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mongst them; and I shall obtain this, if the world will be fo good-natured as to believe writers that give their own characters: upon which prefumption, I anfwer to all objections before-hand, as follows:

When I am literal, I regard my author's words ; when I am not, I tranflate in fpirit. If I am low, I choose the narrative ftile; if high, the subject required it. When I am enervate,, I give an inftance of antient fimplicity; when affected, 1 fhew a point of modern delicacy. As for beauties, there never can be one found in me which was not really intended; and for any faults, they proceeded from too unbounded fancy, or too nice judgment, but by no means from any. defect in either of those faculties.


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that editions of authors, the interpretations of them, and the judgment which is paffed upon each, are the three branches into which the art divides itself. But the last of these, that directs the choice of books, and takes care to prepare us for reading them, is, by the learned Bacon, called the chair of the critics. In this chair, to carry on the figure, have fat Aristotle, Demetrius Phalereus, Dionyfius Halicarnaffenfis, Cicero, Horace, Quintilian, and Longinus; all great names of antiquity, the cenfors of those ages which went before them, and the directors of thofe

those that come after them, with respect to the natural and perfpicuous manner of thought and expreffion, by which a correct and judicious genius may be able to write for the pleasure and profit of mankind.

But whatever has been advanced by men really great in themselves, has been alfo attempted by others of capacities either unequal to the undertaking, or which have been corrupted by their paffions, and drawn away into partial violences: fo that we have fometimes feen the province of criticism ufurped, by fuch who judge with, an obfcure diligence, and a certain drynefs of understanding, incapable of comprehending a figurative file, or being moved by the beauties of imagination; and at other times by fuch, whofe natural morofenefs in general, or particular designs of envy, has rendered them indefatigable against the reputation of others.

In this last manner is ZOILUS represented to usby antiquity, and with a character so abandoned, that his name has been fince made ufe of to brand all fucceeding critics of his complexion. He has a load of infamy thrown upon him, great, in proportion to the fame of HOMER, against whom he oppofed himself: if the one was efteemed as the very refidue of wit, the other is defcribed as a profligate, who would deftroy the temple of Apollo and the mufes, in order to have his memory preserved by the envious action. I imagine it may be no ungrateful undertaking to write some account of

celebrated perfon, from whom so many derive their character; and I think the life of a critic is not unfeasonably put before the works of his poet, efpecially when his cenfures accompany him. If what he advances be juft, he stands here as a cenfor; if otherwife, he appears as an addition to the poet's fame, and is placed before him with the juftice of antiquity in its facrifices, when, because such a beast had offended fuch a deity, he was brought annually to his altar to be flain upon it.

ZOILUS was born at Amphipolis, a city of Thrace, during the times in which the Macedonian. empire flourished. Who his parents were is not certainly known, but if the appellation of Thracian Slave, which the world applied to him, be not merely an expreffion of contempt, it proves him of mean extraction. He was a difciple of one Polycrates a fophift, who had diftinguished himself by writing against the names of the ages before him; and who, when he is mentioned as his master, is faid to be particularly famous for a bitter accufation or invective against the memory of Socrates. In this manner is ZOILUS fet out to pofterity, like a plant naturally baneful, and having its poison rendered more acute and fubtile by a preparation.

In his perfon he was tall and meagre, his complexion was pale, and all the motions of his face were sharp. He is reprefented by Elian, with a beard nourished to a prodigious length, and his. head kept close fhaved, to give him a magisterial


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