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scene be fixed to one spot, as in the Iliad; or that the hero voyages from fea to fea, as in the Odyffey; whether he be furious like Achilles, or pious like Eneas; whether the action pafs on land or fea; on the coaft of Africa, as in the Luziada of Camoens; in America, as in the Araucana of Alonzo D'Ercilla; in heaven, in hell, beyond the limits of our world, as in the Paradife Loft; all these circumstances are of no confequence: the poem will be for ever an Epic poem, an Heroic poem, at least till another new title be found proportioned to its merit. If you fcruple, fays Addison, to give the title of an Epic poem to the Paradife Loft of Milton, call it, if you chufe, a DIVINE poem, give it whatever name you please, provided you confefs, that it is a work as admirable in its kind as the Iliad. "Ne difputons jamais fur les noms, c'est une puerilitè impardonable."

8. Hear how learn'd Greece her useful rules indites, When to reprefs, and when indulge our flights. *

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In the fecond part of Shaftesbury's ADVICE to an Author, is a judicious and elegant account of the rife and progrefs of arts and sciences, in ancient Greece; to fubjects of which fort, it were to be wished this author had always confined himself, as he indifputably understood them well, rather than that he had blemished and belied his patriotism, by writing against the religion of his country. I shall give the reader a paffage that relates to the origin of criticism, which is curious and just. "When the perfuafive arts, which were neceffary to be cultivated among a people that were to be convinced before they acted, were grown thus into repute; and the power of moving the affections become the study and emulation of the forward wits and aspiring geniufes of the times; it would neceffarily happen, that many geniuses of equal fize and ftrength, though lefs covetous of public applaufe, of power, or of influence over mankind, would content themselves with the contemplation merely of these enchanting arts. These they would the better enjoy, the more


they refined their tafte, and cultivated their -Hence was the origin of CRITICS ;


who, as arts and fciences advanced, would neceffarily come withal into repute; and being heard with fatisfaction in their turn, were at length tempted to become authors, and appear in public. These were honoured with the name of Sophifts; a character which in early times was highly refpected. Nor did the gravest philofophers, who were cenfors of manners, and critics of a higher degree, difdain to exert their criticism on the inferior arts; especially in those relating to speech, and the power of argument and perfuafion. When fuch a race as this was once rifen, 'twas no longer poffible to impofe on mankind, by what was specious and pretending. The public would be paid in no falfe wit, or jingling eloquence. Where the learned critics were fo well received, and philofophers themselves difdained not to be of the number; there could not fail to arise critics of an inferior order, who would fubdivide the feveral provinces of this empire.” *

* Characteristics, vol. I. 12mo. pag. 163.

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9. Know well each Ancient's proper character; His fable, fubject, scope, in every page; Religion, country, genius of his age.

FROM their inattention to these particulars, many critics, and particularly the French, have been guilty of great abfurdities. When Perrault impotently attempted to ridicule the first stanza of the firft Olympic of Pindar, he was ignorant that the poet, in beginning with the praises of WATER †, alluded to the philofophy of Thales, who taught that water was the principle of all things; and which philofophy, Empedocles the Sicilian, a cotemporary of Pindar, and a subject of Hiero to whom Pindar wrote, had adopted in his beautiful poem. Homer and the Greek tragedians have been likewife cenfured, the former for protracting the Iliad after the death of Hector; and the latter, for continuing the AJAX and PHOENISSA, after the deaths of their respective heroes. But the cenfurers did not confider the importance of burial among

* Ver. 119. † Αρισον μεν ΥΔΩΡ.


the ancients: and that the action of the Iliad would have been imperfect without a description of the funeral rites for Hector and Patroclus; as the two tragedies, without thofe of Polynices and Eteocles: for the ancients esteemed a deprivation of fepulture to be a more fevere calamity than death itself. It is obfervable that this circumftance did not occur to POPE *, when he endeavoured to justify this conduct of Homer, by only saying, that as the anger of Achilles does not die with Hector, but perfecutes his very remains, the poet ftill keeps up to his fubject by defcribing the many effects of that anger, 'till it is fully fatisfied: and that for this reafon, the two laft books of the Iliad may be thought not to be excrefcencies, but effential to the poem. I will only add, that I do not know an author whose capital excellence fuffers more from the reader's not regarding his climate. and country, than the incomparable Cervantes. There is a striking propriety in the madness of Don Quixote, not frequently

*Iliad 23. Note I.


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