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Written in the Year MDCCIX*,

• First advertised in the Spectator, No 65. May 15, 1711.

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PART III. Ver. 560, &c.
Rules for the Conduct of Manners in a Critic, 1. Candour,

ver. 563. Modesty, ver. 566. Good-breeding, ver. 572.
Sincerity and Freedom of. Advice, ver. 578. 2. When
one's Counsel is to be resirained, ver. 584. Character of an
incorrigible Poet, ver. 600. And of an impertinent
Critic, ver. 610, &c Charaēler of a good Critic, ver. 629.
The History of Criticism, and characters of the best Critics,
Aristotle, ver. 645. Horace, ver. 653. Dionysius, ver.
665. Petronius, ver. 667. Quintilian, ver. 670. Longinus,
ver. 675. Of the Decay of Criticism, and its Revival.
Erasmus, ver. 693. Vida, ver. 705. Boileau, ver. 714.
Lord Roscommon, &c. ver. 725. Conclusion,






is 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.


COMMENTARY. An Efay] The poem is in one book, but divided into three principal parts or numbers. The first [to ver. 201.] gives rules for the Study of the Art of Criticism : the second [from thence to ver. 560.] exposes the Causes of wrong Judgment; and the third [from thence to the end] marks out the Morals of the Critic.

In order to a right conception of this poem, it will be necessary to observe, that though it be intitled simply An Esay on Criticism, yet several of the precepts relate equally to the good writing as well as the true judging of a poem. This is so far from violating the Unity of the subject, that it preserves and completes it: or from disordering the regularity of the Form, that it adds beauty to it, as will appear by the following confiderations : 1. It was


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An Elay] For a person of only twenty years old to have produced such an Essay, so replete with a knowledge of life and manners, such accurate observations on men and books, such variety of literature, such strong good sense, and refined taste and judg



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