From Fanny Morris Smith’s recollection of her grandmother Charlotte Calkins (Julie’s mother), born 1804-died 1874 in the mid 1860’s.
“There was no regular schooling on the frontier, but grandmother educated herself. She used to amuse herself learning poetry by heart as she lay waiting to die. I heard her repeat Pope’s poem on death to herself. Her beautiful voice and grandfather’s flute were a source of constant pleasure to the two throughout their long married life. One by one every good novel as it appeared in the golden Victorian Age, was bought and read aloud in the evening, by the light of an oil lamp, at first; then as the years went on a very expensive liquid known as ‘fluid’ and finally kerosene.”

Somehow, I just don’t see many people memorizing Pope’s poetry while ill. Charlotte died after a long illness, probably a series of strokes. She spent most of her life in upstate New York.