He began writing verses when 12; at which age he wrote:
- Happy the man,whose wish and care
- A few paternal acres bound ,
- Content to breathe his native air
- In his own ground.
- and completed his finest work, An Essay on Criticism (1711), at only age 23. That work is best known for its insight:
- To err is human, to forgive, divine.
- Damn with faint praise
- A little knowledge is a dangerous thing
- Expression is the dress of thought
- For fools rush in where wise men fear to tread
- Hope springs eternal to the human breast
- An honest man’s the noblest work of God
- On a lighter note... written on the collar of a dog he gave to the Prince of Wales...
- I am his highness's dog at Kew; / Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?