"Poetic Justice"

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Context: In this satire, at which he worked for many years, Pope roasted many of his contemporaries for their poor poetry and lack of wit. It is an example of wholesale revenge upon people for whom the poet had evolved some enmity or antipathy. In a mock-epic fashion, Pope begins with an extended invocation to "Dulness, Jove, and Fate" and their servants. He notes that in much earlier times the Goddess Dulness ruled all Britain, in the days before learning had reached many people. He adds that, being an immortal, Dulness still, with some success, strives for mastery over the contemporary scene. In the "cave of Poetry and Poverty," Dulness sits upon a throne, with winds from her cave carrying abroad all sorts of poor literature, including "Journals, Medleys, Merceries, Magazines." Four guardian virtues guard the throne of Dulness and support her:

Fierce champion Fortitude, that knows no fears
Of hisses, blows, or want, or loss of ears:
Calm Temperance, whose blessings those partake,
Who hunger and who thirst for scribbling sake:
Prudence, whose glass presents th' approaching jail:
Poetic Justice, with her lifted scale,
Where, in nice balance, truth with gold she weighs,
And solid pudding against empty praise.

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