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Quotes of the day: Alexander Pope

Published Tuesday, May 21, 2013 @ 7:55 AM EDT
May 21 2013

Alexander Pope (May 21, 1688 - May 30, 1744) was an English poet, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. Famous for his use of the heroic couplet, he is the third-most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare and Tennyson. (Click here for full Wikipedia article.)


A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.

A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser to-day than he was yesterday.

Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear.

An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie; for an excuse is a lie guarded.

At every word a reputation dies.

Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll;
Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.

Blessed is the man who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.

Coffee, which makes the politician wise,
And see through all things with his half-shut eyes.

Genuine religion is not so much a matter of feeling as a matter of principle.

Good God! how often are we to die before we go quite off this stage? In every friend we lose a part of ourselves, and the best part.

For, as blushing will sometimes make a whore pass for a virtuous woman, so modesty may make a fool seem a man of sense.

He who tells a lie, is not sensible how great a task he undertakes; for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain that one.

Here am I, dying of a hundred good symptoms. (Response to his physician's statement that he was better. He died later that day.)

Histories are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends.

Hope springs eternal in the human breast.

How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
(from "Eloisa to Abelard")

I never knew any man in my life who could not bear another's misfortunes perfectly like a Christian.

It is with narrow-souled people as with narrow-necked bottles; the less they have in them the more noise they make in pouring out.

Order is heaven's first law.

Our passions are like convulsion-fits, which, though they make us stronger for the time, leave us the weaker ever after.

Party is the madness of many, for the gain of a few.

Some old men, by continually praising the time of their youth, would almost persuade us that there were no fools in those days; but unluckily they are left themselves for examples.

Some people will never learn anything, for this reason, because they understand everything too soon.

The greatest advantage I know of being thought a wit by the world is that it gives one the greater freedom of playing the fool.

The Scripture in time of disputes is like an open town in time of war, which serves indifferently the occasions of both parties.

There is a certain majesty in simplicity which is far above all the quaintness of wit.

Therefore they who say our thoughts are not our own because they resemble the Ancients, may as well say our faces are not our own, because they are like our Fathers: And indeed it is very unreasonable, that people should expect us to be Scholars, and yet be angry to find us so.

To be angry, is to revenge the fault of others upon ourselves.

Unblemish'd let me live, or die unknown;
O grant an honest fame, or grant me none!

Virtues and vices are of a strange nature, for the more we have, the fewer we think we have.

When men grow virtuous in their old age, they only make a sacrifice to God of the devil's leavings.

Ye Gods! annihilate but space and time,
And make two lovers happy.

Categories: Alexander Pope, Quotes of the day


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