Quotations by Pope, Alexander


In Words, as Fashions, the same Rule will hold;
Alike Fantastick, if too New, or Old;
Be not the first by whom the New are try’d,
Nor yet the last to lay the Old aside.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Essay on Criticism,” l. 333–36 (1711)
Added on 19-Dec-07 | Last updated 8-Nov-10
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Be not the first by whom the New are try’d
Nor yet the last to lay the Old aside.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Essay on Criticism,” l. 335 (1711)
Added on 26-May-09 | Last updated 8-Nov-10
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We think our Fathers Fools, so wise we grow;
Our wiser Sons, no doubt, will think us so.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Essay on Criticism,” l. 438 (1711)
Added on 23-Mar-10 | Last updated 8-Nov-10
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To Err is Human; to Forgive, Divine.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Essay on Criticism,” l. 525 (1711)
Added on 25-Aug-10 | Last updated 8-Nov-10
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With Pleasure own your Errors past,
And make each Day a Critic on the last.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Essay on Criticism,” l. 570 (1711)
Added on 16-Sep-10 | Last updated 8-Nov-10
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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.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Essay on Criticism,” Part 2, l. 15-18 (1711)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 8-Nov-10
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Fondly we think we honour Merit then,
When we but praise Our selves in Other Men.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Essay on Criticism,” Part 2, l. 254-55 (1711)
Added on 4-Apr-08 | Last updated 8-Nov-10
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As some to church repair
Not for the doctrine, but the music there.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Essay on Criticism,” Part 2, l. 142-3 (1711)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 3-Mar-17
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Honor and shame from no Condition rise;
Act well your part: there all the honor lies.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Essay on Man,” 4.193 (1734)
Added on 9-Nov-10 | Last updated 9-Nov-10
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Not one looks backward, onward still he goes,
Yet ne’er looks forward further than his nose.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Essay on Man,” 4.223 (1734)
Added on 29-Jul-10 | Last updated 8-Nov-10
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An honest Man’s the noblest work of God.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Essay on Man,” 4.248 (1734)
Added on 8-Nov-10 | Last updated 8-Nov-10
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The same ambition can destroy or save,
And make a patriot as it makes a knave.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Essay on Man,” ch. 2 (1734)
Added on 10-Dec-08 | Last updated 8-Nov-10
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Say first, of God above or man below,
What can we reason but from what we know?

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Essay on Man,” Epistle 1, l. 17-18 (1734)
Added on 17-Apr-08 | Last updated 8-Nov-10
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All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Essay on Man,” Epistle 1, l. 267 (1733-1734)
Added on 24-Oct-08 | Last updated 8-Nov-10
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All nature is but art unknown to thee,
All chance, direction which thou canst not see;
All discord, harmony not understood;
All partial evil, universal good;
And, spite of pride, in erring reason’s spite,
One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Essay on Man,” Epistle 1, l. 289ff (1733-34)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study of mankind is man.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Essay on Man,” Epistle 2, l. 1 (1733-34)
Added on 17-Oct-05 | Last updated 8-Nov-10
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Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of Truth, in endless Error hurl’d:
The glory, jest and riddle of the world!

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Essay on Man,” Epistle 2, l. 15ff (1733-344)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 8-Nov-10
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For forms of government let fools contest;
Whate’er is best administered is best:
For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight;
His can’t be wrong whose life is in the right.
In faith and hope the world will disagree,
But all mankind’s concern is charity.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Essay on Man,” Epistle 3, l. 303 (1733-1734)
Added on 22-Apr-08 | Last updated 8-Nov-10
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Honour and shame from no condition rise;
Act well your part, there all the honour lies.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Essay on Man,” Epistle 4, l. 193ff (1733-34)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 8-Nov-10
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So perish all whose breast ne’er learned to glow
For others’ good, or melt at others’ woe!

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“Elegy to an Unfortunate Lady”, l. 45 (1717)
Added on 26-Apr-16 | Last updated 26-Apr-16
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Sir, I admit your gen’ral Rule
That every Poet is a Fool;
But you yourself may serve to show it.
That ever Fool is not a Poet.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“Epigram from the French” (1732)
Added on 15-Apr-15 | Last updated 15-Apr-15
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Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer;
Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot” (1734)
    (Source)
Added on 10-Jun-15 | Last updated 10-Jun-15
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Teach me to feel another’s Woe;
To hide the Fault I see;
That Mercy I to others show,
That Mercy show to me.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“The Universal Prayer,” 9 (1738)
Added on 12-May-15 | Last updated 12-May-15
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Let not this weak, unknowing hand
Presume Thy bolts to throw,
And deal damnation round the land
On each I judge Thy foe.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“The Universal Prayer” (1738)
Added on 23-Apr-08 | Last updated 23-Apr-08
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Father of all! in every age,
In every clime adored,
By saint, by savage, and by sage,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“The Universal Prayer” (1738)
Added on 16-Mar-10 | Last updated 16-Mar-10
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When men grow virtuous in their old age, they only make a sacrifice to God of the devil’s leavings.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“Thoughts on Various Subjects,” Miscellanies in Prose and Verse, vol. 2 (1727)
Added on 9-Mar-09 | Last updated 9-Mar-09
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We may see the small value God has for riches by the people he gives them to.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“Thoughts on Various Subjects.” Miscellenies in Prose and Verse [pub. with Jonathan Swift], Vol. 2 (1727)

May be quoting his friend, Dr. John Arbuthnot.
Added on 27-Feb-14 | Last updated 27-Feb-14
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It is with narrow-souled people as with narrow-necked bottles: the less they have in them, the more noise they make in pouring it out.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“Thoughts on Various Subjects” (1727)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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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 today than he was yesterday.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“Thoughts on Various Subjects” (1727)

This essay was published in Jonathan Swift, Miscellanies. It is sometimes incorrectly attributed to Swift, in his essay of the same name, published as ch. 16 in his The Battle of the Books And Other Short Pieces.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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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.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“Thoughts on Various subjects” (1727)
Added on 10-Apr-08 | Last updated 10-Apr-08
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I never knew any man in my life who could not bear another’s misfortunes perfectly like a Christian.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“Thoughts on Various Subjects” (1727)
Added on 16-Apr-08 | Last updated 16-Apr-08
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Our passions are like convulsion-fits, which, though they make us stronger for the time, leave us the weaker ever after.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“Thoughts on Various Subjects” (1727)
Added on 6-May-08 | Last updated 6-May-08
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Some people will never learn anything, for this reason, because they understand everything too soon.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“Thoughts on Various Subjects” (1727)
Added on 2-Jun-08 | Last updated 2-Jun-08
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Oh! be thou blest with all that Heaven can send,
Long health, long youth, long pleasure, and a friend.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“To Mrs. M.B. on Her Birth-Day”, l. 1
Added on 29-Jun-15 | Last updated 24-Jun-15
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What Tully said of war may be applied to disputing: “It should be always so managed as to remember that the only true end of it is peace.” But generally true disputants are like true sportsmen, — their whole delight is in the pursuit; and the disputant no more cares for the truth than the sportsman for the hare.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“Thoughts on Various Subjects” (1727)
    (Source)
Added on 8-Aug-14 | Last updated 8-Aug-14
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For as blushing will sometimes make a whore pass for a virtuous woman, so modesty may make a fool seem a man of sense.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“Thoughts on Various Subjects” (1727)
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Added on 11-Jan-16 | Last updated 11-Jan-16
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One who is too nice an observer of the business of others, like one who is too curious in observing the labor of bees, will often be stung for his curiosity.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“Thoughts on Various Subjects” (1727)
    (Source)
Added on 21-Jan-16 | Last updated 21-Jan-16
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Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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All gardening is landscape painting.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
(Attributed)

In Joseph Spence, Observations, Anecdotes, and Characters, of Books and Men Collected from the Conversation of Mr. Pope and Other Eminent Persons of His Time, 2nd ed., ch. 4 "1734-1736" (1858)
Added on 30-Jul-10 | Last updated 30-Jul-10
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Hope springs eternal in the human breast:
Man never Is, but always To be blest.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
An Essay on Man, 1.95 (1734)
Added on 15-Nov-10 | Last updated 15-Nov-10
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For Modes of Faith, let graceless zealots fight;
His can’t be wrong whose life is in the right.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
An Essay on Man, 3.305 (1734)
Added on 15-Nov-13 | Last updated 15-Nov-13
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There, London’s voice: “Get Money, Money still!
And then let Virtue follow, if she will.”

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
Imitations of Horace, 1.1(Epistle).79 (1733-38)
Added on 13-Jan-12 | Last updated 13-Jan-12
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The ruling passion, be it what it will,
The ruling passion conquers reason still.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
Moral Essays 3.153 (1731-1735)
Added on 6-Jan-15 | Last updated 6-Jan-15
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‘Tis Education forms the common mind,
Just as the Twig is bent, the Tree’s inclin’d.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
Moral Essays, 1.101 (1732-35)
Added on 29-Nov-09 | Last updated 29-Nov-09
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Men, some to Bus’ness, some to Pleasure take;
But ev’ry Woman is at heart a Rake.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
Moral Essays, 2.215 (1731-35)
Added on 2-Feb-12 | Last updated 2-Feb-12
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The ruling Passion, be what it will,
The ruling Passion conquers Reason still.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
Moral Essays, 3.153 (1731-35)
Added on 28-Dec-12 | Last updated 28-Dec-12
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Yet, taught by time, my heart has learned to glow
For other’s good, and melt at other’s woe.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
The Odyssey of Homer, Book 18 (1725)

See also Pope.
Added on 17-May-16 | Last updated 17-May-16
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Beauties in vain their pretty Eyes may roll;
Charms strike the Sight, but Merit wins the Soul.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
The Rape of the Lock, Canto 5, l. 33 (1712)
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Added on 3-Oct-17 | Last updated 3-Oct-17
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To be angry, is to revenge the fault of others upon ourselves.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
Thoughts on Various Subjects (1727)
Added on 20-Dec-13 | Last updated 20-Dec-13
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There is but one way I know of conversing safely with all men; that is, not by concealing what we say or do, but by saying or doing nothing that deserves to be concealed.

Pope - deserves to be concealed - wist_info quote

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
Letter to H. Cromwell (28 Oct 1710)
Added on 11-Apr-16 | Last updated 11-Apr-16
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I will enjoy the pleasure of what I give by giving it alive, and seeing another enjoy it. When I die, I should be ashamed to leave enough to build me a monument if there were a wanting friend above ground.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
Letter to Jonathan Swift (9 Oct 1729)
Added on 2-Sep-16 | Last updated 2-Sep-16
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