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Survey the WHOLE, nor feek flight faults to find Where nature moves, and rapture warms the mind; Nor lofe, for that malignant dull delight,

The gen'rous pleasure to be charm'd with wit.

COMMENTARY.

manner of the work criticifed: Of the matter in judging by parts; or in having one favourite part to a neglect of all the reft: Of the manner, in confining the regard only to conceit, or language, or numbers. This is our Poet's order; and we fhall follow him as it leads us; only just observing one great beauty which runs thro' this part of the poem; it is, that under each of thefe heads of wrong Judgment, he has intermixed excellent precepts for right. We fhall take notice of them as they occur.

He expofes the folly of judging by parts very artfully, not by a direct description of that fort of Critic, but of his oppofite, a perfect Judge, etc. Nor is the elegance of this converfion inferior to the art of it; for as, in poetic flyle, one word or figure is ftill put for another, in order to catch new lights from different images, and to reflect them back upon the subject in hand; fo, in poetic matter, one perfon or thing may be advantageously employed for another, with the fame elegance of reprefentation. It is obfervable that our Author makes it almoft the neceffary consequence of judging by parts, to find fault: And this not without much discernment: For the feveral parts of a compleat Whole, when feen only fingly, and known only indepen..

NOTES.

VER. 235. Survey the Whole, nor seek flight faults to find, Where nature moves, and rapture warms the mind ;] The fecond line, in apologizing for those faults which the first fays fhould be overlooked, gives the reafon 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 style, because the avoiding thefe requires a coolnefs of recollection, which a writer fo bufied is not mafter of.

240

But in fuch lays as neither ebb, nor flow,
Correctly cold and regularly low,
That shunning faults, one quiet tenour keep;
We cannot blame indeed---but we may fleep.
In Wit, as Nature, what affects our hearts
Is not th' exactness of peculiar parts;
'Tis not a lip, or eye, we beauty call,
But the joint force and full result of all.
Thus when we view fome well-proportion'd dome,
(The world's just wonder, and ev'n thine, O Rome!)
No fingle parts unequally furprize,

245.

All comes united to th' admiring eyes; 250

COMMENTARY.

dently, muft always have the appearance of irregularity; often of deformity: Because the Poet's defign being to create a refultive beauty from the artful affemblage of feveral various parts into one natural whole; thofe parts must be fashioned with regard to their mutual relations in the stations they occupy in that whole, from whence, the beauty required is to arife: But that regard will occafion fo unreducible a form in each part, when confidered fingly, as to present a very mis-shapen appearance.

NOTES.

VER. 248 The world's just wonder, and ev'n thine, O Rome!] The Pantheon. There is fomething very Gothic in the taste and judgment of a learned man, who defpifes this master-piece of Art for thofe very qualities which deferve our admiration.--"Nous efmerveillons comme l'on fait fi grand cas de ce Panthe

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66

on, veu que fon edifice n'eft de fi grande industrie comme "l'oncrie: car chaque petit Maffon peut bien concevoir la ma"niere de fa façon tout en un inftant: car eftant la base si mas"five, et les murailles fi efpaiffes, ne nous a femblé difficile d'y

No monftrous height, or breadth, or length appear; 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 fhall be. In ev'ry work regard the writer's End, 255 Since none can compass more than they intend;

COMMENTARY.

VER. 253. Whoever thinks a faultless piece to fee,] He fhews next [from y 252 to 263] that to fix our cenfure on single parts, tho' they happen to want an exactnefs confiftent enough with their relation to the reft, is even then very unjust: And for these reasons, 1. Because it implies an expectation of a faultlefs piece, which is a vain imagination: 2. Because no more is to be expected of any work than that it fairly attains its end: But the end may be attained, and yet thefe trivial faults committed: Therefore, in fpight of such faults, the work will merit that praise that is due to every thing which attains its end. 3. Because fometimes a great beauty is not to be procured, nor a notorious blemish to be avoided, but by fuffering one of thefe minute and trivial errors. 4. And lastly, because the general neglect of them is a praife; as it is the indication of a Genius, bufied about. greater matters.

etc.

NOTES.

"adjoufter la voute à claire voye." Pierre Belon's Obfervations, The nature of the Gothic ftructures apparently led him into this mistake of the Architectonic art in general; that the excellency of it confifted in raising the greatest weight on the leaft affignable support, fo that the edifice fhould have ftrength without the appearance of it, in order to excite admiration. But to a judicious eye it would have a contrary effect, the Appearance (as our poet expreffes it) of a monfirous height or breadth, or length. Indeed did the just proportions in regular Architecture take off from the grandeur of a building, by all the fingle parts coming united to the eye, as this learned traveller feems to infinuate, it would be a reasonable objection to thofe rules on

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260

And if the means be juft, the conduct true,
Applaufe, in fpight of trivial faults, is due.
As men of breeding, fometimes men of wit,
T'avoid great errors, must the less commit:
Neglect the rules each verbal Critic lays,
For not to know some trifles, is a praise.
Moft Critics, fond of some subservient art,
Still make the Whole depend upon a Part:
They talk of principles, but notions prize, 265
And all to one lov'd Folly facrifice.

COMMENTARY.

VER. 263. Moft Critics' fond of fome fubfervient art, etc.] II. The fecond way in which a narrow capacity, as it relates to the matter, fhews itself, is judging by a favorite Part. The author has placed this [from y 262 to 285] after the other of judging by parts, with great propriety, it being indeed a natural confequence of it. For when men have once left the whole to turn their attention to the feparate parts,that regard and reverence due only to a whole is fondly transferred to one or other of its parts. And thus we see that Heroes themselves as well as Heromakers, even Kings as well as Poets and Critics, when they chance never to have had, or long to have loft the idea of that which is the only legitimate object of their office, the care and confervation of the whole, are wont to devote themselves to the fervice of fome favourite part, whether it be love of money, military glory, defpotic power, etc. And all, as our Author fays on this occafion,

to one lov'd Folly facrifice.

NOTES.

which this Mafter-piece of Art was conftructed, But it is not fo. The Poet tells us,

The Whole at once is BOLD and regular.

Once on a time, La Mancha's Knight, they fay, A certain Bard encount'ring on the way, Discours'd in terms as juft, with looks as fage, As e'er could Dennis, of the Grecian stage; 270 Concluding all were defp'rate fots and fools, Who durft depart from Ariftotle's rules. Our Author happy in a judge fo nice,

Produc'd his Play, and begg'd the Knight's advice;

COMMENTARY.

This general mifconduct much recommends that maxim in good Poetry and Politics, to give a principal attention to the whole; a maxim which our author has elsewhere fhewn to be equally true likewise in Morals and Religion; as being founded in the order of things: For, if we examine, we fhall find the misconduct to arife from this imbecillity of our nature, that the mind must always have something to rest upon, to which the paffions and affections may be intereftingly directed. Nature prompts us to feek it in the moft worthy object; and common sense points out to a Whole or Syftem: But Ignorance, and the false lights of the Paffions, confound and dazzle us; we stop short, and before we get to a Whole, take with fome Part; which from thence becomes our Favourite.

NOTES.

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VER, 267. Once on a time, etc.] This tale is fo very appofite, that one would naturally take it to be of the Poet's own invention; and so much in the spirit of Cervantes, that we might easily mistake it for one of the chief strokes of that incomparable Satire. Yet, in truth, it is neither; but a story taken by our Author from the Spurious Don Quixote; which shews how proper an use may be made of General reading, when if there is but one good thing in a book (as in that wretched performance there fcarce was more) it may be pick'd out, and employ'd to an excellent purpose.

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