Alexander Pope

  • English poet
  • Born May 21, 1688
  • Died May 30, 1744

Alexander Pope (21 May 1688 – 30 May 1744) is regarded as one of the greatest English poets, and the foremost poet of the early eighteenth century. He is best known for his satirical and discursive poetry—including The Rape of the Lock, The Dunciad, and An Essay on Criticism—as well as for his translation of Homer. After Shakespeare, Pope is the second-most quoted writer in the English language, as per The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, some of his verses having even become popular idioms in common parlance (e.g., Damning with faint praise).

Extremes in nature equal ends produce; In man they join to some mysterious use.

Happy the man whose wish and care a few paternal acres bound, content to breathe his native air in his own ground.

To observations which ourselves we make, we grow more partial for th' observer's sake.

The vulgar boil, the learned roast, an egg.

How happy is the blameless vestal's lot? The world forgetting, by the world forgot.

The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read, With loads of learned lumber in his head.

No woman ever hates a man for being in love with her, but many a woman hate a man for being a friend to her.

Satan is wiser now than before, and tempts by making rich instead of poor.

Men would be angels, angels would be gods.

Man never thinks himself happy, but when he enjoys those things which others want or desire.

All are but parts of one stupendous whole, Whose body Nature is, and God the soul.

How prone to doubt, how cautious are the wise!

Passions are the gales of life.

A work of art that contains theories is like an object on which the price tag has been left.

A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.

To err is human; to forgive, divine.

A cherub's face, a reptile all the rest.

Fools admire, but men of sense approve.

No one should be ashamed to admit they are wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that they are wiser today than they were yesterday.

The worst of madmen is a saint run mad.

Education forms the common mind. Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined.

Tis but a part we see, and not a whole.

True politeness consists in being easy one's self, and in making every one about one as easy as one can.

'Tis not enough your counsel still be true; Blunt truths more mischief than nice falsehoods do.

Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.

And, after all, what is a lie? 'Tis but the truth in a masquerade.

The difference is too nice - Where ends the virtue or begins the vice.

Remembrance and reflection how allied. What thin partitions divides sense from thought.

If a man's character is to be abused there's nobody like a relative to do the business.

A person who is too nice an observer of the business of the crowd, like one who is too curious in observing the labor of bees, will often be stung for his curiosity.

Pride is still aiming at the best houses: Men would be angels, angels would be gods. Aspiring to be gods, if angels fell; aspiring to be angels men rebel.

The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, and wretches hang that jurymen may dine.

Slave to no sect, who takes no private road, But looks through Nature up to Nature's God.

Some old men, continually praise the time of their youth. In fact, you would almost think that there were no fools in their days, but unluckily they themselves are left as an example.

Lo! The poor Indian, whose untutored mind sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind.

So vast is art, so narrow human wit.