An Essay on Woman

by Thomas Potter and possibly John Wilkes (written about 1755) is an obscene parody on Alexander Pope's "Essay on Man". It is famous as it was used to expell John Wilkes from Parliament. It has been described as bawdy, pornographic and containing "the most atrocious Blasphemies".

"An Essay on Woman" consists of 94 lines, divided into an invocation and three divisions. Much of it involves placing graphic erotic/sexual images in alternate lines of Pope's "Essay on Man"

Example 1
Compare the start of Pope's "Essay on Man", EPISTLE I (II. 1-8):

Awake, my St John! Leave all meaner things
To low ambition, and the pride of Kings.
Let us (since Life can little more supply
Than just to look about us and to die)
Expatiate free o'er all this scene of Man;
A mighty maze! But not without a plan;
A Wild, where weeds and flow'rs promiscuous shoot,
Or Garden, tempting with forbidden fruit.

to the relatively crude start of the Potter (Wilkes) "Essay on Woman" (II. 1-8):
Awake, my Fanny! Leave all meaner things;
This morn shall prove what rapture swiving brings!
Let us (since life can little more supply
Than just a few good fucks, and then we die)
Expatiate free o'er that loved scene of man,
A mighty maze, for mighty pricks to scan;
A wild, where Paphian Thorns promiscuous shoot,
Where flowers the Monthly Rose, but yields no Fruit.

Example 2
Further comepare Pope (EPISTLE I, III 9-14):

O blindness to the future! kindly given,
That each may fill the circle marked by Heaven:
Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
Atoms or systems into ruin hurled,
And now a bubble burst, and now a world

with Thomas Potter's -
O blindness to the future! kindly given,
That each may enjoy what fucks are marked in Heaven:
Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
The man just mounting, and the virgin's fall,
Pricks, cunt, and ballocks in convulsions hurled,
And now a hymen burst, and now a world

Example 3
Some sections could be classed as a little more artistic, perhaps eroticism instead of simple crudity, such as...

The gasp divine, th'emphatic, thrilling squeeze,
The throbbing panting breasts and trembling knees,
The tickling motion, the enlivening flow,
The raturous shiver and dissolving, oh!

But then it deteriorates into what was seen as "Blasphemy" which I will not reproduce here [but may be found elsewhere].