of Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism. The whole poem runs to 744 lines, but that shouldn't put you off! It's as readable as it was 400 years ago, and highly pertinent to many burning literary issues--writers' prizes and who judges them, for instance. Pope wrote it in 1709, the year his first work, four pastorals, appeared in print. He was barely 21. When it was published in 1711 it earned the young poet immediate acclaim.
Typically, Pope undertook the work in a competitive spirit.
from Carol Rumens: The Guardian: Poem of the week: An Essay on Criticism by Alexander Pope