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POPE, Alexander

Epitaph on Sir Isaac Newton

Nature and nature's law were hidden in night.

God said, "Let Newton be!" And all was light.

Ode on Solitude

Happy the man, whose wish and care

A few paternal acres bound,

Content to breathe his native air,

In his own ground.

Whose heards with milk, whose fields with bread,

Whose flocks supply him with attire,

Whose trees in summer yield him shade,

In winter fire.

Blest! who can unconcern'dly find

Hours, days, and years slide soft away,

In health of body, peace of mind,

Quiet by day,

Sound sleep by night; study and ease

Together mix'd; sweet recreation,

And innocence, which most does please,

With meditation.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;

Thus unlamented let me dye;

Steal from the world, and not a stone

Tell where I lye.

The dying Christian to His Soul

VITAL spark of heav'nly flame!

Quit, O quit this mortal frame:

Trembling, hoping, ling'ring, flying,

O the pain, the bliss of dying!

Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife,

And let me languish into life.

Hark! they whisper; angels say,

Sister Spirit, come away!

What is this absorbs me quite?

Steals my senses, shuts my sight,

Drowns my spirits, draws my breath?

Tell me, my soul, can this be death?

The world recedes; it disappears!

Heav'n opens on my eyes! my ears

With sounds seraphic ring!

Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!

O Grave! where is thy victory?

O Death! where is thy sting?


See what delights in sylvan scenes appear!

Descending Gods have found Elysium here.

In woods bright Venus with Adonis stray'd,

And chaste Diana haunts the forest shade.

Come lovely nymph, and bless the silent hours,

When swains from shearing seek their nightly bow'rs;

When weary reapers quit the sultry field,

And crown'd with corn, their thanks to Ceres yield.

This harmless grove no lurking viper hides,

But in my breast the serpent Love abides.

Here bees from blossoms sip the rosy dew,

But your Alexis knows no sweets but you.

Oh deign to visit our forsaken seats,

The mossy fountains, and the green retreats!

Where-e'er you walk, cool gales shall fan the glade,

Trees, where you sit, shall crowd into a shade,

Where-e'er you tread, the blushing flow'rs shall rise,

And all things flourish where you turn your eyes.

Oh! How I long with you to pass my days,

Invoke the muses, and resound your praise;

Your praise the birds shall chant in ev'ry grove,

And winds shall waft it to the pow'rs above.

But wou'd you sing, and rival Orpheus' strain,

The wond'ring forests soon shou'd dance again,

The moving mountains hear the pow'rful call,

And headlong streams hang list'ning in their fall!

But see, the shepherds shun the noon-day heat,

The lowing herds to murm'ring brooks retreat,

To closer shades the panting flocks remove,

Ye Gods! And is there no relief for Love?

But soon the sun with milder rays descends

To the cool ocean, where his journey ends;

On me Love's fiercer flames for ever prey,

By night he scorches, as he burns by day.

An Essay on Man

All are but parts of one stupendous whole,

Whose body Nature is, and God the soul;

That, changed through all, and yet in all the same,

Great in the earth, as in th' ethereal frame,

Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,

Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees,

Lives through all life, extends through all extent,

Spreads undivided, operates unspent:

Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part;

As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart;

As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns

As the rapt Seraphim, that sings and burns:

To him no high, no low, no great, no small—

He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all....

All nature is but art, unknown to thee:

All chance, direction, which thou canst not see:

All discord, harmony not understood;

All partial evil, universal good

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;

The proper study of mankind is man.

Plac'd on this isthmus of a middle state,

A being darkly wise, and rudely great:

With too much knowledge for the sceptic side,

With too much weakness for the stoic's pride,

He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest;

In doubt to deem himself a god, or beast;

In doubt his mind or body to prefer;

Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err;

Alike in ignorance, his reason such,

Whether he thinks too little, or too much:

Chaos of thought and passion, all confus'd;

Still by himself abus'd, or disabus'd;

Created half to rise, and half to fall;

Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;

Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl'd:

The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!

The Rape of the Lock (De diefstal van de haarlok)

Not with more glories, in th' etherial plain,

The sun first rises o'er the purpled main,

Than, issuing forth, the rival of his beams

Launch'd on the bosom of the silver Thames.

Fair nymphs, and well-dress'd youths around her shone,

But ev'ry eye was fix'd on her alone.

On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore,

Which Jews might kiss, and infidels adore.

Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose,

Quick as her eyes, and as unfix'd as those:

Favours to none, to all she smiles extends;

Oft she rejects, but never once offends.

Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike,

And, like the sun, they shine on all alike.

Yet graceful ease, and sweetness void of pride,

Might hide her faults, if belles had faults to hide:

If to her share some female errors fall,

Look on her face, and you'll forget 'em all.

Sound and Sense

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,

As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance.

'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence,

The sound must seem an echo to the sense.

Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,

And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;

But when loud surges lash the sounding shore,

The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar.

When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,

The line too labours, and the words move slow;

Not so, when swift Camilla scours the plain,

Flies o'er th' unbending corn, and skims along the main.

Hear how Timotheus' varied lays surprise,

And bid alternate passions fall and rise!

While, at each change, the son of Libyan Jove

Now burns with glory, and then melts with love;

Now his fierce eyes with sparkling fury glow,

Now sighs steal out, and tears begin to flow:

Persians and Greeks like turns of nature found,

And the world's victor stood subdu'd by sound!

The pow'r of music all our hearts allow,

And what Timotheus was, is Dryden now.

A Little Learning

A little learning is a dangerous thing;

Drink deep, or taste not the Pierianspring :

There shallow draughts intoxicate thebrain,

And drinking largely sobers us again.

Fired at first sight with what the Museimparts,

In fearless youth we tempt the heightsof Arts ;

While from the bounded level of ourmind

Short views we take, nor see thelengths behind,

But, more advanced, behold with strangesurprise

New distant scenes of endless sciencerise !

So pleased at first the towering Alpswe try,

Mount o’er the vales, and seem to treadthe sky ;

The eternal snows appear already past,

And the first clouds and mountains seemthe last ;

But those attained, we tremble tosurvey

The growing labours of the lengthenedway ;

The increasing prospect tires ourwandering eyes,

Hills peep o’er hills, and Alps on Alpsarise !

To a Lady (Of the Characters of Women)

See Sin in State, majestically drunk;

Proud as a Peeress, prouder as a Punk;

Chaste to her Husband, frank to all beside,

A teeming Mistress, but a barren Bride.

What then? let Blood and Body bear the fault,

Her Head's untouch'd, that noble Seat of Thought:

Such this day's doctrine--in another fit

She sins with Poets thro' pure Love of Wit.

What has not fir'd her bosom or her brain?

Caesar and Tallboy, Charles and Charlemagne.

As Helluo, late Dictator of the Feast,

The Nose of Hautgout, and the Tip of Taste,

Critick'd your wine, and analyz'd your meat,

Yet on plain Pudding deign'd at home to eat;

So Philomede, lecturing all mankind

On the soft Passion, and the Taste refin'd,

Th' Address, the Delicacy--stoops at once,

And makes her hearty meal upon a Dunce.