Alexander Pope (21 May 1688 – 30 May 1744) was an 18th-century English poet. He is best known for his satirical verse, including Essay on Criticism, The Rape of the Lock and The Dunciad, and for his translation of Homer. He is the second-most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations after Shakespeare.From the age of 12, he suffered numerous health problems including Pott's disease, which deformed his body and stunted his growth. He also suffered from respiratory difficulties, high fevers, inflamed eyes, and abdominal pain. His poor health alienated him from society, and though he had many female friends to whom he wrote witty letters, he never married.
In May, 1709, Pope's Pastorals was published and earned him instant fame. This was followed by An Essay on Criticism in May 1711, which was equally well received. Pope's most famous poem is The Rape of the Lock, first published in 1712. A mock-epic, it satirises a high-society quarrel between Arabella Fermor (the "Belinda" of the poem) and Lord Petre, who had snipped a lock of hair from her head without her permission. The poem brought into focus the onset of acquisitive individualism and conspicuous consumption, where purchased goods assume dominance over moral agency.
He made many enemies throughout his career, with his fierce satire and criticisms of prominent figures, at one point deeming it necessary to carry pistols while walking his dog. After 1738, Pope wrote little, toyed with the idea of a patriotic epic called Brutus, but only the opening lines survive. He mainly revised and expanded his masterpiece The Dunciad. Book Four appeared in 1742, and a complete revision of the whole poem in the following year. In this version, Pope replaced Lewis Theobald, with the poet laureate Colley Cibber, as "king of dunces". But his real target is the writer and Whig politician Horace Walpole. By now Pope's health was failing, and when told by his physician, on the morning of his death, that he was better, Pope replied: "Here am I, dying of a hundred good symptoms".