Verse > Alexander Pope > Complete Poetical Works
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Alexander Pope (1688–1744).  Complete Poetical Works.  1903.
 
Poems: 1718–27
To Mrs. M. B. on Her Birthday
 
          Written to Martha Blount in 1723. Lines 5–10 were elsewhere adapted for a versified celebration of his own birthday, and for an epitaph on a suicide!

OH, be thou blest with all that Heav’n can send,
Long Health, long Youth, long Pleasure, and a Friend:
Not with those Toys the female world admire,
Riches that vex, and Vanities that tire.
With added years if Life bring nothing new,        5
But, like a sieve, let ev’ry blessing thro’,
Some joy still lost, as each vain year runs o’er,
And all we gain, some sad Reflection more;
Is that a birthday? ’t is alas! too clear,
’T is but the funeral of the former year.        10
  Let Joy or Ease, let Affluence or Content,
And the gay Conscience of a life well spent,
Calm ev’ry thought, inspirit ev’ry grace,
Glow in thy heart, and smile upon thy face.
Let day improve on day, and year on year,        15
Without a Pain, a Trouble, or a Fear;
Till Death unfelt that tender frame destroy,
In some soft dream, or extasy of joy,
Peaceful sleep out the Sabbath of the Tomb,
And wake to raptures in a life to come.        20
 
 
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