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Some, to whom Heav'n in wit has been profuse,
By the fame Laws which firft herself ordain'd.
VER. 88. Thofe rules of old, etc.] Cicero has, best of any one I know, explained what that is which reduces the wild and fcattered parts of human knowledge into arts.-Nihil eft quod ad artem redigi poffit, nifi ille prius,. qui illa tenet, quorum artem inftituere vult, babeat illam fcientiam, ut ex iis rebus, quarum ars nondum fit, artem efficere poffit.-Omnia fere, quæ funt conclufa nune artibus, difperfa et diffipata quondam fuerunt, ut in Muficis, etc. Adhibita eft igitur ars quædam extrinfecus ex alio genere quodam, quod fibi totum PHILOSOPHI assumunt, que vemn diffolutam divuljamque conglutinaret, et ratione, quadam conftringeret. De Orat. 1. i. c 41, 2.
There are whom Heav'n has bleft with store of wit,
Juft precepts thus from great examples giv❜n,
She drew from them what they deriv'd from Heav'n. The gen'rous Critic fann'd the Poet's fire,
And taught the world with reason to admire.
VER. 98. Just precepts] Nec enim artibus editis fa&tum eft ut argumenta inveniremus, fed dicta funt omnia antequam præciperentur; mox ea fcriptores obfervata et collecta ediderunt. Quintil. P.
VER. 112. Some on the leaves Some drily plain.] The firft, the Apes of those Italian Critics, who at the reftoration of letters having found the claffic writers miferably mangled by the hands of monkish Librarians, very commendably employed their pains and talents in reftoring them to their native purity. The fecond, the plagiaries from the French, who had made fome admirable Commentaries on the ancient critics. But that acumen and tafe, which feparately conftitute the diftinct value of thofe two fpecies of foreign Criticism, make no part of the character of these paltry mimics at home, defcribed by our Poet in the following lines,
These leave the fenfe, their learning to difplay,
Which species is the leaft hurtful, the Poet has enabled
Some drily plain, without invention's aid,
You then whofe judgment the right courfe would fteer,
Know well each ANCIENT's proper character;
And trace the Mufes upward to their spring.
us to determine in the lines with which he opens his poem,
But of the two lefs dang'rous is th' offence
To tire our patience than mislead our fenfe.
From whence we conclude, that the reverend Mr. Upton was much more innocently employed when he quibbled upon Epictetus, than when he commented upon Shakespear.
VER. 123. Cavil you may, but never criticize.] The author after this verfe originally inferted the following, which he has however omitted in all the editions:
Zoilus, had these been known, without a name
Still with itself compar'd, his text peruse;
Some beauties yet no Precepts can declare,
Are nameless graces which no methods teach,
VER. 130. When firft young Maro, etc.] Virg. Eclog. vi. Cum canerem reges et prælia, Cynthius aurem
It is a tradition preferved by Servius, that Virgil began with writing a poem of the Alban and Roman affairs; which he found above his years, and defcended first to imitate Theocritus on rural fubjects, and afterwards to copy Homer in Heroic poetry. P.
When first young Maro fang of Kings and Wars,
If, where the rules not far enough extend,
Th' intent propos'd, that Licence is a rule.
I know there are, to whose presumptuous thoughts Those freer beauties, ev'n in them, feem faults. 170. Some
VER. 146. If, where the rules, etc.] Neque enim rogationibus plebifue fcitis fan&ta funt ifta Præcepta, fed hoc, quicquid eft, Utilitas excogitavit. Non negabo autem fic utile effe plerumque; verum fi eadem illa nobis aliud fuadebit Utilitas, hanc, relictis magiflrorum autoritatibus, fequemur. Quintil. lib. ii. cap. 13. P.