This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Thing To Be Today: an ignoramus.

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.

Thus said Alexander Pope in his Essay on Criticism - and not thus say a whole heap of ignoramuses, who misquote him confidently. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, they say; which is also true, but sadly we all of us only have a little knowledge.

Mind you, we all of us only have a little learning, too. 

Still, to help a little, how about this Pierian spring thing Pope was going on about?

The Pierian Spring was in Macedonia, close to Mount Olympus where the gods lived. The Muses, who were the spirits of music, poetry, etc, frolicked there (what a nice word is frolic!). The spring was said to be the source of all knowledge of Art and Science.

One day the daughters of King Pierus challenged the Muses to a contest - which was idiotic of them - and, predictably, the princesses lost. Then the silly girls, instead of accepting their defeat gracefully, began to squawk protests at the decision, and were briskly turned into magpies.

Knowing about the Pierian Spring is admittedly only a small drop of knowledge to thicken the ocean of our ignorance. 

But it all helps.

Thing To Be Today: an ignoramus. The first Ignoramus was a character in a play by C Ruggle, a dramatist in the 1600s.

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