As a young man Pope shot to fame with ‘The Rape of the Lock’, a light-hearted mock-heroic poem about a trivial society scandal, still his best remembered work. Wit and irony, dazzling technical mastery – he perfected the English heroic couplet – acute social observation and insight into human nature were to become the hallmarks of his verse. Pope is one of the most quoted English poets. While his poetry generally has suffered some neglect in recent decades, Professor Claude Rawson’s selection persuasively demonstrates why it should be back in fashion. He aspired to make out of verse satire a serious and dignified form, and his culminating work, ‘The Duncaid’, achieves a tragic gravity which transcends its satirical mockeries.