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He stood convincd 'twas fit
Who conquerd Nature should preside cer Wit.

Essay

on Crit.

635

Nay, fly to altars; there they'll talk you dead; 626
For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread.
Diftruftful senfe with modeft caution speaks,
It still looks home, and short excursions makes;
But rattling nonsense in full vollies breaks,

630 And never shock'd, and never turn'd afide, Bursts out, resistless, with a thund'ring tide.

But where's the man, who counsel can bestow,
Still pleas'd to teach, and yet not proud to know?
Unbiass’d, or by favour, or by spite;
Not dully prepossess’d, nor blindly right;
Tho' learn’d, well-bred ; and tho’ well-bred, fincere ;
Modestly bold; and humanly severe :
Who to a friend his faults can freely show,
And gladly praise the merit of a foe?

640
Bleft with a taste exact, yet unconfin'd;
A knowledge both of books and human kind;
Gen'rous converse ; a soul exempt from pride;
And love to praise, with reason on his fide?

Such once were Critics; such the happy few, 645 Athens and Rome in better ages knew. The mighty Stagyrite first left the shore, Spread all his fails, and durft the deeps explore ; He steer'd securely, and discover'd far, Led by the light of the Mæonian Star.

650
Poets, a race long unconfin'd and free,
Still fond and proud of savage liberty,
Receiv'd his laws; and stood convinc'd 'twas fit
Who conquer'd Nature should preside o'er Wit.

Horace still charms with graceful negligence,
And without method talks us into fente,
Will like a friend, familiarly convey
The trueft notions in the eafiest way.
He, who supreme in judgment, as in wit,
Might boldly censure, as he boldly writ,

660
Yet judg'd with coolness, tho' he sung with fire,
His Precepts teach but what his works inspire.
Vol.I.

M

Our

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665

670

675

Our Critics take a contrary extreme,
They judge with fury, but they write with flegm :
Nor suffers Horace more in wrong Translations
By Wits, than Critics inr as wrong Quotations.

See Dionyfius * Homer's thoughts refine,
And call new beauties forth from ev'ry line !

Fancy and art in gay Petronius meet,
The scholar's learning, with the courtier's wit.

In grave Quintilian's copious work, we find
The justest rules, and clearest method join'd:
Thus useful arms in magazines we place,
All rang'd in order, and dispos’d with grace;
Nor thus alone the curious eye to please,
But to be found, when need requires, with ease.

Thee, bold Longinus! all the Nine inspire,
And bless their Critic with a Poet's fire.
An ardent judge, who zealous in his trust,
With warmth gives sentence, yet is always just;
Whose own çxample strengthens all his laws,
And is himself that great sublime he draws.

Thus long succeeding Critics justly reign’d,
Licence repress'd, and useful laws ordain’d.
Learning and Rome alike in empire grew,
And Arts still follow'd where her Eagles flew.
From the faine foes, at last, both felt their doom,
And the same age faw learning fall, and Rome.
With Tyranny, then Superftition join'd,
As that the body, this enslav'd the mind;
Much was believ’d, but little understood,
And to be dull was constru'd to be good ;
A second deluge learning thus o'er-run,
And the Monks finish'd what the Goths begun.

At length Erasınus, that great, injur'd name,
(The glory of the Priesthood, and the shame!)
Stein'd the wild torrent of a barb'rous age,
And drove those holy Vandals off the stage.

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* Dionycus of Halicarnaffus

But

But see ! each Muse, in Leo's golden days, Starts from her trance, and trims her wither'd bäys! 700 Rome's ancient Genius, o'er its ruins spread, Shakes off the duft, and rears his rev’rend head. Then Sculpture and her fifter-arts revive; Stones leap'd to forin, and rocks began to live ; With tweeter notes each rising Temple rung; 705 A Raphael painted, and a * Vida sung. Immortal Vida! on whose honour'd brow The Poet's bays and Critic's ivy grow : Cremona now shall ever boast thy name, As next in place to Mantua, next in fame!

710 But soon by impious arms from Latium chas'd, Their ancient bounds the banish'd Muses país'd; Thence arts o'er all the northern world advance ; But critic learning flourish'd most in France : The rules, a nation born to serve, obeys;

715 And Boileau still in right of Horace sways. But we, brave Britons, foreign laws despis'd, And kept unconquer'd, and unciviliz'd, Fierce for the liberties of wit, and bold, We still defy'd the Romans, as of old.

720 Yet some there were among the founder few Of those who less presum'd, and better knew, Who durft assert the juster ancient cause, And here restor'd Wit's fundamental laws. Such was the Muse, whose rules and practice tell, 725 Nature's chief Master-piece is writing well. Such was Roscommon-not more learn'd than good, With manners gen'rous as his noble blood; To him the wit of Greece and Rome was known, And ev'ry author's mcrit but his own.

730 Such late was Walsh,—the Muse's judge and friend, Who justly knew to blame or to commend;

M. Hieronymus Vida, an excellent Latin Poet, who writ an Art of Poetry in verse. He four Med in the time of Leo X. † Essay on Poetry, by the Duke of Buckingham.

To

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