Solitude An Ode by Alexander Pope

Solitude: An Ode

by Alexander Pope

 Alexander Pope from studio of Michael Dahl oil on canvas, circa 1727 (NPG 278) © National Portrait Gallery, London Creative Commons License

Alexander Pope, from the studio of Michael Dahl
oil on canvas, circa 1727 (NPG 278)
© National Portrait Gallery, London
Creative Commons License

 

 

I

How happy he, who free from care
The rage of courts, and noise of towns;
Contented breaths his native air,
In his own grounds.

II

Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.

III

Blest! who can unconcern’dly find
Hours, days, and years slide swift away,
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,

IV

Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mix’d; sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please,
With meditation.

V

Thus let me live, unheard, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me dye;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lye.

 

***

Alexander Pope was a splendid poet and writer whose influence extended to such writers as Lord Byron and his friend Jonathan Swift. Best known for his seminal work The Rape of the Lock, Pope had a huge influence not only on writers of both poetry and prose but on the English vernacular. Pope is the second-most quoted writer in the English language per The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, outdone only by William Shakespeare, and coined many phrases that would later slip into the popular lexicon, such as “damning with faint praise”. Of course, Pope was not without his critics, among them such notable figures as William Wordsworth, though even they usually acknowledged his incredible talent. If you enjoyed Solitude: An Ode and would like to read more of his work, we recommend this site compiled by members of the English department at the University of Toronto:

http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poets/pope-alexander

***

When will you read Alexander Pope’s writing in Excellence in Literature?

You will study Pope as a context reading in EIL Module 1.9

%d bloggers like this: