By G. Atkins
A clean examine the best poet of early eighteenth-century England, this hugely readable booklet makes a speciality of Pope's spiritual considering and significant poems. G. Douglas Atkins extends the argument that the Roman Catholic poet used to be no Deist, 'closet' or another way.
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Additional resources for Alexander Pope’s Catholic Vision: “Slave to no sect”
8 It is probably fortunate, in any case, that the charge of Deism in Pope rests mainly on a poem, An Essay on Man—for one thing, the poet seems to reveal himself more fully in his poetry than elsewhere, notably including his letters. 33–34 (“Slave to no sect, who takes no private road, / But looks thro’ Nature, up to Nature’s God”). It is often such comments, taken out of context, that have been used to support the Deistic charge. Virtually ubiquitous in Pope’s own time was impatience with doctrinal niceties, at least among the laity.
New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. 1057/9781137344786. 1057/9781137344786 23 24 Alexander Pope’s Catholic Vision Slave to no sect, who takes no private road, But looks thro’ Nature up to Nature’s God; Pursues that Chain which links th’immense design, Joins heav’n and earth, and mortal and divine; . . . . . . . God loves from Whole to Parts: but human soul Must rise from Individual to the Whole. —Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man The parts–whole problem, which figures prominently in An Essay on Criticism, constitutes a staple of Pope’s thematics.
The birds of heav’n shall vindicate their grain: Thine the full harvest of the golden year? Part pays, and justly, the deserving steer: The hog, that plows not nor obeys thy call, Lives on the labours of this lord of all. 27–42) The related question Pope also considers: Ask for what end the heav’nly bodies shine, Earth for whose use? 131–40) Pope rightly replies in kind to such mockery—with mockery. Pope’s response to anthropocentric desires and expectations reaches a climax in the fourth epistle.
Alexander Pope’s Catholic Vision: “Slave to no sect” by G. Atkins