Arbuthnot is a satire in poetic form alexander pope epistle to dr arbuthnot pdf by Alexander Pope and addressed to his friend John Arbuthnot, a physician. It was first published in 1735 and composed in 1734, when Pope learned that Arbuthnot was dying. Pope described it as a memorial of their friendship. It has been called Pope’s “most directly autobiographical work”, in which he defends his practice in the genre of satire and attacks those who had been his opponents and rivals throughout his career.
Both in composition and in publication, the poem had a checkered history. In its canonical form, it is composed of 419 lines of heroic couplets. Arbuthnot is notable as the source of the phrase “damn with faint praise,” used so often it has become a cliché or idiom. Another of its notable lines is “Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?