These are the top twenty (20) most popular poems of Alexander Pope.
From Chorus Of Youths And Virgins to Lines Written In Windsor Forest.
If you want to know his greatest poems of all time, then this poetry collection is for you.
Chorus Of Youths And Virgins
Oh Tyrant Love! hast thou possest
The prudent, learn’d, and virtuous breast?
Wisdom and wit in vain reclaim,
And Arts but soften us to feel thy flame.
Love, soft intruder, enters here,
But ent’ring learns to be sincere.
Marcus with blushes owns he loves,
And Brutus tenderly reproves.
Why, Virtue, dost thou blame desire,
Which Nature has imprest?
Why, Nature, dost thou soonest fire
The mild and gen’rous breast?
Love’s purer flames the Gods approve;
The Gods and Brutus bent to love:
Brutus for absent Portia sighs,
And sterner Cassius melts at Junia’s eyes.
What is loose love? a transient gust,
Spent in a sudden storm of lust,
A vapour fed from wild desire,
A wand’ring, self-consuming fire,
But Hymen’s kinder flames unite;
And burn for ever one;
Chaste as cold Cynthia’s virgin light,
Productive as the Sun.
Oh source of ev’ry social tie,
United wish, and mutual joy!
What various joys on one attend,
As son, as father, brother husband, friend?
Whether his hoary sire he spies,
While thousand grateful thoughts arise;
Or meets his spouse’s fonder eye;
Or views his smiling progeny;
What tender passions take their turns,
What home-felt raptures move?
His heart now melts, now leaps, now burns,
With rev’rence, hope, and love.
Hence guilty joys, distastes, surmises,
Hence false tears, deceits, disguises,
Dangers, doubts, delays, surprises;
Fires that scorch, yet dare not shine
Purest love’s unwasting treasure,
Constant faith, fair hope, long leisure,
Days of ease, and nights of pleasure;
Sacred Hymen! these are thine.
Epigram From The French.
Sir, I admit your general rule,
That every poet is a fool:
But you yourself may serve to show it,
That every fool is not a poet.
A Bishop, by his neighbours hated,
Has cause to wish himself translated:
But why should Hough desire translation,
Loved and esteem’d by all the nation?
Yet, if it be the old man’s case,
I’ll lay my life I know the place:
‘Tis where God sent some that adore Him,
And whither Enoch went before him.
Sir, I admit your general rule,
“Sir, I admit your general rule,
That every poet is a fool.
But you yourself may serve to show it,
Every fool is not a poet.”
Epitaph XII. Intended For Sir Isaac Newton, In Westminster Abbey.
TESTANTUR TEMPUS, NATURA, COELUM:
HOC MARMOR FATETUR.
Nature and Nature’s laws lay hid in night
God said, Let Newton be! and all was light.
The Dunciad: Book III
But in her Temple’s last recess inclos’d,
On Dulness’ lap th’ Anointed head repos’d.
Him close she curtains round with Vapours blue,
And soft besprinkles with Cimmerian dew.
Then raptures high the seat of Sense o’erflow,
Which only heads refin’d from Reason know.
Hence, from the straw where Bedlam’s Prophet nods,
He hears loud Oracles, and talks with Gods:
Hence the Fool’s Paradise, the Statesman’s Scheme,
The air-built Castle, and the golden Dream,
The Maid’s romantic wish, the Chemist’s flame,
And Poet’s vision of eternal Fame.
And now, on Fancy’s easy wing convey’d,
The King descending, views Elysian Shade.
A slip-shod Sibyl led his steps along,
In lofty madness meditating song;
Her tresses staring from Poetic dreams,
And never wash’d, but in Castalia’s streams.
Taylor, their better Charon, lends an oar,
(Once swan of Thames, tho’ now he sings no more.)
Benlowes, propitious still to blockheads, bows;
And Shadwell nods the Poppy on his brows.
Here, in a dusky vale where Lethe rolls,
Old Bavius sits, to dip poetic souls,
And blunt the sense, and fit it for a skull
Of solid proof, impenetrably dull:
Instant, when dipt, away they wing their flight,
Where Brown and Mears unbar the gates of Light,
Demand new bodies, and in Calf’s array,
Rush to the world, impatient for the day.
Millions and millions on these banks he views,
Thick as the stars of night, or morning dews,
As thick as bees o’er vernal blossoms fly,
As thick as eggs at Ward in Pillory.
Wond’ring he gaz’d: When lo! a Sage appears,
By his broad shoulders known, and length of ears,
Known by the band and suit which Settle wore
(His only suit) for twice three years before:
All as the vest, appear’d the wearer’s frame,
Old in new state; another, yet the same.
Bland and familiar as in life, begun
Thus the great Father to the greater Son.
“Oh born to see what none can see awake!
Behold the wonders of th’ oblivious Lake.
Thou, yet unborn, hast touch’d this sacred shore;
The hand of Bavius drench’d thee o’er and o’er.
But blind to former, as to future fate,
What mortal knows his pre-existent state?
Who knows how long thy transmigrating soul
Might from Boeotian to Boeotian roll?
How many Dutchmen she vouchsaf’d to thrid?
How many stages thro’ old Monks she rid?
And all who since, in mild benighted days,
Mix’d the Owl’s ivy with the Poet’s bays?
As man’s Maeanders to the vital spring
Roll all their tides; then back their circles bring;
Or whirligigs twirl’d round by skilful swain,
Suck the thread in, then yield it out again:
All nonsense thus, of old or modern date,
Shall in thee centre, from thee circulate.
For this our Queen unfolds to vision true
Thy mental eye, for thou hast much to view:
Old scenes of glory, times long cast behind
Shall, first recall’d, rush forward to thy mind:
Then stretch thy sight o’er all her rising reign,
And let the past and future fire thy brain.
“Ascend this hill, whose cloudy point commands
Her boundless empire over seas and lands.
See, round the Poles where keener spangles shine,
Where spices smoke beneath the burning Line,
(Earth’s wide extremes) her sable flag display’d,
And all the nations cover’d in her shade.
“Far eastward cast thine eye, from whence the Sun
And orient Science their bright course begun:
One god-like Monarch all that pride confounds,
He, whose long wall the wand’ring Tartar bounds;
Heav’ns! what a pile! whole ages perish there,
And one bright blaze turns Learning into air.
“Thence to the south extend thy gladden’d eyes;
There rival flames with equal glory rise,
From shelves to shelves see greedy Vulcan roll,
And lick up all the Physic of the Soul.
How little, mark! that portion of the ball,
Where, faint at best, the beams of Science fall:
Soon as they dawn, from Hyperborean skies
Embody’d dark, what clouds of Vandals rise!
Lo! where Maeotis sleeps, and hardly flows
The freezing Tanais thro’ a waste of snows,
The North by myriads pours her mighty sons,
Great nurse of Goths, of Alans, and of Huns!
See Alaric’s stern port! the martial frame
Of Genseric! and Attila’s dread name!
See the bold Ostrogoths on Latium fall;
See the fierce Visigoths on Spain and Gaul!
See, where the morning gilds the palmy shore
(The soil that arts and infant letters bore)
His conqu’ring tribes th’ Arabian prophet draws,
And saving Ignorance enthrones by Laws.
See Christians, Jews, one heavy sabbath keep,
And all the western world believe and sleep.
“Lo! Rome herself, proud mistress now no more
Of arts, but thund’ring against heathen lore;
Her grey-hair’d Synods damning books unread,
And Bacon trembling for his brazen head.
Padua, with sighs, beholds her Livy burn,
And ev’n th’ Antipodes Virgilius mourn.
See the Cirque falls, th’ unpillar’d Temple nods,
Streets pav’d with Heroes, Tiber chok’d with Gods:
‘Till Peter’s keys some christ’ned Jove adorn,
And Pan to Moses lends his pagan horn;
See, graceless Venus to a Virgin turn’d,
Or Phidias broken, and Apelles burn’d.
“Behold yon’ Isle, by Palmers, Pilgrims trod,
Men bearded, bald, cowl’d, uncowl’d, shod, unshod,
Peel’d, patch’d, and pyebald, linsey-wolse brothers,
Grave Mummers! sleeveless some, and shirtless others.
That once was Britain , Happy! had she seen
No fiercer sons, had Easter never been.
In peace, great Goddess, ever be adorn’d;
How keen the war, if Dulness draw the sword!
Thus visit not thy own! on this blest age
Oh spread thy Influence, but restrain thy Rage!
“And see, my son! the hour is on its way,
That lifts our Goddess to imperial sway:
This fav’rite Isle, long sever’d from her reign,
Dove-like, she gathers to her wings again.
Now look thro’ Fate! behold the scene she draws!
What aids, what armies to assert her cause!
See all her progeny, illustrious sight!
Behold, and count them, as they rise to light.
As Berecynthia, while her offspring vie
In homage to the mother of the sky,
Surveys around her, in the blest abode,
An hundred sons, and ev’ry son a God:
Not with less glory mighty Dulness crown’d
Shall take thro’ Grubstreet her triumphant round;
And her Parnassus glancing o’er at once,
Behold an hundred sons, and each a Dunce.
“Mark first that youth who takes the foremost place,
And thrust his person full into your face.
With all thy Father’s virtues blest, be born!
And a new Cibber shall the stage adorn.
“A second see, by meeker manners known,
And modest as the maid that sips alone;
From the strong fate of drams if thou get free,
Another Durfrey, Ward! shall sing in thee.
Thee shall each ale-house, thee each gill-house mourn,
And answ’ring gin-shops sourer sights return.
“Jacob, the scourge of Grammar, mark with awe,
Nor less revere him, blunderbuss of Law.
Lo P, l, le’s brow, tremendous to the town,
Horneck’s fierce eye, and Roome’s funeral frown.
Lo sneering Goode, half mallice and half whim,
A friend in glee, ridiculously grim.
Each Cygnet sweet, of Bath and Tunbridge race,
Whose tuneful whistling makes the waters pass;
Each Songster, Riddler, ev’ry nameless name,
All crowd, who foremost shall be damn’d to Fame.
Some strain in rhyme; the Muses, on their racks,
Seream like the winding of ten thousand jacks;
Some free from rhyme or reason, rule or cheek,
Break Priscian’s head, and Pegasus’s neck;
Down, down they larum, with impetuous whirl,
The Pindars, and the Miltons of a Curl.
“Silence, ye Wolves! while Ralph to Cynthia howls,
And makes night hideous , Answer him, ye Owls!
“Sense, speech, and measure, living tongues and dead,
Let all give way, and Morris may be read.
Flow, Welsted, flow! like thine inspirer, Beer,
Tho’ stale, not ripe; tho’ thin, yet never clear;
So sweetly mawkish, and so smoothly dull;
Heady, not strong; o’erflowing, tho’ not full.
“Ah Dennis! Gildon ah! what ill-starr’d rage
Divides a friendship long confirm’d by age?
Blockheads with reason wicked wits abhor;
But fool with fool is barb’rous civil war.
Embrace, embrace, my sons! be foes no more!
Nor glad vile Poets with true Critics’ gore.
“Behold yon Pair, in strict embraces join’d;
How like in manners, and how like in mind!
Equal in wit, and equally polite,
Shall this a Pasquin, that a Grumbler write;
Like are their merits, like rewards they share,
That shines a Consul, this Commissioner.
“But who is he, in closet close y-pent,
Of sober face, with learned dust besprent?
Right well mine eyes arede the myster wight,
On parchment scraps y-fed, and Wormius hight.
To future ages may thy dulness last,
As thou preserv’st the dulness of the past!
“There, dim in clouds, the poring Scholiasts mark,
Wits, who, like owls, see only in the dark,
A Lumber-house of books in ev’ry head,
For ever reading, never to be read!
“But, where each Science lifts its modern type,
Hist’ry her Pot, Divinity her Pipe,
While proud Philosophy repines to show,
Dishonest sight! his breeches rent below;
Embrown’d with native bronze, lo! Henley stands,
Turning his voice, and balancing his hands.
How fluent nonsense trickles from his tongue!
How sweet the periods, neither said, nor sung!
Still break the benches, Henley! with thy strain,
While Sherlock, Hare, and Gibson preach in vain.
Oh great Restorer of the good old Stage,
Preacher at once, and Zany of thy age!
Oh worthy thou of AEgypt’s wise abodes,
A decent priest, where monkeys were the gods!
But fate with butchers placed thy priestly stall,
Meek modern faith to murder, hack, and maul;
And bade thee live, to crown Britannia’s praise,
In Toland’s, Tindal’s, and in Woolston’s days.
“Yet oh, my sons, a father’s words attend:
(So may the fates preserve the ears you lend)
‘Tis yours a Bacon or a Locke to blame,
A Newton’s genius, or a Milton’s flame;
But oh! with One, immortal One dispense;
The source of Newton’s Light, of Bacon’s Sense.
Content, each Emanation of his fires
That beams on earth, each Virtue he inspires,
Each Art he prompts, each Charm he can create,
Whate’er he gives, are giv’n for you to hate.
Persist, by all divine in Man unaw’d,
But, ‘Learn, ye Dunces! not to scorn your God.'”
Thus he, for then a ray of Reason stole
Half thro’ the solid darkness of his soul;
But soon the cloud return’d , and thus the Sire:
“See now, what Dulness and her sons admire!
See what the charms, that smite the simple heart
Not touch’d by Nature, and not reach’d by Art.”
His never-blushing head he turn’d aside,
(Not half so pleas’d when Goodman prophesy’d)
And look’d, and saw a sable Sorc’rer rise,
Swift to whose hand a winged volume flies:
All sudden, Gorgons hiss, and Dragons glare,
And ten-horn’d fiends and Giants rush to war.
Hell rises, Heav’n descends, and dance on Earth:
Goods, imps, and monsters, music, rage, and mirth,
A fire, a jig, a battle, and a ball,
‘Till one wide conflagration swallows all.
Thence a new world to Nature’s laws unknown,
Breaks our refulgent, with a heav’n its own:
Another Cynthia her new journey runs,
And other planets circle other suns.
The forests dance, the rivers upward rise,
Whales sport in woods, and dolphins in the skies;
And last, to give the whole creation grace,
Lo! one vast Egg produces human race.
Joy fills his soul, joy innocent of thought;
‘What pow’r,’ he cries, ‘what pow’r these wonders wrought?’
“Son, what thou seek’st is in thee! Look, and find
Each monster meets his likeness in thy mind.
Yet would’st thou more? in yonder cloud behold,
Whose sars’net skirts are edg’d with flamy gold.
A matchless youth! his nod these words controls,
Wings the red lightning, and the thunder rolls.
Angel of Dulness, sent to scatter round
Her magic charms o’er all unclassic ground:
Yon stars, yon suns, he rears at pleasure higher,
Illumes their light, and sets their flames on fire.
Immortal Rich! how calm he sits at ease
‘Mid snows of paper, and fierce hail of pease;
And proud his Mistress’ orders to perform,
Rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm.
“But lo! to dark encounter in mid air
New wizards rise; I see my Cibber there!
Booth in his cloudy tabernacle shrin’d,
On grinning dragons thou shalt mount the wind.
Dirge is the conflict, dismal is the din,
Here shouts all Drury, there all Lincoln’s-inn;
Contending Theatres our empire raise,
Alike their labours, and alike their praise.
“And are these wonders, Son, to thee unknown?
Unknown to thee? these wonders are thy own.
These Fate reserv’d to grace thy reign divine,
Foreseen by me, but ah! withheld from mine.
In Lud’s old walls tho’ long I rul’d, renown’d
Far as loud Bow’s stupendous bells resound;
Tho’ my own Aldermen conferr’d the bays,
To me committing their eternal praise,
Their full-fed Heroes, their pacific May’rs
Their annual trophies, and their monthly wars;
Tho’ long my Party built on me their hopes,
For writing Pamphlets, and for roasting Popes;
Yet lo! in me what authors have to brag on!
Reduc’d at last to hiss in my own dragon.
Avert it, Heav’n! that thou, my Cibber, e’er
Should’st wag a serpent-tail in Smithfield fair!
Like the vile straw that’s blown about the streets,
The needy Poet sticks to all he meets,
Coach’d, carted, trod upon, now loose, now fast,
And carry’d off in some Dog’s tail at last.
Happier thy fortunes! like a rolling stone,
Thy giddy dulness still shall lumber on,
Safe in its heaviness, shall never stray,
But lick up ev’ry blockhead in thy way.
Thee shall the Patriot, thee the Courtier taste,
And ev’ry year be duller than the last.
Till rais’d from booths, to Theatre, to Court,
Her seat imperial Dulness shall transport.
Already Opera prepares the way,
The sure fore-runner of her gentle sway:
Let her thy heart, next Drabs and Dice, engage,
The third mad passion of thy doting age.
Teach thou the warbling Polypheme to roar,
And scream thyself as none e’er scream’d before!
To aid our cause, if Heav’n thou can’st not bend,
Hell thou shalt move; for Faustus is our friend:
Pluto with Cato thou for this shalt join,
And link the Mourning Bride to Prosperine.
Grubstreet! thy fall should men and Gods conspire,
Thy stage shall stand, ensure it but from Fire.
Another AEschylus appears! prepare
For new abortions, all ye pregnant fair!
In flames, like Semele’s, be brought to bed,
While op’ning Hell spouts wild-fire at your head.
“Now, Bavius, take the poppy from thy brow,
And place it here! here all ye Heroes bow!
This, this is he, foretold by ancient rhymes:
Th’ Augustus born to bring Saturnian times.
Signs following signs lead on the mighty year!
See! the dull stars roll round and re-appear.
See, see, our own true Phoebus wears the bays!
Our Midas sits Lord Chancellor of Plays!
On Poets’ Tombs see Benson’s titles writ!
Lo! Ambrose Philips is preferr’d for Wit!
See under Ripley rise a new White-hall,
While Jones’ and Boyle’s united Labours fall;
While Wren with sorrow to the grave descends;
Gay dies unpension’d with a hundred friends;
Hibernian Politics, O Swift! thy fate;
And Pope’s ten years to comment and translate.
“Proceed, great days! till Learning fly the shore,
Till Birch shall blush with noble blood no more,
Till Thames see Eton’s sons for ever play,
Till Westminster’s whole year be holiday,
Till Isis’ Elders reel, their pupils’ sport,
And Alma Mater lie dissolv’d in Port!”
‘Enough! enough!’ the raptur’d Monarch cries;
And thro’ the Iv’ry Gate the Vision flies.
Celia, we know, is sixty-five,
Yet Celia’s face is seventeen;
Thus winter in her breast must live,
While summer in her face is seen.
How cruel Celia’s fate, who hence
Our heart’s devotion cannot try;
Too pretty for our reverence,
Too ancient for our gallantry!
When wise Ulysses, from his native coast
Long kept by wars, and long by tempests toss’d,
Arrived at last, poor, old, disguised, alone,
To all his friends, and ev’n his Queen unknown,
Changed as he was, with age, and toils, and cares,
Furrow’d his rev’rend face, and white his hairs,
In his own palace forc’d to ask his bread,
Scorn’d by those slaves his former bounty fed,
Forgot of all his own domestic crew,
The faithful Dog alone his rightful master knew!
Unfed, unhous’d, neglected, on the clay
Like an old servant now cashier’d, he lay;
Touch’d with resentment of ungrateful man,
And longing to behold his ancient lord again.
Him when he saw he rose, and crawl’d to meet,
(‘Twas all he could) and fawn’d and kiss’d his feet,
Seiz’d with dumb joy; then falling by his side,
Own’d his returning lord, look’d up, and died!
Father of all! In every age,
In ev’ry clime ador’d,
By saint, by savage, and by sage,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!
Thou Great First Cause, least understood,
Who all my sense confin’d
To know but this, that Thou art good,
And that myself am blind:
Yet gave me, in this dark estate,
To see the good from ill;
And, binding Nature fast in Fate,
Left free the human Will.
What Conscience dictates to be done,
Or warns me not to do;
This teach me more than Hell to shun,
That more than Heav’n pursue.
What blessings thy free bounty gives
Let me not cast away;
For God is paid when man receives;
T’ enjoy is to obey.
Yet not to earth’s contracted span
Thy goodness let me bound,
Or think thee Lord alone of man,
When thousand worlds are round.
Let not this weak, unknowing hand
Presume thy bolts to throw,
And teach damnation round the land
On each I judge thy foe.
If I am right, thy grace impart,
Still in the right to stay;
If I am wrong, O teach my heart
To find that better way.
Save me alike from foolish Pride
Or impious Discontent,
At aught thy wisdom has denied,
Or aught that goodness lent.
Teach me to feel another’s woe,
To right the fault I see:
That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me.
Mean tho’ I am, not wholly so,
Since quicken’d by thy breath;
O lead me whereso’er I go,
Thro’ this day’s life or death!
This day be bread and peace my lot:
All else beneath the sun
Though know’st if best bestow’d or not,
And let Thy will be done.
To Thee, whose temple is of Space,
Whose altar earth, sea, skies,
One chorus let all Beings raise!
All Nature’s incense rise!
Autumn – The Third Pastoral, or Hylas and Ægon
Beneath the shade a spreading Beech displays,
Hylas and Aegon sung their rural lays,
This mourn’d a faithless, that an absent Love,
And Delia’s name and Doris’ fill’d the Grove.
Ye Mantuan nymphs, your sacred succour bring;
Hylas and Ægon’s rural lays I sing.
Thou, whom the Nine with Plautus’ wit inspire,
The art of Terence, and Menander’s fire;
Whose sense instructs us, and whose humour charms,
Whose judgement sways us, and whose spirit warms!
Oh, skill’d in Nature! see the hearts of Swains,
Their artless passions, and their tender pains.
Now setting Phœbus shone serenely bright,
And fleecy clouds were streak’d with purple light;
When tuneful Hylas with melodious moan,
Taught rocks to weep, and made the mountains groan.
Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs away!
To Delia’s ear, the tender notes convey.
As some sad Turtle his lost love deplores,
And with deep murmurs fills the sounding shores;
Thus, far from Delia, to the winds I mourn,
Alike unheard, unpity’d, and forlorn.
Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs along!
For her, the feather’d quires neglect their song;
For her, the limes their pleasing shades deny;
For her, the lilies hang their heads and die.
Ye flow’rs that droop, forsaken by the spring,
Ye birds that, left by summer, cease to sing,
Ye trees that fade when autumn-heats remove,
Say, is not absence death to those who love?
Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs away!
Curs’d be the fields that cause my Delia’s stay;
Fade ev’ry blossom, wither ev’ry tree,
Die ev’ry flow’r, and perish all, but she.
What have I said? where’er my Delia flies,
Let spring attend, and sudden flow’rs arise;
Let op’ning roses knotted oaks adorn,
And liquid amber drop from ev’ry thorn.
Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs along!
The birds shall cease to tune their ev’ning song,
The winds to breathe, the waving woods to move,
And streams to murmur, e’er I cease to love.
Not bubbling fountains to the thirsty swain,
Not balmy sleep to lab’rers faint with pain,
Not show’rs to larks, nor sun-shine to the bee,
Are half so charming as thy sight to me.
Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs away!
Come, Delia, come; ah, why this long delay?
Thro’ rocks and caves the name of Delia sounds,
Delia, each cave and echoing rock rebounds.
Ye pow’rs, what pleasing frenzy sooths my mind!
Do lovers dream, or is my Delia kind?
She comes, my Delia comes! — Now cease my lay,
And cease, ye gales, to bear my sighs away!
Next Ægon sung, while Windsor groves admir’d;
Rehearse, ye Muses, what yourselves inspir’d.
Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful strain!
Of perjur’d Doris, dying I complain:
Here where the mountains less’ning as they rise
Lose the low vales, and steal into the skies:
While lab’ring oxen, spent with toil and heat,
In their loose traces from the field retreat:
While curling smokes from village-tops are seen,
And the fleet shades glide o’er the dusky green.
Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful lay!
Beneath yon’ poplar oft we past the day:
Oft’ on the rind I carv’d her am’rous vows,
While she with garlands hung the bending boughs:
The garlands fade, the vows are worn away;
So dies her love, and so my hopes decay.
Resound ye hills, resound my mournful strain!
Now bright Arcturus glads the teeming grain,
Now golden fruits on loaded branches shine,
And grateful clusters swell with floods of wine;
Now blushing berries paint the yellow grove;
Just Gods! shall all things yield returns but love?
Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful lay!
The shepherds cry, “Thy flocks are left a prey”=-
Ah! what avails it me, the flocks to keep,
Who lost my heart, while I preserv’d my sheep.
Pan came, and ask’d, what magic caus’d my smart,
Or what ill eyes malignant glances dart?
What eyes but hers, alas, have pow’r to move!
And is here magic but what dwells in love?
Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful strains!
I’ll fly from shepherds, flocks, and flow’ry plains.–
From shepherds, flocks, and plains, I may remove,
Forsake mankind, and all the world — but love!
I know thee, Love! on foreign Mountains bred,
Wolves gave thee suck, and savage Tigers fed.
Thou wert from Ætna’s burning entrails torn,
Got by fierce whirlwinds, and in thunder born!
Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful lay!
Farewell, ye woods! adieu the light of day!
One leap from yonder cliff shall end my pains,
No more, ye hills, no more resound my strains!
Thus sung the shepherds till th’ approach of night,
The skies yet blushing with departing light,
When falling dews with spangles deck’d the glade,
And the low sun had lengthen’d ev’ry shade.
While Celia’s Tears make sorrow bright,
Proud Grief sits swelling in her eyes;
The Sun, next those the fairest light,
Thus from the Ocean first did rise:
And thus thro’ Mists we see the Sun,
Which else we durst not gaze upon.
These silver drops, like morning dew,
Foretell the fervour of the day:
So from one Cloud soft show’rs we view,
And blasting lightnings burst away.
The Stars that fall from Celia’s eye
Declare our Doom in drawing nigh.
The Baby in that sunny Sphere
So like a Phaeton appears,
That Heav’n, the threaten’d World to spare,
Thought fit to drown him in her tears;
Else might th’ ambitious Nymph aspire,
To set, like him, Heav’n too on fire.
The Messiah : A Sacred Eclogue
Ye nymphs of Solyma! begin the song,
To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong.
The mossy fountains, and the sylvan shades,
The dreams of Pindus, and the Aonian maids,
Delight no more – O thou, my voice inspire,
Who touched Isaiah’s hallowed lips with fire!
Rapt into future times the bard begun,
A virgin shall conceive, a Virgin bear a son!
From Jesse’s root behold a branch arise,
Whose sacred flower with fragrance fills the skies;
The ethereal Spirit o’er its leaves shall move,
And on its top descend the mystic Dove.
Ye heavens! from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly shower!
The sick and weak, the healing Plant shall aid,
From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail;
Returning justice lift aloft her scale.
Peace o’er the world her olive wand extend,
And white robed innocence from heaven descend.
Swift fly the years, and rise the expected morn!
O spring to light, auspicious Babe, be born!
See! nature hastes her earliest wreaths to bring,
WIth all the incense of the breathing spring!
See! lofty Lebanon his head advance,
See! nodding forests on the mountains dance:
See! spicy clouds from lowly Sharon rise;
And Carmel’s flowery top perfumes the skies.
Hark! a glad voice the lonely desart cheers;
Prepare the way! a God, a God appears:
A God, a God! the vocal hills reply,
The rocks proclaim the approaching Deity.
Lo! earth receives him from the bending skies!
Sink down ye mountains, and ye vallies rise!
With heads declined ye cedars homage pay!
Be smooth ye rocks, ye rapid floods give way!
The Saviour comes! by ancient bards foretold:
Hear him ye deaf, and all ye blind, behold!
He from thick films shall purge the visual ray,
And on the sightless eye-ball pour the day.
‘Tis he the obstructed paths of sound shall clear,
The dumb shall sing, the lame his crutch forego,
And leap exulting like the bounding roe:
No sigh, no murmer the wide world shall hear;
From every face he wipes off every tear.
In adamantine chains shall death be bound,
And hell’s grim tyrant feel the eternal wound.
As the good shepherd tends his fleecy care,
Seeks freshest pastures and the purest air:
Explores the lost, the wandering sheep directs,
By day o’ersees them, and by night protects;
The tender lambs he raises in his arms,
Feeds from his hand, and in his bosom warms!
Thus shall mankind his guardian care engage,
The promis’d father of the future age.
No more shall nation against nation rise,
Nor ardent warriors meet with hateful eyes;
Nor fields with gleaming steel be cover’d o’er,
The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more;
But useless lances into scythes shall bend,
And the broad faulchion in a plough-share end.
Then palaces shall rise: the joyful son
Shall finish what his short-liv’d fire begun;
Their vines a shadow to their race shall yield,
And the same hand that sow’d, shall reap the field.
The swain in barren desarts with surprise
Sees lillies spring, and sudden verdure rise,
And starts amidst the thirsty wilds to hear
New falls of water murmuring in his ear;
On rifted rocks, the dragon’s late abodes,
The green reed trembles, and the bulrush nods.
Waste sandy vallies once perplex’d with thorn,
The spiry fir and shapely box adorn;
The leafless shrubs the flow’ring palms succeed,
And odorous myrtle to the noisome weed.
The lambs with wolves shall grace the verdant mead,
And boys in flow’ry bands the tyger lead;
The steer and lion at one crib shall meet,
And harmless serpents lick the pilgrim’s feet.
The smiling infant in his hand shall take
The crested basilisk and speckled snake;
Pleas’d, the green lustres of the scales survey,
And with their forky tongues shall innocently play.
Rise, crown’d with light, imperial Salem rise!
Exalt thy tow’ry head, and lift thy eyes!
See! a long race thy spacious courts adorn;
See! future sons and daughters yet unborn,
In crowding ranks on ev’ry side arise,
Demanding life, impatient for the skies!
See! barb’rous nations at thy gates attend,
Walk in thy light, and in thy temple bend;
See! thy bright altars throng’d with prostrate kings,
And heap’d with products of Sabaean springs!
For thee Idume’s spicy forests blow,
And seeds of gold in Ophir’s mountains glow.
See! heav’n its sparkling portals wide display,
And break upon thee in a flood of day!
No more the rising sun shall gild the morn,
Nor ev’ning Cynthia fill her silver horn;
But lost, dissolv’d in thy superior rays,
One tide of glory, one unclouded blaze,
O’erflow thy courts: the Light Himself shall shine
Reveal’d, and God’s eternal day be thine!
The seas shall waste, the skies in smoke decay,
Rocks fall to dust, and mountains melt away;
But fix’d his word, his saving pow’r remains,
Thy realm for ever lasts, thy own Messiah reigns.
The Rape of the Lock: Canto 1
Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos;
Sedjuvat, hoc precibus me tribuisse tuis.
(Martial, Epigrams 12.84)
What dire offence from am’rous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things,
I sing—This verse to Caryl, Muse! is due:
This, ev’n Belinda may vouchsafe to view:
Slight is the subject, but not so the praise,
If she inspire, and he approve my lays.
Say what strange motive, Goddess! could compel
A well-bred lord t’ assault a gentle belle?
O say what stranger cause, yet unexplor’d,
Could make a gentle belle reject a lord?
In tasks so bold, can little men engage,
And in soft bosoms dwells such mighty rage?
Sol thro’ white curtains shot a tim’rous ray,
And op’d those eyes that must eclipse the day;
Now lap-dogs give themselves the rousing shake,
And sleepless lovers, just at twelve, awake:
Thrice rung the bell, the slipper knock’d the ground,
And the press’d watch return’d a silver sound.
Belinda still her downy pillow press’d,
Her guardian sylph prolong’d the balmy rest:
‘Twas he had summon’d to her silent bed
The morning dream that hover’d o’er her head;
A youth more glitt’ring than a birthnight beau,
(That ev’n in slumber caus’d her cheek to glow)
Seem’d to her ear his winning lips to lay,
And thus in whispers said, or seem’d to say.
“Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish’d care
Of thousand bright inhabitants of air!
If e’er one vision touch’d thy infant thought,
Of all the nurse and all the priest have taught,
Of airy elves by moonlight shadows seen,
The silver token, and the circled green,
Or virgins visited by angel pow’rs,
With golden crowns and wreaths of heav’nly flow’rs,
Hear and believe! thy own importance know,
Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.
Some secret truths from learned pride conceal’d,
To maids alone and children are reveal’d:
What tho’ no credit doubting wits may give?
The fair and innocent shall still believe.
Know then, unnumber’d spirits round thee fly,
The light militia of the lower sky;
These, though unseen, are ever on the wing,
Hang o’er the box, and hover round the Ring.
Think what an equipage thou hast in air,
And view with scorn two pages and a chair.
As now your own, our beings were of old,
And once inclos’d in woman’s beauteous mould;
Thence, by a soft transition, we repair
From earthly vehicles to these of air.
Think not, when woman’s transient breath is fled,
That all her vanities at once are dead;
Succeeding vanities she still regards,
And tho’ she plays no more, o’erlooks the cards.
Her joy in gilded chariots, when alive,
And love of ombre, after death survive.
For when the fair in all their pride expire,
To their first elements their souls retire:
The sprites of fiery termagants in flame
Mount up, and take a Salamander’s name.
Soft yielding minds to water glide away,
And sip with Nymphs, their elemental tea.
The graver prude sinks downward to a Gnome,
In search of mischief still on earth to roam.
The light coquettes in Sylphs aloft repair,
And sport and flutter in the fields of air.
Know further yet; whoever fair and chaste
Rejects mankind, is by some sylph embrac’d:
For spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease
Assume what sexes and what shapes they please.
What guards the purity of melting maids,
In courtly balls, and midnight masquerades,
Safe from the treach’rous friend, the daring spark,
The glance by day, the whisper in the dark,
When kind occasion prompts their warm desires,
When music softens, and when dancing fires?
‘Tis but their sylph, the wise celestials know,
Though honour is the word with men below.
Some nymphs there are, too conscious of their face,
For life predestin’d to the gnomes’ embrace.
These swell their prospects and exalt their pride,
When offers are disdain’d, and love denied:
Then gay ideas crowd the vacant brain,
While peers, and dukes, and all their sweeping train,
And garters, stars, and coronets appear,
And in soft sounds ‘Your Grace’ salutes their ear.
‘Tis these that early taint the female soul,
Instruct the eyes of young coquettes to roll,
Teach infant cheeks a bidden blush to know,
And little hearts to flutter at a beau.
Oft, when the world imagine women stray,
The Sylphs through mystic mazes guide their way,
Thro’ all the giddy circle they pursue,
And old impertinence expel by new.
What tender maid but must a victim fall
To one man’s treat, but for another’s ball?
When Florio speaks, what virgin could withstand,
If gentle Damon did not squeeze her hand?
With varying vanities, from ev’ry part,
They shift the moving toyshop of their heart;
Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots sword-knots strive,
Beaux banish beaux, and coaches coaches drive.
This erring mortals levity may call,
Oh blind to truth! the Sylphs contrive it all.
Of these am I, who thy protection claim,
A watchful sprite, and Ariel is my name.
Late, as I rang’d the crystal wilds of air,
In the clear mirror of thy ruling star
I saw, alas! some dread event impend,
Ere to the main this morning sun descend,
But Heav’n reveals not what, or how, or where:
Warn’d by the Sylph, oh pious maid, beware!
This to disclose is all thy guardian can.
Beware of all, but most beware of man!”
He said; when Shock, who thought she slept too long,
Leap’d up, and wak’d his mistress with his tongue.
‘Twas then, Belinda, if report say true,
Thy eyes first open’d on a billet-doux;
Wounds, charms, and ardors were no sooner read,
But all the vision vanish’d from thy head.
And now, unveil’d, the toilet stands display’d,
Each silver vase in mystic order laid.
First, rob’d in white, the nymph intent adores
With head uncover’d, the cosmetic pow’rs.
A heav’nly image in the glass appears,
To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears;
Th’ inferior priestess, at her altar’s side,
Trembling, begins the sacred rites of pride.
Unnumber’d treasures ope at once, and here
The various off’rings of the world appear;
From each she nicely culls with curious toil,
And decks the goddess with the glitt’ring spoil.
This casket India’s glowing gems unlocks,
And all Arabia breathes from yonder box.
The tortoise here and elephant unite,
Transform’d to combs, the speckled and the white.
Here files of pins extend their shining rows,
Puffs, powders, patches, bibles, billet-doux.
Now awful beauty puts on all its arms;
The fair each moment rises in her charms,
Repairs her smiles, awakens ev’ry grace,
And calls forth all the wonders of her face;
Sees by degrees a purer blush arise,
And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes.
The busy Sylphs surround their darling care;
These set the head, and those divide the hair,
Some fold the sleeve, whilst others plait the gown;
And Betty’s prais’d for labours not her own.
Prayer Of St. Francis Xavier
Thou art my God, sole object of my love;
Not for the hope of endless joys above;
Nor for the fear of endless pains below,
Which they who love thee not must undergo.
For me, and such as me, thou deign’st to bear
An ignominious cross, the nails, the spear:
A thorny crown transpierc’d thy sacred brow,
While bloody sweats from ev’ry member flow.
For me in tortures thou resignd’st thy breath,
Embrac’d me on the cross, and sav’d me by thy death.
And can these sufferings fail my heart to move?
What but thyself can now deserve my love?
Such as then was, and is, thy love to me,
Such is, and shall be still, my love to thee,
To thee, Redeemer! mercy’s sacred spring!
My God, my Father, Maker, and my King!
In Imitation Of Chaucer
Women ben full of Ragerie,
Yet swinken not sans secresie.
Thilke Moral shall ye understand,
From Schoole-boy’s Tale of fayre Ireland:
Which to the Fennes hath him betake,
To filch the gray Ducke fro the Lake.
Right then, there passen by the Way
His Aunt, and eke her Daughters tway.
Ducke in his Trowses hath he hent,
Not to be spied of Ladies gent.
“But ho! our Nephew,” (crieth one)
“Ho!” quoth another, “Cozen John;”
And stoppen, and lough, and callen out,
This sely Clerk full low doth lout:
They asken that, and talken this,
“Lo here is Coz, and here is Miss.”
But, as he glozeth with Speeches soote,
The Ducke sore tickleth his Erse-roote:
Fore-piece and buttons all-to-brest,
Forth thrust a white neck, and red crest.
“Te-he,” cry’d Ladies; Clerke nought spake:
Miss star’d; and gray Ducke crieth Quake.
“O Moder, Moder,” (quoth the daughter)
“Be thilke same thing Maids longer a’ter?
“Bette is to pyne on coals and chalke,
“Then trust on Mon, whose yerde can talke.”
Winter – The Fourth Pastoral, Or Daphne
Thyrsis, the music of that murm’ring spring,
Is not so mournful as the strains you sing.
Nor rivers winding thro’ the vales below,
So sweetly warble, or so smoothly flow.
Now sleeping flocks on their soft fleeces lie,
The moon, serene in glory, mounts the sky,
Wile silent birds forget their tuneful lays,
Oh sing of Daphne’s fate, and Daphne’s praise!
Behold the groves that shine with silver frost,
Their beauty wither’d, and their verdure lost.
Here shall I try the sweet Alexis’ strain,
That call’d the list’ning Dryads to the plain?
Thames heard the numbers as he flow’d along,
And bade his willows learn the moving song.
So may kind rains their vital moisture yield,
And swell the future harvest of the field.
Begin; this charge the dying Daphne gave,
And said; “Ye shepherds, sing around my grave!
Sing, while beside the shaded tomb I mourn,
And with fresh bays her rural shrine adorn.”
Ye gentle Muses, leave your crystal spring,
Let Nymphs and Sylvans cypress garlands bring;
Ye weeping Loves, the stream with myrtles hide,
And break your vows, as when Adonis died;
And with your golden darts, now useless grown,
Inscribe a verse on this relenting stone:
“Let nature change, let heav’n and earth deplore,
Fair Daphne’s dead, and love is now no more!”
‘Tis done, and nature’s various charms decay,
See gloomy clouds obscure the cheerful day!
Now hung with pearls the dropping trees appear,
Their faded honours scatter’d on her bier.
See, where on earth the flow’ry glories lie,
With her they flourish’d, and with her they die.
Ah what avail the beauties nature wore?
Fair Daphne’s dead, and beauty is no more!
For her the flocks refuse their verdant food,
Nor thirsty heifers seek the gliding flood.
The silver swans her hapless fate bemoan,
In notes more sad than when they sing their own;
In hollow caves sweet Echo silent lies,
Silent, or only to her name replies;
Her name with pleasure once she taught the shore,
Now Daphne’s dead, and pleasure is no more!
No grateful dews descend from ev’ning skies,
Nor morning odours from the flow’rs arise;
No rich perfumes refresh the fruitful field,
Nor fragrant herbs their native incense yield.
The balmy Zephyrs, silent since her death,
Lament the ceasing of a sweeter breath;
Th’ industrious bees neglect their golden store;
Fair Daphne’s dead, and sweetness is no more!
No more the mounting larks, while Daphne sings,
Shall list’ning in mid air suspend their wings;
No more the birds shall imitate her lays,
Or hush’d with wonder, hearken from the sprays;
No more the streams their murmur shall forbear,
A sweeter music than their own to hear,
But tell the reeds, and tell the vocal shore,
Fair Daphne’s dead, and music is no more!
Her fate is whisper’d by the gentle breeze,
And told in sighs to all the trembling trees;
The trembling trees, in ev’ry plain and wood,
Her fate remurmur to the silver flood;
The silver flood, so lately calm, appears
Swell’d with new passion, and o’erflows with tears;
The winds and trees and floods her death deplore,
Daphne, our grief! our glory now no more!
But see! where Daphne wond’ring mounts on high
Above the clouds, above the starry sky!
Eternal beauties grace the shining scene,
Fields ever fresh, and groves for ever green!
There while you rest in Amaranthine bow’rs,
Or from those meads select unfading flow’rs,
Behold us kindly, who your name implore,
Daphne, our Goddess, and our grief no more!
How all things listen, while thy Muse complains!
Such silence waits on Philomela’s strains,
In some still ev’ning, when the whisp’ring breeze
Pants on the leaves, and dies upon the trees.
To thee, bright goddess, oft a lamb shall bleed,
If teeming ewes increase my fleecy breed.
While plants their shade, or flow’rs their odours give,
Thy name, thy honour, and thy praise shall live!
But see, Orion sheds unwholesome dews,
Arise, the pines a noxious shade diffuse;
Sharp Boreas blows, and Nature feels decay,
Time conquers all, and we must Time obey.
Adieu, ye vales, ye mountains, streams and groves,
Adieu, ye shepherd’s rural lays and loves;
Adieu, my flocks, farewell ye sylvan crew,
Daphne, farewell, and all the world adieu!
In Imitation Of E. Of Dorset : Artemisia
Tho’ Artemisia talks, by fits,
Of councils, classics, fathers, wits;
Reads Malbranche, Boyle, and Locke;
Yet in some things methinks she fails,
‘Twere well if she would pare her nails,
And wear a cleaner smock.
Haughty and huge as High-Dutch bride,
Such nastiness, and so much pride
Are oddly join’d by fate:
On her large squab you find her spread,
Like a fat corpse upon a bed,
That lies and stinks in state.
She wears no colours (sign of grace)
On any part except her face;
All white and black beside:
Dauntless her look, her gesture proud,
Her voice theatrically loud,
And masculine her stride.
So have I seen, in black and white
A prating thing, a Magpye hight,
A stately, worthless animal,
That plies the tongue, and wags the tail,
All flutter, pride, and talk.
Epistle To Miss Blount, With The Works Of Voiture.
In these gay thoughts the Loves and Graces shine,
And all the writer lives in every line;
His easy art may happy nature seem,
Trifles themselves are elegant in him.
Sure, to charm all was his peculiar fate,
Who without flattery pleased the fair and great;
Still with esteem no less conversed than read;
With wit well-natured, and with books well-bred:
His heart, his mistress, and his friend did share,
His time, the Muse, the witty, and the fair.
Thus wisely careless, innocently gay,
Cheerful he play’d the trifle, Life, away;
Till Fate scarce felt his gentle breath suppress’d,
As smiling infants sport themselves to rest.
Even rival wits did Voiture’s death deplore,
And the gay mourn’d who never mourn’d before;
The truest hearts for Voiture heaved with sighs,
Voiture was wept by all the brightest eyes:
The Smiles and Loves had died in Voiture’s death,
But that for ever in his lines they breathe.
Let the strict life of graver mortals be
A long, exact, and serious comedy;
In every scene some moral let it teach,
And if it can, at once both please and preach.
Let mine an innocent gay farce appear,
And more diverting still than regular,
Have humour, wit, a native ease and grace,
Though not too strictly bound to time and place:
Critics in wit, or life, are hard to please,
Few write to those, and none can live to these.
Too much your s*x is by their forms confined,
Severe to all, but most to womankind;
Custom, grown blind with age, must be your guide;
Your pleasure is a vice, but not your pride;
By nature yielding, stubborn but for fame;
Made slaves by honour, and made fools by shame.
Marriage may all those petty tyrants chase,
But sets up one, a greater, in their place;
Well might you wish for change, by those accursed,
But the last tyrant ever proves the worst.
Still in constraint your suffering sex remains,
Or bound in formal, or in real chains:
Whole years neglected, for some months adored,
The fawning servant turns a haughty lord.
Ah, quit not the free innocence of life,
For the dull glory of a virtuous wife;
Nor let false shows, or empty titles please:
Aim not at joy, but rest content with ease!
The gods, to curse Pamela with her prayers,
Gave the gilt coach and dappled Flanders mares,
The shining robes, rich jewels, beds of state,
And, to complete her bliss, a fool for mate.
She glares in balls, front boxes, and the Ring,
A vain, unquiet, glittering, wretched thing!
Pride, pomp, and state but reach her outward part:
She sighs, and is no duchess at her heart.
But, madam, if the Fates withstand, and you
Are destined Hymen’s willing victim too:
Trust not too much your now resistless charms,
Those, age or sickness, soon or late, disarms:
Good-humour only teaches charms to last,
Still makes new conquests, and maintains the past;
Love, raised on beauty, will like that decay,
Our hearts may bear its slender chain a day;
As flowery bands in wantonness are worn,
A morning’s pleasure, and at evening torn;
This binds in ties more easy, yet more strong,
The willing heart, and only holds it long.
Thus Voiture’s early care still shone the same,
And Monthansier was only changed in name:
By this, even now they live, even now they charm,
Their wit still sparkling, and their flames still warm.
Now crown’d with myrtle, on the Elysian coast,
Amid those lovers, joys his gentle ghost:
Pleased, while with smiles his happy lines you view,
And finds a fairer Rambouillet in you.
The brightest eyes of France inspired his Muse;
The brightest eyes of Britain now peruse;
And dead, as living, ’tis our author’s pride
Still to charm those who charm the world beside.
Couplets On Wit
But our Great Turks in wit must reign alone
And ill can bear a Brother on the Throne.
Wit is like faith by such warm Fools profest
Who to be saved by one, must damn the rest.
Some who grow dull religious strait commence
And gain in morals what they lose in sence.
Wits starve as useless to a Common weal
While Fools have places purely for their Zea.
Now wits gain praise by copying other wits
As one Hog lives on what another sh—.
Wou’d you your writings to some Palates fitAlexander Pope
Purged all you verses from the sin of wit
For authors now are so conceited grown
They praise no works but what are like their own.
Lines Written In Windsor Forest
All hail, once pleasing, once inspiring shade!
Scene of my youthful loves and happier hours!
Where the kind Muses met me as I stray’d,
And gently press’d my hand, and said “Be ours!
Take all thou e’er shalt have, a constant Muse:
At Court thou may’st be liked, but nothing gain:
Stock thou may’st buy and sell, but always lose,
And love the brightest eyes, but love in vain.”
Wow! His poems are really splendid to be fair. That’s why he’s a master of the heroic couplet. Some of his poems are brief but direct and some are long but full of details. Overall, each of his poems is amazing!
Universal Prayer is my favorite poem in this collection. It’s very heart-warming and sincere.
What about you? What’s your most favorite poem of Alexander Pope?
Is your favorite poem included in this list? Let me know in the comment section below! 😉