needless Alexandrine ends the song
That, like a wounded snake, drags its slow length along. (Lines 354–57)

The Blue Castle, chapter 11 (“the dinner in its earlier stages was dragging its slow length along”).

Name a new Play, and he’s the Poet’s friend,
Nay show’d his faults—but when would Poets mend?
No place so sacred from such fops is barr’d,
Nor is Paul’s church more safe than Paul’s churchyard:
Nay, fly to Altars; there they’ll talk you dead;
For Fools rush in where Angels fear to read. (Lines 620–25)

The Blue Castle, chapter 11 (“He rashly rushed in where Mrs. Frederick feared to tread”).


Pope, Alexander. Pope’s Essay on Criticism. Edited by John Churton Collins. London: Macmillan and Company; New York: The Macmillan Company, 1896. Online at

Published on 23 October 2020; last updated on 23 October 2020. Please contact the site owner with additions, corrections, questions, and suggestions.