Group Members. Read the poem -------------------- MichelleIntroduction ----------------------- MirandaParaphrase ----------------------- JuliaAbout Alexander Pope --------- TobyMain idea
1. Sound and Sense
By Alexander Pope
Instructor: Ms. Doris L.W. Chang
2. Group Members Read the poem -------------------- Michelle
Introduction ----------------------- Miranda
Paraphrase ----------------------- Julia
About Alexander Pope --------- Toby
Main idea & Divided parts --------- Miranda
Vocabulary & Diction ------------ Eri
Speaker and Listener ------------- Toby
Sound effects and Imagery ------------- Michelle
Conclusion --------------------------- Michelle
3. Introduction An Essay on Criticism
This poem was written in 1709, when Pope was twenty years old. It is considered his first “mature” work. It was published in 1711.
This poem was divided into three parts.
Part I Introduction
The poem starts with a discussion of the rules of taste which ought to govern poetry, and which enable a critic to make sound critical judgments.
4. Introduction Part II In this part, it emphasizes on some fixed and unchangeable form of the poems at his age. Sound and Sense is part of this part.
Pope uses a structure of “idea?examples?idea?examples” to present his criticism toward those poets who only care for the sound rather than sense. Also, he emphasizes the “wit” very much. His ideal poem is to write with wit, rhymes, and beauty combined. Therefore, the beautiful sense could be echoed by the rhyming sound.
Part III Conclusion
At this final part, Pope discusses the moral qualities and virtues inherent in some ideal critics. And he laments for the decay of them.
The information was adapted from
6. 18th Century Poetry 18th century? The Age of Satire
18th century is “The Age of Reason,” which is totally opposite to the Romantic period. In this age, people believed that through Reason, Man could reach perfection. Therefore, satire became one of the popular types of literary works. And in this kind of work, Wit was highly valued. Lots of satires were written in this kind of biting wit attitude.
Disciplined Invention + Wit
The poet must have the invention, quickness of mind to create the representative and lively images for his poem. And poets should have the ability to perceive resemblances between things apparently unlike and to enliven the poem with appropriate images, similes, and metaphors.
7. Heroic Couplet A couplet?
1) it has two lines rhyming together.
2) the two lines included a complete unified thought.
3) it ended with a terminal mark of punctuation.
A heroic couplet is a strictly iambic pentameter couplet,
strongly end-stopped, and with the couplets prevailingly
closed. And it is the principle form of English neoclassical style.
The information is adapted from
8. About Alexander Pope Alexander Pope (1688~1744)
Pope was born in London and his parents were Catholics.
A devastating illness struck him in childhood, and made him
deformed. He never grew taller than 4ft 6in and was subject to
violent headaches. Until he was 12 years old, he was educated largely
by priests, and afterward he was much educated by his relatives and
he was also self-taught.
And because he attacked his literary contemporaries viciously and
often without provocation that he had many literary enemies.
Pope used the heroic couplet with exceptional brilliance, giving it a
witty, occasionally biting quality. His success made it the dominant
poetic form of his century, and his poetry was translated into many
The information was adapted from
9. Paraphrase But most people judge a poem by the melody. They judge if a poem is right or wrong by whether the tone is smooth or rough.
Though Muse, the Greek goddess of poetry, conspires thousand charms, all these tuneful fools who haunt Parnassus not mend their mind but to please their ears, admire her voice. That is similar to some people going to the church for the music there but not for the teaching.
The syllables are equally required though the ear is often tired with the open vowels. While filler words join their weak and silly aid and ten low words are often put in one dull line. While they ring the same unvaried chimes over and over again with certain returns, expected rhymes.
10. Paraphrase Wherever you find “the cooling western breeze,” in the next line “whisper through the trees” appears. If there is “crystal streams with pleasing murmurs creeps”, you can easily predict the next word “sleeping.”
Then, at the end and only couplet, full of unmeaning things which poets call a thought ends the poem with a needless Alexandrine (a six-foot line, used in pentameter poems to vary the pace mechanically). That is like a wounded snake dragging itself along.
Poets leave such thing to tune their dull rhymes and they think that they know what is roundly smooth or languishingly slow. People also praise this easy energy of a line and think that Denham's strength, and Waller's sweetness join in it.
11. Paraphrase True ease in writing comes from art not from chance, as those who have learned to dance can move easily. It is not enough to only focus on the sound, the sound must be an echo to the sense.
When poets describe Zephyr, the western wind, breezing gently, the strain is soft and the smooth stream flows in smooth numbers. But, when describing loud surges lashing the sounding shore, the hoarse and rough verse should like the torrent roar.
The line and the word should move slowly and with difficulty to show how hard Ajax strives to throw some heavy rock. Not so like Camilla swiftly goes through the plain, flying over the unbending corn, and moves quickly alone the main.
12. Paraphrase Hear how surprise lays in Timotheus’ varied lines, and reveals alternate passions fall and rose! While, at each change, the son of Libyan Jove burns with glory and then melts with love, his fierce eyes with sparkling fury glow, sighs steal out and tears begin to flow.
Persians and Greeks like to found their thoughts in the turns of nature, and the poets are conquered and only focus on the sound. However, the power of music should allow our hearts to respond to our sense, just like Timotheus in the past and Dryden nowadays.
13. Main Idea “True ease in writing comes from Art, not Chance, As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance. 'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence; The sound must seem an echo to the sense.”
This is the key point of this poem. The first two sentences was written in a heroic couplet form and became an ideal model of this kind of form, while he was criticizing the pots’ follies when writing heroic couplet. Then the next two sentences he mentioned that sound must be corresponded with sense. He emphasizes on sound must be created out of emotion.
14. Divided Parts This poem divided into three parts.
But most by numbers … but the music there. (line 337~343)
General criticism of the follies?Pope talks about the common
way of people judging a poet’s poem.
“In the bright Muse tho' thousand charms conspire, Her voice is all these tuneful fools admire;” (line 339)
Here, we think that he is being sarcastic about those fools who admire muse blindly. Also, those fools go to the church only for the music rather than the doctrine.
15. Divided Parts Part II
These equal syllables … drag its slow length along.
Here, he starts to really criticize the unchangeable form and the predictability of poetry.
“While expletives their feeble aid to join” (line 346)
He criticizes those poets adding the words to help their poems become rhyming. However, this makes the poem not so beautiful because of those useless words.
“And ten low words oft creep in one dull line: While they ring round the same unvaried chimes, With sure returns of still expected rhymes;” (line 347~349)
These three lines are criticizing the unchangeable form of poetry
16. Divided Parts “Where'er you find “the cooling western breeze,” In the next line, it “whispers thro' the trees;”If crystal streams “with pleasing murmurs creep,” The reader's threaten'd (not in vain) with “sleep;”” (line 350~353)
These four lines are the examples used by Pope to laugh at the predictability of poetry.
“Then, at the last and only couplet, fraught With some unmeaning thing they call a thought, A needless Alexandrine ends the song, That, like a wounded snake, drags its slow length along.” (line 354~357)
These four lines are not only keep on satirizing the unchangeable form of poetry, but also complain about the long, dull ending of those poems, just like the wounded snake dragging its body.
17. Divided Parts Part III
Leave such to tune … is Dryden now. (line 358~383)
Pope’s ideal poem?This part, Pope starts to emphasize the main idea, which mentioned in line365 that the sound must seem an echo to the sense.
“Leave such to tune their own dull rhymes, and know What's roundly smooth, or languishingly slow; And praise the easy vigour of a line Where Denham's strength and Waller's sweetness join.” (line 358~361)
These four lines, Pope starts to talk about the poets who add the rhymes without concerning the inner sense. They just care about the rhymes.
18. Divided Parts “True ease in writing comes from Art, not Chance, As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance. 'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence; The sound must seem an echo to the sense.” (line 362~365)
These four lines are the main idea of the poem. Pope believed that the sound must come from sense naturally, rather than created by poets.
The following fourteen lines are the examples that Pope provides to show how sound should be the echo to the sense.
“Persians and Greeks like turns of nature found, And the world's Victor stood subdued by sound! The power of music all our hearts allow, And what Timotheus was is Dryden now.” (line 380~383)
The last four lines are the conclusion about the main idea
19. Vocabulary muse – to think carefully about something for a time, without nothing what is happing around.
conspire – to plan to do something bad or illegal with a group people
Ex: A group of terrorist were conspiring to blow up the plane
tuneful – musical, pleasant to listen to
doctrine – a set of principles or beliefs, especially religious ones
expletive – a word, especially a rude word, that you use when you are angry or in pain
feeble – with no energy or power ; weak
unvaried – same, unchanged
20. Vocabulary couplet – two lines of poetry of equal length one after the other
fraught – (use about people) worried and nervous
(use about a situation) very busy so that people become nervous
Alexandrine – a six foot iambic pentameter
Iambic – having one short or weak syllable followed by one long or strong syllable
vigor – strength or energy
echo – a sound that is repeated as it is sent back off surface such as the wall of a tunnel
strain – part of tune of music
21. Vocabulary Zephyr – soft gentle breeze
surge – a sudden strong movement in a particular direction
lash – to strike something or somebody with a whip
hoarse – sounding rough and quiet
verse – writing arranged in lines with have a definite rhythm and often finish with same sound
torrent – a strong fast flow of something, especially water
strive – to try very hard to do or get something
22. Diction 18th Century Poetry compared with Romantic poetry, it used difficult and hard understand words. These words could change easy and simple words to understand. For example, conspire (line 339). It means to plan to do something bad or illegal with a group people. We could change to unite. And doctrine (line 343) changed to theory. Feeble (line 346) changed to weak. Fraught (line 354) changed to worried, nervous. Vigor (line 360) changed to strong, fine. Strain (line 366) changed to tune, tone. Romantic poetry was written by easy words. If that time wrote this poem, this poem became understand easily.
23. Speaker and Listener The speaker of this poem is the poet, Alexander Pope, he wrote the poem to express his criticism toward the type of writing poems at his age. He criticized that some people emphasized on the sounds and rhyme when they write poems.
And the listener could be all the people at his age, especially those who write poem in the way which Pope criticized. In other words, we think the purpose for Pope to write this poem probably is to point out that it is no use to emphasize the sound if the lines do not make any sense. And that is why we say that the listener could “especially” be those who emphasize on sound when writing poems.
24. Sound Effects and Imagery Predictable rhymes
In the poem, Pope criticized that other poets would use some stale words as the rhymes. And the listener can easily predict it!
Where’re you find “the cooling western breeze,”
In the next line, it “whisper through the trees”;
If crystal streams “with pleasing murmurs creep,”
25. Sound Effects and Imagery The pace
With the paces, we can easily image how the things are going. And we can easily catch the feeling and form a picture from words.
That, like a wounded snake, drags its slow length along.
What’s roundly smooth or languishingly slow; (line359)
Here, the poet used long vowels such as those in “wounded”, “snake”, “slow”, “along”, “roundly”, and “smooth” help to slow down the pace. And the commas provide nearly a full stop in the midst of these lines to make the lines as long and slow as the snake.
26. Sound Effects and Imagery Onomatopoeia
The poem uses many onomatopoeia words and paces of the lines which can spot the imagery more clearly. With the clear imagery, the listener can get the poet’s point, sense, and the atmosphere easily.
Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother number flows;
But when loud surges lash the sounding shore,
The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar.
Compare these lines with the “western breeze” lines, Pope express that “the sound must seem an echo to the sense.” in the whole poem.
27. Irony 1.
Where'er you find "the cooling western breeze,“
In the next line, it" whispers through the trees";
If crystal streams" with pleasing murmurs creep,"
The reader's threatened (not in vain) with “sleep” ;
Then, at the last end only couplet fraught
With some unmeaning thing they call a thought,
28. Conclusion As we know that Alexander Pope is a poet and a critic. He associate his two specialties, wrote a poem which criticized other poetry. In this way, what he wrote had become ironic, and his attitude was sarcastic. He criticized the poets who wrote only for meeting the form of heroic couplet, and this caused lots of repetition in poems. For the rhymes are important in this style of writing, the poets only concentrated on the sound but not the sense. The poets did not think about how to blend the sound with the sense or beauty. Therefore, we can find those ideal ways to combine them through Pope's examples. And through this poem, we can not only notice the biting wit of Pope, but also can reflect to the literary style of 18century.