Wednesday, April 05, 2006
They purchase knowledge at th'expense
Of common breeding, common sense,
And grow at once scholars and fools;
Affect ill-manner'd pedantry,
Rudeness, ill-nature, incivility,
And, sick with dregs and knowledge grown,
Which greedily they swallow down,
Still cast it up, and nauseate company.
Update: Neil O'Sullivan (via email) points out a connection between the recipient of this poem and a rude, ill-natured scholar:
It was Sir William Temple who defended the authenticity of the epistles of Phalaris and so called forth Bentley's epoch-making study of them. Ill-mannered the latter no doubt was (this is pretty well established, I think), but one wonders whether someone much concerned with social niceties could have written his bracing prose or thought with his clarity.Link added.