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The pastoral passages of Pope's Iliad have been attacked as "pretentious" and inaccurate. I suggest that Pope self-consciously translated (or, to use a contemporary term, "transfused") the Iliad into a pastoral vessel in order to facilitate a political argument: the pastoral world comes to represent traditional Tory England; the epic world, the aggressive new Whig order. Over the course of the translation, "swains" are introduced as "conscious" witnesses to the transition from pastoral to epic society. These swains, with whom Pope gradually associates himself, ultimately succumb to this new, politically contentious age, thereby confirming Pope's Tory philosophy of historical decay.