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Some, to whom Heav’n in wit has been profuse,
85 The winged courser, like a gen'rous horse, Shows most true mettle when you check his course.
Those RULES of old discover'd, not devis'd, Are Nature ftill, but Nature methodiz'd; Nature, like Liberty, is but restrain'd
90 By the fame Laws which forft herself ordain'd.
Hear how learn's Greece her useful rules indites, When to repress, and when indulge our flights : High on Parnassus' top her sons the show'd, And painted out those arduous paths they trod; 95 Held from afar, aloft, th' immortal prize, And urg'd the rest by equal steps to rise.
Ver. 88. Those rules of old, etr.] Cicero has, best of any one I know, explained what that is which reduces the wild and scattered parts of human knowledge into arts.-Nihil eft quod ad. arlem,redigi poffit, nifi ille prius, qui illa tenet, quorum artem inflituere vult, habeat illam scientiam, ut ex iis rebus, quarum ars nondum fity, artem efficere pofit.-Omnia fere, quæ funt.conclufa nunc artibus, difperfi et dilipata quondan fuerunt, ut in Muficis, etc. Ädbibita eft igitur ars quædam extrinfecus ex,
genere quodam, quod fibi totum PHILOSOP.Hi affumunt, qure rein difolutuim divuljamque conglutinaret, . ratione, quudam confiringeret. De Orat. 1. i. c 41, 2.
There are whom Heav'n has bleft with store of wit,
Just precepts thus from great examples giv'h,
VER.98. Jul precepts] Nec enim artibus editis fa&tum eft ui argumenta inveniremus, fed di&ta funt omnia antequam præciperentur ; mox ea fcriptores obferivata et colleta ediderunt. Quintil. P.
VER. 112. Some on the leaves Some drily plain. ] The first, the Apes of those Italian Critics, who at the restoration of letters having found the classic writers miserably mangled by the hands of monkish Librarians, very commendably employed their pains and talents in restoring them to their native purity. The second, the plagiaries from the French, who had made some admirable Commentaries on the ancient critics. But that acumen and tafte, which separately conftitute the distinct value of those two species of foreign Criticism, make no part of the character of these paltry mimics at home, de cribed by our Poet in the following lines,
These leave the sense, their learning to disploy,
And those explain the meaning quite away.
Some drily plain, without invention's aid;
be made. 115
steer; Know well each Ancient's proper character ; His Fable, Subject, fcope in ev'ry page ; I20 Religion, Country, genius of his Age: Without all these at once before your eyes, Cavil you may, but never criticize. Be Homer's works your study and delight, Read them by day, and meditate by night ; 125 Thence form your judgment, thence your maxims
bring, And trace the Muses upward to their spring.
us to determine in the lines with which he opens his poem,
But of the two Lefs dang 'rous is th' offence
To tire our patience than mislead our senfe. from whence we conclude, that the reverend Mr. Upton was much more innocently employed when he quibbled upon Epictetus, than when he commented upon Shakefpear.
VAR Í ATIONS: VER. 123. Cavil you may, but never criticize.) The author after this verse originally inserted the following, which he has however omitted in all the editions :
Zoilus, had these been known, without a name
Still with itself compar’d, his text perufe ;
When first young Maro in his boundless mind
Some beauties yet no Precepts can declare,
VER. 130. Wher first young Maro, etc.] Virg. Eclog. vi.
Cum canerem reges et prælia, Cynthius aurem
It is a tradition preserved by Servius, that Virgil began
When first young Maro sung of Kings and Wars,
If, where the rules not far enough extend,
a Thus Pegasus, a nearer way to take,
150 May boldly deviate from the common track; From vulgar bounds with brave disorder part, And snatch a grace beyond the reach of art, Which without passing thro' the judgment, gains The heart, and all its end at once attains. 155 In prospects thus, some objects please our eyes, Which out of nature's common order rise, The shapeless rock, or hanging precipice. Great Wits sometimes may gloriously offend, And rise to faults true Critics dare not mend. 160 But tho' the Ancients thus their rules invade, (As Kings dispense with laws themselves have made) Moderns, beware! or if you must offend Against the precept, ne'er transgress its End; Let it be seldom, and compellid by need; 165 And have, at least, their precedent to plead. The Critic elfe proceeds without remorse, Seizes your fame, and puts his laws in force.
I know there are, to whose presumptuous thoughts Those freer beauties, ev'n in them, seem faults. 170
Ver. 146. IS, where the rules, etc.) Neque enim rogationibus plebisve fcitis fanéta funt ifa Precepta, fed hoc, quicquid eft, Utilitas excogitavit. Non negabo autem fic utile elle plerumque ; verum fi eadem illa nobis aliud fúadebit Utilitas, hanc, reliétis magiftrorum autoritatibus, fequemur. Quintil. lib. ii. cap. 13. P. VOL. I.