Ode to Solitude

The Ideal of Voluntary Simplicity

Alexander Pope

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Editorial Note:

Alexander Pope (1688 -1744) is one
of the main English poets of all time, and his
writings have much in common with Esoteric
Philosophy. In the following poem, he sums up the
ideal of a simple and transcendent life. In its wider
sense, the ancient concept of voluntary simplicity  is
an essential factor in theosophy, classical philosophy,
ecology, and even in sustainable economy.

The poem is reproduced from “Essay on Man and
Other Poems”, Alexander Pope, Dover-Thrift Editions,
Dover Publications, New York, 99 pp., 1994, page 01.

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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.

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