Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VI. Fancy: Sentiment
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VI. Fancy.  1904.
 
Poems of Sentiment: II. Life
Fame
Alexander Pope (1688–1744)
 
From “An Essay on Man,” Epistle IV.

  WHAT ’s fame?—a fancied life in others’ breath,
A thing beyond us, e’en before our death.
Just what you hear, you have; and what ’s unknown
The same (my lord) if Tully’s, or your own.
All that we feel of it begins and ends        5
In the small circle of our foes or friends;
To all beside, as much an empty shade
A Eugene living as a Cæsar dead;
Alike or when or where they shone or shine,
Or on the Rubicon, or on the Rhine.        10
A wit ’s a feather, and a chief a rod;
An honest man ’s the noblest work of God.
Fame but from death a villain’s name can save,
As justice tears his body from the grave;
When what to oblivion better were resigned        15
Is hung on high, to poison half mankind.
All fame is foreign, but of true desert;
Plays round the head, but comes not to the heart:
One self-approving hour whole years outweighs
Of stupid starers and of loud huzzas;        20
And more true joy Marcellus exiled feels
Than Cæsar with a senate at his heels.
 
 
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