Alexander Pope

Chorus of Athenians

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) is regarded as one of the greatest English poets, and the foremost poet of the early eighteenth century. He is best known for his satirical and discursive poetry, including The Rape of the Lock, The Dunciad, and An Essay on Criticism, as well as for his translation of Hom…






Strophe I.
Ye shades, where sacred truth is sought;
Groves, where immortal Sages taught;
Where heav'nly visions of Plato fir'd,
And Epicurus lay inspir'd!
In vain your guiltless laurels stood
Unspotted long with human blood.
War, horrid war, your thoughtful walks invades,
And steel now glitters in the Muses' shades.

Antistrophe I.
Oh heav'n-born sisters! source of art!
Who charm the sense, or mend the heart;
Who lead fair Virtue's train along,
Moral Truth, and mystic Song!
To what new clime, what distant sky,
Forsaken, friendless, shall ye fly?
Say, will you bless the bleak Atlantic shore?
Or bid the furious Gaul be rude no more?

Strophe II.
When Athens sinks by fates unjust,
When wild Barbarians spurn her dust;
Perhaps ev'n Britain's utmost shore,
Shall cease to blush with strager's gore.
See Arts her savage sons control,
And Athens rising near the pole!
'Till some new Tyrant lifts his purple hand,
And civil madness tears them from this land.

Antistrophe II.
Ye Gods! what justice rules the ball?
Freedom and Arts together fall;
Fools grant whate'er Ambition craves,
And men, once ignorant, are slaves.
Oh curs'd effects of civil hate,
In ev'ry age, in ev'ry state!
Still, when the lust of tyrant power succeeds,
Some Athens perishes, some Tully bleeds.

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