« 上一頁繼續 »
All which, exact to rule, were brought about,
"What! leave the Combat out?" exclaims the
Yes, or we must renounce the Stagirite.
"Not fo, by Heav'n" (he answers in a rage)
Knights, fquires, and steeds, must enter on the "ftage."
So vaft a throng the ftage can ne'er contain. "Then build a new, or act it on a plain." Thus Critics, of less judgment than caprice, 285 Curious not knowing, not exact but nice, Form fhort Ideas; and offend in arts (As most in manners) by a love to parts. Some to Conceit alone their tafte confine,
And glitt'ring thoughts ftruck out at ev'ry line; 290 Pleas'd with a work where nothing's juft or fit; One glaring Chaos and wild heap of wit.
VER. 285. Thus Critics of lefs judgment than caprice, Curious not knowing, not exact but nice.] In these two lines the poet finely defcribes the way in which bad writers are wont to imitate the qualities of good ones. As true Judgment generally draws men out of popular opinions, fo he who cannot get from the croud by the affiftance of this guide, willingly follows Caprice, which will be fure to lead him into fingularities. Again, true Knowledge is the art of treafuring up only that which, from its ufe in life, is worthy of being lodged in the memory. But Curiofity confifts in a vain attention to every thing out of the way, and which, for its ufeleffnefs, the world leaft regards. Laftly, Exactness is the juft proportion of parts to one another, and their harmony in a whole But he who has not extent of capacity for the exercife of this quality, contents himself with Nicety, which is a bufying one's felf about points and fyllables,
Poets, like painters, thus, unfkill'd to trace
As fhades more sweetly recommend the light,
VER. 297. True Wit is Nature to advantage dress'd, etc.] This definition is very exact. Mr. Locke had defined Wit to confift in the affemblage of ideas, and putting thofe together, with quickness and variety, wherein can be found any resemblance or congruity, whereby to make up pleafant pictures and agreeable vifions in the fancy. But that great Philofopher, in feparating Wit from Judgment, as he does in this place, has given us (and he could therefore give us no other) only an account of Wit in general: In which false Wit, tho' not every species of it, is included. A friking Image therefore of Nature is, as Mr. Locke obferves, certainly Wit: But this image may frike on feveral other accounts, as well as for its truth and amiableness; and the Philofopher has explain'd the manner how. But it never becomes that Wit which is the ornament of true Poefy, whofe end is to represent Nature, but when it drees that Nature to advantage, and prefents her to us in the clearest and most amiable light. And to know when the Fancy has done its office truly, the poet fubjoins this admirable Teft, viz. When we perceive that it gives us back the image of our mind. When it does that, we may be fure it plays no tricks with us: For this image is the creature of the Judgment; and whenever Wit correfponds with Judgment, we may fafely ironounce it to be true.
Naturam'intueamur, hanc fequamur: id facillime accipint animi quod agnofcunt. Quintil. lib. viii. c. 3.
For works may have more wit than does 'em good,
Others for Language all their care express,
The Sense, they humbly take upon content.
VER. 311. Falfe eloquence, like the prifmatic glass, etc.] This fimile is beautiful. For the falfe colouring, given to objects by the prifmatic glafs, is owing to its untwisting, by its obliquities, thofe threads of light. which Nature had put together in order to fpread over its works an ingenuous and fimple candor, that fhould not hide, but only heighten the native complexion of the objects. And falfe Eloquence is nothing else but the ftraining and divaricating the parts of true expresion and then daubing them over with what the Rhetoricians very properly term, COLOURS; in lieu of that candid light, now loft, which was reflected from them in their natural state while fincere and entire.
Some by old words to fame have made pretence,
Be not the first by whom the new are try'd,
But moft by Numbers judge a Poet's song; And smooth or rough, with them, is right or wrong: In the bright Mufe tho' thousand charms confpire, Her Voice is all these tuneful fools admire;
VER. 324. Some by old words, etc.] Ablitz et abro. gata retinere, infolentiæ cujufdam eft, et frivolæ in parvis jactantiæ. Quintil. lib i. c. 6.
Opus eft ut verba à vetuftate repetita neque crebra fint, neque manifefta, quia nil eft odiofius affectatione, nec utique ab ultimis repetita temporibus. Oratio cujus fumma virtus eft perfpicuitas, quam fit vitiofa, fi egeat interprete? Ergo ut novorum optima erunt maxime vetera, ita veterum maxime nova. Idem. P.
VER. 328.-unlucky as Fungofo, etc.] See Ben Johnfon's Every Man in his Humour. P.
VER. 337. But moft by Numbers, etc.]
Quis populi fermo eft? quis enim ? nifi carmina molli
Perf. Sat. i. P,
Who haunt Parnaffus but to please their ear,
Tho' oft the ear the open vowels tire;
While expletives their feeble aid do join;
And ten low words oft creep in one dull line :
Leave fuch to tune their own dull rhymes, and know What's roundly smooth, or languishingly flow; And praise the easy vigour of a line, 360 Where Denham's strength, and Waller's sweetness join. True
VER. 345. Tho oft the ear, etc.] Fugiemus crebras vocalium concurfiones, que vaftam atque biantem orationem reddunt. Cic. ad Heren. lib. iv. Vide etiam Quintil. lib. ix. c. 4.
VER. 346. While expletives their feeble aid do join, And ten low words oft creep in one dull line.] From Dryden, "He creeps along with ten little words in every
line, and helps out his numbers with [for] [to] and "[unto] and all the pretty expletives he can find, while "the fenfe is left half tired behind it.". Essay on Dram. Poetry.