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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.
Thus Pegasus, a nearer way to take,
May boldly deviate from the common track;
From vulgar bounds with brave disorder part,
And fnatch a grace beyond the reach of art,
Which without paffing thro' the judgment, gains
The heart, and all its end at once attains.
In profpects thus, fome objects please our eyes,
Which out of nature's common order rife,
The shapeless rock, or hanging precipice.
Great Wits fometimes may gloriously offend,
And rife 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 tranfgrefs its End;
Let it be seldom, and compell'd by need;
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 Some

VER. 146. If, where the rules, etc.] Neque enim rogationibus plebifve fcitis fancta funt ifta Præcepta, fed hoc, quicquid eft, Utilitas excogitavit. Non negabo autem fic utile effe plerumque; verum fi eadem illa nobis aliud fuadebit Utilitas, hanc, relictis magiftrorum autoritatibus, fequemur. Quintil. lib. ii. cap. 13.

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Some figures monftrous and mis-shap'd appear,
Confider'd fingly, or beheld too near,

Which, but proportion'd to their light, or place,
Due diftance reconciles to form and grace.
A prudent chief not always must display
His pow'rs in equal ranks, and fair array,
But with th' occafion and the place comply,
Conceal his force, nay seem sometimes to fly.
Those oft are stratagems which errors seem,
Nor is it Homer nods, but we that dream.



Still green with bays each ancient Altar ftands,
Above the reach of facrilegious hands;
Secure from Flames, from Envy's fiercer rage,
Deftructive War, and all-involving Age.

See, from each clime the learn'd their incense bring! Hear, in all tongues consenting Pæans ring!


In praise so just let ev'ry voice be join'd,

And fill the gen❜ral chorus of mankind.


VER. 175: A prudent chief, etc.] Olov Ti woan oi φρόνιμοι εξατηλάται κατὰ τὰς τάξεις τῶν τρατευμάτων -- Dion.

Hal. De ftruct. orat.

VER. 180. Nor is it Homer nods, but we that dream.] Modefte, et circumfpecto judicio de tantis viris pronunciandum eft, ne (quod plerifque accidit) damnent quod non intelligunt. Ac fi neceffe eft in alteram errare partem, omnia eorum legentibus placere, quam multa difplicere maluerim. Quint. P.

VER. 183. Secure from flames, from envy's fiercer rage,

Deftructive war, and all-involving age.] The Poet here alludes to the four great caufes of the ravage amongst ancient writings: The deftruction of the Alexandrine and Palatine libraries by fire; the fiercer rage of Zoilus and Mævius and their followers against Wit; the irruption of the Barbarians into the empire; and the long reign of Ignorance and Superftition in the cloisters.



Hail, Bards triumphant! born in happier days;
Immortal heirs of univerfal praise !
Whofe honours with increase of ages grow,
As ftreams roll down, enlarging as they flow;
Nations unborn your mighty names fhall found,
And worlds applaud that must not yet be found"!
Oh may fome spark of your celeftial fire,
The laft, the meaneft of your fons inspire,
(That on weak wings, from far, pursues your flights;
Glows while he reads, but trembles as he writes)
To teach vain Wits a science little known,
T'admire fuperior fenfe, and doubt their own! 200
Of all the Caufes which confpire to blind
Man's erring judgment, and mifguide the mind,
What the weak head with strongest bias rules,
Is Pride, the never-failing vice of fools.
Whatever Nature has in worth deny'd,
She gives in large recruits of needful Pride;
For as in bodies, thus in fouls, we find


What wants in blood and fpirits, fwell'd with wind Pride, where Wit fails, steps in to our defence, And fills up all the mighty Void of sense.

H 2



VER. 189. Hail, Bards triumphant!] There is a pleafantry in this title, which alludes to the ftate of warfare that all true Genius muft undergo while here upon


VER. 209. Pride where Wit fails fteps in to our defence, And fills up all the mighty void of fenfe.] A very fenfible French writer makes the following remark on this species of pride. "Un homme qui fçait plufieurs


Langues, qui etend les Auteurs Grecs et Latins, qui "s'eleve même jufqu'à la dignité de SCHOLIASTE; "fi cet homme venoit à pefer fon véritable mérite, il "" trouveroit

If once right reafon drives that cloud away,
Truth breaks upon us with refistless day.
Truft not yourself; but your defects to know,
Make use of ev'ry friend-and ev'ry foe.



A little learning is a dang'rous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There fhallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely fobers us again. Fir'd at firft fight with what the Muse imparts, In fearless youth we tempt the heights of Arts, While from the bounded level of our mind, Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind; But more advanc'd, behold with strange surprize New diftant fcenes of endless science rife! So pleas'd at first the tow'ring Alps we try, Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky, Th' eternal fnows appear already past,

And the first clouds and mountains seem the laft :

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"trouveroit fouvent qu'il fe réduit à avoir eu des yeux "et de la mémoire, il fe garderoit bien de donner le nom refpectable de science à une érudition fans lumiere. II y a une grande difference entre s'enrichir des mots ou "des chofes, entre alleguer des autoritez ou des raisons. "Si un homme pouvoit fe furprendre à n' avoir que cette forte de mérite, il en rougiroit plûtôt que d'en • être vain."


VER. 217. There foallow draughts, etc.] The thought was taken from Lord Verulam, who applies it to more ferious enquiries.

VER. 225.


So pleas'd at firft the tow'ring Alps to try,
Fill'd with ideas of fair Italy,

The Traveller beholds with chearful eyes

The lefs'ning vales, and feems to tread the skies.

But, thofe attain'd, we tremble to furvey
The growing labours of the lengthen'd way, 230
Th' increasing prospect tires our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arife!
A perfect Judge will read each work of Wit
With the same spirit that its author writ:
Survey the WHOLE, nor feek flight faults to find
Where nature moves, and rapture warms the mind;
Nor lose, for that malignant dull delight,
The gen'rous pleasure to be charm'd with wit.
But in fuch lays as neither ebb, nor flow,
Correctly cold, and regularly low,
That fhunning faults, one quiet tenour keep;
We cannot blame indeed-but we may fleep.
In Wit, as Nature, what affects our hearts
Is not th' exactnefs of peculiar parts;
'Tis not a lip, or eye, we beauty call,
But the joint force and full refult of all.
Thus when we view fome well-proportion'd dome,
(The world's just wonder, and ev'n thine, O Rome!)

H 3




VER. 233. A perfect Judge, etc.] Diligenter legendum eft, ac pane ad fcribendi follicitudinem: Nec per partes modo fcrutanda funt omnia, fed perlectus liber utique ex integro refumendus. Quin.

VER. 235. Survey the Whole, nor feek flight faults to find, Where nature moves, and rapture warms the mind;] The fecond line, in apologizing for those faults which the firft fays fhould be overlooked, gives the reafon of the precept. For when a writer's attention is fixed on a general view of Nature, and his imagination warm'd with the contemplation of great ideas, it can hardly be but that there must be fmall irregularities in the difpofition both of matter and ftyle, because the avoiding these requires a coolness of recollection, which a writer fo bufied is not master of.

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