Alexander Pope and Andrew Young were both British poets—the former an Englishman, the latter a Scotsman—and both men were influential in their times.
Pope (1688 – 1744) had a difficult early life. As a Catholic, he was not allowed to go to school (due to the English “Test Acts” which banned Catholics from teaching, attending college, holding public office, or going to Catholic grade school). Alexander was homeschooled, for a time, and later attended an illegal, underground school. When a law was passed disallowing Catholics from living within 10 miles of London, his family moved to the country and the young man’s formal education came to an end. On his own, he studied Homer, Virgil, Chaucer, Shakespeare and other works in French, Italian, Latin and Greek. Alexander Pope is well-known for his translation of Homer and (after William Shakespeare) is the second most quoted writer in Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.
Andrew John Young (1885 – 1971) lived two hundred years later. Born in Scotland, he was raised in Edinburgh and studied theology. After graduation, he was ordained a minister and eventually was assigned a parish in the south of England. He worked as a clergyman, raised two children, and wrote poetry—eventually winning the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1952.
The bookends above, made in the 1930’s, honor these two accomplished men. They will lend a literary sophistication to your desk, office or bookshelf. Please click on the photo to learn more about them.
More bookends tomorrow.