Many hate Pope. They find him splenetic and painful, but I love him. I always have.
I just reread Rape of the Lock. The epic conventions are glorious. But, of course, perhaps that really is why I love him. Pope knows the genres he works in really well; he knows them so well he can satirize them with a skill that John Stewart could only envy. Yes, Rape of the Lock is not Paradise Lost, but it is a wonderful read. It is hard to excerpt just a bit of the poem. But here is one of my favourite parts:
While through the press enraged Thalestris flies,Thalestris, Pope's Camilla, kills with her eyes, and, her victims die poetically in metaphor or song. This is a poet's epic about epics. No more to say today. Just a quick academic gushing over a poetic love outside my normal period of study.
And scatters deaths around from both her eyes,
A beau and witling perished in the throng,
One died in metaphor, and one in song.
'O cruel nymph! a living death I bear,'
Cried Dapperwit, and sunk beside his chair.
A mournful glace Sir Fopling upwards cast,
'Those eyes are made so killing' -- was his last.
Your Humblest Author.