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


Fame can never make us lie down contentedly on a deathbed.

ALEXANDER POPE, letter to William Trumbell, Mar. 12, 1713

In pride, in reas'ning pride, our error lies;
All quit their spere, and rush into the skies!
Pride still is aiming at the blessed abodes,
Men would be Angels, Angels would be Gods.


At ev’ry word a reputation dies.

ALEXANDER POPE, The Rape of the Lock

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


Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

ALEXANDER POPE, An Essay on Criticism

Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes;
The glorious fault of Angels and of Gods.

ALEXANDER POPE, Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady

Hope springs eternal in the human breast:
Man never is, but always To Be Blest.


Every man has just as much vanity as he wants understanding.

ALEXANDER POPE, "Thoughts on Various Subjects"

They dream in courtship, but in wedlock wake.

ALEXANDER POPE, The Wife of Bath

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

ALEXANDER POPE, "Thoughts on Various Subjects"

To err is human, to forgive, divine.

ALEXANDER POPE, An Essay on Criticism

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

ALEXANDER POPE, "Thoughts on Various Subjects"

To endeavour to work upon the vulgar with fine sense is like attempting to hew blocks with a razor.

ALEXANDER POPE, "Thoughts on Various Subjects"

What Reason weaves, by Passion is undone.

ALEXANDER POPE, Essay on Man and Other Poems

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

ALEXANDER POPE, letter to Warburton, Mar. 24, 1743

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

ALEXANDER POPE, "Thoughts on Various Subjects"

Praise is like ambergrease: a little whiff of it, and by snatches, is very agreeable; but when a man holds a whole lump of it to your nose, it is a stink, and strikes you down.

ALEXANDER POPE, "Thoughts on Various Subjects"

All pleasures sicken, and all glories sink:
Each has his share; and who would more obtain,
Shall find the pleasure pays not half the pain.


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, An Essay on Criticism

Fine sense and exalted sense are not half so useful as common sense. There are forty men of wit for one man of sense; and he that will carry nothing about him but gold, will be every day at a loss for want of readier change.

ALEXANDER POPE, "Thoughts on Various Subjects"

Women, as they are like riddles in being unintelligible, so generally resemble them in this, that they please us no longer when once we know them.

ALEXANDER POPE, "Thoughts on Various Subjects"

Words are like Leaves; and where they most abound,
Much Fruit of Sense beneath is rarely found.

ALEXANDER POPE, An Essay on Criticism

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.

ALEXANDER POPE, "Thoughts on Various Subjects"

Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd.

ALEXANDER POPE, "Eloise to Abelard"

In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold;
Alike fantastic, if too new, or old:
Be not the first by whom the new are tried,
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.

ALEXANDER POPE, An Essay on Criticism

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

ALEXANDER POPE, letter to Mr. Walsh, July 2, 1706

Superstition is the spleen of the soul.

ALEXANDER POPE, "Thoughts on Various Subjects"

Of vice or virtue, whether blest or cursed,
Which meets contempt, or which compassion first?
Count all th' advantage prosp'rous vice attains,
'Tis but what virtue flies from and disdains.


To buy books as some do who make no use of them, only because they were published by an eminent printer, is much as if a man should buy clothes that did not fit him, only because they were made by some famous tailor.

ALEXANDER POPE, "Thoughts on Various Subjects"

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.


True Wit is Nature to advantage dress'd
What oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd.

ALEXANDER POPE, An Essay on Criticism

Satire's my weapon, but I'm too discreet
To run amuck and tilt at all I meet.

ALEXANDER POPE, Second Book of Horace

See sin in state, majestically drunk;
Proud as a peeress, prouder as a punk.


How shall I lose the sin yet keep the sense,
And love th' offender, yet detest the offence?

ALEXANDER POPE, Eloise to Abelard

In this commonplace world, everyone is said to be romantic who either admires a fine thing or does one.

ALEXANDER POPE, attributed, Day's Collacon

The flying rumours gather'd as they roll'd,
Scarce any tale was sooner heard than told;
And all who told it added something new,
And all who heard it made enlargements too.

ALEXANDER POPE, Temple of Fame

Not chaos-like together crush'd and bruis'd,
But, as the world, harmoniously confused:
Where order in variety we see,
And where tho' all things differ, all agree.

ALEXANDER POPE, Windsor Forest

Eye nature's walks, shoot folly as it flies,
And catch the manners, living as they rise;
Laugh where we must, be candid where we can,
But vindicate the ways of God to man.


A generous heart repairs a slanderous tongue.

ALEXANDER POPE, The Odyssey of Homer

Charms always strike the sight; but merit wins the soul.

ALEXANDER POPE, A Concordance to the Poems of Alexander Pope

Browse Alexander Pope Quotes II

Alexander Pope Poems - a collection of his poetry.


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