Alexander Pope Quotes

Tis hard to say if better want of skill, appear in speaking or in judging ill.

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan, The proper study of mankind is man. Plac’d on this isthmus of a middle state, A being darkly wise, and rudely great: With too much knowledge for the skeptic side, With too much weakness for the Stoic’s pride, He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest; […]

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

Honor and shame from no condition rise; act well your part, there all the honor lies.

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

But touch me, and no minister so sore; Whoever offends at some unlucky time Slides into verse, and hitches in a rhyme, Sacred to ridicule his whole life long, And the sad burden of some merry song.

Who says in verse what others say in prose.

Waller was smooth; but Dryden taught to join The varying verse, the full resounding line, The long majestic march, and energy divine.

Soft is the strain when zephyr gently blows, And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows; But when loud surges lash the sounding shore, The hoarse rough verse should like the torrent roar. When Ajax strives some rock’s vast weight to throw, The line too labors, and the words move slow: Not so when swift […]

Sir, I admit your gen’ral rule, That every poet is a fool; But you yourself may serve to show it, That every fool is not a poet. (When Matthew Prior wrote a poem describing every poet as a fool, Pope retaliated with this verse.)