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In the fat age of pleasure, wealth, and ease,
Sprung the rank weed, and thriv'd with large in
When love was all an easy Monarch's care;
Seldom at council, never in a war:
Jilts rul'd the state, and statesmen farces writ;
Nay wits had penfions, and young Lords had wit:
The Fair fate panting at a Courtier's play,
And not a Mask went unimprov'd away:
The modest fan was lifted up no more,
And Virgins fmil'd at what they blush'd before.
Did all the dregs of bold Socinus drain ; ·
Left God himself fhould feem too abfolute :
VER. 547. The author has omitted two lines which flood here, as containing a National Reflection, which in his stricter judgment he could not but difapprove on any People whatever. P.
LEARN then what MORALS Critics ought to fhow,
Who, if once wrong, will needs be always fo;
'Tis not enough, your counsel still be true; Blunt truths more mifchief than nice falfhoods do; Men must be taught as if you taught them not, 575 And things unknown propos'd as things forgot. Without Good Breeding, truth is difapprov'd; That only makes superior sense belov❜d.
Be niggards of advice on no pretence;
For the worst avarice is that of fenfe.
Fear not the anger of the wife to raise ;
Those best can bear reproof, who merit praise.
VER. 562. For 'tis but balf a Judge's task, to know ] The Critic acts in two capacities, of Affeffor and of Judge: in the firft, Science alone is fufficient; but the other requires morals likewife,
And ftares, tremendous, with a threat'ning eye,
Whom, when they praife, the world believes no
Than when they promise to give fcribling o'er.
For who can rail fo long as they can write?
Ev'n to the dregs and fqueezings of the brain,
VER. 587. And flares, tremendous, etc.] This picture was taken to himself by John Dennis, a furious old Critic by profeffion, who, upon no other provocation, wrote against this Effay and its author, in a manner perfectly lunatic: For, as to the mention made of him in v. 270. he took it as a Compliment, and faid it was treacherously meant to cause him to overlook this Abuse of his Person. P.
Such fhameless Bards we have; and yet 'tis true, There are as mad, abandon'd Critics too. The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read, With loads of learned lumber in his head, With his own tongue still edifies his ears, And always lift'ning to himself appears. All books he reads, and all he reads affails, From Dryden's Fables down to Durfey's Tales. With him, most authors fteal their works, or buy; Garth did not write his own Dispensary.
Name a new Play, and he's the Poet's friend,
Nay show'd his faults--but when would Poets mend? No place fo facred from such fops is barr'd,
Nor is Paul's church more fafe than Paul's church yard:
Nay, fly to Altars; there they'll talk you dead: 625
VER. 620. Garth did not write, etc.] A common flander at that time in prejudice of that deferving author. Our Poet did him this juftice, when that flander most prevail'd; and it is now (perhaps the fooner for this very verfe) dead and forgotten. P.
VER. 624. Between this and v. 625.
In vain you fhrug and fweat, and strive to
But where's the man, who counsel can bestow, Still pleas'd to teach, and yet not proud to know? Unbias'd, or by favour, or by fpite;
Not dully prepoffefs'd, nor blindly right;
Tho' learn'd, well-bred; and tho' well-bred, fincere;
Modeftly bold, and humanly severe :
Who to a friend his faults can freely fhow,
And gladly praise the merit of a foe?
Bleft with a taste exact, yet unconfin'd;
A knowledge both of books and human kind;
VER: 632. But where's the man, etc.] The Poet, by his manner of afking after this Character, and telling us, when he had described it, that such once were Critics, does not encourage us to fearch for it in modern writers. And indeed the difcovery of him, if it could be made, would be but an invidious bufiness. I will venture no farther than to name the piece of Criticism in which these marks may be found. It is intitled, 2. Hor. Fl. Ars Poetica, with an English Commentary and Notes.
Between v. 647 and 648, I found the following lines, fince fuppreft by the author:
That bold Columbus of the realms of wit,