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The Town Mouse/Country Mouse Project

Pope and Variants

The British Poets

Pope's Version

Alexander Pope was an 18th century British poet who is most famous for writing long satiric poems. His version of "the Town Mouse and the Country Mouse" adapts Horace's version (and Croxall's) to English rhyme. This collection of fable variants contains many, many variations that are simply near-copies of Pope, often without credit (most notably (44) which attributes the poem to "anon").  

Pope's version borrows heavily from Horace (56) including some that are distinctly Roman or at least italian (Venetian doors, Grotesco roofs, and Stucco Floors) but he also adds twists that are distinctly English (the mice are able to infiltrate the town home because it's the night of "a debate, When all their lordships had sat late"). Like Horace, Pope attributes the story to a contemporary friend, in this case to his colleague "Dan Prior."

Most of the variants that borrow from Pope, below, "file off" these specific details, probably because many of them are American or written for a younger audience (who might not know what "stucco" is).  

Variants of Pope's Version:

Pope and Variants