I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Monday, 27 June 2016

Happy The Man

This morning I read Alexander Pope's poem Ode on Solitude, which gave me some short blessed relief from the current turmoil in the UK.

Ode on Solitude

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 unconcernedly 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 mixed; 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.

14 comments:

George said...

Pope's poem is clearly refreshing, especially during this period of of great uncertainty throughout the western world. I particularly like the invitation to "live, unseen, unknown," that wonderful condition that is usually best found in solitude. Pope's poem also reminded of one of my favorite observations from Horace:

"Happy the man, and happy he alone,
he who can call today his own:
he who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today."


donna baker said...

Walker, I had not read that piece. Thank you for it. One of Pope's writings has always been a favorite, his ESSAY ON MAN. I have thought of it repeatedly during these trying times.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Blessed relief indeed Robert. xx

I understand a Lyke Wake walk is planned sometime soon?

Vagabonde said...

Yes, the Ode on Solitude sounds great, if only we could escape all the commotion around us. When I get too stressed with my husband’s illness, I like to escape to the back yard and watch the birds, the plants, but I cannot escape to full solitude and I have to return inside the house. It is the same with the rest of the world. I’ll quote Krishnamurti there, from some of his notes (have several of his books) :

“We all have to live in this world; we cannot escape from it. We must understand it and not run away from it into illusory comforts, hopeful theories, and fascinating dreams. We are the world and we must intelligently and creatively understand it. We have created this world of devastating hate, this world that is torn apart by beliefs and ideologies, by religions and gnawing cults, by leaders and their followers, by economic barriers and nationalities. We have created this world through our individual craving and fear, through our ambition and ignorance. We ourselves must change radically, free ourselves of these bondages, so that we can help to create a truly sane and happy world.”

How can we do this if we go away, unseen, from the world?

Loren said...

Long time since I've real Pope, though I loved his sarcasm when I was an undergraduate.

This poem almost sounds "New Age." Guess that's why the greats stay great.

sackerson said...

Just read the poem. I like a bit of Pope.

Happy the man? Milk herds? He won't be very happy when his subsidy goes udders up.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

It is no longer a world of local homegrown trade but it is good to reflect on what is best. We are born alone and must die alone so being at peace with the self is the greatest achievemnt. I like this solitude.

The Solitary Walker said...

George, thanks for the Horace quote.

The Solitary Walker said...

A great poem, Donna, but very much 'of its day'?

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, that's the plan, Pat.

The Solitary Walker said...

Great Krishnamurti quote, Vagabonde. It's a challenge - to reconcile the necessity of solitude with the demands of society, the need for some 'me' time with our responsibilities for family and loved ones.

The Solitary Walker said...

Universal desires and feelings cutting through time and space, Loren . . .

The Solitary Walker said...

A lot of EU beneficiaries are now realising they have cut off their nose, Dominic . . .

The Solitary Walker said...

Lovely comment, KleinsteMotte. Thank you so much for it.