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What are all the literary devices in Alexander Pope's poem "The Universal Prayer"?

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Megan Miller eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Alexander Pope uses quite a few literary devices in his poem "The Universal Prayer."

One device is alliteration, or repetition of the same first letter in adjacent or close words. Pope does this in the third line:

By saint, by savage, and by sage

What I like about this line is that he combines repetition and alliteration: "by" is repeated, followed by three words that begin with "s."

He uses alliteration again with phrases such as "best bestowed" and "Jehovah, Jove." He uses repetition again with the last two lines of the tenth stanza:

That mercy I to others show,

That mercy show to me.

He also uses allusion, such as including a line from the Lord's Prayer: "Thy will be done," connecting to the religious theme.

Pope sets up comparisons in this poem:

This, teach me more than Hell to shun,
That, more than Heaven pursue.

The comparison between Heaven and Hell is set up by repetition of "more than."

The poem consists of quatrains with ABAB rhyme scheme. Most of the lines end in punctuation, but there are two instances of enjambment where the sentence continues on to the next line without a pause signified by a comma:

If I am wrong, oh teach my heart
To find a better way.

Hopefully this helps you find more examples within the poem!

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