Alexander Pope's exceptional talent and fierce ambition made him England's first truly professional poet. His writings are the finest poetic expression of the ideals of an age in which cultured taste insisted above all on elegance of form - whether demonstrated in a handsomely proportional building, a landscaped garden, or a graceful couplet. Pope's mastery of language enabled him to praise, mock, censure, or moralize with equal skill. He could prick the balloon of conceit with a single line or redeploy the entire ...