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The Odyssey of Homer (Alexander Pope)

The Odyssey of Homer (poetic interpretation, 1725)Edit

Note: Elijah Fenton translated Books I, IV, XIX and XX; William Broome translated Books II, VI, VIII, XI, XII, XVI, XVIII and XXIII; Alexander Pope revised and corrected these, and translated the remaining books.

Book IEdit

  • The man for wisdom's various arts renown'd
    Long exercised in woes, O Muse! resound.
    • Line 1.

Book IIEdit

  • Fly, dotard, fly!
    With thy wise dreams and fables of the sky.
    • Line 207.
  • And what he greatly thought, he nobly dared.
    • Line 312.
  • Few sons attain the praise
    Of their great sires, and most their sires disgrace.
    • Line 315.
  • For never, never, wicked man was wise.
    • Line 320.

Book IIIEdit

  • Urge him with truth to frame his fair replies;
    And sure he will: for Wisdom never lies.
    • Line 25.
  • The lot of man,—to suffer and to die.
    • Line 117.
  • A faultless body and a blameless mind.
    • Line 138.
  • The long historian of my country's woes.
    • Line 142.
  • Forgetful youth! but know, the Power above
    With ease can save each object of his love;
    Wide as his will extends his boundless grace.
    • Line 285.
  • When now Aurora, daughter of the dawn,
    With rosy lustre purpled o'er the lawn.
    • Line 516.

Book IVEdit

  • These riches are possess'd, but not enjoy'd!
    • Line 118.
  • Mirror of constant faith, rever'd and mourn'd!
    • Line 229.
  • There with commutual zeal we both had strove
    In acts of dear benevolence and love:
    Brothers in peace, not rivals in command.
    • Line 241.
  • The glory of a firm, capacious mind.
    • Line 262.
  • Wise to resolve, and patient to perform.
    • Line 372.
  • The leader, mingling with the vulgar host,
    Is in the common mass of matter lost.
    • Line 397.
  • O thou, whose certain eye foresees
    The fix'd events of fate's remote decrees.
    • Line 627.
  • Forget the brother, and resume the man.
    • Line 732.
  • Gentle of speech, beneficent of mind.
    • Line 917.
  • The people's parent, he protected all.
    • Line 921.
  • The big round tear stands trembling in her eye.
    • Line 936.
  • The windy satisfaction of the tongue.
    • Line 1092.

Book VEdit

  • Heaven hears and pities hapless men like me,
    For sacred ev'n to gods is misery.
    • Line 572.
  • The bank he press'd, and gently kiss'd the ground.
    • Line 596.

Book VIEdit

  • A heaven of charms divine Nausicaa lay.
    • Line 22.
  • Jove weighs affairs of earth in dubious scales,
    And the good suffers while the bad prevails.
    • Line 229.
  • By Jove the stranger and the poor are sent,
    And what to those we give, to Jove is lent.
    • Line 247.

Book VIIEdit

  • A decent boldness ever meets with friends,
    Succeeds, and even a stranger recommends.
    • Line 67.
  • To heal divisions, to relieve th' opprest;
    In virtue rich; in blessing others, blest.
    • Line 95.
  • Oh, pity human woe!
    'T is what the happy to the unhappy owe.
    • Line 198.
  • Whose well-taught mind the present age surpast.
    • Line 210.
  • For fate has wove the thread of life with pain,
    And twins ev'n from the birth are misery and man!
    • Line 263.
  • In youth and beauty wisdom is but rare!
    • Line 379.

Book VIIIEdit

  • And every eye
    Gaz'd, as before some brother of the sky.
    • Line 17.
  • Nor can one word be chang'd but for a worse.
    • Line 192.
  • And unextinguish'd laughter shakes the sky.
  • Behold on wrong
    Swift vengeance waits; and art subdues the strong!
    • Line 367.
  • A generous heart repairs a slanderous tongue.
    • Line 432.
  • Just are the ways of Heaven: from Heaven proceed
    The woes of man; Heaven doom'd the Greeks to bleed,—
    A theme of future song!
    • Line 631.

Book IXEdit

  • Earth sounds my wisdom and high heaven my fame.
    • Line 20.
  • Strong are her sons, though rocky are her shores.
    • Line 28.
  • Lotus, the name; divine, nectareous juice!
    • Line 106.
  • Respect us human, and relieve us poor.
    • Line 318.

Book XEdit

  • Rare gift! but oh what gift to fools avails!
    • Line 29.
  • Our fruitless labours mourn,
    And only rich in barren fame return.
    • Line 46.
  • No more was seen the human form divine.
  • And not a man appears to tell their fate.
    • Line 308.
  • Can living eyes behold the realms below?
    What bark to waft me, and what wind to blow?
    • Line 596.
  • Let him, oraculous, the end, the way,
    The turns of all thy future fate display.
    • Line 642.
  • Born but to banquet, and to drain the bowl.
    • Line 662.

Book XIEdit

  • Thin airy shoals of visionary ghosts.
    • Line 48.
  • His cold remains all naked to the sky
    On distant shores unwept, unburied lie.
    • Line 67.
  • Who ne'er knew salt, or heard the billows roar.
    • Line 153.
  • Heav'd on Olympus tott'ring Ossa stood;
    On Ossa, Pelion nods with all his wood.
    • Line 387. Compare: "Then the Omnipotent Father with his thunder made Olympus tremble, and from Ossa hurled Pelion", Ovid, Metamorphoses i.
  • The first in glory, as the first in place.
    • Line 441.
  • Soft as some song divine thy story flows.
    • Line 458.
  • Oh woman, woman! when to ill thy mind
    Is bent, all hell contains no fouler fiend.
    • Line 531. Compare: "What mighty ills have not been done by woman! Who was ’t betrayed the Capitol?—A woman! Who lost Mark Antony the world?—A woman! Who was the cause of a long ten years’ war, And laid at last old Troy in ashes?—Woman! Destructive, damnable, deceitful woman!", Thomas Otway, The Orphan, Act iii, Scene 1.
  • What mighty woes
    To thy imperial race from woman rose!
    • Line 541.
  • But sure the eye of time beholds no name
    So blest as thine in all the rolls of fame.
    • Line 591.
  • Rather I'd choose laboriously to bear
    A weight of woes, and breathe the vital air,
    A slave to some poor hind that toils for bread,
    Than reign the sceptred monarch of the dead.
    • Line 597.
  • And pines with thirst amidst a sea of waves.
    • Line 722.
  • Up the high hill he heaves a huge round stone.
    • Line 736.
  • There in the bright assemblies of the skies.
    • Line 745.
  • Gloomy as night he stands.
    • Line 749.

Book XIIEdit

  • All, soon or late, are doom'd that path to tread.
    • Line 31.
  • And what so tedious as a twice-told tale.
    • Line 538. Compare: "Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale, Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man", William Shakespeare, King John, Act iii, Scene 4.
  • Better to rush at once to shades below,
    Than linger life away, and nourish woe!
    • Line 415.

Book XIIIEdit

  • He ceas'd; but left so pleasing on their ear
    His voice, that list'ning still they seem'd to hear.
    • Line 1. Compare: "The angel ended, and in Adam's ear / So charming left his voice, that he awhile / Thought him still speaking, still stood fix'd to hear." John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667), Book VIII, lines 1–3.
  • His native home deep imag'd in his soul.
    • Line 38.
  • And bear unmov'd the wrongs of base mankind,
    The last and hardest conquest of the mind.
    • Line 353.
  • How prone to doubt, how cautious are the wise!
    • Line 375.

Book XIVEdit

  • It never was our guise
    To slight the poor, or aught humane despise.
    • Line 65.
  • The sex is ever to a soldier kind.
    • Line 246.
  • Far from gay cities and the ways of men.
    • Line 410.
  • And wine can of their wits the wise beguile,
    Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile.
    • Line 520.

Book XVEdit

  • Who love too much, hate in the like extreme,
    And both the golden mean alike condemn.
    • Line 79.
  • True friendship's laws are by this rule expressed,
    Welcome the coming, speed the parting guest.
    • Line 83. Compare: "For I, who hold sage Homer’s rule the best, Welcome the coming, speed the going guest", Pope, Imitations of Horace, Satire II, Book II, line 159.
  • For too much rest itself becomes a pain.
    • Line 429.
  • Discourse, the sweeter banquet of the mind.
    • Line 433.
  • And taste
    The melancholy joy of evils past:
    For he who much has suffer'd, much will know.
    • Line 434.
  • For love deceives the best of womankind.
    • Line 463.

Book XVIEdit

  • And would'st thou evil for his good repay?
    • Line 448.

Book XVIIEdit

  • Whatever day
    Makes man a slave, takes half his worth away.
    • Line 392.
  • In ev'ry sorrowing soul I pour'd delight,
    And poverty stood smiling in my sight.
    • Line 505.
  • Unbless'd thy hand, if in this low disguise
    Wander, perhaps, some inmate of the skies.
    • Line 576. Compare: "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares", Hebrews 13:2.

Book XVIIIEdit

  • Know from the bounteous heaven all riches flow;
    And what man gives, the gods by man bestow.
    • Line 26.
  • Yet taught by time, my heart has learn'd to glow
    For others' good, and melt at others' woe.
    • Line 269.

Book XIXEdit

  • A winy vapour melting in a tear.
    • Line 143.
  • But he whose inborn worth his acts commend,
    Of gentle soul, to human race a friend.
    • Line 383.

Book XXEdit

  • The fool of fate,—thy manufacture, man.
    • Line 254.
  • Impatient straight to flesh his virgin sword.
    • Line 461.

Book XXIIEdit

  • Dogs, ye have had your day!
    • Line 41.
  • For dear to gods and men is sacred song.
    Self-taught I sing; by Heaven, and Heaven alone,
    The genuine seeds of poesy are sown.
    • Line 382.
  • So ends the bloody business of the day.
    • Line 516.

Book XXIVEdit

  • And rest at last where souls unbodied dwell,
    In ever-flowing meads of Asphodel.
    • Line 19.
  • The ruins of himself! now worn away
    With age, yet still majestic in decay.
    • Line 271.
  • And o'er the past Oblivion stretch her wing.
    • Line 557.


  • Tell me, Muse, of the man of many wiles.
    • "Book I, line 1" — as reported in a 1968 edition of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (p. 405), and in The Yale Book of Quotations (2006, p. 599), but not found in Pope's works.
  • So perish all who do the like again.
    • "Book I, line 37" — a translation of Homer's "ὡς ἀπόλοιτο καὶ ἄλλος ὅτις τοιαῦτά γε ῥέζοι" (Odyssey, i.47), also wrongly attributed to Pope in the 1968 edition of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (p. 405). Compare: "Sic semper tyrannis".

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