Alexander Pope


'For one who would not be buried in Westminster Abbey'


Alexander Pope is buried in St Mary's Church, Twickenham, Greater London, England under a stone marked with the letter 'P'.

Alexander Pope's Grave Marker

At the age of twelve Pope contracted an illness (possibly Pott's disease) which severely restricted his growth. As a grown man he was only 4 foot, 6 inches tall.

With money earned from his translations of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey  Pope took on the lease of a villa at Crossdeep, Twickenham in 1719. He spent considerable time and money on improving the house and redesigning the gardens.

Pope, known as 'the wasp of Twickenham', wrote many of his great works here - including The Dunciad, which ruthlessly satirised Colley Cibber who later became the Poet Laureate. The Dunciad was undoubtedly influenced by MacFlecknoe  by John Dryden.

Pope assisted John Gay in the writing of Three Hours after Marriage but wrote nothing else for the theatre.

Pope died in Twickenham in 1744 and was buried next to his mother in the parish church. His friend William Warburton later erected a monument to him on the north wall commenting on his preference for Twickenham over Westminster Abbey.

Alexander Pope

Apparently, Pope's skull was exhumed some time later and purchased for phrenological examination. Consequently he is said to haunt the church.

See also mock-heroic and Scriblerus Club.

Memorial Stone of Alexander Pope

Some have at first for Wits, then Poets past,
Turn'd Critics next, and prov'd plain Fools at last.
Some neither can for Wits nor Critics pass,
As heavy mules are neither horse nor ass.

From  An Essay on Criticism

Read more of Pope's poetry






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