« AnteriorContinuar »
In the fat age of pleasure, wealth, and ease, 535 Sprung the rank weed, and thriv'd with large in
crease : When love was all an easy Monarch's care ; Seldom at council, never in a war : Jilts rul'd the state, and statesmen farces writ; Nay wits had pensions, and young Lords had wit: The Fair sate panting at a Courtier's play, 541 And not a Malk went unimprov'd away: The modest fan was lifted up no more, And Virgins (mild at what they blush'd before. The following licence of a Foreign reign 545 Did all the dregs of bold Socinus drain ; Then unbelieving Priests reform’d the nation, And taught more pleasant methods of salvation; Where Heav'n's free subjects might their rights
dispute, Left God himself should seem too abfolute:
550 Pulpits their sacred satire learn’d to spare, And Vice admir'd to find a flatt'rer there! Encourag'd thus, Wit's Titans brav'd the skies, And the press groan'd with licens'd blasphemies. These monsters, Critics ! with your darts engage, Here point your thunder, and exhaust your rage! Yet thun their fault, who, scandalously nice, Will needs mistake an author into vice; All seems infected that th' infected spy, As all looks yellow to the jaundic'd eye. 560
VER. 547. The author has omitted two lines which ftood here, as containing a National Reflection, which in his stricter judginent he could not but disapprove on any People whatever. P.
Learn then what MORALS Critics ought to show,
Be filent always when you doubt your sense ;
'Tis not enough, your counsel still be true; Blunt truths more mischief than nice falshoods do ; Men must be taught as if you taught them not, 575 And things unknown propos'd as things forgot. Without Good Breeding, truth is disapprov’d; That only makes superior sense belov'd.
Be niggards of advice on no pretence; For the worst avarice is that of sense. 580 With mean complacence ne'er betray you trust, Nor be so civil as to prove unjust. Fear not the anger of the wise to raise ; Those best can bear reproof, who merit praise. 'Twere well might Critics still this freedom take, But Appius reddens at each word you speak, 586
VER: $62. For 'tis but balf a Judge's task, to know ) The Critic acts in two capacities, of Alle for and of Judge: in the first, science alone is sufficient ; but the other requires morals likewise,
And ftares, tremendous, with a threat'ning eye,
595 Than when they promise to give scribling o'er. 'Tis best sometimes your censure to restrain, And charitably let the dull be vain : Your filence there is better than your spite, For who can rail so long as they can write ?
600 Still humming on, their drouzy course they keep, And lash'd so long, like tops, are lash'd asleep. False steps but help them to renew the race, As, after stumbling, Jades will mend their pace. What crouds of these, impenitently bold, 605 In founds and jingling syllables grown old, Still run on Poets, in a raging vein, Ev'n to the dregs and squeezings of the brain, Strain out the last dull droppings of their sense, And rhyme with all the rage of Impotence. 610
Ver. 587. And fares, tremendous, etc.) This picture was taken to himself by Jobn Dennis, a furious old Criuc by profession, who, upon no other provocation, wrote against this Essay and its author, in a manner perfectly Junatic: For, as to the mention made of him in v. 270. he took it as a Compliment, and said it was treacherously meant to cause him to overlook this Abuse of his Person. P.
Such shameless Bards we have; and yet 'tis true, There are as mad, abandon'd Critics too. The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read, With loads of learned lumber in his head, With his own tongue ftill edifies his ears,
615 And always list’ning to himself appears. All books he reads, and all he reads assails, From Dryden's Fables down to Durfey's Tales. With him, most authors steal their works, or buy ; Garth did not write his own Dispensary. Name a new Play, and he's the Poet's friend, Nay show'd his faults----but when would Poets mend? No place so sacred from such fops is barr’d, Nor is Paul's church more safe than Paul's church
yard : Nay, Ay to Altars ; there they'll talk you dead: 625 For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread. Distrustful sense with modest caution speaks, It still looks home, and short excursions makes; But rattling nonsense in full vollies breaks, And never fhock'd, and never turn'd afide, 630 Bursts out, resistless, with a thund'ring tide.
Ver. 620. Garth did not write, etc.) A common slander at that time in prejudice of that deserving author. Our Poet did him this justice, when that sander moft prevailid; and it is now (perhaps the sooner for this sy verse) dead and forgotten. P.
In vain you shrug and sweat, and strive to fly;
- But where's the man, who counsel can bestow,
Such once were Critics; such the happy few,
He Ver: 632. But wherë's the man, etc.] The Poet, by his manner of a king after this Character, and telling us, when he had described it, that such once were Critics, does not encourage us to search for it in modern writers. And indeed the discovery of him, if it could be made, would be but an invidious business. I will venture no farther than to name the piece of Criticism in which these marks may be found. It is intitled, Q. Hor. Fl. Ars Poetica, wirb an English Commentary and Notes.
VARIATIONS. Between v. 647 and 648, I found the following lines, since suppreft by the author :
That bold Columbus of the realms of wit,