Pope, “Ode on Solitude,” various readers

Special request, 21 May 2010: Please note that comments not about eighteenth-century poetry will be deleted. We are delighted if your classes use our site to practice English essay skills, but only if comments are directly related to a poem on this site.

1) Read by Melanie Stockler. Source: UMW. Download

2) Read by Unknown. Source: Classic Poetry Aloud. Includes short introduction. Download

3) Read by Skye Winters. Source: LibriVox.org. Download

4) Read by Paul Underwood. Source: LibriVox.org. Download

5) Read by Leon Mire. Source: LibriVox.org. Download

6) Read by Ezwa. Source: LibriVox.org. Download

7) Read by Alan Davis-Drake. Source: LibriVox.org. Download

8 ) Read by Rhonda Federman. Source: LibriVox.org. Download

9) Read by Tom O’Bedlam. Source: YouTube. [kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/0X-ma52ifos" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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 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 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.

Comments

  1. Marie McAllister says:

    Unknown’s reading had five stars, and Melanie Stockler’s had four, when these different readings of “Ode to Solitude” were merged into one post.

  2. Mazen Ahmad Dhafer A says:

    Pope wrote this poem before he was twelve years old .In first stanza he talked about free man who is not care about city. About a man who owns his own small farm and breath air (he calls it happiest man). In second stanza he described the farmer’s life. He has his own milk from his own cows, he makes his own bread from the grain he grows in his own fields, he makes his own clothes from his own sheep’s wool, and his trees shade him from the sun in summer and supply wood for heating his home in winter. Also in third stanza the farmer has “health of body” and “peace of mind. In the forth stanza he said how the farmer sleep without noisy. He passes his days harmlessly and enjoys his hours of quiet meditation. The young Pope paints a scene that many would find ideal. In the fifth stanza He wants to be like the farmer at least in his status as a commoner who lived silently and did not intrude on others. And when the speaker dies, he wants no fanfare. He just wants to flit off from the world and not even have his name engraved on a tombstone.

  3. Mohammed Ali Alqarni says:

    I think its all about what make a man really happy and how is this related to the idea of “solitude”.
    In the first 4 lines there is obviously a a beautiful picture of a happy man. Here the speaker shows how a man would be happy if his ” wish and care ” was figuratively.
    “a few paternal acres bound”, indicate all of his dreams and wishes in a “paternal” way.
    In short, a man could be happy if he keep connecting to the nature and never be away from it where his own live and airs are surround him.
    The seconed verse emphasizes the idea of own a land with everything to sustain you such as milk, bread, clothes from flocks etc.
    clearly, he hints that a man could has a really good live of his own work without any need from society.
    Third verse, again emphasizes the significance of “solitude” live to be happy.
    he said that the happy man who live of his own is blessed because he dosen’t care about worldly things , he has a healthy body and piece of mind.
    Fourth verse talks about that this happy man could sleep very well at night in his farm and study with ease as ” sweet recreation”.
    Finally , The speaker comments that he hopes to be “unknown” in his life of solitude, and he even goes so far as to say that he wants to be “unlamented” as his death.

  4. saleh alqurashi says:

    I think Pope is talking about living a satisfying and fulfilling life free from ego. To enjoy the wonder and simplicity of what life offers, without judging others or being judged, without identifying with things and worrying about what others think of us. Content to breathe and live. Attribute wealth to good health and peace of mind, rather than money and fame. What we do create we do with an innocent nature that pleases us because it is done with a presence of mind that in clear and focused attention, rather than hoping for gain or acknowledgement. I think he is talking about free and actualized life. I don’t think such an experience is something that Pope’s infamous life made possible.

  5. Saif al-Mansouri says:

    Alexander Pope’s poem sets a very peaceful mood. his relax languge makes the clam, routine lifestyle of a farmer seem more appealing than usual. He focuses on the idea of using only one’s own means to survive while living completely alone but he does not make it seem boring or melancholy.The various techniques that he uses, such as uniform stanzas, a predictable rhyme scheme, and simple language makes it seem as if the speaker is not some poet that is trying to take on a foreign voice, describes the farmer in the same language that he would most likely use.
    In the first stanza describes how the man in the poem is only concerned with what happens within his inherited land. It doesn’t mention anything about the man wishing to break free of this lifestyle, but states that he is “content to breathe… In his own ground.
    In the second stanza, Pope once again uses uniform language to emphasize the regularity of this farmer’s life. He lists where the farmer gets his resources to live in simple language with very little hidden implications. The mention of how the trees are useful both in winter and in summer reassures the reader that this farmer, though alone, is provided for by nature.
    The third stanza seems to express Pope’s wish to experience this kind of solitude because he refers to this man as “Blest”. Pope’s eventful lifestyle, constantly ridden with conflict, seems to be a complete opposite of this simple man. In the city, it is nearly impossible to find this kind of peace, and then to enjoy it without being reminded of what lays outside of that safe zone. He also mentions that this man is “in health of body,” something that Pope will never be able to achieve because he was burdened with health problems since early childhood.

  6. Alexander Pope wrote his “Ode on Solitude” before he was twelve years old. The poem consists of five numbered quatrains. Each quatrain has the rime scheme, ABAB.
    Stanza 1: “How happy he, who free from care”
    The speaker exclaims that the man who is free from “courts” and “towns” and owns his own small farm where he can “breath[ ] his native air” is the happiest man. The reader will find the serenity of the situation described here to be quite hypnotic. The idealism is sweet and unaffected.
    Stanza 2: “Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread”
    The speaker continues to describe the farmer’s life: he has his own milk from his own cows, he makes his own bread from the grain he grows in his own fields, he makes his own clothes from his own sheep’s wool, and his trees shade him from the sun in summer and supply wood for heating his home in winter.
    The self-contained farm with a self-reliant farmer is a romantic notion that emerged with the rise of cities. The simple country folk became a symbol of nature that was particularly played up in the next century by the Romantic Movement.
    Stanza 3: “Blest! who can unconcern’dly find”
    The speaker portrays this rural farmer as a satisfied individual for whom time passes swiftly, because the farmer has “health of body” and “peace of mind.” The quietness of his rustic setting is thought to be soothing to the farmer’s nerves, as he toils away in his pastoral paradise.
    Stanza 4: “Sound sleep by night; study and ease”
    The farmer sleeps “sound[ly] by night.” He is free to study leisurely and enjoy “sweet recreation.” He passes his days harmlessly and enjoys his hours of quiet meditation. The young Pope paints a scene that many would find ideal.
    Stanza 5: “Thus let me live, unheard, unknown”
    In the final stanza, the speaker asks that he be allowed to live “unheard, unknown.” He wants to be like the farmer at least in his status as a commoner who lived silently and did not intrude on others. And when the speaker dies, he wants no fanfare. He just wants to flit off from the world and not even have his name engraved on a tombstone.

  7. reminded of what lays outside of that safe zone. He also mentions that this man is “in health of body,” something that Pope will never be able to achieve because he was burdened with health problems The scenario Pope describes is a lovely one to be sure, although quite a romantic oversimplification of the rural man’s life. His speaker, for example, does not let the backbreaking labor, crop failures, poverty, and seasonal uncertainties of the laboring farmer’s existence interfere with his portrayal. But then Pope was only a lad when he romanticized this scene.

    Read more at Suite101: Alexander Pope’s Ode on Solitude: Written Before Age 12 http://british-poetry.suite101.com/article.cfm/alexander_popes_ode_on_solitude#ixzz0ioT8pAFU

    The young speaker romanticizes the existence of the farmer, as he creates a utopian scenario that is beautiful but unrealistic

    Read more at Suite101: Alexander Pope’s Ode on Solitude: Written Before Age 12 http://british-poetry.suite101.com/article.cfm/alexander_popes_ode_on_solitude#ixzz0ioTr2UjH

    An Analysis
    Alexander Pope’s poem, “Ode on Solitude,” sets a very peaceful mood. The relaxed language that Pope chooses to use makes the calm, routine lifestyle of a farmer seem more appealing than usual. He focuses on the idea of
    using only one’s own means to survive while living completely alone but he does not make it seem boring or melancholy. The various techniques that he uses, such as uniform stanzas, a predictable rhyme scheme, and simple language makes it seem as if the speaker is not some poet that is trying to take on a foreign voice, describes the farmer in the same language that he would most likely use.

    The first stanza starts off with the word “happy.” While Pope could have used a more complicated word, the simplicity and commonness of his choice immediately sets the mood for the reader. This stanza describes how the man in the poem is only concerned with what happens within his inherited land. It doesn’t mention anything about the man wishing to break free of this lifestyle, but states that he is “content to breathe… In his own ground.”

    In the second stanza, Pope once again uses uniform language to emphasize the regularity of this farmer’s life. He lists where the farmer gets his resources to live in simple language with very little hidden implications. The mention of how the trees are useful both in winter and in summer reassures the reader that this farmer, though alone, is provided for by nature.

    The third stanza seems to express Pope’s wish to experience this kind of solitude because he refers to this man as “Blest.” Pope’s eventful lifestyle, constantly ridden with conflict, seems to be a complete opposite of this simple man. In the city, it is nearly impossible to find this kind of peace, and then to enjoy it without being since early childhood.

    An Analysis
    The third and fourth stanzas seem to mesh together with the line “Quiet by day” because it can be recited as part of either. While it rhymes with the stanza that it stands in, it could also be fluidly integrated into
    the next stanza because of its juxtaposition with the phrase “sound sleep by night.” This meshing of stanzas reflects, once again, the uniformity of this type of lifestyle. Each day is so similar to the next, that the man may not be able to distinguish where one week ends and another begins simply because of how repetitive his life his.

    The last stanza expresses the farmer’s acceptance of his life. He understands that he is unknown and does not attempt to fight it. He also understands that like all of the seasons he experiences, he will die as well. In most poetry, the idea of an unlamented death seams very depressing, yet to this farmer, it is a perfect ending to a quiet life.

    This stanza also implies that this farmer has no living family. It seems as though this man is so used to being alone that he makes no effort to change that because it has worked for him for so long. This solitude could also be an allusion to Pope’s own love life because he never got married during his life.

    Alexander Pope used very simple language, structure and ideas in this poem to communicate the thoughts of a solitary, but not lonely, farmer. He also subtly expresses his own desire to experience some of life the way that this man does. Additionally, he intentionally leaves out certain statements that would make this description of a farmer’s life complete, such as mention of other family, to demonstrate the degree of interesting secrecy that draws Pope to thinking about this kind of lifestyle. He effectively implements a variety of simple elements to successfully communicate the meaning of “Ode on Solitude

  8. Abdalssalam alqarni says:

    Theme :
    ‘ seeking for happiness ‘. The poet found the happiness in his old life (in his past)
    Reason :
    1. Here the poet wrote this poem because he (lost) left his old living (place) and moved to other place which would not give him happiness . and he was coercive (him forced by someone)
    2. Or he became old and he lived in modern life (society )and he remember that sweat old life
    3. Or his past attacked by the modernism and it change it from simple happy life to bad thing.
    4.There is a pain . the poet was suffering from hard new life and he want to live in peace nobody see him or know him.
    Result :
    His old place obviously is a country (a village out a city) that appears form his description of his old place in the poem(natural area).That old place (A few paternal acres bound)
    Conclusion :
    He want to be free and nobody forces him for doing things that make him sad . He want to live in specific style of life.
    ————————————————————–
    STANZA 1
    The poet begins to tell own opinion about the happy man. The man refer to the poet himself.
    Person who inherit(or lives in) a few lands that is his fathers’ own . that place is far away from modernism’ breathe his native air ‘ .
    STANZA 2
    He tells the advantages that he found them in the herds, flocks , the cultivated lands and the trees
    STANZA 3
    He says that things (unconcernedly find Hours, days, and years, slide soft away \ In health of body, peace of mind, \ Quiet by day.) bring happiness to him.
    STANZA 4

    He likes the quietness at night ,study and leisure are mixed , ‘ sweet recreation ‘, and ‘ innocence ‘ which helps him to contemplate.
    STANZA 5
    He pleads them to live either nobody sees him or knows him. If that cannot happen, he asks them ‘let me die.’
    ‘ Tell where I lie.’ Finally he says

  9. Abdulrhman Monakel says:

    First Of All , it is optimistic poem and the poet pushed us to back for the nature . Seconly , this poem describe the life of happy people . Finally , I agree wih him becaus farmers life is always happy and simple and he is from nature and can enjoy with meditation and recreation ..

  10. Abdullah Al-Hassani says:

    -I think that it is a marvellous poem.He gives us some hints or clues of the happy lif,for instance:[not all the people who are content or satisfied must have money] [getting his clothes from primitive things] [his concern of this life is to work hard and enjoy that] . -It is crucially related to Wotton’s poem {Character of Happy Life}because every one seek the happy life.Also it is related to Gray’s poem in the topic of death. -I agree with him in many points because they reconcile with our religion and our traditions.In addition,there are nothing important in this life except good reputation.

  11. yasser Al-Zahrani says:

    Alexander Pope is considered one of the most poets in the 18th century. In this poem he describes a happy farmer and told us why he is happy with his life:The description of this farmer might be an indirect invitation to go back to nature. in the first line the poet fronted the word “Happy” to the front to assure that he is happy and contented in his life.
    This farmer cares for nothing except for his happiness on his land which he inherited from his parents. Pope wants to say that he envies this farmer because e can’t find such peaceful atmosphere in the city. He wants to experience the farmer’s life. I find this poem very wonderful and expressive. the poet managed to make us visualize the rural life of the happy farmer.

  12. Salem Al-jahdali says:

    routine lifestyle of a farmer seem more appealing than usual. He focuses on the idea of
    using only one’s own means to survive while living completely alone but he does not make it seem boring or melancholy

  13. naser alhabji says:

    The relation between this poem and H. Wotton‘s poem, The Character of a Happy life, is that to achieve the happiness. Both of the writers gave us the keys of the happiness. These keys are the creating a good character and solitude in the nature.
    Wotton focused on the person, character itself, by using different ways or advices which improve the personality and make the conscience clean. But Pope described the surrounding and environment which enable us to live in enjoyment.
    In my opinion, the two poems are completed each of them(themselves) to get a real happy life.
    In general, Ode on Solitude calls to back to the nature, because we are a part of this nature if we break its rules we will loose our humanity.

  14. Eisa Al-Lihyani says:

    In this poem, Pope illustrates the advantages of solitude. The farmer is happy on the land which he inherited from his parents. Pope started The first and the third line with (Happy and Content) to reflects the mood in which the farmer lives. He needs nothing. Nature gives him everything he needs. He gets his food and clothes from his sheep. He is healthy in body and mind and this is the best result from being alone in nature. Pope indirectly attacks the life of cities which is full of nosies. The farmer is calm by day and enjoys his sleep at night. The sun is useful to him in summer and winter. Pope assured that the farmer is happy all around the year. This poem is similar to the “Character of a happy life” because both of them tells us about the lives of happy people who escaped form urban life and resorted to the rural life. They are away from any source of nuisance. Both poets advise us to go back to nature and introduce two prescriptions to enjoy our life and be happy in our life.

  15. Pope shows us in this poem the beauty of nature and the place where he lives in. He talks about his farmer which is inherited from his parents. Therefore he enjoys his life and he gets all whate he needs frome his animals. He is unknown and dies without lament. He is alone but not lonely.

  16. Abdulrhman assayigh says:

    Pope tells us about a farmer who has a perfect life. He inherited a piece of land from his parents. He enjoys his life. He gets milk and clothes from his animals. The sun is useful in winter and summer. Pope wishes to have his quiet. His days go smoothly. He enjoys his sleep at night. He enjoys recreation and imitation. He is unknown and dies without lament. He is alone but not lonely

  17. Eisa Al-lyhyani says:

    The poet plays on our senses. He makes us part of his poem . We can see, slell, touch the scene.The young speaker romanticizes the existence of the farmer, as he creates a utopian scenario that is beautiful but unrealistic.

    Alexander Pope wrote his “Ode on Solitude” before he was twelve years old. The poem consists of five numbered quatrains. Each quatrain has the rime scheme, ABAB.

    Stanza 1: “How happy he, who free from care”
    The speaker exclaims that the man who is free from “courts” and “towns” and owns his own small farm where he can “breath[ ] his native air” is the happiest man. The reader will find the serenity of the situation described here to be quite hypnotic. The idealism is sweet and unaffected.

    Stanza 2: “Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread”
    The speaker continues to describe the farmer’s life: he has his own milk from his own cows, he makes his own bread from the grain he grows in his own fields, he makes his own clothes from his own sheep’s wool, and his trees shade him from the sun in summer and supply wood for heating his home in winter.

    The self-contained farm with a self-reliant farmer is a romantic notion that emerged with the rise of cities. The simple country folk became a symbol of nature that was particularly played up in the next century by the Romantic Movement.

    Stanza 3: “Blest! who can unconcern’dly find”
    The speaker portrays this rural farmer as a satisfied individual for whom time passes swiftly, because the farmer has “health of body” and “peace of mind.” The quietness of his rustic setting is thought to be soothing to the farmer’s nerves, as he toils away in his pastoral paradise.

  18. Rayan Nour says:

    Ode on solitude is written when Pope was only twelve years and this proves that he had a great talent since he was a child. In this poem, Pope gives us a detailed picture of the environment where the farmer enjoys his quiet happy life. He says that this man is happy because he lives away from the industrialized society. Our life is overwhelmed by materialism and running after money. He poet invites us indirectly to go back to nature. Nature is full of beautiful things. The poet wants to say that the farmer does not need anything in his life because he can find everything he wants in nature.

  19. really i like this poeme is very beautiful , it reminds us of the simplicity of nature and potrays the life in farmer as it is simple and calm

  20. Read this poem in a book 8 years ago
    & found it again just today…it’s Timeless. To be born, to use nature to survive & live unwantingly within its cycle. Then having lived like this knowing that your death is just about moving aside for the next, freedom to happily die unnoticed is a sign of gratitude to life itself. Pope had contact with his inner peace.

  21. It is a very advanced poem

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