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As fhades more sweetly recommend the light,

So modeft plainness fets off fprightly wit.

>For works may have more wit than does them good, As bodies perish through excess of blood.

Others for Language all their care express, And value books, as women men, for dress: .Their praise is still, the ftyle is excellent : The fenfe, they humbly take upon content.


Words are like leaves; and where they most abound,
Much fruit of fenfe beneath is rarely found.
Falfe eloquence, like the prismatic glass,
Its gaudy colours spreads on every place;
The face of Nature we no more furvey,
All glares alike, without distinction gay:
But true expreffion, like th' unchanging fun,
Clears and improves whate'er it fhines upon,
It gilds all objects, but it alters none.
Expreffion is the drefs of thought, and still
Appears more decent, as more fuitable;
A vile conceit in pompous words exprefs'd
Is like a clown in regal purple drest:
For different ftyles with different fubjects fort,
As feveral garbs, with country, town, and court.
Some by old words to Fame have made pretence,
Ancients in phrase, mere moderns in their sense;
Such labour'd nothings, in fo strange a style,
Amaze th' unlearn'd, and make the learned fimile.






Ver. 320. Ed. 1.


A vile conceit in pompous ftyle exprefs'd.

Unlucky, as Fungofa in the play,

These sparks with awkward vanity display
What the fine gentleman wore yesterday;
And but fo mimic ancient wits at beft,
As apes our grandfires in their doublets drest.
In words, as fashions, the fame rule will hold ;
Alike fantastic, if too new or old :

Be not the first by whom the new are try'd
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.

But most by numbers judge a poet's song ;



And smooth or rough, with them, is right or wrong:
In the bright Mufe though thousand charms confpire,
Her voice is all thefe tuneful fools admire;
Who haunt Parnaffus but to please their ear,

Not mend their minds; as fome to church repair,
Not for the doctrine, but the mufic there.
Thefe, equal fyllables alone require,
Though oft the ear the open vowels tire

While expletives their feeble aid do join;

And ten low words oft creep in one dull line :
While they ring round the fame unvary'd chimes,
With fure returns of ftill expected rhymes.;



Where'er you find " the cooling western breeze," -350
In the next line it "whispers through the trees:"
If crystal streams "with pleafing murmurs creep,"
The reader's threaten'd (not in vain) with " fleep :"
Then at the laft and only couplet fraught

With fome unmeaning thing they call a thought, 355
A needlefs


Ver. 338. Ed. 1. And fmooth or rough, with such, &c.

A needlefs Alexandrine ends the fong,

That, like a wounded fnake, drags its flow length along.
Leave fuch to tune their own dull rhymes, and know
What's roundly smooth, or languishingly slow;
And praise the easy vigour of a line,



Where Denham's ftrength and Waller's sweetness join,
True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As thofe move eafieft who have learn'd to dance.
'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence,
The found must seem an Echo to the fense:
Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in fmoother numbers flows;
But when loud furges lash the founding fhore,
The hoarfe, rough verse should like the torrent roar.
When Ajax strives fome rock's vast weight to throw,
The line too labours, and the words move flow:
Not fo when swift Camilla fcours the plain,

Flies o'er' th' unbending corn, and skims along the main,
Hear how Timotheus' vary'd lays furprize,

And bid alternate paffions fall and rife!

While, at each change, the fon of Libyan Jove
Now burns with glory, and then melts with love;
Now his fierce eyes with sparkling fury glow,
Now fighs fteal out, and tears begin to flow :
Perfians and Greeks like turns of nature found,
And the world's victor stood fubdued by found!
power of Mufic all our hearts allow,
And what Timotheus was, is Dryden now.


Ver. 363, 364. These lines are added.

Ver. 368. But when loud billows, &c.




Avoid extremes; and fhun the fault of fuch,
Who ftill are pleas'd too little or too much.
At every trifle fcorn to take offence,


That always fhews great pride, or little sense;
Thofe heads, as ftomachs, are not fure the best,
Which nauseate all, and nothing can digeft.
Yet let not each gay turn thy rapture move;
For fools admire, but men of sense
As things feem large which we through mists descry,
Dulness is ever apt to magnify.

approve :

Some foreign writers, fome our own despise;
The Ancients only, or the Moderns prize;
Thus Wit, like Faith, by each man is apply'd
To one small fect, and all are damn'd befide.
Meanly they seek the bleffing to confine,
And force that fun but on a part to shine,
Which not alone the fouthern wit fublimes,

But ripens fpirits in cold northern climes ;
Which from the first has fhone on ages past,
Enlights the prefent, and shall warm the last;
Though each may feel encreases and decays,
And fee now clearer and now darker days.
Regard not then if wit be old or new,
But blame the false, and value ftill the true.
Some ne'er advance a judgment of their own,
But catch the spreading notion of the town;
They reafon and conclude by precedent,






And own ftale nonsense which they ne'er invent.



Ver. 394. Ed. 1. Some the French writers, &c.

Some judge of authors names, not works, and then
Nor praife nor blame the writings, but the men.
Of all this fervile herd, the worst is he
That in proud dulnefs joins with quality ;
A conftant Critic at the great man's board,
To fetch and carry nonfenfe for my Lord.
What woful stuff this madrigal would be,
In fome ftarv'd hackney-fonneteer, or me!
But let a Lord once own the happy lines,
How the wit brightens! how the style refines!
Before his facred name flies every fault,
And each exalted stanza teems with thought!



The vulgar thus through imitation err;

As oft the Learn'd by being fingular;


So much they scorn the crowd, that if the throng

By chance go right, they purpofely go wrong:

So Schifmatics the plain believers quit,

And are but damn'd for having too much wit.

Some praise at morning what they blame at night; 430 But always think the last opinion right.

A Mufe by these is like a mistress us'd,

This hour the 's idoliz'd, the next abus'd;
While their weak heads like towns unfortify'd,
'Twixt fenfe and nonfenfe daily change their fide. 435
Afk them the caufe; they're wifer ftill, they fay;
And still to-morrow's wifer than to-day.


Ver. 413. Ed. 1. Nor praise nor damn, &c.
Ver. 428. So Schifmatics the dull, &c.


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