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Alexander Pope

Writer and Poet

A memorial to poet and critic Alexander Pope was inserted in the new stained glass window in Poets' Corner Westminster Abbey, above Chaucer's monument, and was unveiled on 7th June 1994. The window was designed by Graham Jones and forms a memorial to Edward Horton Hubbard, architectural historian. A memorial panel to Robert Herrick was unveiled at the same time and empty panels were left in the window to allow future memorials for poets and writers to be added. To date these include Oscar Wilde, A.E. Housman, Frances Burney, Christopher Marlowe and Elizabeth Gaskell. Pope's inscription reads:

1688-1744
ALEXANDER POPE
AND HEAV'N IS WON BY VIOLENCE OF SONG

The quote is from his Epistle to Augustus. At the unveiling readings were given from his Essay on Man, The Rape of the Lock, Epistle to Mrs Teresa Blount and Solitude.

He was born on 21st May 1688, the son of Alexander Pope (died 1717) and his second wife Edith (Turner). He was educated by Catholic priests and one of his early works was the Pastorals. He got to know the literary men of his age such as William Congreve and Richard Steele. His Works was published in 1717. He had a prolific output despite ill health and translated Homer's Iliad and the Odyssey. He composed the epitaphs on the monuments to Godfrey Kneller (the worst he ever wrote, he said), John Gay (monument now in the Abbey triforium) and General Henry Withers (in the Abbey cloisters). Those he composed for Isaac Newton and John Sheffield Duke of Buckingham were not allowed to be put on their monuments. He died on 30th May 1744 and was buried next to his parents in the church at Twickenham where he lived.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

Born

21st May 1688

Died

30th May 1744

Memorial

7th June 1994

Field

Writer; poet

Location

South Transept; Poets' Corner

Memorial Type

Window

Material Type

Glass

Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope

Michael Dahl [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope memorial

© The Dean and Chapter of Westminster

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

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