Friday, September 2, 2011

Shameless Pope-ery

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" (1709), ll. 215-232
With apologies for the title to Joe Heschmeyer!