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the latter? Which of these characters is the most valuable and ufeful, is entirely out of the question: all I plead for, is, to have their feveral provinces kept di ftinct from each other; and to imprefs on the reader, that a clear head, and acute understanding are not fufficient, alone, to make a POET; that the most folid obfervations on human life, expreffed with the utmost elegance and brevity, are MORALITY, and not POETRY; that the EPISTLES of Boileau in RHYME, are no more poetical, than the CHAR ACTERS of La Bruyere in PROSE; and that it is a creative and glowing IMAGINA? "acer fpiritus ac vis," and that alone, that can stamp a writer with this exalted and very uncommon character, which fo few poffefs, and ofwhich fo few can properly judge.
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 fatires of Ariofto are more read than the Orlando Furiofo, or even Dante. Are there fo many cordial admirers of Spenfer and Milton, as of Hudibras; if we ftrike out of the number of these fuppofed admirers, those who appear fuch out of fashion, and not of feeling?
SWIFT's rhapsody on poetry is far more popular than Akenfide's noble ode to lord Huntingdon. The EPISTles on the Characters of men and women, and your fprightly fatires, my good friend, are more frequently perused, and quoted, than L'Allegro and Il Penfe
Penferofo of Milton. Had you written only thefe fatires, you would indeed have gained the title of a man of wit, and a man of fenfe; but, I am confident, would not infift on being denominated a POET, MERELY on their ac
NON SATIS EST PURIS VERSUM PERSCRIBERE VERBIS.
Ir is amazing this matter should ever have been mistaken, when Horace has taken particular and repeated pains, to fettle and adjust the opinion in queftion. He has more than once difclaimed all right and title to the name of POET, on the score of his ethic and fatiric pieces..
-NEQUE ENIM CONCLUDERE VERSUM
are lines, often repeated, but whose meaning is not extended and weighed as it ought to be. Nothing can be more A 4
judicious than the method he prefcribes, of trying whether any compofition be effentially poetical or not; which is, to drop entirely the measures and numbers, and transpose and invert the order of the words: and in this unadorned manner to peruse the paffage. If there be really in it a true poetical fpirit, all your inverfions and tranfpofitions will not disguise and extinguish it; but it will retain its luftre, like a diamond, unfet, and thrown back into the rubbish of the mine. Let us make a little experiment on the following well-known lines; "Yes, you defpife "the man that is confined to books, "who rails at human kind from his << Study; tho what he learns, he speaks; «and may perhaps advance fome gene"eral maxims, or may be right by
❝ chance. The coxcomb bird, fo grave "and fo talkative, that cries whore, « knave, and cuckold, from his cage,
" tho' he rightly call many a passenger,
❝ you hold him no philofopher. And yet, fuch is the fate of all extremes, men may be read too much, as well as books. We grow more partial, for the fake of the obferver, to obfervations Awhich we ourselves make; lefs fo to "written wisdom, because another's. "Maxims are drawn from notions, "and thofe from guess." What fhall we fay of this paffage?---Why, that it is moft excellent fenfe, but just as poetical as the "Qui fit Mæcenas” of the author who recommends this method of trial. Take ten lines of the Iliad, Paradife Loft, or even of the Georgics of Virgil, and fee whether by