Poems are presented in broadly chronological order, with occasional deviations for the sake of subject grouping. When dates of composition differ significantly from publication dates, both are given, in the form ‘c.1700/1717’. All poems are printed complete, with the partial exception that Epistles forming part of larger groups (e.g. An Essay on Man)
are extracted intheir complete individual form. Pope’s greatest poem, The Dunciad
, is reproduced in its little-known first formatof 1728, which comes without the prose apparatus added in subsequent versions, and without the late addition of a Fourth Book. This is partly dictated by considerations of space, but also provides a particular opportunity to enjoy the poem in the freshness of its first state. Texts are from the Oxford Standard Authors edition by Herbert Davis of Pope’s Poetical Works
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 herds 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 mixt; sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.
*This was a very early production of our Author, written at about twelve years old.
Copyright © 2018 by Alexander Pope; Edited by Claude Rawson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.