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Some drily plain, without invention's aid,
You then whofe judgment the right course would fteer,
Know well each ANCIENT'S proper character;
And trace the Mufes upward to their spring.
Zoilus, had these been known, without a Name
VER. 123. Cavil you may, but never criticize.] The author after this verfe originally inferted the following, which he has however omitted in all the editions:
When firft young Maro in his boundless mind 130
Some beauties yet no Precepts can declare,
VER. 130. When first young Maro, etc.] Virg. Eclog. vi.、
It is a tradition preferved by Servius, that Virgil began with writing a poem of the Alban and Roman affairs: which he found above his years, and defcended first to imitate Theocritus on rural fubjects, and afterwards to copy Homer in Heroic poetry.
When first young Maro fung of Kings and Wars,
If, where the rules not far enough extend,
VER. 146. If, where the rules, etc.] "Neque enim rogal "tionibus plebifve fcitis fancta funt ifta præcepta, fed hoc, "quicquid eft, Utilitas excogitavit. Non negabo autem fic utile “ esse plerumque; verum fi eadem illa nobis aliud fuadebit "Utilitas, hanc, relictis magiftrorum autoritatibus, fequemur." Quintil. lib. ii. cap. 13.
VER. 150. Thus Pegasus, etc.] He first describes the sublime flight of a Poet, foaring above all vulgar bounds, to snatch a grace directly, which lies beyond the reach of a common adventurer. And afterwards, the effect of that grace upon the true Critic whom it penetrates with an equal rapidity; going the nearest way to his heart, without paffing through his Judgment. By which is not meant that it could not ftand the teft of Judgment; but that, as it was a beauty uncommon, and above rule, and the Judgment habituated to determine only by rule, it makes its direct application to the heart; which once gained, foon opens and enlarges the Judgment, whofe concurrence (it being now fet above forms) is eafily procured. That this is the poet's fublime conception appears from the concluding words: and all its end at once attains. For Poetry doth not attai all its end, till it hath gained the Judgment as well as Heart
In profpects thus, fome objects please our eyes,
I know there are, to whose presumptuous thoughts Those freer beauties, ev'n in them, feem faults. 170 Some figures monftrous and mis-fhap'd appear, Confider'd fingly, or beheld too near,
Which, but proportion'd to their light, or place,
VER. 175. A prudent chief, etc.] ofóv ti wakow vi góvíznos ςρατηλάται καὶ τὰς τάξεις τῶν seαλυμάτων ---Dion. Hal. De Struct. orat.
VER. 180. Nor is it Ilomer nods, but we that dream.] "Mo
Still green with bays each ancient Altar stands,
See from each clime the learn'd their incenfe bring!
"defte, et circumfpecto judicio de tantis viris pronunciandum "eft, ne (quod plerifque accidit) damnent quod non intelligunt. "Ac fi neceffe eft in alteram errare partem, omnia eorum le"gentibus placere, quam multa difplicere maluerim. Quint.
VER. 183. Secure from flames, from envy's fiercer rage, Destructive war, and all-involving age.] The Poet here alludes to the four great caufes of the ravage amongst ancient writings The deftruction of the Alexandrine and Palatine libraries by fire; the fiercer rage of Zoilus and Mævius and their followers against Wit; the irruption of the Barbarians into the empire; and the long reign of Ignorance and Superftition in the cloifters.