- See also
- 1 Quotes
- 1.1 Pastorals (1709)
- 1.2 The Temple of Fame (1711)
- 1.3 The Dying Christian to His Soul (1712)
- 1.4 Windsor Forest (1713)
- 1.5 Prologue to Mr. Addison's Cato (1713)
- 1.6 The Rape of the Lock (1712, revised 1714 and 1717)
- 1.7 The Works of Mr. Alexander Pope (1717)
- 1.8 Thoughts on Various Subjects (1727)
- 1.9 The Universal Prayer (1738)
- 2 Attributed
- 3 Quotes about Pope
- 4 Misattributed
- 5 External links
- Happy the man whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air
In his own ground.
- "Ode on Solitude", st. 1 (c. 1700).
- Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.
- "Ode on Solitude", st. 5 (c. 1700).
- They dream in Courtship, but in Wedlock wake.
- "The Wife of Bath her Prologue, from Chaucer" (c.1704, published 1713), line 103.
- The mouse that always trusts to one poor hole
Can never be a mouse of any soul.
- "The Wife of Bath her Prologue, from Chaucer" (c.1704, published 1713), lines 298-299. Compare: "I hold a mouses wit not worth a leke, That hath but on hole for to sterten to", Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, "The Wif of Bathes Prologue", line 6154; "The mouse that hath but one hole is quickly taken", George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum.
- Love seldom haunts the breast where learning lies,
And Venus sets ere Mercury can rise.
- "The Wife of Bath her Prologue, from Chaucer" (c.1704, published 1713), line 369.
- Histories are more full of Examples of the Fidelity of dogs than of Friends.
- Letter to Henry Cromwell (19 October 1709).
- I am his Highness' dog at Kew;
Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?
- "On the Collar of a Dog".
- Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night:
God said, "Let Newton be!" and all was light.
- Epitaph intended for Sir Isaac Newton.
- How vast a memory has Love!
- "Sappho to Phaon", line 52 (1712).
- I find myself just in the same situation of mind you describe as your own, heartily wishing the good, that is the quiet of my country, and hoping a total end of all the unhappy divisions of mankind by party-spirit, which at best is but the madness of many for the gain of a few.
- Letter to Edward Blount (27 August 1714); a similar expression in "Thoughts on Various Subjects" in Swift's Miscellanies (1727): Party is the madness of many, for the gain of a few.
- The stoic husband was the glorious thing.
The man had courage, was a sage, 'tis true,
And lov'd his country.
- Epilogue to Rowe's Jane Shore (1714).
- Well, if our author in the wife offends
He has a husband that will make amends;
He draws him gentle, tender, and forgiving,
And sure such kind good creatures may be living.
- Epilogue to Rowe's Jane Shore (1714).
- Luxurious lobster-nights, farewell,
For sober, studious days!
- "A Farewell to London", st. 1 (1715).
- Dear, damned, distracting town, farewell!
Thy fools no more I'll tease:
This year in peace, ye critics, dwell,
Ye harlots, sleep at ease!
- "A Farewell to London", st. 12 (1715).
- Who ne'er knew joy but friendship might divide,
Or gave his father grief but when he died.
- "Epitaph on the Hon. S. Harcourt" (1720).
- Such were the notes thy once lov'd poet sung,
Till death untimely stopp'd his tuneful tongue.
- "Epistle to Robert, Earl of Oxford and Mortimer" preface to Thomas Parnell's Poems on Several Occasions (1721).
- Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear.
- "Epistle to Robert, Earl of Oxford and Mortimer" (1721).
- "Blessed is the man who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed" was the ninth beatitude which a man of wit (who, like a man of wit, was a long time in gaol) added to the eighth.
- Letter, written in collaboration with John Gay, to William Fortescue (23 September 1725). A similar remark was made in a letter to John Gay (16 October 1727): I have many years magnify'd in my own mind, and repeated to you a ninth Beatitude, added to the eight in the Scripture: Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.
- Let me tell you I am better acquainted with you for a long Absence, as men are with themselves for a long affliction: Absence does but hold off a friend, to make one see him the truer.
- Letter, written in collaboration with Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke, to Jonathan Swift, December 14, 1725.
- Know, sense, like charity, begins at home.
- "Umbra", first published in Miscellanies (1727).
- So unaffected, so compos'd a mind;
So firm, yet soft; so strong, yet so retin'd;
Heav'n, as its purest gold, by tortures try'd;
The saint sustain'd it, but the woman died.
- "Epitaph on Mrs. Corbet" (1730).
- Good God! how often are we to die before we go quite off this stage? in every friend we lose a part of ourselves, and the best part.
- Of Manners gentle, of Affections mild;
In Wit, a Man; Simplicity, a Child.
- "Epitaph on Gay" (1733), lines 1-2. Reported in The Poems of Alexander Pope, ed. John Butt, sixth edition (Yale University Press, 1970), p. 818. Compare: "Her wit was more than man, her innocence a child", John Dryden, Elegy on Mrs. Killegrew, line 70.
- For he lives twice who can at once employ
The present well, and e'en the past enjoy.
- Imitation of Martial, reported in Mr. Pope's Literary Correspondence (1737), Vol. V, p. 232; The Poems of Alexander Pope, ed. John Butt, sixth edition (Yale University Press, 1970), p. 117. Compare: "Ampliat ætatis spatium sibi vir bonus; hoc est Vivere bis vita posse priore frui" (Translated: "The good man prolongs his life; to be able to enjoy one's past life is to live twice"), Martial, X, 237.; "Thus would I double my life's fading space; For he that runs it well, runs twice his race", Abraham Cowley, Discourse XI, Of Myself, stanza xi.
- There, take (says Justice), take ye each a shell:
We thrive at Westminster on fools like you;
'T was a fat oyster,—live in peace,—adieu.
- Reported in The Poems of Alexander Pope, ed. John Butt, sixth edition (Yale University Press, 1970), p. 832: "Verbatim from Boileau", written c. 1740, published 1741.. Compare: "Tenez voilà", dit-elle, "à chacun une écaille, Des sottises d'autrui nous vivons au Palais; Messieurs, l'huître étoit bonne. Adieu. Vivez en paix", Nicholas Boileau-Despreaux, Epître II. (à M. l'Abbé des Roches).
- Let such, such only tread this sacred floor,
Who dare to love their country and be poor.
- Inscription on the entrance to his grotto in Twickenham, published in "Verses on a Grotto by the River Thames at Twickenham, composed of Marbles, Spars and Minerals", line 14, (written 1740, published 1741); also quoted as "Who dared to love their country, and be poor."
- Vain was the chief's, the sage's pride!
They had no poet, and they died.
In vain they schem'd, in vain they bled!
They had no poet, and are dead.
- Odes, Book iv, Ode 9, reported in William Warburton, The Works of Alexander Pope, Esq (1751) p. 31.
- Ye Gods! annihilate but space and time,
And make two lovers happy.
- Martinus Scriblerus on the Art of Sinking in Poetry, Chap. xi, reported in William Warburton, The Works of Alexander Pope, Esq (1751) p. 196.
- Here am I, dying of a hundred good symptoms.
- Pope's reply when told by his physician that he was better, on the morning of his death (30 May 1744), as quoted by Owen Ruffhead in The Life of Alexander Pope; With a Critical Essay on His Writings and Genius (1769), p. 475
- Where'er you walk, cool gales shall fan the glade,
Trees, where you sit, shall crowd into a shade:
Where'er you tread, the blushing flow'rs shall rise,
And all things flourish where you turn your eyes.
- Summer, line 73.
- Say, is not absence death to those who love?
- Let opening roses knotted oaks adorn,
And liquid amber drop from every thorn.
- Autumn, line 36.
- The garlands fade, the vows are worn away;
So dies her love, and so my hopes decay.
- Autumn, line 70.
The Temple of Fame (1711)
- There various news I heard of love and strife,
Of peace and war, health, sickness, death, and life,
Of loss and gain, of famine and of store,
Of storms at sea, and travels on the shore,
Of prodigies, and portents seen in air,
Of fires and plagues, and stars with blazing hair,
Of turns of fortune, changes in the state,
The fall of favourites, projects of the great,
Of aid mismanagements, taxations new:
All neither wholly false, nor wholly true.
- Lines 449-458.
- The flying Rumours gather'd as they roll'd,
Scarce any Tale was sooner heard than told;
And all who told it, added something new,
And all who heard it, made Enlargements too,
In ev'ry Ear it spread, on ev'ry Tongue it grew.
- Lines 468-472.
- Nor Fame I slight, nor her favors call;
She comes unlooked for, if she comes at all.
- Line 513.
- Unblemish'd let me live, or die unknown;
O grant an honest fame, or grant me none!
- Closing line
The Dying Christian to His Soul (1712)
- Vital spark of heav'nly flame!
Quit, oh quit, this mortal frame:
Trembling, hoping, ling'ring, flying,
Oh the pain, the bliss of dying!
- Stanza 1.
- Hark! they whisper; angels say,
Sister spirit, come away!
- Tell me, my soul, can this be death?
- Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
O grave! where is thy victory?
O death! where is thy sting?
- Note: the last two lines are a quote of 1 Corinthians 15:55.
Windsor Forest (1713)
- Here hills and vales, the woodland and the plain,
Here earth and water seem to strive again,
Not chaos-like together crushed and bruised,
But, as the world, harmoniously confused:
Where order in variety we see,
And where, though all things differ, all agree.
- Line 11.
- Not chaos-like together crush'd and bruis'd,
But as the world, harmoniously confus'd,
Where order in variety we see,
And where, though all things differ, all agree.
- Line 13.
- Proud Nimrod first the bloody chase began
A mighty hunter, and his prey was man.
- Line 61.
- Oft, as in airy rings they skim the heath,
The clam'rous lapwings feel the leaden death;
Oft, as the mounting larks their notes prepare,
They fall, and leave their little lives in air.
- Line 131.
- From old Belerium to the northern main.
- Line 316.
Prologue to Mr. Addison's Cato (1713)
- To wake the soul by tender strokes of art,
To raise the genius, and to mend the heart;
To make mankind, in conscious virtue bold,
Live o'er each scene, and be what they behold:
For this the Tragic Muse first trod the stage.
- Line 1.
- A brave man struggling in the storms of fate,
And greatly falling with a falling state.
While Cato gives his little senate laws,
What bosom beats not in his country's cause?
- Line 21. Pope also uses the reference, "Like Cato, give his little Senate laws", in his Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot (1734), Prologue to Imitations of Horace.
- Ignobly vain, and impotently great.
- Line 29.
The Rape of the Lock (1712, revised 1714 and 1717)
- What dire offence from amorous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things!
- Canto I, line 1.
- Now lap-dogs give themselves the rousing shake,
And sleepless lovers, just at twelve, awake.
- Canto I, line 15.
- They shift the moving toyshop of their heart.
- Canto I, line 100.
- This casket India's glowing gems unlocks
And all Arabia breathes from yonder box.
- Canto I, line 134.
- On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore
Which Jews might kiss, and infidels adore.
- Canto II, line 7.
- Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike,
And, like the sun, they shine on all alike.
- Canto II, line 13.
- If to her share some female errors fall,
Look on her face, and you'll forget 'em all.
- Canto II, line 17.
- Fair tresses man's imperial race ensnare,
And beauty draws us with a single hair.
- Canto II, line 27. Compare: "No cord nor cable can so forcibly draw, or hold so fast, as love can do with a twined thread", Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, Part iii, Section 2, Membrane 1, Subsection 2.
- Belinda smiled, and all the world was gay.
- Canto II, line 52.
- Whether the nymph shall break Diana's law,
Or some frail China jar receive a flaw,
Or stain her honour, or her new brocade,
Forget her prayers, or miss a masquerade.
- Canto II, line 105.
- Here thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey,
Dost sometimes counsel take — and sometimes tea.
- Canto III, line 7.
- At every word a reputation dies.
- Canto III, line 16.
- The hungry judges soon the sentence sign,
And wretches hang that jurymen may dine.
- Canto III, line 21.
- Let spades be trumps! she said, and trumps they were.
- Canto III, line 46.
- Coffee, which makes the politician wise,
And see through all things with his half-shut eyes.
- Canto III, line 117.
- But when mischief mortals bend their will,
How soon they find fit instruments of ill!
- Canto III, line 125.
- The meeting points the sacred hair dissever
From the fair head, forever, and forever!
Then flashed the living lightning from her eyes,
And screams of horror rend th' affrighted skies.
- Canto III, line 153.
- Not louder shrieks to pitying heav'n are cast,
When husbands, or when lapdogs, breathe their last.
- Canto III, line 157.
- Sir Plume, of amber snuff-box justly vain,
And the nice conduct of a clouded cane.
- Canto IV, line 123.
- Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll;
Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.
- Canto V, line 33.
- "Boast not my fall (he cried), insulting foe!
Thou by some other shalt be laid as low;
Nor think to die dejects my lofty mind;
All that I dread is leaving you behind!
Rather than so, ah let me still survive,
And burn in Cupid's flames — but burn alive."
- Canto V, line 97.
The Works of Mr. Alexander Pope (1717)
- I think a good deal may be said to extenuate the fault of bad Poets. What we call a Genius, is hard to be distinguish'd by a man himself, from a strong inclination: and if his genius be ever so great, he can not at first discover it any other way, than by giving way to that prevalent propensity which renders him the more liable to be mistaken.
- Therefore they who say our thoughts are not our own because they resemble the Ancients, may as well say our faces are not our own, because they are like our Fathers: And indeed it is very unreasonable, that people should expect us to be Scholars, and yet be angry to find us so.
- I would not be like those Authors, who forgive themselves some particular lines for the sake of a whole Poem, and vice versa a whole Poem for the sake of some particular lines. I believe no one qualification is so likely to make a good writer, as the power of rejecting his own thoughts.
- What beck'ning ghost, along the moonlight shade
Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade?
- Line 1. Compare: "What gentle ghost, besprent with April dew, Hails me so solemnly to yonder yew?", Ben Jonson, Elegy on the Lady Jane Pawlet.
- Is it, in Heav'n, a crime to love too well?
To bear too tender, or too firm a heart,
To act a lover's or a Roman's part?
Is there no bright reversion in the sky,
For those who greatly think, or bravely die?
- Line 6.
- Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes;
The glorious fault of Angels and of Gods.
- Line 13.
- On all the line a sudden vengeance waits,
And frequent hearses shall besiege your gates.
- Line 37.
- Lo these were they, whose souls the Furies steel'd,
And curs'd with hearts unknowing how to yield.
Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day!
So perish all, whose breast ne'er learn'd to glow
For others' good, or melt at others' woe.
- Line 45. Compare Pope's The Odyssey of Homer, Book XVIII, line 269.
- By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed,
By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed,
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorned,
By strangers honored, and by strangers mourned.
- Line 51.
- And bear about the mockery of woe
To midnight dances and the public show.
- Line 57.
- How loved, how honored once, avails thee not,
To whom related, or by whom begot;
A heap of dust alone remains of thee;
'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be!
- Line 71.
Thoughts on Various Subjects (1727)
- Published in Swift's Miscellanies (1727).
- To endeavour to work upon the vulgar with fine sense, is like attempting to hew blocks with a razor.
- I never knew any man in my life who could not bear another's misfortunes perfectly like a Christian.
- A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.
- It is with narrow-souled people as with narrow necked bottles: the less they have in them, the more noise they make in pouring it out.
- When men grow virtuous in their old age, they only make a sacrifice to God of the devil's leavings.
- For, as blushing will sometimes make a whore pass for a virtuous woman, so modesty may make a fool seem a man of sense.
- A person who is too nice an observer of the business of the crowd, like one who is too curious in observing the labour of the bees, will often be stung for his curiosity.
- He who tells a lie, is not sensible how great a task he undertakes; for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain that one.
- Our passions are like convulsion-fits, which, though they make us stronger for the time, leave us the weaker ever after.
- Some old men, by continually praising the time of their youth, would almost persuade us that there were no fools in those days; but unluckily they are left themselves for examples.
- Some people will never learn anything, for this reason, because they understand everything too soon.
- The most positive men are the most credulous…
- To be angry, is to revenge the fault of others upon ourselves.
- Party is the madness of many, for the gain of a few.
- From Roscoe's edition of Pope, vol. v. p. 376; originally printed in Motte's Miscellanies (1727). In the edition of 1736 Pope says, "I must own that the prose part (the Thought on Various Subjects), at the end of the second volume, was wholly mine. January, 1734".
The Universal Prayer (1738)
- Father of all! in every age,
In every clime adored,
By saint, by savage, and by sage,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!
- Stanza 1.
- Thou Great First Cause, least understood
Who all my sense confined
To know but this, that Thou art good
And that myself am blind.
- Stanza 2.
- And binding Nature fast in fate,
Left free the human will.
- Stanza 3.
- Let not this weak, unknowing hand
Presume Thy bolts to throw,
And deal damnation round the land
On each I judge Thy foe.
- Stanza 7.
- If I am right, Thy grace import
Still in the right to stay;
If I am wrong, oh teach my heart
To find that better way!
- Teach me to feel another's woe,
To right the fault I see;
That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me.
Quotes about Pope
- Pope was not content to satisfy; he desired to excel, and therefore always endeavoured to do his best: he did not court the candour, but dared the judgement of his reader, and, expecting no indulgence from others, he shewed none to himself. He examined lines and words with minute and punctilious observation, and retouched every part with indefatigable diligence, till he had left nothing to be forgiven.
- Samuel Johnson, The Life of Pope (1779–81)
- Pope had, in proportions very nicely adjusted to each other, all the qualities that constitute genius. He had Invention, by which new trains of events are formed and new scenes of imagery displayed, as in The Rape of the Lock, and by which extrinsick and adventitious embellishments and illustrations are connected with a known subject, as in the Essay on Criticism; he had Imagination, which strongly impresses on the writer's mind and enables him to convey to the reader the various forms of nature, incidents of life, and energies of passion, as in his Eloisa, Windsor Forest, and the Ethick Epistles; he had Judgement, which selects from life or nature what the present purpose requires, and, by separating the essence of things from its concomitants, often makes the representation more powerful than the reality; and he had colours of language always before him ready to decorate his matter with every grace of elegant expression, as when he accommodates his diction to the wonderful multiplicity of Homer's sentiments and descriptions.
- Samuel Johnson, The Life of Pope (1779–81)
- The verses, when they were written, resemble nothing so much as spoonfuls of boiling oil, ladled out by a fiendish money at an upstairs window upon such passers-by whom the wretch had a grudge against.
- Lytton Strachey, Pope: The Leslie Stephen Lecture for 1925 (pamphlet, 1925)
- Alexander Pope: Biography, Works, Articles and Quotes at Luminarium.
- Books and Writers - Alexander Pope (1688-1744).
- Island of Freedom - Alexander Pope (1688-1744).
- THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF ENGLISH AND AMERICAN LITERATURE, Volume IX: English FROM STEELE AND ADDISON TO POPE AND SWIFT.
- The Literary Encyclopedia: Alexander Pope.