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Alexander Pope (1688–1744). Complete Poetical Works. 1903.

Early Poems

Ode on Solitude

  • ‘This was a very early production of our Author, written at about twelve years old,’ says Pope in one of his unsigned and unreliable notes. If the statement is true, it was probably written during the year 1700. It is apparently the earliest poem of Pope’s which remains to us, though according to Roscoe, ‘Dodsley, who was honoured with his intimacy, had seen several pieces of an earlier date.’

  • HAPPY the man whose wish and care

    A few paternal acres bound,

    Content to breathe his native air

    In his own ground.

    Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,

    Whose flocks supply him with attire,

    Whose trees in summer yield him shade,

    In winter fire.

    Bless’d 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 die;

    Steal from the world, and not a stone

    Tell where I lie.