The Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, the Expression of Pope's Ideal of the Gentleman
Master of Arts
Degree Granting Institution
Catholic University of America
Heav'ns 1 was I born for nothing but to write? Has life no joys for me? or (to be grave)
Have I no friend to serve, no soul to save?
Ep. to Arbuthnot. 11. 272-274.
These lines from the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot contain Pone's philosophy of life, a philosophy in which he protests "against the popular reduction" of the man to the poet, and develops the ideal, early inculcated into him by Congreve, Walsh, Landsdowne, and Addison "that literary achievement is less important than one's position as a gentleman." That Pone himself considered the Epistle his Apologia is indicated in his correspondence with Dr. Arbuthnot. After thanking the doctor for his advice concerning satire. Pope writes: I "determined to address to
you one of my epistles . . . wherein the question is stated, what were, and are my motives of writing, the objections to them, and my answer.“ More specifically still Pone states his purpose in a later letter:
We have here little news or company, and I am glad of it, because has given me time to finish the poem I told you of, which I hope may be the best memorial I can leave, both of my friendship to you, and of my own character being such as you need not be ashamed of that friendship. The apology is a bold one, but true: and it is truth and a clear conscience that I think will set me above all my enemies and make no hones man repent of having been my friend.
Harvey, Mary Francis James, "The Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, the Expression of Pope's Ideal of the Gentleman" (1947). Humanities | Print Theses. 30.