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Ntroduction. That 'tis as great a fault to judge ill
as to write ill, and a more dangeraus one to the
public, v. 1.
That a true Taste is as rare to be found, as a true Ger
nius, v. 9 to 18.
That most men are born with some Taste, but spoild by
false Education, v. 19 to 25.
The Multitude of Critics, and causes of them, v. 26
That we are to study our own Taste, and know the Li,
mits of it, v. 46 to 67.
Nature the best guide of Judgment, v. 68 to 87.
Improv'd by Art and Rules, which are but methodis'd
Nature, v. 88.
Rules deriv'd from the Practice of the Ancient Poets,
v. id. to ITO.
That therefore the Ancients are necessary to be study'd
by a Critic, particularly Homer and Virgil
, v. 120
Of Licenses, and the use of them by the Ancients,
V. 140 to 180.
Reverence due to the Ancients, and praise of them,
y. 181, etc.
PART II. Ver. 203, etc.
Causes hindering a true Judgment. 1. Pride, v. 208.
2. Imperfect Learning, v. 215. 3. Judging by
parts, and not by the whole, v. 233 to 288. Cri-
tics in Wit, Language, Versification, only, v. 288.
305. 339, etc. 4. Being too hard to please, or too
apt to admire, v. 384. 5. Partiality — too much
Love to a Sect,- to the Ancients or Moderns,
V. 394. 6. Prejudice or Prevention, v. 408.
7. Singularity, v. 424. 8. Inconstancy, v. 430:
9. Party Spirit, v. 452, etc. 10. Envy, v. 466.
Against Envy, and in praise of Good-nature, v. 508,
When Severity is chiefly to be used by Critics,
V. 526, etc.
PART III. Ver. 560, etc.
Rules for the Conduct of Manners in a Critic. 1. Can-
dour, v. 563. Modesty, v. 566. Good-breed-
ing, V: 572. Sincerity, and Freedom of advice,
v. 578. 2. When ond's Counsel is to be reftrained,
v. 584. Chara&ter of an incorrigible Poet, v. 600.
And of an impertinent Critic, v. 610, etc. Cha-
racter of a good Critic, v. 629. The History of
Criticism, and Character of the best Critics, Ari-
stotle, v. 645 Horace, v. 653. Dionyfius,
v. 665. Petronius, v. 667. Quintilian, v. 670.
Longinus, v. 675. of the Decay of Criticism,
and its Revival. Erafmus, v. 693. Vida, v.705.
Boileau, v. 714. Lord Roscommon, etc. v. 725.
VIS hard to say, if greater want of skill
Appear in writing or in judging ill ;
But, of the two, less dang'rous is th' offence
To tire our patience, than mislead our sense.
Some few in that, but numbers err in this,
Ten censure wrong, for one who writes amiss;
A fool might once himself alone expose,
Now one in verse makes many more in prose.
'Tis with our judgments as our watches, none
Go just alike, yet each believes his own.
In Poets as true genius is but rare,
True Taste as seldom is the Critic'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 excel, 15
And censure freely who have written well.
Authors are partial to their wit, 'tis true,
But are not Critics to their judgment too?
Yet if we look more closely, we shall find
Most have the seeds of judgment in their mind: 20
Nature affords at least a glimm’ring light;
The lines, tho' touch'd but faintly, are drawn right,
But as the slightest sketch, if juftly trac’d,
Is by ill-colouring but the more difgrac’d,
So by false learning is good sense defac'd :
Some are bewilder'd in the maze of schools, 26
And fome made coxcombs Nature meant but fools.
In search of wit these lose their common sense,
And then turn Critics in their own defence :
VER. 15. Let such teach others.] Qui fcribit artificiose, ab aliis commode scripta facile intelligere poterit. Cic. ad Herenn. lib. 4. De pittore, sculptore, filiore, nifi artifex, judicare non poteft. Pliny. P.
VER. 20. Mot have the feeds ] Omms tacito quodam fenfu, fine ulla arte, aut ratione, quæ fint in artibus ac rationibus recta et prava dijudicant. Cic. de Orat. lib. ij. P.
Ver. 35. so by falsé learning) Plus fine do&rina prudentia, quam fine prudentia valet dofrina. Quint. 'P.
VARIATION 8. Between v. 25 and 26 were these lines, fince omitted by the author:
Many are fpoil'd by thạt pedantic throng,
Who with great pains teach youth to reason wrong.
Tators, like Virtuoso's, oft inclin'd
Bv frange transfusion to improve the mind,
Draw of the sense we have, to pour in new ;
Which yet, with all their skill, they ne'er could do. P.
Each burns alike, who can, or cannot write, 30
Or with a Rival's, or an Eunuch's spite.
All fools have still an itching to deride,
And fain would be upon the laughing side.
If Mævius fcribble in Apollo's spight,
There are, who judge still worse than he can write.
Some have at first for Wits, then Poets paft, 36
Turn'd Critics next, and prov'd plain fools at last.
Some neither can for Wits nor Critics pass,
As heavy mules are neither horse nor ass.
Those half-learn'd witlings, num'rous in our isle,
As half-form'd insects on the banks of Nile; 41
Unfinish'd things, one knows not what to call,
Their geoeration's so equivocal :
To tell 'em, would a hundred tongues require,
Or one vain wit's, that might a hundred tire.
45 But you who seek to give and merit fame, And justly bear a Critic's noble name, i Be sure yourself and your own reach to know,
How far your genius, taste, and learning go;
Launch not beyond your depth, but be discreet, 50
And mark that point where sense and dullness meet.
Nature to all things fix'd the limits fit,
And wisely curb'd proud man's pretending wit.
Ver: 51. And mark that point where fense and dullness meet.) This precept cautions us against going on, when our Ideas begin to grow obscure; as we are apt to do, tho' that obscurity is a monition that we thould leave off; for it arises either thro' our small acquaintance with the subject, or the incomprehensibility of its nature. In yhich circumstances a genius will always write as heavily as a dunce. An observation well worth the attention of all profound writers.