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The Dying Christian to His Soul by Alexander Pope


This Ode was sent in a letter to Richard Steele. The letter states, "You have it, as Cowley calls it, just warm from the brain; it came to me the first moment I waked this morning; yet you'll see, it was not so absolutely inspiration, but that I had in my head, not only the verses of Hadrian, but the fine fragment of Sappho."

"The Dying Christian to His Soul" uses the rhyme scheme AABBCC in the first two stanzas and changes the pace by using AABCCB in the last. The change of rhyme helps with the change of rhythm that gives the reader a slightly different emotion and allows the author to subconciously tell the reader that the poem is coming to an end and the end is meaningful.


The Dying Christian to His Soul

Vital spark of heav'nly flame!
Quit, O quit this mortal frame:
Trembling, hoping, ling'ring, flying,
O the pain, the bliss of dying!
Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife,
And let me languish into life.

Hark! they whisper; angels say,
Sister Spirit, come away!
What is this absorbs me quite?
Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
Drowns my spirit, draws my breath?
Tell me, my soul, can this be death?

The world recedes; it disappears!
Heav'n opens my eyes! my ears
With sounds seraphic ring!
Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
O Grave! where is thy victory?
O Death! where is thy sting?


Next: The Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady
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