Alexander Pope: The Wicked Wasp of Twickenham


Born today Alexander Pope,
Famous for this succinct trope:
Drink deep, he wrote, the Pierian Spring,
A little learning is a dangerous thing.*


* “An Essay on Criticism” 215-216

More heroic couplets from Pope:

1. “True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, /As those move easiest who have learn’d to dance.”

2. “Words are like leaves; and where they most abound, /Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.”

3. “Laugh where we must, be candid where we can; /But vindicate the ways of God to man.”

4. “All are but parts of one stupendous whole, /Whose body nature is, and God the soul.”

5.”Hope springs eternal in the human breast;/Man never is, but always to be blest.”

6. “True friendship’s laws are by this rule express’d:/ Welcome the coming, speed the parting guest.”

7.” But when to mischief mortals bend their will,/How soon they find fit instruments of ill.”

8. “Honor and shame from no condition rise./Act well your part: there all the honor lies.”

9.”Fair tresses man’s imperial race ensnare/And beauty draws us with a single hair.”

10. ” Men must be taught as if you taught them not,/And things unknown proposed as things forgot.”





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  • So that's from where line 4 of the verse and item 5 came.

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