Alexander Pope: Rape of the Lock
Probably the most outstanding poet of the age, Alexander Pope (1688-1744) is best known today for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. Following publication of his highly influential Essay on Criticism, (a contribution to ongoing debates as to poetry’s basis in ‘nature’ as opposed to ‘artificial’ classical rules), he produced his own mock epic. Now considered Pope’s most famous work, The Rape of the Lock (1712, revised 1714) satirises a high-society quarrel between Arabella Fermor and Lord Petre, who had snipped a lock of hair from her head without her permission. Pope’s satirical style is tempered, however, by a genuine fascination with the "beau-monde" of 18th-century English society, of which he himself was not a part.
Pope (Alexander), The Rape of the Lock, An Heroi-comical poem. In Five Canto’s. 2nd ed. 8vo. London, 1714 [X.17.6]