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In the fat age of pleasure, wealth, and ease,


Sprung the rank weed, and thriv'd with large in


When love was all an easy Monarch's care;

Seldom at council, never in a war:

Jilts rul'd the state, and statesmen farces writ;

Nay wits had penfions, and young Lords had wit:

The Fair fate panting at a Courtier's play,


And not a Mask went unimprov'd away:

The modest fan was lifted up no more,

And Virgins fmil'd at what they blush'd before.
The following licence of a Foreign reign


Did all the dregs of bold Socinus drain ; ·
Then unbelieving Priests reform'd the nation,
And taught more pleasant methods of falvation;
Where Heav'n's free fubjects might their rights



Left God himself fhould feem too abfolute :
Pulpits their facred fatire learn'd to spare,
And Vice admir'd to find a flatt'rer there!
Encourag'd thus, Wit's Titans brav'd the skies,
And the prefs groan'd with licens'd blasphemies.
Thefe monsters, Critics! with your darts engage,
Here point your thunder, and exhaust your rage!
Yet fhun their fault, who, fcandalously nice,
Will needs mistake an author into vice;
All seems infected that th' infected spy,
As all looks yellow to the jaundic'd eye.

I 3


VER. 547. The author has omitted two lines which flood here, as containing a National Reflection, which in his stricter judgment he could not but difapprove on any People whatever. P.

LEARN then what MORALS Critics ought to fhow,
For 'tis but half a Judge's task, to know.
'Tis not enough, tafte, judgment, learning, join ;
In all you speak, let truth and candour shine:
That not alone what to your fenfe is due
All may allow; but feek your friendship too.
Be filent always when you doubt
your sense;
And speak, tho' fure, with feeming diffidence:
Some pofitive, perfifting fops we know,

Who, if once wrong, will needs be always fo;
But you, with pleasure own your errors past,
And make each day a Critic on the last.


'Tis not enough, your counsel still be true; Blunt truths more mifchief than nice falfhoods do; Men must be taught as if you taught them not, 575 And things unknown propos'd as things forgot. Without Good Breeding, truth is difapprov'd; That only makes superior sense belov❜d.

Be niggards of advice on no pretence;

For the worst avarice is that of fenfe.
With mean complacence ne'er betray you trust,
Nor be fo civil as to prove unjuft.

Fear not the anger of the wife to raise ;

Those best can bear reproof, who merit praise.
'Twere well might Critics ftill this freedom take,
But Appius reddens at each word you speak,




VER. 562. For 'tis but balf a Judge's task, to know ] The Critic acts in two capacities, of Affeffor and of Judge: in the firft, Science alone is fufficient; but the other requires morals likewife,

And ftares, tremendous, with a threat'ning eye,
Like fome fierce Tyrant in old tapestry.
Fear moft to tax an Honourable fool,
Whose right it is, uncenfur'd to be dull;
Such, without wit, are Poets when they please,
As without learning they can take Degrees.
Leave dang❜rous truths to unsuccessful Satires,
And flattery to fulfome Dedicators,


Whom, when they praife, the world believes no


Than when they promise to give fcribling o'er.
'Tis best sometimes your cenfure to restrain,
And charitably let the dull be vain :
Your filence there is better than your spite,



For who can rail fo long as they can write?
Still humming on, their drouży course they keep,
And lafh'd fo long, like tops, áre lash'd asleep.
Falfe fteps but help them to renew the race,
As, after ftumbling, Jades will mend their pace.
What crouds of thefe, impenitently bold,
In founds and jingling fyllables grown old,
Still run on Poets, in a raging vein,

Ev'n to the dregs and fqueezings of the brain,
Strain out the last dull droppings of their sense,
And rhyme with all the rage of Impotence.

I 4




VER. 587. And flares, tremendous, etc.] This picture was taken to himself by John Dennis, a furious old Critic by profeffion, who, upon no other provocation, wrote against this Effay and its author, in a manner perfectly lunatic: For, as to the mention made of him in v. 270. he took it as a Compliment, and faid it was treacherously meant to cause him to overlook this Abuse of his Person. P.


Such fhameless Bards we have; and yet 'tis true, There are as mad, abandon'd Critics too. The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read, With loads of learned lumber in his head, With his own tongue still edifies his ears, And always lift'ning to himself appears. All books he reads, and all he reads affails, From Dryden's Fables down to Durfey's Tales. With him, most authors fteal their works, or buy; Garth did not write his own Dispensary.

Name a new Play, and he's the Poet's friend,


Nay show'd his faults--but when would Poets mend? No place fo facred from such fops is barr'd,

Nor is Paul's church more fafe than Paul's church yard:


Nay, fly to Altars; there they'll talk you dead: 625
For Fools rufh in where Angels fear to tread.
Diftruftful fenfe with modeft caution speaks,
It still looks home, and fhort excurfions makes;
But rattling nonsense in full vollies breaks,
And never fhock'd, and never turn'd afide,
Bursts out, refiftlefs, with a thund'ring tide.



VER. 620. Garth did not write, etc.] A common flander at that time in prejudice of that deferving author. Our Poet did him this juftice, when that flander most prevail'd; and it is now (perhaps the fooner for this very verfe) dead and forgotten. P.


VER. 624. Between this and v. 625.


In vain you fhrug and fweat, and strive to
Thefe know no Manners but of Poetry.
They'll stop a hungry Chaplain in his grace,
To treat of Unities of time and place.

But where's the man, who counsel can bestow, Still pleas'd to teach, and yet not proud to know? Unbias'd, or by favour, or by fpite;

Not dully prepoffefs'd, nor blindly right;


Tho' learn'd, well-bred; and tho' well-bred, fincere;

Modeftly bold, and humanly severe :

Who to a friend his faults can freely fhow,

And gladly praise the merit of a foe?

Bleft with a taste exact, yet unconfin'd;


A knowledge both of books and human kind;
Gen'rous converfe; a foul exempt from pride;
And love to praife, with reafon on his fide?
Such once were Critics; fuch the happy few,
Athens and Rome in better ages knew.
The mighty Stagirite first left the shore,
Spread all his fails, and durft the deeps explore ;


VER: 632. But where's the man, etc.] The Poet, by his manner of afking after this Character, and telling us, when he had described it, that such once were Critics, does not encourage us to fearch for it in modern writers. And indeed the difcovery of him, if it could be made, would be but an invidious bufiness. I will venture no farther than to name the piece of Criticism in which these marks may be found. It is intitled, 2. Hor. Fl. Ars Poetica, with an English Commentary and Notes.


Between v. 647 and 648, I found the following lines, fince fuppreft by the author:

That bold Columbus of the realms of wit,
Whose first discov'ry's not exceeded yet.
Led by the light of the Mæonian Star,
He fteer'd fecurely, and difcover'd far.
He, when all Nature was fubdu'd before,
Like his great Pupil, figh'd, and long'd for more:
Fancy's wild regions yet unvanquish'd lay,
A boundless empire, and that own'd no sway.
Poets, etc.

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