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To teach vain Wits a fcience little known,
'T' admire fuperior sense, and doubt their own! 200
So pleas'd at firft the tow'ring Alps we try, 225
Th' eternal fnows appear already past,
A perfect Judge will read each work of Wit With the fame spirit that its author writ Survey the WHOLE, nor feek flight faults to find 35 Where nature moves, and rapture warms the mind;
VER. 233. A perfect Judge, etc.] "Diligenter legendum eft ac pene ad fcribendi follicitudinem: Nec per partes modo "fcrutanda funt omnia, fed perlectus liber utique ex integro "refumendus." Quint.
VER. 235. Survey the whole, nor feek flight faults to find, Where nature moves, and rapture warms the mind;] The fecond line, in apologizing for those faults which the first says should be overlooked, gives the reason of the precept. For when a writer's attention is fixed on a general View of Nature, and his imagination warm'd with the contemplation of great ideas, it can hardly be but that there must be small irregularities in the difpofition both of matter and ftyle, because the avoiding these requires a coolness of recollection, which a writer fo bufied is not master of.
So pleas'd at firft the tow'ring Alps to try,
Fill'd with ideas of fair Italy,
The Traveller beholds with chearful eyes
The lefs'ning vales and feems to tread the fkies.
Nor lofe, for that malignant dull delight,
All comes united to th' admiring eyes;
The Whole at once is bold, and regular.
Whoever thinks a faultlefs piece to see,
Thinks what ne'er was, nor is, nor e'er shall be.
They talk of principles, but notions prize,
Once on a time, La Mancha's Knight, they say,
Yes, or we must renounce the Stagirite.
"Not fo by Heav'n (he answers in a rage) "Knights, fquires, and fteeds, muft enter on the
So vaft a throng the ftage can ne'er contain. “Then build a new, or act it in a plain."
Thus Critics, of lefs judgment than caprice, 285 Curious not knowing, not exact but nice,
VER. 285. Thus Critics of less judgment than caprice, Curious not knowing, not exact but nice.] In these two lines the poet finely defcribes the way in which bad writers are wont to imitate the qualities of good ones. As true Judgment generally draws men out of popular opinions, fo he who cannot
Form fhort Ideas; and offend in arts
get from the croud by the affiftance of this guide, willingly follows Caprice, which will be fure to lead him into fingularities. Again, true Knowledge is the art of treasuring up only that which, from its ufe in life, is worthy of being lodged in the memory. But Curiofity confifts in a vain attention to every thing out of the way, and which, for its ufelefinefs the world leaft regards. Laftly, Exactness is the juft proportion of parts to one another, and their harmony in the whole: But he who has not extent of capacity for the exercise of this quality, contents himself with Nicety, which is a bufying one's felf about points and fyllables.
VER. 297. True Wit is Nature to advantage drefs'd, etc.] This definition is very exact. Mr. Locke had defined Wit to confift" in the affemblage of ideas, and putting those together, "with quickness and variety, wherein can be found any re"femblance or congruity, whereby to make up pleasant pictures " and agreeable vifions in the fancy." But that great Philofopher, in separating Wit from Judgment, as he does in this