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As the Enlightenment movement was gathering strength in the early 18th century, various challenges to established religious faith were launched. In response, a number of celebrated commentators produced defences of religion and morality, and among these was Alexander Pope, who was inspired to write "some pieces on Human Life and Manners." The result was a collection of poems in rhyming couplets, designated "Epistles", which were published in instalments.
Epistle 1 - 1732
Of the Nature and State of Man, with respect to the Universe.
Epistle 2 - 1732
Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to Himself, as an Individual.
Epistle 3 - 1733
Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to Society
Epistle 4 - 1734
Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to Happiness.
A concluding "Universal Prayer" consisting of 13 four-line stanzas was published in 1738.