In the poem From ‘An Essay on Criticism’ by Alexander Pope, the speaker of the poem takes an impersonal tone as he communicates universal truths about the art to a general audience. The purpose of the extract above is to act as guidance for individuals to learn about how to educate themselves better and improve their creative practices, as well as discourage them from being overly egotistical or too ambitious in youth.
Read the extract of the poem below:
From ‘An Essay on Criticism’ by Alexander Pope
A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring:
There shallow drafts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
Fired 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 advanced, behold with strange surprise
New distant scenes of endless science rise!
So pleased at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o’er the vales and seem to tread the sky;
The eternal snows appear already past,
And the first clouds and mountains seem the last:
But those attained we tremble to survey
The growing labours of the lengthened way;
The increasing prospect tires our wandering eyes,
Hills peep o’er hills, and Alps on Alps arise.
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