Genius of Place

To build, to plant, whatever you intend, / To rear the column, or the arch to bend, / To swell the terrace, or to sink the grot; / In all, let Nature never be forgot. / But treat the goddess like a modest fair, / Nor overdress, nor leave her wholly bare; / Let not each beauty ev’rywhere be spied, / Where half the skill is decently to hide. / He gains all points, who pleasingly confounds, / Surprises, varies, and conceals the bounds.

Consult the genius of the place in all; / That tells the waters or to rise, or fall; / Or helps th’ ambitious hill the heav’ns to scale, / Or scoops in circling theatres the vale; / Calls in the country, catches opening glades, / Joins willing woods, and varies shades from shades, / Now breaks, or now directs, th’ intending lines; / Paints as you plant, and, as you work, designs.

Alexander Pope, Epistle IV to Richard Boyle (1731)


The death of Alexander Pope from Museus, a threnody by William Mason

Diana holds the dying Pope, and John Milton, Edmund Spenser and Geoffrey Chaucer prepare to welcome him to heaven.

Genius of Place

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