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Nay tho' at Court (perhaps) it may find grace:
» Such they'll degrade; and fometimes, in its ftead;
" 14 In downright charity revive the dead;
Mark where a bold expreffive phrafe appears,
Bright thro' the rubbish of some hundred years;
Cominand old words that long have flept, to wake,
Words, that wife Bacon, or brave Rawleigh spake;
Or bid the new be English, ages hence,

165

(For Use will father whats begot by Sense)
Pour the full tide of eloquence along,
Serenely pure, and yet divinely ftrong,
Rich with the treasures of each foreign tongue;
Prune the luxuriant, the uncouth refine,

NOTES.

,,rance at the fame time, a kind of feminine curiofity in the ,,choice of words; cautioufly avoiding and reprobating all fuck

Et mugire folum, manefque exire fepulchris.
Horace has not the fame force,

170

(which were not feldom the most expreffive) as had been prophaned by a too vulgar ufe, or had fuffered the touch of some Other accidental taint. This ran us into periphrafis and general y ,,expreffion; the peculiar bane of every polifhed language.. Eng. Commentary and Notes on the Ars poetica of Horace, p. 43, 44.

VER. 167. Command old words, that long have slept, to wake) The imagery is here very fublime. It turns the Poet to a Magician evoking the dead from their fepulchres,

Proferet in lucem fpeciofa vocabula rerum.

VER. 170. For Use will father what's begot by Senfe) A very fine and happy improvement on the expreffion, if not on the thought, of his original.

VER. 174. Prune the luxuriant, &c.) Our Poet, at about fifteen, got acquainted with walsh, whose candor and judgment he has celebrated in his Essay on Criticism. Walsh encouraged him greatly, and used to tell him, there was one road ftill open for diftinction, in which he might excell the rest of his country

Fundet opes, Latiumque beabit divite lingua:
Luxuriantia compefcet: nimis afpera fano
Levabit cultu, virtute carentia tollet:

NOTES.

Cur

men, and that was by correctness, in which the English poets had been remarkably deficient. For tho' we have had feveral great Genius's, yet not one of them knew how to prune his luxurian cies. This therefore, as he had talents that feem capable of things worthy improving, fhould be his principal ftudy. young Author followed his advice, till habit made correcting the moft agreeable, as well as useful, of all his poetical exercises. And the delight he took in it produced the effect he speaks of in the following lines,

Then polish all with fo much life and cafe,

You think 'tis nature, and a knack to please.

We are not commonly taught to expect this effect from corre8 &tion; and it has been obferved oftener to produce a heavy ftiffness, which by another image the ancients called fmelling of the lamp. And without doubt this will, moft an end, be the confequence, when it is difcharged with pain, and merely, as a talk. But when it becomes an exercife of pleafure, the judgment lving no harder on the fancy than to direct its fallies; will préserve the life; and the fancy will fo lighten the judgment as to produce eafe.

VER. 175. But fhow no mercy to an empty lines) To fuch, Unless it was once, when in our Poet was always inexorable. the full blaze of his glory, he chofe to facrifice to envy, in thas devoted and execrable line, in one of the beft tranflated books of the Odyffey,

,,Close to the Cliff with both his hands he clung,
And stuck adherent, and suspended hung.

The tribe of fmall wits and critics could never have fupported themselves without the confolation of fuch a verfe, to which they have ever fince fuck adberent, and suspended hung. Shakespear afforded the Dunces of his time the fame confolation, if we beIlieve Ben Joh fon, by his Cafar did never wrong but with just caufe. But there is a fort of ftill lower Creatures, at the tail of

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But fhow no mercy to an empty line:
Then polifh all, with fo much life and eafe,
You think 'tis Nature, and a knack to please:

--

NOTES.

which is one EDWARDS, who can make fhift to fubfift even
on a Printer's blunder. The late Editor of Shakespear gave order
to the corrector of the prefs, that all Mr, Pope's notes fhould be
printed in their places. In one of these there was mention made,
as they fay, of fome italian novels (I forget whofe) in which Dec,
and Nov. were printed us contractedly. But the printers of the
late edition lengthen'd them into December and November, and, in
this condition, they are charged upon the Editor by this 'wards.
Now, was the man fuch a Dunce to make his criticism with
good faith, he is much to be pitied; was he fuch a Knave to
make it without, he is much more to be pitied.
VER. 176. Then polish all, &c.) A celebrated French writer
fays ,,L'art d'etre eloquent en vers eft de tous les arts le plus
,,difficile, & le plus rare. On trouvera mille Genies qui fauront
aranger un ouvrage, & le verfifier d'une maniere commune ;
mais le traiter en vrai Poete, c'eft un talent qui eft donné à
,,trois ou quatre hommes fur la terre.

175

VER. 177. You think 'tis Nature, and a knack to please:) The reason is because we are wont to give to rature every thing that is plain, eafy, and fimple; without refe&ting, that that arti ficial ordonance of words and expreffion, from whence this eafe arifes, is the effect of much ftudy and application. It is true, that ftudy is commonly observed to deftroy this very ease, which, we fay, arifes from it. It may, and will do fo in a commen writer; but never, in a genius. The precisely right expression}} is but one, while the meaning required may be tolerably con-1) veyed in one hundred. But in fuch a croud, the fearch requires labour; and when you have it upon the right, unless you haven taste as well as judgment, you will never know, for certain, that, it is the very thing you feek; fo you go on till you are tired, and then the first that offers is received. Whereas a genius feizes it as foon as found, and never fuffers the change to be put upon him by its counterfeit.

7

Ludentis fpeciem dabit, & torquebitur, ut qui
Nunc Satyrum, nunc agreftem Cyclopa movetur.
15 Praetulerim fcriptor delirus inersque videri,
Dum mea delectent mala me, vel denique fallant,
Quam fapere, & ringi. Fuit haud ignobilis Argis,
Qui fe credebat miros audire tragoedos,
In vacuo laetus feffor plauforque theatro :
Caetera qui vitae fervaret munia recto
More; bonus fane vicinus, amabilis hofpes,
Comis in uxorem ; poffet qui ignofcere fervis,
Et figno laefo non infanire lagenae :

NOTES.

VER. 178. But eafe in writing, &e.) That fpecies of writers, which our Poet eliewhere calls

The mob of Gentlemen who wrote with ease, understood this quality of a poem to belong only to fuch as (a certain wit fays) were eafily written; whereas he fuppofes it to be the laft and hardly attained perfection of a laboured work. But the Gentleman - writing, laughed at in the line above, and its oppofite, which he fomewhere calls profe run mad, are the two extremes of that perfect style, the idea of which he has here fo well defcribed from his own writings. As cafe was the mode of the laft age, which took Suckling for its pattern; fo the imitation of Milton has introduced a pompous hardness into the affected writings of the present. Which laft character Quintilian defcribes very juftly, and accounts well for its fuccefs, ,,Evenit ,,nonnunquam ut aliquid grande inveniat, qui femper quaerit quod ,,nimium eft; verum & raro evenit, & caetera vitia non penfat.j I remember once, on reading a poern of this kind with Mr. Pope, where the Poet was always on the ftrain, and labouring for expreffion, he said pleasantly: This is a strange man: he seems to shink with the Apothecaries, that Album grecum is better than an ordinary stool. He himself was never fwelling or pompous and if ever he inclined to hardness, it was not from attempting to fay a common thing with magnificence, but from including a great deal in a little room.

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"But ease in writing flows from Art, not chance; "As those move eafieft who have learn'd to dance.

15 If fuch the plague and pains to write by rule, 180
Better (lay I) be pleas'd, and play the fool;
Call, if you will, bad rhyming a disease,
It gives men happiness, or leaves them ease.
There liv'd in primo Georgii (they record)
A worthy member, no finall fool, a Lord;
Who, tho' the Houfe was up, delighted fare,
Heard, noted, anfwer'd, as in full debate:
In all but this, a man of fober life,
Fond of his Friend, and civil to his Wife ;
Not quite a mad-man, tho' a pasty fell,

185

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190

NOTES.

VER. 184. There liv'd in primo Georgii, &c.) The imita tion of this story of the Madman is as much fuperior to his original, in the fine and eafy manner of telling, as that of Lucullus's Soldier comes fhort of it. It is true the turn Horace's madman took, agrees better with the fubiect of his Epistle, which is Poetry; and doubtless there were other beauties in it, which time has deprived us of. For it is in poetry as in painting, the most delicate touches go first; and, what is worse, they agree in this too, that they are last observed. So that, what between time and ill tafte, the greatest beauties are the fhortest lived. But we need not wonder that ancient fatirifts fhould feel the effects of this fatal union, when thofe noble ones of fo modern a date as Rablais and Cervantes are fo little understood. One of the finest strokes in the latter is in the plan of this fa mous Romance, which makes a Spanish Gentleman of fifty run mad with reading books of Chivalry. But we fee little of its beauty, because we do not know that a difordéred imagination is a common malady amongft Spanish Gentlemen in the decline of life. A fact which Thuanus occafionally informs us ef, „Men,,doza étoit un fort habile homme, il avoit été employé en de grandes Ambaffades fur la fin de fes jours il devint furieux, "comme d'ordinaire les Espagnols.,, Thuana.

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