May 15, 2010

“A little learning is a dangerous thing.”


“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.”

       Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
       In his poem An Essay on Criticism (1711)


“A little thieving is a dangerous art,
But thieving largely is a noble part;
As vile to rob a hen-roost of a hen,
But stealing largely makes us gentlemen.”

       The Democratic Speaker’s Handbook (1868)
       A quip aimed at the 19th Century versions of Goldman Sachs


“A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.”
        Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
        “The Critic as Artist” (1891)


“They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance. There are some situations where the correct response is to display the sort of ignorance which happily and willfully flies in the face of the facts.”
       Terry Pratchett (b.1948)
       Equal Rites (1987), a Discworld novel


“Between lovers a little confession is a dangerous thing.”
       Helen Rowland (1875-1950)
       Quoted in the The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations


“Middle-aged men...We know everything. But you got to keep this knowledge to yourself, all right? I know that you know that your neighbor is planting that shrub the wrong way, but don’t say anything. I too have seen my wife wallpaper the bedroom the hard way. Just keep your mouth shut, all right? Because when they found out how smart we are, they get jealous, all right? I don’t know who said, ‘A little knowledge is a dangerous thing,’ but I’m guessing it was a middle-aged man. So whatever it is you know — and I know it’s a lot — keep it under your hat and you’ll be able to keep your friends. Believe me, I know.”
       Red Green (actor Steve Smith)
       In an episode of The Red Green Show (1991-2006)

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