Thursday, August 9, 2012

sober scholar

Don't worry.  I'm not about to be long-winded today.

If you don't know who Alexander Pope is, I highly recommend you acquaint yourself with him.  He was an incredibly insightful writer around the time of Bach.  (Think late 1600s through mid 1700s).  Although Shakespeare shall always possess the highest claim upon my literary heartstrings, Pope is the bomb.

As a new school year approaches, this excerpt from An Essay on Criticism keeps rolling through my mind.  As my words can hardly add to these, I'll leave you with Pope's words:

A little Learning is a dang'rous Thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring:
There shallow Draughts intoxicate the Brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
Fir'd at first Sight with what the Muse imparts,
In fearless Youth we tempt the Heights of Arts,
While from the bounded Level of our Mind,
Short Views we take, nor see the lengths behind,
But more advanc'd, behold with strange Surprize
New, distant Scenes of endless Science rise!
So pleas'd at first, the towring Alps we try,
Mount o'er the Vales, and seem to tread the Sky;
Th' Eternal Snows appear already past,
And the first Clouds and Mountains seem the last:
But those attain'd, we tremble to survey
The growing Labours of the lengthen'd Way,
Th' increasing Prospect tires our wandering Eyes,
Hills peep o'er Hills, and Alps on Alps arise!

Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism, lines 215-232

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