Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Anthology 41: Ode on Solitude

Yesterday's post was about one Pope (Benedict XVI), today's is by another (Alexander).

I speculated in yesterday's peace that a potential consideration that Benedict had in deciding to stand down was that of the media circus that attends a frail or dying Pope in his last days. Far better to escape such a furore and seek the company of other retirees, monks or even of oneself.

This week's poem is a reflection on solitude, which may well be part of the Pope's plans. Those that know me may not be entirely unsurprised that it is last verse in particular that appeals to me about this poem. It may not reflect me now but I very much have been in the place that it describes a various points in the past*.

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 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,
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.


*Note to self: there's been far too much of this confessional style of comment lately!

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