Alexander Pope was born in the City of London in 1688 to
Roman Catholic parents in exactly the year when, with the accession to the
throne of William III, it became a disaster to be Catholic.
He started writing at a precociously young age, claiming to have written the
Ode to Solitude at the age of twelve, and completing his first successful
series of poems The Pastorals, by the age of twenty.
Pope became involved with the politics of the day early in his life – taking
the classical lead, he was a firm believer in the role of the poet in everyday
society, and his aggressive satires earned him many enemies.
In 1713 Pope began a revolution in poetic circles by securing a subscription
based publishing deal for his translation of Homer’s Iliad, which would make
him the first English poet to live off his poetry alone.