Early Life and Juvenilia
The young Pope’s education probably owes more to this, and his own excited explorations in the family library, than anything else. He also told Spence,
Mr Pope’s father … was no poet, but he used to set him to make English verses when very young. He was pretty difficult in being pleased and used often to send him back to new turn them. ‘These are not good rhymes’ he would say, for that was my husband’s word for verses.1
The poet-to-be developed the intensity of relationship with books that other children develop with their favourite toys, and a fascination with books as artefacts that lasted all his life.
I had learned very early to read and delighted extremely in it. I taught myself to write very early, too, by copying from printed books with which I used to divert myself, as other children do with scrawling out pictures.2
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