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OF THE

ESSAY ON CRITICISM

PART I.

INTRODUCTION, That 'tis as great a fault to judge ill, as to write ill, and a more dangerous one to the public, ver, I,

That a true tafte is as rare to be found as a true genius, ver. 9 to 18.

That most men are born with fome taste, but spoil'd by falfe education, ver. 19 to 25.

The multitude of critics, and caufes of them, ver. 26 to 45.

That we are to study our own tafte, and know the limits of it, ver. 46 to 67.

Nature the best guide of judgment, ver. 68 to 87. Improved by art and rules, which are but methodised nature, ver. 88.

Rules derived from the practice of the ancient poets, ver. 88. to IIO.

That therefore the ancients are neceffary to be ftudied by a critic, particularly Homer and Virgil, ver. 120 to 138.

Of licenses, and the use of them by the ancients, ver. 140 to 180,

Reverence due to the ancients, and praise of them, ver. 181, etc.

PART II. Ver. 203. &c.

Caufes hindering a true judgment. I. Pride, ver. 208. II. Imperfect learning, ver. 215.

III. Judging by parts, and not by the whole, ver. 233 to 288. Critics in wit, language, verfification, only, 288, 305 339, &c. IV. Being too hard to please, or too apt to admire, ver. 384, V. Partiality—too much love to a fect to the ancients or moderns, ver. 394. VI. Prejudice or prevention, ver. 408. VII. Singularity, ver. 424, VIII. Inconftancy, ver. 430. IX, Party spirit, ver. 452, &c. X. Envy, ver. 466. Against envy, and in praise of good-nature, ver. 508, &c. When severity is chiefly to be used by critics, ver. 526, &c.

PART III. Ver. 560, &c.

Rules for the conduct of manners in a critic. I. Candour, ver, 563. Modefty, ver. 566. Good-breeding, ver. 572. Sincerity and freedom of advice, ver. 578. II. When one's counfel is to be restrained, ver. 584. Character of an incorrigible poet, ver. 6co, And of an impertinent critic, ver. 610, &c. Character of a good critic, ver. 629. The hiftory of criticism, and characters of the best critics, Ariftotle, ver 645. Horace, ver 653. Dionyfius, ver. 665. Petronius, ver. 667, Quintilian, ver. 670 Longinus, ver. 675. Of the decay of criticism, and its revival. Erafmus, ver. 693. Vida, ver. 705, Boileau, ver. 714. Lord Rofcommon, &c. ver. 725 Conclufion.

AN

ESSAY

ON

CRITICIS M.

"TIS 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 sense.
Some few in that, but numbers err in this,
Ten cenfure wrong for one who writes amifs;
A fool might once himself alone expose,
Now one in verfe makes many more in prose.

"Tis with our judgments as our watches, none
Go just alike, but each believes his own.
In poets as true genius is but rare,
True taste as feldom is the critic's fhare;
Both must 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 fhall find Moft have the feeds of judgment in their mind:

Nature affords at least a glimmering light;

The lines, tho touch'd but faintly, are drawn right.
But as the flightest sketch, if justly trac'd,
Is by ill-colouring but the more difgrac'd,
So by falfe learning is good fenfe defac d:
Some are bewilder d in the maze of schools,
And fome made coxcombs nature meant but fools.
In search of wit thefe lofe their common sense,
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 spite.
All fools have all an itching to deride,
And fain would te upon the laughing fide.
If Maevius fcribble in Apollo s fpight,

There are who judge ftill worfe than he can write.
Some have at firft for wits, then poets past,
Turn d critics next, and prov'd plain fools at last.
Some neither can for wits nor critics pafs,
As heavy mules are neither horfe nor afs.
Thofe half-learn'd witlings, numerous in our isle,
As half-form'd infects on the banks of Nile;
Unfinith 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 feek to give and merit fame,
And justly bear a critic's noble name,
Be sure yourself and your own reach to know,
How far your genius, taste, and learning go;

Launch not beyond your depth, but be difcreet,
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 conquests gain'd before,
By vain ambition still to make them more:
Each might his fervile province well command,
Would all but ftoop to what they understand.

First follow nature, and your judgment frame
By her just standard, which is still the fame:
Unerring nature, ftill divinely bright,
One clear, unchang'd, and universal light,
Life, force, and beauty, must to all impart,
At once the fource, and end, and test of art.
Art from that fund each just supply provides;
Works without show, and without pomp prefides:
In fome fair body thus th' informing foul
With spirits feeds, with vigour fills the whole,
Each motion guides, and every nerve fuftains ;
Itself unfeen, but in th' effects remains.

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