Contrast this censure of the critics with the romantic notion of the young poet.
Contrast this censure of the critics with the romantic notion of the young poet.They are ‘fired at first sight’, which suggests they are inflamed with passion and the intensity of ‘fearless youth’ that is not yet stymied by knowledge of rules and failure to surpass or equal the greatness of others.
As this is addressed to highly respected and learned individuals who become critics it is telling that their knowledge is represented as ‘little’.
This immediately diminishes their education as it does not represent a significant chunk of what there is to be learned and thus they are not fully equipped to be absolute in terms of criticism and adherence to poetic rules. I think it would be fair to say that critics can generally (quite rightly) be labelled as snobs, but to in what way are they dangerous?
The rules dictate that they can only have ‘short views’ and not appreciate the ‘new distant… The ‘endless science’ Pope refers to not only links to changes within poetry, but reflects the ideas of the European Enlightenment that took off at the beginning of the 18th century – where science made leaps and bounds, pushing our understanding forward dramatically.
Pope encourages critics to avoid the temptation to become self-satisfied with their Classical knowledge and poetic comprehension.
In the fifth line we move onto focusing on young poets.
They are presented as being richer with inspiration as they are fresh and unburdened by a deep understanding of the rules so that they don’t fear making mistakes.
This could be down to the fact that as a Catholic at the time he was unable to hold public office; he had a hunchback so wasn’t very attractive to the other sex; and he had health problems that stunted his growth meaning he only ever reached 4″6.
So with all that he had bugger all else to do, except become a kick ass poet.
Without this fear they try to achieve the heights, which implies those governed by rules are also limited by them.
The critics on the other hand are bound by the rules and thus constricted from recognising innovative brilliance and achievement.