On Teaching, by Alexander Pope


‘Tis not enough your counsel still be true;

Blunt truths more mischief than nice falsehoods do;

Men must be taught as if you taught them not,

And things unknown proposed as things forgot.


Without good breeding truth is disapproved;

That only makes superior sense beloved.


But where’s the man who counsel can bestow,

Still pleased to teach, and yet not proud to know?

Unbiased, or by favor, or in spite,

Not dully prepossessed, nor blindly right;


Though learned, well-bred, and though well bred, sincere,

Modestly bold, and humanly severe,

Who to a friend his faults can freely show,

And gladly praise the merit of a foe?


Blessed with a taste exact, yet unconfined;

A knowledge both of books and human kind;

Generous converse, a soul exempt from pride;

And loves to praise, with reason on his side?