“A little learning is a dangerous thing”

 

 

Alexander_Pope_portrait_painting
Godfrey Kneller – portrait of Alexander Pope 

Most people have heard the old line of poetry: “A little learning is a dangerous thing.”, often misquoted as “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

 

It is attributed to Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744), who wrote it in his “Essay on Criticism” which was published anonymously on May 15, 1711

A little learning is a dangerous thing;
drink deep, or taste not the Pierian* spring:
there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
and drinking largely sobers us again.

* a sacred fountain in Pieria, in Greece, which inspired those who drank from it

 

Un po’ di apprendimento è una cosa deleteria
bevi in profondità, o non gustare affatto la fonte Pieria*:
Le pozze poco profonde intossicano il cervello,
e solo bevendo in abbondanza puoi rinsavire

(L.Z.)
* una fonte sacra che si trova in Pieria (Grecia), che ispirava chi ne beveva

 

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