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The face of Nature pe no more survey,
Not so when swift Camilla scours the plain, All glares alike, without distinction gay:
| Flies o'er th' unbending corn, and skins along the But true expression, like th' unchanging Sun,
main. Clears and improves whate'er it shines upon; Hear how Timotheus' vary'd lays surprise, It gilds all objects, but it alters none.
And bid alternate passions fall and rise! Expression is the dress of thought, and still
Whilc, at each change, the son of Libyan Jove Appears more decent, as more suitable:
Now burns with glory, and then melts with love; A vile conceit in pompous words express'd, 320 Now his fierce eyes with sparkling fury glow, Is like a clown in regal purple dress’d:
Now sighs steal out, and tears begin to flow: For different styles with different subjects sort, Persians and Greeks like turns of nature found, As several garbs, with country, town, and court. And the world's victor stood subdued by sound! Some by old words to fame have made pretence, | The power of music all our hearts allow, Ancients in phrase, mere moderns in their sense; | And what Timotheus was, is Dryden now. Such labour'd nothings, in so strange a style, | Avoid extremes; and shun the fault of such, Amaze th' unlearn'd, and make the learned smile. Who still are pleased too little or too much. Unlucky, as Fungoša in the play,
At every trifle scorn to take offence, These sparks with awkward vanity display
That always shows great pride, or little sense; What the fire gentleman wore yesterday,
Those heads, as stomachs, are not sure the best, And but so inimic ancient wits at best,
Which nauseate all, and nothing can digest. As apes our grandsires in their doublets drest. Yet let not each gay turn thy rapture move; In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold; For Fools admire, but men of sense approve: Alike fantastic, if too new or old:
As things seem large which we through mists des ry, Be not the first by whom the new are try'd,
Dulness is ever apt to magnify.
1394 Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.
Some foreign writers, some our own despise; But most by numbers judge a poet's song; (338 The ancients only, or the moderns prize: And smooth or rough, with them, is right or wrong : Thus vit, like faith, by each man is apply'd la the bright Muse though thousand charms con To one small sect, and all are damn'd beside. spire,
Meanly they seek the blessing to confine, Her voice is all these tuneful fools admire;
And force that sun but on a part to shine, Who haunt Parnassus but to please their ear, Which not alone the southern wit sublimes, Not mend their minds; as some to church repair, '' But ripens spirits in cold northern climes; Not for the doctrine, but the music there.
Which from the first has shone on ages past, These, equal syllables alone require,
Enlights the present, and shall warm the last; Though oft the ear the open vowels tires
Though each may feel increases and decays, While expletires their feeble aid do join,
And see now clearer and now darker days. And ten low words oft creep in one dull line: Regard not then if wit be old or rew, While they ring round the same unvary'd chimcs, But blarne the false, and value still the true. With sure returns of still expected rhymes;
Some ne'er advance a judgment of their own, Where'er you find “ the cooling western breeze," But catch the spreading notion of the town; In the next line it " whispers through the trees:" | They reason and conclude by precedent, If chrystal streams ļ with pleasing murmurs And own stale nonsense which they ne'er invent. Creep."
Some judge of authors names, not works, and then The reader's threaten'd (not in vain) with “sleep:” | Nor praise nor blame the writings, but the men. 413 Then at the last and only couplet fraught
Of all this servile herd, the worst is he
What woeful stuff this madrigal would be,
join. But let a lord once own the happy lines, Where Denham's strength and Waller's sweetness How the wit brightens ! how the style refines ! True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, [363 Before his sacred name flies every fault, As those move easiest wlio have learn'd to dance. | And each exalted stanza teems with thought! 'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence,
The vulgar thus through imitation err; The sound must seem an echo to the sense : '
| As oft the learn'd by being singular; Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
So much they scorn the crowd, that if the throng And the smooth stream in smoother numbers fows; By chance go right, they purposely go wrong: But when loud surges lash the sounding shore, 368 So schismatics the plain believers quit, 428 The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar.'| And are but damn'd for having too much wit. When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to Some praise at morning what they blame at night, throw,
But always think the lagt opinion right.
A Muse by these is like a mistress us'd,
While their weak heads, like towns unfortify'd,
'Twixt sense and nonsense daily change their side. Ver. 320. Ed. 1. A vile conceit in pompous style express'd.
VARIATIONS Ver. 338. Ed. 1 And smooth or rough, with such, Ver. 394. Ed. 1. Some the French writers, &c. Ver. 363, 364. These lines are added. [&c. Ver. 413. Ed. l. Nor praise nor damn, &c. Ver. 368. But wben loud billows, &c.
| Ver. 428. So schismatics the dull, &c. VOL. XII
Ask them the cause; they're wiser still, they say ;, When mollowing years their full perfection gire, And still tomorrow's wiser than to day.
And each bold figure just begins to live; (490 We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow; . The treacherous colours the fair art betray, Our wiser suns, no doubt, will think us so.
And all the bright creation fades away! Once school-divines this zealous isle o'erspread; Unhappy wit, like most mistaken things, Who knew most sentences was deepest read: Atones not for that envy which it brings; 495 Faith, gospel, all, seem'd made to be disputed, In youth alone its empty praise we boast, And none had sense enough to be confuted:
But soon the shortlivid vanity is lost; Scotists and Thomists, now in peace remain, Like some fair flower the early spring supplies, Amis: their kindred cobwebs in Duck-lane.
That gayly blooms, but ev'n in blooming dies. If Faith itself has different dresses worn,
What is this Wit, which must our cares emplov? What wonder modes in Wit should take their turn? The owner's wife, that other men enjoy; • (500 Oft, leaving what is natural and fit,
1417 The most our trouble still when most aclmir'd, The current folly proves the ready wit;
And still the more we give, the more requir'd: And authors think their reputation safe,
Whose fame with pains we gaard, but lose with ease, Which lives as long as fools are pleas'd to laugh. Sure some to vex, but never all to please;
Somi, valuing those of their own side or inind, 'Tis what the vicious fear, the virtuous shun;
ill make themselves the measure of mankind : By fools 'tis hated, and by knares undone! Frondly we think we honour inerit then,
If Wit so much from Ignorance undergo, 509 When we but praise ourselves in other men.
Ah, let not Learning too commence its fue! Parties in wit attend on those of state,
Of old, those met rewards, who could excel, And public faction doubles private hatc.
And such were prais'd who but endeavour'd well; Pride, Malice, Folly, against Dryden rose,
Though triumphs were to generals only due, In various shapes of parsons, critics, beaux: Crowns were reserved to grace the soldiers too. But sense surviv'd, when merry jests were past;
Now they who reach Parnassus' lofty crown, 51% For rising merit will buoy up at last.
Employ their pains to spurn some others down; Might he return, and bless once more our eyes, | And while self-love each jealous writer rules, New Blackinores and new Milbourns must arise: Contending wits become the sport of fools: Nav, should great Homer lift his awful head, But still the worst with most regret commend, Zoilus again would start up from the dead.
For cach ill author is as bad a friend. 519 Envy will Merit, as its shade, pursue;
| To what base ends, and by what abject ways, But, like a shadow, proves the substance true:
Are mortals urg'd through sacred lust of praise !
Nor in the critic let the man be lost.
To err, is human; to forgive, divinc.
But if in noble minds some dregs remain, Reflect new glories, and augment the day.
Not yet purg'd off, of spleen and sour disdain ; Be thou the first, true merit to befriend;
Discharge that rage on inore provoking crimes, His praise is lost, who stavs till all commeud. Nor fear a dearth in these flagitious times. Short is the date, alas, of modern rhymes,
| No pardon vile obscenity should find, and 'tis but just to let them live betimes.
Though wit and art conspire to move your minds No longer now that golden age appears,
But dulness with obscenity minst prove When patriarcb-uits surviv'd a thousand years:
As shameful sure as impotence in love. Now length of fame (our second life) is lost,
In the fat age of pleasure, wealth, and ease, And bare threescore is all ev'u that can boast; Sprang the rank weed, and thriv'd with large ine Our sons their fathers' failing language see,
When love was all an easy monarch's care; (creases And such as Chaucer is, shall Dryden be.
Seldom at council, never in a var: So when the faithful pencil has design'd .
Jilts rul'd the state, and statesmen farces writ ; Some bright idea of the master's mind, 485 | Nay wits had pensions, and young lor:is had wit: Where a new world leaps out at his command, The fair sat panting at a courtier's play, and ready Nature waits upon his hand:
| And not a mask went unimprov'd away:
Ver. 492. The treacherous colours in few years de
Ver. 495. Repays not half that envy, &c. (cay. yer. 447. Between this and ver. 448.
Ver. 498. The rhyming clowns that gladded Shakespeare'
s L ike some fair flower that in the spring does rise. age,
Ver. 500. What is this wit that does our cares em. No more with crambo entertain the stage. | Ver. 502.
(ploy? Who now in anagrains their patron praise,
The inore his trouble as the more admir'd; Or sing their mistress in acrostic lays ?
Where wanted, scorn'd: and envy'd where ac Ev'n pulpits pleas'd with merry puns of yore;
quir'd ; Now all are banish'al to th' Hibernian shore ! Maintain'd with pains, but forfeited with case, Thus leaving what was natural and fit,
&c. The current folly prov'd their ready wit;
Ver. 508. Ed. 1. Too much does Wit, &c. And anthors thought their reputation safe, Ver. 514. Now those that reach, &c.
Which liv'd as long as fools were plcas'd to laugh. | l'cr. 519. And each, &c. Ver. 105. Ed. 1. Some fair wea, &
( Ver. 521. Are mortals urg'd by sacred, &c.
The modest fan was lifted up no more,
| Fear most to tax an honourable fool, And virgins smild at what they blush'd before. Whose right it is, uncensur'd, to be dull! The following license of a foreign reign
Such, without wit, are pocts when they please, Did all the dregs of bold Socinus drain;
As without learning they can take degrees. Then unbelieving priests reform'd the nation, [547 | Leave dangerous truths to unsuccessful satires, And taught more pleasant methods of salvation; And flattery to some fulsome dedicators, Where Heaven's free subjects might their rights dis- | Whom, when they praise, the world believes no Lest God himself should seem too absolute: (pute,
more Pulpits their sacred satire learn'd to spare,
Than when they promise to give scribbling o'er. And Vice admir'd to find a flatterer there!
'Tis best sometimes your censure to restrain, Encourag'd thus, Wit's Titans brav'd the skies, And charitably let the dull be vain:
597 And the press groan'd with licens'd blasphemies. Your silence there is better than your spite, These monsters, critics! with your darts engage, For who can rail so long as they can write ? Here point your thunder, and exhaust your rage! Still humming on, their drowzy course they keep, Yet shun their fault, who, scandalously nice, And lash'd so long, like tops, are lash'd asleep. Will needs mistake an author into vice;
False steps but help them to renew the race, All seems infected that th' infected spy,
As, after stumbling, jades will mend their pace. As all looks yellow to the jaundic'd eye.
What crowds of these, impenitently bold, Learn then what morals critics ought to show: In sounds and jingling syllables grown old, For 'tis but half a judge's task, to know. (562 Still run on poets, in a raging vein, 'Tis not enough, taste, judgment, learning, join; Ev'n to the dregs and squeezings of the brain, In all you speak, let truth and candour shine; Strain out the last dull dropping of their sense, That not alone what to your sense is due
And rhyme with all the rage of impotence ! All may allow, but seek your friendship too.
Such shameless bards we have : and yet'tis true. Be silent always, when you doubt your sense: There are as mad, abandon'd critics too. And speak, though sure, with sceming diffidence: The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read, Some positive, persisting fops we know,
With loads of learned lumber in his head, Who, if once wrong, will needs be always so; 569 With his own tongue still edifies his ears, But you, with pleasure, own your errours past, And always listening to himself appears. And make each day a critiqne on the last.
All books he reads, and all he reads assails, 'Tis not enough your counsel still be true; From Dryden's Fables down to Durfey's Tales : Blunt truths more mischief than nice falsehoods do : With him most authors steal their works, or buys Men must be taught as if you taught them not, Garth did not write his own Dispensary. 619 And things unknown propos'd as things forgot. 575 Name a new play, and he's the poet's friend, Without good-breeding truth is disapprov'd; Nay show'd his faults-but when would poets That only makes superior sense belov'd.
No place so sacred from such fops is barr'd. (mend ? Be niggards of advice on no pretence;
Nor is Paul's church more safe than Paul's churchFor the worst avarice is that of sense.
yard : With mean complacence, ne'er betray your trust, Nay, fly to altars; there they'll talk you dead, 62 Nor be so civil as to prove unjust.
For fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Fear not the anger of the wise to raise;
Distrustful sense with modest caution speaks, Those best can bear reproof, who merit praise. | It still looks home, and short excursions makes:
"Twere well might critics still this freedom take: | But rattling nonsense in full vollies breaks,
But where's the man, who counsel can bestow,
Unbiass'd, or by favour, or by spite;
Not dully prepossessid, nor blindly right; 634 following lines, as containing a national reflection, | Modestly bold and humanly severe :
(sincere; which in bis stricter iudyment he could not but disapprove on any people whatever : Then first the Belgians' morals were extollid;
VARIATIONS. We their religion had, and they our gold. Ver. 597. And charitably let dull fools be vain Ver. 562. 'Tis not enough, wit, art, and learning | Ver. 600.
Still humming on, their old dull course they keep. Ver. 564. That not alone what to your judgment's
NOTE. Ver. 569. That if once wrong, &c. (due. Ver. 619. Garth did not write, &c.] A common Ver. 575. And things ne'er know, &c. (prov'd slander at that time in prejudice of that deserving Ver. 576. Without good-breeding truth is not ap- author. Our poet did him this justice, when that NOTE.
slander most prevailed; and it is now (perhaps the Ver. 586. And stares treinendous, &c.] This pic sooner for this very verse) dead and forgotten. ture was taken to himself by John Dennis, a furious Ver. 623. Between this and ver. 624. old critic by profession, who, upon no other provo- | In vain you shrug and sweat, and strive to fly; cation, wrote against this Essay, and its author, in These know no manners but of poetry: a manner perfectly lunatic : for, as to the mention They'll stop a hungry chaplain in his grace, made of him in ver. 270, he took it as a compli- ! To treat of unities of time and place. ment, and said it was treacherously meant to cause | Ver. 624. Nay run to altars, &c. him to overluok this abuse of his person.
| Ver. 634 Not dully prepossess'd, or blindly right
Who to a friend his faults can freely show,
Thus long succeeding critics justly reign'de And gladly praise the merit of a foe?
License repress'd, and useful laws ordain'd. Blest with a taste exact, yet unconfin'd;
Learning and Rome alike in empire grew, A knowledge both of books and human kind; And Arts still follow'd where her eagles flew; Gen rous converse ; a soul exempt from pride; From the same foes, at last, both felt their doom, And love to praise, with reason on his side ?
And the same age saw Learning fall, and Rome. Such once were critics; such the happy few With Tyranny, then Superstition join'd, Athens and Rome in better ages knew :
As that the body, this enslav'd the mind; The mighty Stagyrite first left the shore, [646 Much was believed, but little understood,
689 Spread all his sails, and durst the deeps explore : And to be dull was construed to be good : He steer'd securely, and discover'd far,
A second deluge Learning thus o'er-ran, Led by the light of the Mæunjan star.
And the Monks finish'd what the Goths began. Poets, a race long unconfin'd and free,
At length Erasmus, that great injur'd name, Still fond and proud of sarage liberty,
(The glory of the priesthood, and the shame!) Receiv'd his laws; and stood convinc d 'twas fit, Stem'd the wild torrent of a barbarous age, Who conquer'd Nature, should preside o'er Wit. And drove those holy Vandals off the stage.
Horace still charms with graceful negligence, But see! each Muse, in Leo's golden days, And without method talks us into sense,
Starts from her trance, and trims her wither'd Will like a friend, familiarly convey
bays; The truest notions in the easiest way. 656 Rome's ancient Genius, o'er its ruins spread, He who supreme in judgment, as in wit,
Shakes off the dust, and rears his reverend headka Might boldly censure, as he boldly writ,
Then Sculpture and her sister-arts revive; Yet judg'd with coolness, though he sung with fire; Stones leap'd to form, and rocks began to live; His precepts teach but what bis works inspire. With sweeter notes each rising temple rung; Our critics take a contrary extreme,
A Raphael painted, and a Vida sung. They judge with fury, but they write with phlegm : Immortal Vida: on whose honour'd brow Nor suffers Horace more in wrong translations The poet's bays and critic's ivy grow : By wits, than erities in as wrong quotations. Cremona now shall ever boast thy name, See Dionysius Homer's thoughts retine,
As next in place to Mantua, next in fame! And call new beauties forth from every line!
But soon, by impious arms from Latium chas'd, Fancy and art in gay Petronius please, [668 Their ancient bounds the banish'd Muses pass'd: The scholar's learning, with the courtier's ease.
Thence arts o'er all the northern world advance, :
And Boileau still in right of Horace sways.
Fierce for the liberties of Wit, and bold,
We still dety'd the Romans, as of old. And bless their critic with a poet's fire.
Yet some there were among the sounder few An ardent judge, who, zealous in his trust,
Of those who less presum'd, and better knew, With warmth gives sentence, yet is always just;
Who durst assert the juster ancient cause, H'hose own example strengthens all his laws;
And here restor'd Wit's fundamental laws. [723 And is himself that great Sublime he draws.
Such was the Muse, whose rules and practice tell, “ Nature's chief master-piece is writing well.”
Such was Roscommon, not more leam'd than good, VARIATIONS.
With manners generous as his noble blood; Between ver. 646 and 649, I found the following
To him the wit of Greece and Rome was known, lines, since suppressed by the author :
And every author's merit but his own. That bold Columbus of the realms of wit,
Such late was Walshathe Muse's judge and friend, Whose first discovery's not exceeded yet,
Who justly knew to blame or to commend; Led by the light of the Mæonian star,
| To failings mild, but zealous for desert; He steer'd securely and discover'd far.
The clearest head, and the sincerest heart. He, when all Nature was subdued before,
This humble praise, lamented shade! receive, Like his great pupil, sigh'd, and long'd for more : This praise at least a grateful Muse may give: Fancy's wild regions yet unvanquish'd lay,
The Muse, whose early voice you taught to sing, A boundless cmpire, and that own'd no sway. Prescrib'd her heights, and prun'd her tender wing, Pocts, &c.
(Her guide now lost) no more attempts to rise, After ver. 648. the first edition reads,
But in low nuinbers short excursions tries: [view, Not only Nature did his laws obey,
Content, if hence th' unlearn'd their wants may But Fancy's boundless empire own'd his sway. The learn'd reflect on what before they knew : Ver. 655. Docs, like a friend, &c. Ver. 655, 656. These lines are not in Ed. 1. Ver. 668. The scholar's learning and the courtjer's
VARIATIONS. Ver. 673, &c.
sease. | Ver. 689. All was believed, but nothing under Nor thus alone the curious eye to please,
stood. But to be found, when need requires, with ease. Between ver. 690 and 691, the author omitted these The Muses sure Longinus did inspire,
Vain wits and critics were no more allow'd, stwo: And bless'd their critic with a poet's fire.
When none but saints had license to be proudo Ap ardent judge, that zealous, &c.
| Ver. 723, 724. These lipes ate not in Echt
Careless of censure, nor too fond of fame; | importance. These machines i determined to Still pleas'd to praise, yet not afraid to blame; raise on a very vew and odd foundation, the Rosi. Averse alike, to flatter or oflend;
Crusian doctrine of spirits. Not free from faults, nor yet too vain to mend, I know how disagreeable it is to make use of
hard words before a lady ; but it is so much the concern of a poet to have his works understood,
and particularly by your sex, that you must give THE RAPE OF THE LOCK:
me leave to explain two or three difficult terms. AN HEROI-COMICAL POEM.
The Rosiernsians are a people I must bring you WRITTEN IN THE YEAR M DCC XI.
acquainted with. The best account I know of
thein is in a French book called Le Cointe de Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos;
Gabalis, which, both in its title and size, is so Sed juvat, hoc precibus me tribuisse tuis.
like a novel, that many of the fair sex have read Mart.
it for one by mistake. According to these gentle
men, the four elements are inhabited by spirits It appears by the motto, that the following poem which they call Sylphs, Gnomes, Nymphs, and
was written or published at the lady's request : Salamanders. The Gnomes, or Demons of Earth, But there are some further circunstances not delight in mischief; but the Sylphs, whose habiunworthy relating. Mr. Caryl (a gentleinantation is in the air, are the best-conditioned creawho was secretary to queen Mary, wite of tures imaginable ; for they say, any inortals may James II. whose fortunes he followed into France, enjoy the most intimate familiarities with these author of the coinedy of Sir Solomon Single, I gentle spirits, upon a condition very easy to all and of several translations in Dryden's Miscel- | true adepts, an inviolate preservation of chaslanies) originally proposed the subject to him, tity. in a view of putting an end, hy this piece of As to the following cantos, all the passages of ridicule, to a quarrel that was risen between then are as fabulous as the vision at the beginning, two noble families, those of lord Petre and of or the transformation at the end (except the loss Mrs. Fermor, on the trilling occasion of his hav- of your hair, which I always mention with reveing cut off a lock of her hair. The author sent rence). The human persons are as fictitious as it to the lady, with whom he was acquainted; the airy ones, and the character of Belinda, as it and she took it so well as too give about copies is now managed, resembles you in nothing but in of it. That first sketch (we learn froin one of beauty, his letters) was written in less than a fortnight, If this poem bad as many graces as there are in 1711, in two Cantos only; and it was so in your person, or in your mind, yet I could never printed, first, in a Miscellany of Bern. Lintot's, I hope it should pass through the world half so unwithout the name of the author : but it was re- censured as you have done. But let its fortune be ceived so well, that he made it more consider what it will, mine is happy enough, to have given able the next year, by the addition of the ma ine this occasion of assuring you, that I am, with chinery of the Sylphs, and extended it to live the trucsi esteem, Cantos. We shall give the reader the pleasure
madam, of seeing in what inanner these additions were
your most obedient, humble scrvant, inserted, so as to scem not to be added, but to
A. POPE. grow out of the poem. Sec Canto l. ver. 19, &c.
THE RAPE OF THE LOCK, This iusertion he always esteemed, and justly, the greatest effort of his skill and art as a poet,
| Wuat dire offence froin amorous causes springs, TO MRS. ARABELLA FERIOR. What inighty contests rise from trivial things,
I sing--this verse to Caryl, Muse! is due: MADAM,
This er'n Belinda may vouchsafe to view: It will be in vain to deny that I have some regard | Slight is the subject, but not so the praise', for this piece, since i dedicate it to you ; yet you If she inspire, and he approve my lays. may bear me witness, it was intended only to di- Say what strange motive, goddess! could compel vert a few young ladies, who have good sense and A well-bred lord t' assault a gentle belle? good humour enough to laugh not only at their lo say what stranger cause, yet unexplor'd, sex's little unguarded follies, but at their own. Could make a gentle belle reject a lord ? But as it was cominunicated with the air of a in tasks so bold, can little men engage?
11 secret, it soon found its way into the world. An and in soft bosomis dwells such mighty rage? imperfect copy having been offered to a book! Sulthrough white curtains shot a timorous say, seller, you had the good-nature for my sake to | And ope'd those eves that must eclipse the day: consent to the publication of one more correct. This I was forced to, before I had executed half
VARIATIONS. my design, for the machinery was entirely want
Ver. 11, 12. It was in the first editions, ing to complete it,
And dwells such rage in softest bosoms then, The machinery, madam, is a term invented by [ And lodge such daring souls in little men? the critics, to signify that part which the deities, angels, or demons, are made to act in a poem :
| Ver. 13, &c. stood thus in the first edition : for the ancient poets are in one respect like many
Sol through white curtains did his bears display, modern ladies ; let an action be never so trivial in! And ope'd those eyes which brighter shonc that itself, they always make it appear of the utmost | they;