Famous in his own lifetime and famous ever since, Alexander Pope is the second most frequently quoted author in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations after William Shakespeare. Poet, essayist and translator of both Odyssey and Iliad by Homer.
It is funny the things that lead to a ‘revival’ for a writer. Recently Kirsten Dunst played Mary in a film about a couple who undergo a mind wipe procedure to erase the pain of their memories of a love affair. She trots out a quote from the Pope poem “Eloisa to Abelard”. Overnight Pope was popular again. I can’t remember the name of the movie but the quote in question is this:
How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d.
Ode on Solitude; by Alexander Pope
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,
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me dye;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lye.