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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.


The Cave of Pope

By Anonymous

WHEN dark Oblivion in her sable cloak

Shall wrap the names of heroes and of kings;

And their high deeds, submitting to the stroke

Of time, shall fall amongst forgotten things:

Then (for the Muse that distant day can see)

On Thames’s bank the stranger shall arrive,

With curious wish thy sacred grott to see,

Thy sacred grott shall with thy name survive.

Grateful posterity, from age to age,

With pious hand the ruin shall repair:

Some good old man, to each inquiring sage

Pointing the place, shall cry, “The bard lived there

“Whose song was music to the listening ear,

Yet taught audacious vice and folly shame:

Easy his manners, but his life severe;

His word alone gave infamy or fame.

“Sequestered from the fool and coxcomb-wit,

Beneath this silent roof the Muse he found;

’T was here he slept inspired, or sat and writ;

Here with his friends the social glass went round.”

With awful veneration shall they trace

The steps which thou so long before hast trod;

With reverent wonder view the solemn place

From whence thy genius soared to nature’s God.

Then, some small gem, or moss, or shining ore,

Departing, each shall pilfer, in fond hope

To please their friends on every distant shore,

Boasting a relic from the cave of Pope.