The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IX. From Steele and Addison to Pope and Swift.

III. Pope

§ 6. Messiah

The sacred eclogue Messiah was printed in The Spectator for 14 May, 1712. In his attempt to pour the Messianic prophecies of Isaiah into the mould of a Vergilian eclogue, Pope, in spite of an undeniable impressiveness, lowered their majesty by artificial epithet and paraphrase. It is curious to not how gradually the false attitude came home to critics. Warton and Bowles use very guarded language when suggesting that, in a few passages, Pope had weakened the sublimity of Isaiah. It was Wordsworth who cited the poem as an illustration of artificial poetic diction.