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Some, to whom Heav'n in wit has been profuse,
Those RULES of old discover'd, not devis'd,
90 By the fame Laws which forft herself ordain'd.
Hear how learn'd Greece her useful rules indites,
Ver. 88. Those rules of old, etc.] Cicero has, best of any one I know, explained what that is which reduces the wild and scattered parts of human knowledge into arts.—Nihil eft quod ad arlem.redigi poffit, nisi ille priuso, qui illa tenet, quorum artem inftituere vult, hubeat illam. scientiam, ut ex iis rebus, quarum urs nondum fit, artem efficere poffit.--Omnia fere, quæ funt.conclufa nunc artibus, difperfa et dilipata quondam fuerunt, ut in Muficis, etc. Adhibita eft igitur ars quædam extrinfecus ex.
genere quodam, quod fibi totum PHILOSOPHI affumunt, qure i en d:folutoim divuljamque conglutinaret, el ratione, quudam confiringeret. De Orat. 1. i. c 41, 2.
Just precepts thus from great examples giv'n,
VER. 98. Juj precepts] Nec enim artibus editis factum eft ut argumenta inveniromus, fed di&ta funt omnia antequam præciperentur ; mox ca feriptores obfervata et cola lecta ediderunt. Quintil. P.
VER. 112. Some on the leaves--Some drily plain.] The first, the Apes of those Italian Critics, who at the reftoration of letters having found the classic writers miserably mangled by the hands of monkish Librarians, very commendably employed their pains and talents in restoring them to their native purity. The second, the plagiaries from the French, who had made some admirable Com. mentaries on the ancient critics. But that acumen and taste, which separately constitute the distinct value of those two species of foreign Criticism, make no part of the character of these paltry mimics at home, de cribed by our Poet in the following lines,
These leave the sense, their learning to display,
And those explain the meaning quite away. Which species is the leaft hurtful, the Poet has enabled
Some drily plain, without invention's aid,
maxims bring, And trace the Muses upward to their spring.
us to determine in the lines with which he opens his poem,
But of the two less dang'rous is the 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 Shakefpear.
VAR Í ATIONS VER. 123. Cavil you moy, but never criticize.] The author after this verse originally inserted the following, which he has however omitted in all the editions :
Zoilus, had chese been known, without a name
Still with itself compar'd, his text peruse ;
When first young Maro in his boundless mind
Some beauties yet no Precepts can declare, ,
VER. 130. Wher first young Maro, etc.) Virg. Eclog. vi.
Cum canerem reges et prælia, Cynthius aurem
It is a tradition preserved by Servius, that Virgil began
When first young Maro sung of Kings and Wars,
If, where the rules not far enough extend,
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 transgress its End; Let it be seldom, and compellid by need; 165 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, seem faults. 170
Ver. 146. If, where the rules, etc.) Neque enim rogationibus plebisve fcitis fanéta funt ifta Precepta, fed hoc, quicquid eft, Utilitas excogitavit. Non negabo autem fic utile effe plerumque ; verum fi eadem illa nobis aliud fuadebit Utilitas, hanc, relictis magiftrorum autoritatibus, fequemur. Quintil. lib. ij. cap. 13. P. VOL. I.