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IS hard to fay, if greater want of skill
Appear in writing or in judging ill;
But of the two, lefs dangerous is th' offence
To tire our patience, than mislead our fenfe.
Some few in that, but numbers err in this,
Ten cenfure wrong for one who writes amiss;
A fool might once himself alone expose,
Now one in verse makes many more in profe.
'Tis with our judgments as our watches; none
Go juft alike, yet each believes his own.
In Poets as true genius is but rare,
True taste as feldom is the Critic's fhare,
Both muft alike from Heaven derive their light,
These born to judge, as well as those to write.
Let fuch teach others who themselves excel,
And cenfure freely who have written well.
Authors are partial to their wit, 'tis true,
But are not Critics to their judgment too?

Yet, if we look more closely, we shall find
Moft have the feeds of judgment in their mind :






Nature affords at least a glimmering light;

The lines, though touch'd but faintly, are drawn right.
But as the flightest sketch, if justly trac'd,
Is by ill-colouring but the more disgrac'd,
So by falfe learning is good sense defac'd :
Some are bewilder'd in the maze of schools,

And fome made coxcombs Nature meant but fools.
In fearch of wit thefe lofe their common fense,
And then turn Critics in their own defence:
Each burns alike, who can, or cannot write,
Or with a rival's, or an eunuch's fpite.
All fools have still an itching to deride,
And fain would be upon the laughing side.

If Mævius fcribble in Apollo's fpight,

There are who judge ftill worse than he can write.
Some have at firft for Wits, then Poets paft,
Turn'd Critics next, and prov'd plain fools at last.







Between ver. 25 and 26 were thefe lines, fince omit

ted by the Author:

Many are spoil'd by that pedantic throng,

Who with great pains teach youth to reason wrong. Tutors, like Virtuofos, oft inclin'd

By ftrange transfufion to improve the mind,

Draw off the fenfe we have, to pour in new;

Which yet, with all their skill," they ne'er could do...

Ver. 30, 31. In the first edition thus:

Those hate as rivals all that write; and others
But envy wits, as eunuchs envy lovers.

Ver. 32. "All fools," in the first edition: "All fuch" in edition 1717; fince restored.

Some neither can for Wits nor Critics pafs,
As heavy mules are neither horse nor afs.
Those half-learn'd witlings, numerous in our ifle,
As half-form'd infects on the banks of Nile;
Unfinish'd things, one knows not what to call,
Their generation's fo equivocal :

To tell them, would a hundred tongues require,
Or one vain wit's, that might a hundred tire.
But you, who seek to give and merit fame,
And justly bear a Critic's noble name,
Be fure yourself and your own reach to know,
How far your genius, taste, and learning, go;
Launch not beyond your depth, but be discreet,
And mark that point where sense and dulness meet.
Nature to all things fix'd the limits fit,
And wifely curb'd proud man's pretending wit,
As on the land while here the ocean gains,
In other parts it leaves wide fandy plains;
Thus in the foul while memory prevails,
The folid power of understanding fails
Where beams of warm imagination play,
The memory's foft figures melt away.
One science only will one genius fit;
So vaft is art, fo narrow human wit :

Not only bounded to peculiar arts,

But oft' in those confin'd to fingle parts.

Like Kings, we lose the conquefts gain'd before,
By vain ambition still to make them more :


Ver. 63. Ed. 1. But ev'n in thofe, &c.








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