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Some, to whom Heav'n in wit has been profuse,
Want as much more to turn it to its use;
For wit and judgment often are at strife,
Tho' meant each other's aid, like man and wife.
'Tis more to guide, than fpur the Mufe's steed;
Reftrain his fury, than provoke his speed;
The winged courfer, like a gen'rous horse,
Shows most true mettle when you check his courfe.
Thofe RULES of old difcover'd, not devis'd
Are Nature ftill, but Nature methodiz'd;
Nature, like Liberty, is but restrain'd



By the fame Laws which firft herself ordain'd.
Hear how learn'd Greece her useful rules indites,
When to reprefs, and when indulge our flights:
High on Parnaffus' top her fons fhe fhow'd,
And painted out those arduous paths they trod; 95
Held from afar, aloft, th' immortal prize,
And urg'd the rest by equal steps to rise.


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.

VER. 80.


There are whom Heav'n has bleft with store of wit,
Yet want as much again to manage it.

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.
Then Criticism the Mufes handmaid prov❜d;
To drefs her charms, and make her more belov'd:
But following wits from that intention stray'd,
Who cou'd not win the mistress, woo'd the maid;
Against the Poets their own arms they turn'd,
Sure to hate moft the men from whom they learn'd.
So modern 'Pothecaries, taught the art
By Doctor's bills to play the Doctor's part,
Bold in the practice of mistaken rules,
Prefcribe, apply, and call their mafters fools.
Some on the leaves of ancient authors prey,
Nor time nor moths e'er spoil'd so much as they.

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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,
And thofe explain the meaning quite away.

Which species is the leaft hurtful, the Poet has enabled

Some drily plain, without invention's aid,
Write dull receits how poems may be made.
These leave the sense, their learning to display,
And those explain the meaning quite away.


You then whofe judgment the right courfe would fteer,


Know well each ANCIENT's proper character;
His Fable, Subject, scope in ev'ry page;
Religion, Country, genius of his Age:
Without all these at once before your eyes,
Cavil you may, but never criticize.
Be Homer's works your ftudy and delight,
Read them by day, and meditate by night;
Thence form your judgment, thence your maxims


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
Had dy'd, and Perault ne'er been damn'd to fame:
The fenfe of found Antiquity had reign'd,
And facred Homer yet been unprophan'd.
None e'er had thought his comprehenfive mind
To modern cuftoms, modern rules confin'd;
Who for all ages writ, and all mankind.



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Still with itself compar'd, his text peruse;
And let your comment be the Mantuan Muse.
When first young Maro in his boundless mind
A work t'outlaft immortal Rome defign'd,
Perhaps he feem'd above the Critic's law,
And but from Nature's fountains fcorn'd to draw:
But when t' examine ev'ry part he came,
Nature and Homer were, he found, the fame.
Convinc'd, amaz'd, he checks the bold defign;
And rules as Arict his labour'd work confine,
As if the Stagirite o'erlook'd each line.
Learn hence for ancient rules a just esteem;
To copy nature is to copy them.

Some beauties yet no Precepts can declare,
For there's a happiness as well as care.
Mufic resembles Poetry, in each



Are nameless graces which no methods teach,
And which a mafter-hand alone can reach. 145


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.

VER. 130.


When first young Maro fang of Kings and Wars,
Ere warning Phoebus touch'd his trembling ears.

If, where the rules not far enough extend,
(Since rules were made but to promote their end)
Some lucky Licence answer to the full




Th' intent propos'd, that Licence is a rule.
Thus Pegafus, a nearer way to take,
May boldly deviate from the common track;
From vulgar bounds with brave disorder part,
And fnatch a grace beyond the reach of art,
Which without paffing thro' the judgment, gains
The heart, and all its end at once attains.
In profpects thus, fome objects please our eyes,
Which out of nature's common order rife,
The shapeless rock, or hanging precipice.
Great Wits fometimes may gloriously offend,
And rife to faults true Critics dare not mend. 160
But tho' the Ancients thus their rules invade,
(As Kings dispense with laws themselves have made)
Moderns, beware! or if you must offend
Against the precept, ne'er tranfgrefs its End;
Let it be feldom, and compell'd by need;
And have, at least, their precedent to plead.
The Critic elfe proceeds without remorse,
Seizes your fame, and puts his laws in force.


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.

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