[permaculture] Pierian Spring

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lfl at intrex.net
Mon Jun 11 06:20:41 EDT 2007

A friend sent me this today: - LL

 From Alexander Pope's "Essay on Criticism". The reference is to
a spring in Peria in Macedonia, from Greek mythology.  The source of the
inspirations of Muses.  Those who drank from the spring were inspired
with wisdom.
"A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring;
For shallow draughts intoxicate the brain
And drinking largely sobers us again.
Fired at first sight with what the Muse imparts,
In fearless youth we tempt the height 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,
Th' increasing prospects tire our wandering eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!"

Alexander Pope

The phrase was first used in the Satyricon written by Petronius:
"This is the right amour of genius --
Drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring.
Only then pour out your heart."

More information about the permaculture mailing list