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,
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die.
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.
Alexander Pope 1688–1744
Although I originally learned this poem, or parts of it, to be able to show, in essays, examinations, that Pope did not always write in iambic pentameters, I'm very fond of some, though not all (I should not want to die unlamented) of its sentiment
One of my most effective teachers was the Bradford historian Jack Reynolds. He spent his entire career in this area and was highly respected by all who came into contact with him, and particularly those he taught. This is in great contrast to those professionals who whiz around from job to job, often moving on to the next before the mess they've made in the last one becomes apparent. More to be pitied are those unfortunates who flit around the world trying to leave themselves behind.
I suspect that today we do not esteem sufficiently those who confine themselves to " a few paternal acres. " We should.