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"Tis with our Judgments as our Watches, none Go juft alike, yet each believes his own. In Poets as true Genius is but rare,
True Tafte as feldom is the Critick's Share;
Both must alike from Heav'n derive their Light,
These born to Judge, as well as those to Write.
† Let fuch teach others who themselves excell,
And cenfure freely who have written well.
Authors are partial to their Wit, 'tis true,
But are not Criticks to their Judgment too?
Yet if we look more closely, we shall find * Most have the Seeds of Judgment in their Mind; Nature affords at least a glimm'ring Light; [right. The Lines, tho' touch'd but faintly, are drawn But as the flightest Sketch, if justly trac'd, Is by ill Colouring but the more difgrac'd, So by falfe Learning is good Senfe defac'd. Some are bewilder'd in the Maze of Schools, And fome made Coxcombs Nature meant but Fools.
+ Qui fcribit artificiofé, ab aliis commodè fcripta facile intelligere poterit. Cic. ad. Herenn. lib. 4.
* Omnes tacito quodam fenfu, fine ulla arte, aut ratione, que fint in ́artibu ac rationibus recta ac prava dijudicant. Cic. de Orat. lib. 3.
In fearch of Wit thefe lofe their common Senfe,
And then turn Criticks in their own Defence:
Those hate as Rivals all that write; and others
But envy Wits, as Eunuchs envy Lovers.
All Fools have ftill an Itching to deride,
And fain wou'd be upon the Laughing Side:
If Mævius Scribble in Apollo's spight,
There are, who judge ftill worse than he can write.
Some have at firft for Wits, then Poets past,
Turn'd Criticks next, and prov'd plain Fools at last.
Some neither can for Wits nor Criticks pafs,
As heavy Mules are neither Horfe nor Afs.
Those half-learn'd Witlings, num'rous in our Ifle,
As half-form'd Infects on the Banks of Nile;
Unfinish'd Things, one knows not what to call,
Their Generation's fo equivocal:
To tell 'em, wou'd a hundred Tongues require,
Or one vain Wit's, that might a hundred tire.
But you who feek to give and merit Fame,
And justly bear a Critick's noble Name,
Be fure your felf and your own Reach to know,
How far your Genius, Tafte, and Learning go;
Launch not beyond your Depth, but be discreet,
Andmark that Point whereSense and Dulness meet.
Nature to all things fix'd the Limits fit,
And wifely curb'd proud Man's pretending Wit.
As on the Land while here the Ocean gains,
In other Parts it leaves wide fandy Plains;
Thus in the Soul while Memory prevails,
The folid Pow'r of Understanding fails
Where Beams of warm Imagination play,
The Memory's foft Figures melt away.
One Science only will one Genius fit;
So vaft is Art, fo narrow Human Wit:
Not only bounded to peculiar Arts,
But oft in those, confin'd to single Parts.
Like Kings we lose the Conquests gain'd before,
By vain Ambition still t'extend them more. Each might his fev'ral Province well command, Wou'd all but stoop to what they understand.
First follow NATURE, and your Judgment frame By her juft Standard, which is still the fame: * Unerring Nature, still divinely bright, One clear, unchang'd, and Universal Light,
Life, Force, and Beauty, must to all impart, At once the Source, and End, and Teft of Art. That Art is best which most resembles Her; Which still prefides, yet never does Appear: In fome fair Body thus the sprightly Soul With Spirits feeds, with Vigour fills the whole, Each Motion guides, and ev'ry Nerve fuftains;
It self unseen, but in th' Effects, remains.
There are whom Heav'n has bleft with ftore of
Yet want as much again to manage it;
For Wit and Judgment ever are at ftrife,
Tho' meant each other's Aid, like Man and Wife.
'Tis more to guide than spur the Muse's Steed;
Restrain his Fury, than provoke his Speed;
The winged Courfer, like a gen'rous Horse,
Shows moft true Mettle when you check his Courfe.
Those RULES of old discover'd, not devis'd,
Are Nature ftill, but Nature Methodiz'd::
Nature, like Monarchy, is but restrain'd
By the fame Laws which firft her felf ordain'd.
First learned Greece juft Precepts did indite,
When to reprefs, and when indulge our Flight.
High on Parnaffus' Top her Sans she show'd,
And pointed out those arduous Paths they trod,
Held from afar, aloft, th' Immortal Prize,
And urg'd the reft by equal Steps to rife.
From great Examples useful Rules were giv'n;
She drew fromthem what they deriv'd from Heav'n.
The gen'rous Critick fann'd the Poet's Fire,
And taught the World, with Reafon 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 Miftrefs,woo'd the Maid,
Set up themselves, and drove a fep'rate Trade;
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 Parts
Bold in the Practice of mistaken Rales, Maste
Prescribe, apply, and call their Mafter's Fools
Some on the Leaves of ancient Authors prey,
Nor Time nor Moths e'er spoil'd so much as they.