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Those rules of old discover'd, not devised, Are nature still, but nature methodized : Nature, like liberty, is but restrain'd
90 By the same laws which first herself ordain'd.
Hear how learn'd Greece her useful rules indites, When to repress, and when indulge our flights: Iligh on Parnassus' top her sons she show'd, And pointed out those arduous paths they trod; Held from afar, aloft, the immortal prize, And urged the rest by equal steps to rise. Just precepts thus from great examples gjmer, She drew from them what they derived from Hea
The generous critic fann'd the poet's fire, 100
steer, Know well each ancient's proper character : His fable, subject, scope in every page :
120 Religion, country, genius of his age : Without all these at once before your eyes, Cavil you may, but never criticise
Be Homer's works your study and delight,
When first young Maro, in his boundless mind 130
140 Some beauties yet no precepts can declare, For there's a happiness as well as care. Music resembles poetry; in each Are nameless graces which no methods teach, And which a master-hand alone can reach. If, where the rules not far enough extend (Since rules were made but to promote their end,) Some lucky license answer to the full The intent proposed, that license 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 snatch a grace beyond the reach of art, Which, without passing through the judgnient, gains The heart, and all its ends at once attains. In prospects thus, some objects please our eyes, Which out of nature's common order rise, The shapeless rock, or hanging precipice. Great wits sometimes may glori sly offend, And rise to faults true critics dare not mend. 160
But though the ancients thus their rules invade
I know there are, to whose presumptuous thoughts
Still green with bays each ancient altar stands, Above the reach of sacrilegious hands; Secure from flames, from envy's fiercer rage, Destructive 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 every voice be join'd, And fill the general chorus of mankind. Hail ! bards triumphant! born in happier days; Immortal heirs of universal praise !
190 Whose honours with increase of ages grow, As streams roll down, enlarging as they flow; Nations unborn your mighty names shall sound, And worlds applaud that must not yet be found! O may some spark of your celestial fire, The last, the meanest of your sons 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,
PART II. Causes hindering a true judgment. 1. Pride, ver. 201.
2. Imperfect learning, ver. 215. 3. Judging by parts, and not by the whole, ver. 233 to 288. Critics in wit, language, versification, only, 288, 305, 339, &c. 4. Being too hard to please, or too apt to admire, ver.384. 5. Partiality-too much love to a sect-to the ancients or moderns, ver. 394. 6. Prejudice or prevention, ver. 408. 7. Singularity, ver. 424. 8. Inconstancy ver 430. 9. Party spirit, ver. 452, &c. 10. Envy, ver. 466. Against envy, and in praise of good-nature, ver. 508, &c. When severity is chiefly to be used by the critics, ver. 526, &c.
Of all the causes which conspire to blind
22C While from the bounded level of our mind, Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind;
But more advanced, behold with strange surprise
A perfect judge will read each work of wit
with wit. But, in such lays as neither ebb nor flow, Correctly cold, and regularly low,
210 That, shunning faults, one quiet tenor keep; We cannot blame indeed—but we may sleep. In wit, as nature, what affects our hearts Is not the exactness of peculiar parts; "Tis not a lip, or eye, we beauty call, But the joint force and full result of all. Thus when we view some well-proportion'd dome. (The world's just wonder, and e'en thine, oh Rome! No single parts unequally surprise ; All comes united to the admiring eyes :
250 No monstrous height, or breadth, or length appear : The whole at once is bold, and regular.
Whoever thinks a faultless piece to see,