ePub 版

Some, to whom Heav’n in wit has been profuse,
Want as much more to turn it to its use; 81
For wit and judgment often are at strife,
Tho' meant each other's aid, like man and wife.
'Tis more to guide, than four the Muse's steed;
Reftrain his fury, than provoke his speed;

85 The winged courser, like a gen'rous horse, Shows most true mettle when you check his course.

Those RULES of old discover'd, not devis'd, Are Nature ftill, but Nature methodiz'd; Nature, like Liberty, is but restrain'd

90 By the fame Laws which forft herself ordain'd.

Hear how learn's Greece her useful rules indites, When to repress, and when indulge our flights : High on Parnassus' top her sons the show'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. Those rules of old, etr.] 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, nifi ille prius, qui illa tenet, quorum artem inflituere vult, habeat illam scientiam, ut ex iis rebus, quarum ars nondum fity, artem efficere pofit.-Omnia fere, quæ funt.conclufa nunc artibus, difperfi et dilipata quondan fuerunt, ut in Muficis, etc. Ädbibita eft igitur ars quædam extrinfecus ex,


genere quodam, quod fibi totum PHILOSOP.Hi affumunt, qure rein difolutuim divuljamque conglutinaret, . ratione, quudam confiringeret. 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.

[ocr errors]

Just precepts thus from great examples giv'h,
She drew from them what they deriv'd from Heav'n.
The gen'rous Critic farin'd the Poet's fire, 100
And taught the world with reason to admire.
Then Criticism the Muses handmaid prov'd,
To dress 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 mtoft 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, 110
Prefcribe; apply, and call their masters fools.
Some on the leaves of ancient authors prey,
Nor time nor mioths e'er spoild so much as they.


[ocr errors]

VER.98. Jul precepts] Nec enim artibus editis fa&tum eft ui argumenta inveniremus, fed di&ta funt omnia antequam præciperentur ; mox ea fcriptores obferivata et colleta ediderunt. Quintil. P.

VER. 112. Some on the leaves Some drily plain. ] The first, the Apes of those Italian Critics, who at the restoration 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 Commentaries on the ancient critics. But that acumen and tafte, which separately conftitute 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 disploy,

And those explain the meaning quite away.
Which species is the least hurtful, the Poet has enabled

[ocr errors]

Some drily plain, without invention's aid;
Write dull receits how poems may

be made. 115
These leave the sense, their learning to display,
And those explain the meaning quite away.
You then whose judgment the right course would

steer; Know well each Ancient's proper character ; His Fable, Subject, fcope in ev'ry page ; I20 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 study and delight, Read them by day, and meditate by night ; 125 Thence form your judgment, thence your 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 Lefs dang 'rous is th' offence

To tire our patience than mislead our senfe. 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 may, but never criticize.) The author after this verse originally inserted the following, which he has however omitted in all the editions :

Zoilus, had these been known, without a name
Had dy'd, and Peraylı ne'er been damn'd to fame :
The sense of found Antiquity had reign'd,
And sacred Homer yet been unprophan'd.
None e'er had thought his comprehensive mind
To modern cuftoms, modern rules confin'd;
Who for all ages writ, and all mankind. P.

[ocr errors]

Still with itself compar’d, his text perufe ;
And let your comment be th- Mantuan Mure.

When first young Maro in his boundless mind
A work toutlast immortal Rome design'd, 13
Perhaps he seem'd above the Critic's law,
And but from Nature's fountains scorn'd to draw :
But when to examine ev'ry part he came,
Nature and Homer were, he found, the fame.
Convinc'd, amaz’d, he checks the bold design ;
And rules as frict 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.
Music resembles Poetry, in each
Are nameless graces which no methods teach,
And which a master-hand alone can reach. 145



[ocr errors][ocr errors]

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
with writing a poem of the Alban and Roman affairs;
which he found above his years, and descended first to
imitate Theocritus on rural subjects, and afterwards to
copy Homer in Heroic poetry. P.

[blocks in formation]

When first young Maro sung of Kings and Wars,
Ere warning Phæbus 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.

a Thus Pegasus, a nearer way to take,

150 May boldly deviate from the common track; From vulgar bounds with brave disorder part, And snatch a grace beyond the reach of art, Which without passing thro' the judgment, gains The heart, and all its end at once attains. 155 In prospects thus, some objects please our eyes, Which out of nature's common order rise, The shapeless rock, or hanging precipice. Great Wits sometimes may gloriously offend, And rise 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 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. IS, where the rules, etc.) Neque enim rogationibus plebisve fcitis fanéta funt ifa Precepta, fed hoc, quicquid eft, Utilitas excogitavit. Non negabo autem fic utile elle plerumque ; verum fi eadem illa nobis aliud fúadebit Utilitas, hanc, reliétis magiftrorum autoritatibus, fequemur. Quintil. lib. ii. cap. 13. P. VOL. I.


« 上一頁繼續 »