Alexander Pope Questions and Answers

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What makes a man happy, according to Pope's "Ode on Solitude"?

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In his "Ode to Solitude," Pope asserts that happiness can be found in living a retired, quiet, and self-sufficient life on one's own land.

In the first stanza, the speaker finds contentment on a few inherited ("paternal") acres of land, rather than roving all over the world. In the second stanza, he expands on the theme of living self-sufficiently, stating that happiness comes from having milk from your own flocks, growing the grain for your own bread, and warming yourself by burning trees from your own land.

In the third stanza, the speaker says that a person is "blest" who can quietly and peacefully live out his days in good health. In the fourth stanza, he enlarges on his ideas of happiness by mentioning a life filled with study, ease, and innocence.

In the final stanza, he says he would like to live and die unknown and ungrieved, and

Steal [slip] from the world [into death], and not a [head] stone
Tell where I lie.

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