POESY

po·e·sy n. pl. po·e·sies 1. Poetical works; poetry. 2. The art or practice of composing poems. 3. The inspiration involved in composing poetry. [Middle English poesie, from Old French, from Latin posis, from Greek poisis, from poiein, to create; see kwei-2 in Indo-European roots.]

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Friday, May 21, 2010

May 21 - Alexander Pope

Alexander Pope May 21, 1688, - May 30, 1744

English poet, essayist, wit, satirist, and translator, Pope was considered one of the foremost literary figures of the time. As a Catholic barred from attending Protestant universities, he was largely self-taught, and at a young age learned Latin and Greek by translating works of Homer and Virgil. Considered a prodigy, he entered London's literary circles, wrote such brilliant pieces as his Essay on Criticism and his most famous poem, The Rape of the Lock while in his early twenties. His friendship with fellow wit and satirist Jonathan Swift, both of them known for their biting parodies, endured for 25 years. Although plagued by poor health all his life, Pope's impressive body of work included ambitious translations of the Iliad and the Odyssey.


Some works by Pope:



Sound And Sense

by Alexander Pope

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learned to dance.
'Tis not enough no harshness gives offense,
The sound must seem an echo to the sense:
Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;
But when loud surges lash the sounding shore,
The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar;
When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
The line too labors, and the words move slow;
Not so, when swift Camilla scours the plain,

Flies o'er the unbending corn, and skims along the main.
Hear how Timotheus' varied lays surprise,
And bid alternate passions fall and rise!

~

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 mix'd; sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most doth please,
With meditation.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me dye;
Steal from the world, and not a stone

Tell where I lye.

~

Lines Written in Windsor Forest
by Alexander Pope


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."

~

On His Grotto at Twickenham
by Alexander Pope

Thou who shalt stop, where Thames' translucent wave
Shines a broad Mirror thro' the shadowy Cave;
Where ling'ring drops from min'ral Roofs distill,
And pointed Crystals break the sparkling Rill,
Unpolish'd Gems no ray on Pride bestow,
And latent Metals innocently glow.

Approach! Great Nature studiously behold;
And eye the Mine without a wish for Gold.
Approach; but awful! Lo! th' Egerian Grot,
Where, nobly-pensive, St. John sate and thought;
Where British sighs from dying Wyndham stole,
And the bright flame was shot thro' Marchmont's Soul.
Let such, such only tread this sacred Floor,
Who dare to love their Country, and be poor.

~

Argus
by Alexander Pope

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!

~

Couplets On Wit
by Alexander Pope

I

But our Great Turks in wit must reign alone
And ill can bear a Brother on the Throne.

II

Wit is like faith by such warm Fools profest
Who to be saved by one, must damn the rest.

III

Some who grow dull religious strait commence
And gain in morals what they lose in sence.

IV

Wits starve as useless to a Common weal
While Fools have places purely for their Zea.

V

Now wits gain praise by copying other wits
As one Hog lives on what another sh–.

VI

Wou’d you your writings to some Palates fit
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.

~

The Dying Christian To His Soul

by Alexander Pope

Vital spark of heav’nly flame,
Quit, oh, quit, this mortal frame!
Trembling, hoping, ling’ring, flying,
Oh, the pain, the bliss of dying!
Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife,
And let me languish into life!

Hark! they whisper; Angels say,
Sister Spirit, come away.
What is this absorbs me quite,
Steals my senses, shuts my sight,

Drowns my spirits, draws my breath?

Tell me, my Soul! can this be Death?

The world recedes; it disappears;
Heav’n opens on my eyes; my ears
With sounds seraphic ring:

Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
O Grave! where is thy Victory?
O Death! where is thy Sting?

~

The Riddle of the World
by Alexander Pope

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan
The proper study of Mankind is Man.

Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
A Being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast;
In doubt his mind and body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err;
Whether he thinks to little, or too much;
Chaos of Thought and Passion, all confus'd;

Still by himself, abus'd or disabus'd;
Created half to rise and half to fall;
Great Lord of all things, yet a prey to all,
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl'd;
The glory, jest and riddle of the world.

~

Untitled
by Alexander Pope

"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."

~

--Cat