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P O P E.
LEXANDER POPE was born in
London, May 22, 1688, of parents whose rank or station was never ascertained : we are informed that they were of gentle blood; that his father was of a family of which the Earl of Downe was the head, and that his mother was the daughter of William Turner, Esquire, of York, who had likewise three fons, one of whom had the honour of being killed, and the other of dying, in the service of Charles the First; the third was made a general officer in Spain, from whom the sister inherited what sequestrations and forfeitures had left in the family,
This, and this only, is told by Pope; who is more willing, as I have heard observed, to shew what his father was not, than what
It is allowed that he grew rich by trade ; but whether in a shop or on the Exchange has never been discovered. Both parents were papists.
Pope was from his birth of a constitution tender and delicate ; but is said to have shewn remarkable gentleness and sweetness of disposition. The weakness of his body continued through his life, but the mildness of his mind perhaps ended with his childhood. His voice, when he was young, was fo pleasing, that he was called in fondness the little Nightingale.
Being not fent early to school, he was taught to read by an aunt; and when he was seven or eight years old became a lover of books. He firft learned to write by imitating printed books; a fpecies of penmanship in which he retained great excellence through his whole life, though his ordinary hand was not elegant.