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the latter? Which of these characters is the most valuable and useful, is entirely out of the question: all I plead for, is, to have their several provinces kept diftinct from each other; and to impress on the reader, that a clear head, and acute understanding are not sufficient, alone, to make a Poet; that the most solid observations on human life, expressed with the utmost elegance and brevity,are MORALITY, and not POETRY; that the EPISTLES of Boileau in Rhyme, are no more poetical, than the CHARACTERS of Lá Bruyere in Prose; and that it is a creative and glowing IMAGINA TION, acer spiritus ac vis,” and that alone, that can stamp a writer with this exalted and very uncommon character, which fo few possess, and ofwhich so few can properly judge.
w. For one person who can adequate. ly relish, and enjoy a work of imagination, twenty are to be found who can taste and judge of, observations on familiar life, and the manners of the age. The satires of Ariosto are more read than the Orlando Furioso, or even Dante. 'Are there so many cordial admirers of Spenser and Milton, as of Hudibras; if we strike out of the number of these supposed admirers, those who appear
such out of fashion, and not of feeling?
Swift's rhapsody on poetry is far more popular than Akenside’s noble ode to lord Huntingdon. The epistles on the Characters of men and women, and your fprightly satires, my good friend, are more frequently perused, and quoted, than L'Allegro and Il
Penserolo of Milton. Ilad you written only these fatires, you would indeed have gained the title of a man of wit, and a man of sense ; but, I am confident, would not insist on being denominated a PoeT, MERELY on their account. NON SATIS EST PURIS VERSUM PERSCRIBERE VERBIS. · It is amazing this matter should ever have been mistaken, when Horace has taken particular and repeated pains, to settle and adjust the opinion in question. He has more than once disclaimed all right and title to the name of poet, on the score of his ethic and satiric pieces.
NEQUE ENIM CONCLUDERE VERSUM DIXERIS ESSE SATISare lines, often repeated, but whose meaning is not extended and weighed as it ought to be. Nothing can be more
judicious judicious than the method he prefcribes, of trying whether any compo-sition be, essentially poetical or not; which is, to drop entirely the measures and numbers, and tranfpofe and invert the order of the words: and in this unadorned manner to peruse the passage. If there be really in it a true poetical spirit, all your inversions and transpositions will not disguise and extinguish it; but it will retain its lustre, like a diamond, unset, and thrown back into the rubbish of the mine. Let us make a little experiment on the following well-known lines'; « Yes, you despise « the man that is confined to books, "who rails at bumán kind from-bis "study; tho' what he learns, he speaks;
chanceo si The cascorb bird, fo grave ay and fostalkative, that cries whore, « knave, and cuckold, from his cage, 5 thó' he rightly call many a passenger, you
bold him no philosopher. And yet, such is the fate of all extremes, men may be read too much, as well as
baoks. We grow more partial, for the "fake of the observer, to observations
which we ourselves make; less so to " written wisdom, because another's. “ Maxims are drawn from notions, « and those from guess.” What shall we say of this passage?---Why, that it is most excellent sense, but just as poetical as the “ Qui fit Mæcenas” of the author who recommends this me. thod of trial. Take ten lines of the Iliad, Paradise Lost, or even of the Georgics of Virgil, and see whether by