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Fir'd at first fight with what the Muse imparts,
And the first clouds and mountains feem the laft:
A perfect Judge will read each work of Wit,
Italy," and ambitious to fnatch a palm from Rome, engages in an undertaking as arduous almost as that of Hannibal: Finely illuftrated by the fimilitude of an unexperienced traveller penetrating thro' the Alps.
VER. 233. A perfect Judge, &c.] The third caufe of wrong Judgment is a narrow and BOUNDED COMPRE
233, A perfect Judge, eft, ac pæne ad fcribendi Diligenter legendum Ca
Survey the WHOLE, nor feek flight faults to find 235 Where nature moves, and rapture warms the mind;
HENSION; the natural and neceflary cause of the foregoing defect, acquiefcence in fuperficial learning. This bounded Capacity the poet fhews [from 233 to 384] betrays itself two ways; in the matter, and in the manner of the work criticifed. As to the matter, in judging by parts; or in having one favorite part to a neglect of all the reft: As to the manner, in confining the regard only to conceit, or language, or numbers. This is our author's order; and we fhall follow him as it leads us; only juft obferving one great beauty running thro' this part of the poem, which is that under each of these heads of wrong Judgment, he has inter-worked excellent precepts for right. We fhall take notice of them as they
He expofes the folly of judging by parts very artfully, not by a direct description of that fort of Critic, but of his oppofite, a perfect Judge, &c. Nor is the elegance of this converfion lefs than the Art; for as, in poetic ftyle, one word or figure is still put for another, in order to catch new lights from diftant images, and reflect them back upon the fubject in hand; fo in poetical matter, one perfon or defcription may be commodiously employed for another, with the fame advan
follicitudinem: Nec per partes modo ferutanda funt omnia, fed per lectus liber
utique ex integro resumendus. Quintil.
Nor lofe, for that malignant dull delight,
tage of reprefentation. It is obfervable that our author makes it almost the neceffary confequence of judging by parts, to find fault: And this not without much dif cernmet. For the feveral parts of a compleat Whole, when feen only fingly, and known only independently, muft always have the appearance of irregularity, and often, of deformity: Because the Poet's defign being to create a refultive beauty from the artful affemblage of several various parts into one natural whole; thofe parts must be fashioned with regard to the mutual relations, from whence the beauty required is to arife: But that regard will occafion fo unreducible a form in each part, as, when confidered fingly, to prefent the appearance of an Irregularity.
No fingle parts unequally furprize,
Whoever thinks a faultlefs, piece to fee, Thinks what ne'er was, nor is, nor e'er fhall be. In ev'ry work regard the writer's End, Since none can compass more than they intend; And if the means be juft, the conduct true, Applaufe, in fpight of trivial faults, is due. As men of breeding, sometimes men of wit, T'avoid great errors, muft the lefs commit: 260
VER. 253. Whaerer thinks a faultless piece to fee] He thews, in the fecond place, that to fix our cenfure on Jingle parts, tho they happen to want an exactness confiftent enough with their relation to the reft, is even then very unjuft: And for thefe realons, 1. Because it implies an expectation of a faultless piece, which is a vain ima gination 2. Becaufe no more is to be expected of any work than that it fairly attains its end: But the end may be attained, and yet thefe trivial faults committed : Therefore, in spight of fuch faults, the work will merit the praife due to that attainment. 3. Becaufe fometimes a great beauty is not to be had, nor a notorious blemish to be avoided, but by the fuffering one of thefe minute and trivial errors. And liftly, becaufe the generous neg let of them is a praife; as it is the indication of a Ge mius, bufied about greater matters.
Neglect the rules each verbal Critic lays,
VER. 263. Most Critics fond of fome fubfervient art, &c. II. The fecond way in which the bounded comprehenfion, as it relates to the matter, fhews itself, is judging by a favorite Part. The author has placed this after the other of judging by parts, with great propriety, it being indeed a natural confequence of it. For when men have once left the whole to turn their attention to the feparate parts, that regard and reverence due only to a whole, is fondly transferred to one or other of its parts. And thus we fee that Heroes themselves as well as Hero-makers, even Kings as well as Critics, when they chance never to have had, or long to have loft the idea of that which is the only legitimate object of their office, the care and conservation of the whole, are wont entirely to devote themselves to the fervice of fome favourite part, whether it be love of money, military glory, defpoticifm, &c. And all, as our poet fays on this occafion,
to one lov'd Folly facrifice.
This general misconduct much recommends that maxim in good Poetry and Politics, to give a principal attention to the whole (a maxim which our author has elsewhere demonftrated to be equally true likewife in Morals and