Best quotes by Alexander Pope

Alexander Pope

Alexander Pope

English poet, translator, and satirist of the Augustan period

Alexander Pope (21 May 1688 – 30 May 1744) was an English poet, translator, and satirist of the Augustan period and one of its greatest artistic exponents. Considered the foremost English poet of the early 18th century and a master of the heroic couplet, he is best known for satirical and discursive poetry, including The Rape of the Lock, The Dunciad, and An Essay on Criticism, and for his translation of Homer. After Shakespeare, he is the second-most quoted author in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, some of his verses having entered common parlance (e.g. "damning with faint praise" or "to err is human; to forgive, divine").

Alexander Pope quotes by category:

All CategoriesAbout motivationAbout beautyAbout womanAbout happinessAbout friendshipAbout peopleAbout natureAbout scienceAbout healthAbout menAbout autumnAbout warAbout lifeAbout freedomAbout loveAbout summerAbout artAbout solitudeAbout fearAbout mindAbout passionAbout vanity

SolitudeMindWholesome solitude, the nurse of sense!

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

VanityAnd not a vanity is given in vain.

VanityThe vanity of human life is like a river, constantly passing away, and yet constantly coming on.

PassionSearch then the ruling passion: This clue, once found, unravels all the rest.

PassionAnd hence one master-passion in the breast, Like Aaron's serpent, swallows up the rest.

WarPassionIntestine war no more our passions wage, And giddy factions bear away their rage.

PassionWhate'er the passion, knowledge, fame, or pelf, Not one will change his neighbor with himself.

PassionOn life's vast ocean diversely we sail, Reason the card, but passion is the gale; Nor God alone in the still calm we find, He mounts the storm, and walks upon the wind.

WomanMenPassionIn men, we various ruling passions find; In women, two almost divide the kind Those, only fixed, they first or last obey, The love of pleasure, and the love of sway.

PassionSearch then the ruling passion; there alone, The wild are constant, and the cunning known; The fool consistent, and the false sincere; Priests, princes, women, no dissemblers here.

MindPassionThe ruling passion, be it what it will. The ruling passion conquers reason still.

PassionOur passions are like convulsion fits, which, though they make us stronger for a time, leave us the weaker ever after.

PassionPassions are the gales of life.

LifePassionOn life's vast ocean diversely we sail. Reasons the card, but passion the gale.

MindPassionWhat Reason weaves, by Passion is undone.

HappinessFalse happiness is like false money; it passes for a time as well as the true, and serves some ordinary occasions; but when it is brought to the touch, we find the lightness and alloy, and feel the loss.

HappinessCount all th' advantage prosperous Vice attains, 'Tis but what Virtue flies from and disdains: And grant the bad what happiness they would, One they must want--which is, to pass for good.

HappinessKnow then this truth, enough for man to know virtue alone is happiness below.

HappinessVirtue alone is happiness below.

HappinessAll looks yellow to a jaundiced eye that habitually compares everything to something better. But by changing that habit to comparing everything to something worse, even making it a game, that person can find gratitude, relief and happiness where-ever they go and whatever they experience, guaranteed!

HappinessAmusement is the happiness of those who cannot think.

LoveArtFearLove, Hope, and Joy, fair pleasure's smiling train, Hate, Fear, and Grief, the family of pain, These mix'd with art, and to due bounds confin'd Make and maintain the balance of the mind.

MotivationNow hollow fires burn out to black, And lights are fluttering low: Square your shoulders, lift your pack And leave your friends and go. O never fear, lads, naught's to dread, Look not to left nor right: In all the endless road you tread There's nothing but the night.

NatureArtPersons of genius, and those who are most capable of art, are always most fond of nature: as such are chiefly sensible, that all art consists in the imitation and study of nature.

ArtSo modern 'pothecaries, taught the art By doctor's bills to play the doctor's part, Bold in the practice of mistaken rules, Prescribe, apply, and call their masters fools.

ArtStill follow sense, of ev'ry art the soul, Parts answering parts shall slide into a whole.

ArtA work of art that contains theories is like an object on which the price tag has been left.

NatureArtI believe it is no wrong Observation, that Persons of Genius, and those who are most capable of Art, are always fond of Nature, as such are chiefly sensible, that all Art consists in the Imitation and Study of Nature. On the contrary, People of the common Level of Understanding are principally delighted with the Little Niceties and Fantastical Operations of Art, and constantly think that finest which is least Natural.

NatureArtAll nature is but art unknown to thee.

BeautyBeauty that shocks you, parts that none will trust, Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust.

BeautyFair tresses man's imperial race ensnare; And beauty draws us with a single hair.

BeautyNatureFirst follow Nature, and your judgment frame By her just standard, which is still the same: Unerring nature, still divinely bright, One clear, unchanged, and universal light, Life, force, and beauty must to all impart, At once the source, and end, and test of art.

BeautyWomanMenLoveThere should be, methinks, as little merit in loving a woman for her beauty as in loving a man for his prosperity; both being equally subject to change.

Beauty'Tis not a lip, or eye, we beauty call, But the joint force and full result of all.

BeautyBeauty draws us with a single hair.

WarWhat 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.

FreedomThe greatest advantage I know of being thought a wit by the world is, that it gives one the greater freedom of playing the fool.

WomanFriendshipMenLoveNo woman ever hates a man for being in love with her, but many a woman hate a man for being a friend to her.

AutumnSummerYe flowers that drop, forsaken by the spring, Ye birds that, left by summer, cease to sing, Ye trees that fade, when Autumn heats remove, Say, is not absence death to those who love?

NatureEye 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.

Nature[T]hro’ this Air, this Ocean, and this Earth, All Nature quick, and bursting into birth. Above, how high progressive life may go? Around how wide? how deep extend below? Vast Chain of Being! which from God began, Ethereal Essence, Spirit, Substance, Man, Beast, Bird, Fish, Insect! what no Eye can see, No Glass can reach! from Infinite to Thee! From Thee to Nothing.... From Nature’s Chain whatever Link you strike, Tenth, or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.... All are but parts of one stupendous Whole: Whose Body Nature is, and God the Soul.

NatureNature and nature's laws lay hid in the night. God said, Let Newton be! and all was light!

NatureThe learned is happy, nature to explore; The fool is happy, that he knows no more.

NatureExtremes in nature equal ends produce; In man they join to some mysterious use.

NatureFrom Nature's chain whatever link you strike, Tenth or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.

NatureMark what unvary'd laws preserve each state, Laws wise as Nature, and as fixed as Fate.

NatureBut see, Orion sheds unwholesome dews; Arise, the pines a noxious shade diffuse; Sharp Boreas blows, and nature feels decay, Time conquers all, and we must time obey.

NatureSilence! coeval with eternity! thou wert ere Nature's self began to be; thine was the sway ere heaven was formed on earth, ere fruitful thought conceived creation's birth.

NatureAnd binding nature fast in fate, Left free the human will.

NatureSee plastic Nature working to this end, The single atoms each to other tend, Attract, attracted to, the next in place Form'd and impell'd its neighbor to embrace.

NaturePoets like painters, thus unskilled to trace The naked nature and the living grace, With gold and jewels cover ev'ry part, And hide with ornaments their want of art. True wit is Nature to advantage dressed, What oft was thought, but ne'er so well expressed.

NatureThat, chang'd thro' all and yet in all the same, Great in the Earth as in th' Ætherial frame, Warms in the Sun, refreshes in the Breeze, Glows in the Stars, and blossoms in the Trees... Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part... Submit - in this, or any other Sphere, Secure to be as blest as thou canst bear. 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.

NatureAll nature mourns, the skies relent in showers; hushed are the birds, and closed the drooping flowers.

NatureNature made every fop to plague his brother, Just as one beauty mortifies another.

NatureTwo purposes in human nature rule. Self- love to urge, and reason to restrain.

NatureI begin where most people end, with a full conviction of the emptiness of all sorts of ambition, and the unsatisfactory nature of all human pleasures.

NatureScienceHope springs eternal in the human breast; Man never Is, but always To be Blest. The soul, uneasy, and confin'd from home, Rest and expatiates in a life to come. Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutor'd mind Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind; His soul proud Science never taught to stray Far as the solar walk or milky way; Yet simple Nature to his hope has giv'n, Behind the cloud-topp'd hill, an humbler heav'n.

NatureThe way of the Creative works through change and transformation, so that each thing receives its true nature and destiny and comes into permanent accord with the Great Harmony: this is what furthers and what perseveres.

NatureAll are but parts of one stupendous whole, Whose body Nature is, and God the soul.

BeautyNatureConceit is to nature what paint is to beauty; it is not only needless, but it impairs what it would improve.

HealthReason's whole pleasure, all the joys of sense, Lie in three words,-health, peace, and competence.

HealthOh! be thou blest with all that Heaven can send, Long health, long youth, long pleasure-and a friend.

HealthHealth consists with temperance alone.

HealthWhat some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn't much better than tedious disease.

ScienceOf all affliction taught a lover yet, 'Tis true the hardest science to forget.

ScienceIt is sure the hardest science to forget!

ScienceHow index-learning turns no student pale, Yet holds the eel of science by the tail!

ScienceGood sense, which only is the gift of Heaven, And though no science, fairly worth the seven.

ScienceOne science only will one genius fit; so vast is art, so narrow human wit.

ScienceTrace Science, then, with Modesty thy guide, First strip off all her equipage of Pride, Deduct what is but Vanity or Dress, Or Learning's Luxury or idleness, Or tricks, to show the stretch of the human brain Mere curious pleasure or ingenious pain.

ScienceThe Physician, by the study and inspection of urine and ordure, approves himself in the science; and in like sort should our author accustom and exercise his imagination upon the dregs of nature.

ScienceTo teach vain Wits that Science little known, T' admire Superior Sense, and doubt their own!

ScienceNew, distant Scenes of endless Science rise: So pleas'd at first, the towring Alps we try.

ScienceIndex-learning turns no student pale, Yet holds the eel of Science by the tail. Index-learning is a term used to mock pretenders who acquire superficial knowledge merely by consulting indexes.