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He steer'd fecurely, and difcover'd far,
Receiv'd his laws; and flood convinc'd 'twas fit,
He, who fupreme in judgment, as in wit,
VER 653. Who conquer'd Nature, fhould prefide o'er Wit.] By this is not meant phyfical Nature, but moral. The force of the obfervation confifts in our understanding it in this fente. For the Poet not only uses the word Naturė for human nature, throughout this poem; but alfo, where, in the beginning of it, he lays down the princi ples of the arts he treats of, he makes the knowledge of human nature the foundation of all Criticism and Poetry. Nor is the obfervation lefs true than appofite. For, AriStotle's natural enquiries were fuperficial, and ill-made, tho' extenfive: But his logical and moral works are incomparable. In theie he has unfolded the human mind, and laid open all the receffes of the heart and understanding; and by his Categories, not only conquer'd Nature, but kept her in tenfold chains: Not as Dulness kept the Mufes, in the Dunciad, to filence them; but as Ariftans held Proteus in Virgil, to deliver Oracles.
See Dionyfius Homer's thoughts refine, And call new beauties forth from ev'ry line! Fancy and art in gay Petronius please,
The scholar's learning, with the courtier's eafe.
Thee, bold Longinus! all the Nine inspire, And bless their Critic with a Poet's fire. An ardent Judge, who zealous in his trust, With warmth gives fentence, yet is always juft; Whofe own example ftrengthens all his laws; 680 And is himself that great Sublime he draws.
Thus long fucceeding Critics justly reign'd, Licence reprefs'd, and ufeful laws ordain'd. Learning and Rome alike in empire grew; And Arts ftill follow'd where her Eagles flew; From the fame foes, at laft, both felt their doom, And the fame age faw Learning fall, and Rome: With Tyranny, then Superftition join'd, As that the body, this enflav'd the mind; Much was believ'd, but little understood, And to be dull was conftru'd to be good;
VER. 666. See Dionyfius] Of Halicarnaffus.
Between ver. 691 and 692, the author omitted thefe
Vain Wits and Critics were no more allow'd,
When none but Saints had licence to be proud. P.
A fecond deluge Learning thus o'er-run,
At length Erafmus, that great injur’d name,
But fee! each Mufe, in LEO's golden days, Starts from her trance, and trims her wither'd bays, Rome's ancient Genius, o'er its ruins fpread, 700 Shakes off the duft, and rears his rev'rend head. Then Sculpture and her fifter-arts revive;
Stones leap'd to form, and rocks began to live;
Immortal Vida: on whofe honour'd brow
VER. 69. The glory of the Priesthood and the forme,] Our author elsewhere lets us know what he eft ems to be the glory of the Priesthood as well as of a Chriftian in general, where, comparing himself to Erafmus, he fays,
In MODERATION placing all my glory,
and confequently, what he efteems to be the fame of it. The whole of this character belong'd most eminently and almo folely to Erafmus: For the other Reformers, fuch as Luther, Calvin, and their followers, understood fo little in what true Chriflian Liberty confifted, that they carried with them, into the reformed Churches, that very fpirit of perfecution, which had driven them from the
church of Rome.
VER. 708. As next in place to Mantua,] Alluding to
But foon by impious arms from Latium chas'd,
We still defy'd the Romans, as of old,
Yet fome there were, among the founder few
Of those who lefs prefum'd, and better knew, 721
VER 724. Such was the Mufe-] Effay on Poetry by Essay the Duke of Buckingham. Our Poet is not the only one of his time who complimented this Eay, and its noble Author. Mr. Dryden had done it very largely in the Dedication to his tranflation of the Eneid; and Dr. Garth in the firft Edition of his Difpenfary fays,
The Tyber now no courtly Gallus fees,
Tho' afterwards omitted, when parties were carried fo high in the reign of Queen Anne, as to allow no commendation to an oppofite in Politics. The Duke was all his life a fteady adherent to the Church of England Party, yet an enemy to the extravagant measures of the Court in the reign of Charles II. On which account after having ftrongly patronized Mr. Dryden, a coolnefs fucceeded between them on that poet's abfolute attachment to the Court, which carried him fome lengths beyond what the Duke could approve of. This Nobleman's
Such was Rofcommon, not more learn'd than good, With manners gen'rous as his noble blood;
To him the wit of Greece and Rome was known,
Such late was Walsh-the Muse's judge and friend,
The clearest head, and the fincereft heart.
This humble praise, lamented shade! receive,
Not free from faults, nor yet too vain to mend.
true character had been very well marked by Mr. Dryden before,
the Mufe's friend,
Himself a Mufe. In Sanadrin's debate
True to his prince, but not a flave of state.
Abf, and Achit.
Our Author was more happy, he was honour'd very young with his friendship, and it continued till his death m all the circumstances of a familiar esteem,