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Generous converse; a foul exempt from pride;
And love to praife, with reafon on his fide?
Such once were Critics; fuch the happy few,
Athens and Rome in better ages knew.
The mighty Stagyrite first left the fhore,
Spread all his fails, and durft the deeps explore;
He steer'd fecurely, and discover'd far,
Led by the Light of the Mæonian Star.
Poets, a race long unconfin'd and free,
Still fond and proud of favage liberty,
Receiv'd his laws; and ftood convinc'd 'twas fit,
Who conquer'd Nature, fhould prefide o'er Wit.
Horace ftill charms with graceful negligence,
And without method talks us into fenfe,
Will, like a friend, familiarly convey
The trueft notions in the easiest way.
Between ver. 646 and 649, I found the following lines,
fince fuppreffed by the Author:
That bold Columbus of the realms of wit,
Whofe firft difcovery's not exceeded yet,
Led by the Light of the Mæonian Star,
He fteer'd fecurely, and difcover'd far.
He, when all Nature was fubdued before,
Like his great Pupil, figh'd, and long'd for more:
Fancy's wild regions yet unvanquish'd lay,
A boundlefs empire, and that own'd no sway.
After ver. 648. the first edition reads,
Not only Nature did his laws obey,
But Fancy's boundless empire own'd his sway..
Ver. 655. Does, like a friend, &c.
Ver. 655, 656. These lines are not in ed. 1.
He, who fupreme in judgment, as in wit,
Might boldly cenfure, as he boldly writ,
Yet judg'd with coolnefs, though he fung with fire;
His precepts teach but what his works inspire.
Our Critics take a contrary extreme,
They judge with fury, but they write with phlegm :
Nor fuffers Horace more in wrong Translations
By Wits, than Critics in as wrong Quotations.
See Dionyfius Homer's thoughts refine,
And call new beauties forth from every line!
Fancy and art in gay Petronius please,
The scholar's learning, with the courtier's ease.
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,
But lefs to please the eye, than arm the hand,
Still fit for ufe, and ready at command.
Thee, bold Longinus! all the Nine inspire,
And blefs their Critic with a Poet's fire.
An ardent Judge, who, zealous in his truft,
With warmth gives fentence, yet is always just;
Ver. 668. The scholar's learning, and the courtier's ease.
Nor thus alone the curious eye to please,
But to be found, when need requires, with eafe.
The Mufes fure Longinus did infpire,
And blefs'd their Critic with a Poet's fire.
An ardent Judge, that zealous, &c.
Whofe own example strengthens all his laws;
And is himself that great Sublime he draws.
Thus long fucceeding Critics juftly reign'd,
License 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 fame foes, at last, both felt their doom,
And the fame age faw Learning fall, and Rome.
With Tyranny, then Superftition join'd,
As that the body, this enflav'd the mind;
Much was believ'd, but little understood,
And to be dull was conftrued to be good;
A fecond deluge Learning thus o'er-ran,
And the Monks finish'd what the Goths began.
At length Erafmus, that great injur'd name,
(The glory of the Priesthood, and the shame!)
Stem'd the wild torrent of a barbarous age,
And drove those holy Vandals off the stage.
But fee! each Mufe, in Leo's golden days,
Starts from her trance, and trims her wither'd bays,
Rome's ancient Genius, o'er its ruins spread,
Shakes off the duft, and rears his reverend head. 700 Then Sculpture and her fifter-arts revive;
Stones leap'd to form, and rocks began to live;
Ver. 689. All was believ'd, but nothing understood. Between ver. 690 and 691. the Author omitted these two:
Vain Wits and Critics were no more allow'd,
When none but Saints had license to be proud.
With sweeter notes each rifing Temple rung;
A Raphael painted, and a Vida fung.
Immortal Vida: on whofe honour'd brow
The Poet's bays and Critic's ivy grow:
Cremona now fhall ever boaft thy name,
As next in place to Mantua, next in fame!
But foon, by impious arms from Latium chac'd, Their ancient bounds the banish'd Mufes pafs'd; 710 Thence Arts o'er all the northern world advance, But Critic-learning flourish'd most in France: The rules a nation, born to ferve, obeys; And Boileau ftill in right of Horace fways.
But we, brave Britons, foreign laws defpis'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.
Yet fome there were, among the founder few
Of those who lefs prefum'd, and better knew,
Who durft affert the jufter ancient cause,
And here reftor'd Wit's fundamental laws.
Such was the Mufe, whofe rules and practice tell,
"Nature's chief Mafter-piece is writing well."
Such was Rofcommon, not more learn'd than good,
With manners generous as his noble blood;
To him the wit of Greece and Rome was known,
And every author's merit but his own.
Şuch late was Walsh-the Mufe's judge and friend,
Who justly knew to blame or to commend;
Ver. 723, 724. Thefe lines are not in ed. 1.
To failings mild, but zealous for defert;
The clearest head, and the fincereft heart.
This humble praife, lamented fhade! receive,
This praise at least a grateful Muse may give:
The Muse, whofe early voice you taught to fing,
Prefcrib'd her heights, and prun'd her tender wing,
(Her guide now loft) no more attempts to rife,
But in low numbers fhort excurfions tries:
Content, if hence th' unlearn'd their wants may view,
The learn'd reflect on what before they knew:
Careless of cenfure, nor too fond of fame;
Still pleas'd to praise, yet not afraid to blame;
Averse alike, to flatter or offend;
Not free from faults, nor yet too vain to mend.