The lines in which Pope speaks of Erasmus are:—
At length Erasmus, that great injured name,
(The glory of the priesthood and the shame,)
Stemmed the wild torrent of a barb'rous age,
And drove these holy Vandals off the stage.' Essay on Criticism, 693.
Pope expressed an opinion that the priests had accused him of heterodoxy in other portions of the poem only because they were angry with his defence of Erasmus.
'What these therefore in their own opinion are really angry at is, that a man whom their tribe oppressed and persecuted, Erasmus by name, should be vindicated after a whole age of obloquy, by one of their own people who is free and bold enough to utter a generous truth in behalf of the dead, whom no man sure will flatter, and few do justice to.'Pope to Caryll, July 19, 1711.
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