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High on Parnaffus' top her fons fhe show'd,


And pointed out thofe arduous paths they trod; 95
Held from afar, aloft, th' immortal prize,
And urg'd the reft by equal fteps to rife.


Juft precepts thus from great examples giv❜n,

She drew from them what they deriv'd from



The gen'rous Critic fann'd the Poet's fire,
And taught the world with reafon to admire.
Then Criticifm the mufes handmaid prov'd,
To drefs her charms, and make her more belov'd:
But following wits from that intention ftray'd,
Who cou'd not win the mistress, woo'd the maid;
Against the Poets their own arms they turn'd, 106
Sure to hate moft the men from whom they learn'd.



new rules may be difcovered from thefe new works, in the fame manner as the old Critics difcovered theirs, from the writings of their contemporary Poets: But these men wanting art and ability to discover thefe new rules, were content to receive and file up for ufe, the old ones of


98. Just precepts] Nec enim artibus editis factum eft ut argumenta invenire mus, fed dicta funt omnia


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antequam præciperentur · 3 mox ea fcriptores obfervata & collecta ediderunt. Quintil,

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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 master's fools.
Some on the leaves of antient authors prey,
Nor time nor moths e'er spoil'd fo much as they.
Some drily plain, without invention's aid,
Write dull receits how poems may be made. 115
These leave the fenfe, their learning to display,
And those explain the meaning quite away.

The gen'rous Critic fann'd the Poet's fire,
And taught the world with reason to admire.

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Ariftotle, Quintilian, Longinus, Horace, &c. with the fame vanity and infolence that Apothecaries practise with their Doctors Bills: And thus boldly applying them to new Originals (cafes which they did not hit) it was no more in their power than their will to imitate the practice of the Ancients, when

For, as Ignorance when joined with Humility produces a blind admiration, on which account it is fo commonly obferved to be the mother of Devotion; fo when joined with Pride (as it always is in bad Critics) it gives birth to every iniquity of abuse and flander.

You then whofe judgment the right courfe would


Know well each ANCIENT's proper character;'
His Fable, Subject, fcope in every page ;dizól
Religion, Country, genius of his Age to sum

19mit :

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VER 118. You then whofe Judgment, ] He comes next to the Ancient Poets, thofe other and more intimate 'commentators of Nature. And fhews [from 117 to 141. that the study of thefe must indifpenfably follow. that of the ancient Critics, as they furnish us with what is not to be fupplied by any Critics, who can only give general directions, infufficient alone to conduct us fafelythro' any confiderable works: But the study of a great original Poet, in

His fable, fubject, fcope in ev'ry page,
Religion, country, genius of bis age,


will help us to thofe particular rules, of fo much fervice to us in their application to whatever work we undertake to examine and without which, as the poet truly obferves, we may cavil indeed, but can never criticife. We might as well think that Vitruvius alone would make a perfect Judge of Architecture, without the knowledge of fome great mafterpiece of fcience, fuch as the Rotonda at Rome, or the Temple of Minerva at Athens; as that Ariflotle fhould make a perfect Judge of wit without the tudy of Homer and Virgil. These therefore he principally recommends to perfect the Critic in his Art. But

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Without all these at once before your eyes,
Cavil you may, but never criticize.




as this latter Poet by fome fuperficial writers has been than an original himself, our Author obviates that common error, a fhews it to have arisen (as often error does) from a truth, viz. that Homer and Nature were the fame; and there*fore the ambitious young Poet, tho' he fcorn'd to stoop at any thing fhort of Nature, yet when he understood this great truth, he had the prudence to contemplate her in the place where fhe was feen to most advantage, collected in all her charms in the clear mirror of Homer. Hence it would follow that tho' Virgil studied Nature, the vulgar reader would judge him a copier of Homer; and tho he copied Homer, the judicious would fee him to be an imitator of Nature: The finest praise which any Y one who came after Homer could receive.

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Zoilus, had thefe 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 bad thought bis comprehenfive mind
To modern Customs, modern Rules confin'd
Who for all ages writ, and all mankind.

Be Homer's works your study, and delight,
Kead them by day, and meditate by night; 125
Thence form your judgment, thence your maxims


And trace the Mufes upward to their fpring.
Still with itself compar'd, his text perufe.
And let your comment be the Mantuan Mufe.
When firft young Maro in his boundless mind 130
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. 135
Convincd, amaz'd, he checks the bold design ;
And rules as ftrict, his labour'd work confine,
As if the Stagyrite o'erlook'd each line.
Learn hence for ancient rules a just esteem;
To copy nature is to copy them."


130. When first young Maro, &c.]Virgil, Eclog. 6. Cum canerem reges & præha, Cynthius aurem Vellit It is a tradition preferved by Servius, that Virgil began with writing a poem of

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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.

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