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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Alexander Pope

  • [A celebrated English poet; born in London, May 22, 1688; wrote pastorals at sixteen; “The Essay on Criticism,” 1710; translated Homer’s Iliad, 1713–20; published “The Dunciad,” 1728; “The Essay on Man,” 1733; died May, 1744.]
  • Party spirit is the madness of many for the gain of a few.

  • In the original, a letter to Blount, Aug. 27, 1714, “Party spirit, which at least is but the madness,” etc. This has been attributed to Swift, and was inserted by Motte and Bathurst in his “Thoughts on Various Subjects,” 1736, without any signature or the identifying marks of his other sayings.
  • When Pope and Warburton failed through envy to take the honorary degrees intended for them, Pope remarked, “We shall take our degrees together in fame, whatever we do at the university.”
  • Pope said of the victories of Prince Eugene, “He takes cities like snuff.”
  • The following are from Pope’s “Table-Talk:”—
  • The great secret of writing well is to know thoroughly what one writes about, and not to be affected.
  • Arts are taken from nature, and after a thousand vain efforts for improvements are best when they return to their first simplicity.
  • A tree is a nobler object than a prince in his coronation-robes.
  • It is vanity that makes the rake at twenty, the worldly man at forty, and the retired man at sixty. We are apt to think that best in general for which we find ourselves best fitted in particular.
  • True politeness consists in being easy one’s self, and in making every one about one as easy as one can.
  • One misfortune of extraordinary geniuses is, that their very friends are more apt to admire than to love them.
  • When a man is much above the rank of men, whom can he have to converse with?
  • Self-love would be a necessary principle in every one, if it were only to serve as a scale for his love to his neighbor.
  • If I were to begin the world again, and knew just what I know now, I would never write a verse.
  • There is nothing that is meritorious but virtue and friendship; and, indeed, friendship is only a part of virtue.

  • His last words.—JOHNSON: Life.