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Be Homer's works your study and delight,
When first young Maro, in his boundless mind 134
150 May boldly deviate from the common track; From vulgar bounds with brave disorder part, And snatch a grace beyond the reach of art, Which, without passing through the judgnient, gains The heart, and all its ends at once attains. In prospects thus, some objects please our eyes, Which out of nature's common order rise, The shapeless rock, or hanging precipice. Great wits sometimes may gloriously offend, And rise to faults true critics dare not mend. 160
But though the ancients thus their rules invade
I know there are, to whose presumptuous thoughts
array, But with the occasion, and the place comply, Conceal his force, nay seem sometimes to fly. Those oft are stratagems which errors seem, Nor is it Homer nods, but we that dream, 130
Still green with bays each ancient altar stands, Above the reach of sacrilegious hands; Secure from flames, from envy's fiercer rage, Destructive war, and all-involving age. See from each clime the learn'd their incense bring' Hear, in all tongues consenting Pæans ring ! In praise so just let every voice be join'd, And fill the general chorus of mankind. Hail! bards triumphant! born in happier days; Immortal heirs of universal praise!
1993 Whose honours with increase of ages grow, As streams roll down, enlarging as they flow; Nations unborn your mighty names shall sound, And worlds applaud that must not yet be found! 0 may some spark of your celestial fire, The last, the meanest of your sons inspire, (That, on weak wings, from far pursues your flights Glows while he reads, but trembles as he writes,)
To teach vain wits a science little known,
PART II. Causes hindering a true judgment. 1. Pride, ver. 201.
2. Imperfect learning, ver. 215. 3. Judging by parts, and not by the whole, ver. 233 to 288. Critics in wit, language, versification, only, 288, 305, 339, &c. 4. Being too hard to please, or too apt to admire, ver. 384. 5. Partiality-too much love to a sect--to the ancients or moderns, ver. 394. 6. Prejudice or prevention, ver. 408. 7. Singularity, ver. 424. 8. Inconstancy ver 430. 9. Party spirit, ver. 452, &c. 10. Envy, ver. 466 Against envy, and in praise of good-nature, ver. 508, &c. When severity is chiefly to be used by the critics, ver. 526, &c.
Of all the causes which conspire to blind Man's erring judgment, and misguide the mind, What the weak head with strongest bias rules, Is pride; the never-failing vice of fools. Whatever nature has in worth denied, She gives in large recruits of needful pride! For as in bodies, thus in souls, we find What wants in blood and spirits, swell’d with wind. Pride, where wit fails, steps in to our defence, And fills up all the mighty void of sense. 21° If once right reason drives that cloud away, Truth breaks upon us with resistless day.. Trust not yourself; but, your defects to know Make use of every friend and every foe. A little learning is a dangerous thing ! Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring; There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again. Fired at first sight with what the muse imparts, In fearless youth we tempt the height of arts, 220 While from the bounded level of our mind, Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind ;
But more advanced, behold with strange surprise
A perfect judge will read each work of wit
210 That, shunning faults, one quiet tenor keep; We cannot blame indeed--but we may sleep. In wit, as nature, what affects our hearts Is not the 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 some well-proportion'd dome, (The world's just wonder, and e'en thine, oh Rome! No single parts unequally surprise ; All comes united to the admiring eyes :
250 No monstrous height, or breadth, or length appear : The whole at once is bold, and regular.
Whoever thinks a faultless piece to see,
Neglect the rule each verbal critic lays ;
Once on a time, La Mancha's knight, they say,
So vast a throng the stage can ne'er contain.'"Then build a new, or act it on a plain.'
Thus critics of less judgment than caprice,
Some to conceit alone their taste confine,