Alexander Pope, The Discovery: or, The Squire turn’d Ferret

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This “Excellent New Ballad” of 88 verses is a satire on those involved in a famous episode, concerning the supposed birth of seventeen rabbits to a woman named Mary Toft, and singles out in particular the reaction of certain establishment figures. It comprises twenty-two stanzas, rhyming ABAB. It was published just before Christmas in 1726 under the title

The Discovery: or, The Squire turn’d Ferret.

Some years later Alexander Pope acknowledged privately that the lines were written by himself along with the politician William Pulteney (1684–1764). Subsequently Pulteney defected from Robert Walpole’s government and became a leader of the Opposition movement with which Pope was allied. However, the two men were not close friends at the time the poem appeared. The style and approach…

2404 words

Citation: Rogers, Pat. "The Discovery: or, The Squire turn’d Ferret". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 March 2022 [, accessed 19 June 2024.]

40723 The Discovery: or, The Squire turn’d Ferret 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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