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If, where the rules not far enough extend,
(Since rules were made but to promote their end) Some lucky Licence answer to the full
Th' intent propos'd, that Licence is a rule.
I know there are, to whose presumptuous thoughts Those freer beauties, ev'n in them, seem faults. 170 Some
VER. 146. If, where the rules, etc.] Neque enim rogationibus plebifve fcitis fancta funt ifta Præcepta, fed hoc, quicquid eft, Utilitas excogitavit. Non negabo autem fic utile effe plerumque; verum fi eadem illa nobis aliud fuadebit Utilitas, hanc, relictis magiftrorum autoritatibus, fequemur. Quintil. lib. ii. cap. 13.
Some figures monftrous and mis-shap'd appear,
Which, but proportion'd to their light, or place,
Still green with bays each ancient Altar ftands,
See, from each clime the learn'd their incense bring! Hear, in all tongues consenting Pæans ring!
In praise so just let ev'ry voice be join'd,
And fill the gen❜ral chorus of mankind.
VER. 175: A prudent chief, etc.] Olov Ti woan oi φρόνιμοι εξατηλάται κατὰ τὰς τάξεις τῶν τρατευμάτων -- Dion.
Hal. De ftruct. orat.
VER. 180. Nor is it Homer nods, but we that dream.] Modefte, et circumfpecto judicio de tantis viris pronunciandum eft, ne (quod plerifque accidit) damnent quod non intelligunt. Ac fi neceffe eft in alteram errare partem, omnia eorum legentibus placere, quam multa difplicere maluerim. Quint. P.
VER. 183. Secure from flames, from envy's fiercer rage,
Deftructive war, and all-involving age.] The Poet here alludes to the four great caufes of the ravage amongst ancient writings: The deftruction of the Alexandrine and Palatine libraries by fire; the fiercer rage of Zoilus and Mævius and their followers against Wit; the irruption of the Barbarians into the empire; and the long reign of Ignorance and Superftition in the cloisters.
Hail, Bards triumphant! born in happier days;
What wants in blood and fpirits, fwell'd with wind Pride, where Wit fails, steps in to our defence, And fills up all the mighty Void of sense.
VER. 189. Hail, Bards triumphant!] There is a pleafantry in this title, which alludes to the ftate of warfare that all true Genius muft undergo while here upon
VER. 209. Pride where Wit fails fteps in to our defence, And fills up all the mighty void of fenfe.] A very fenfible French writer makes the following remark on this species of pride. "Un homme qui fçait plufieurs
Langues, qui etend les Auteurs Grecs et Latins, qui "s'eleve même jufqu'à la dignité de SCHOLIASTE; "fi cet homme venoit à pefer fon véritable mérite, il "" trouveroit
If once right reafon drives that cloud away,
A little learning is a dang'rous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There fhallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely fobers us again. Fir'd at firft fight with what the Muse imparts, In fearless youth we tempt the heights of Arts, While from the bounded level of our mind, Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind; But more advanc'd, behold with strange surprize New diftant fcenes of endless science rife! So pleas'd at first the tow'ring Alps we try, Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky, Th' eternal fnows appear already past,
And the first clouds and mountains seem the laft :
"trouveroit fouvent qu'il fe réduit à avoir eu des yeux "et de la mémoire, il fe garderoit bien de donner le nom refpectable de science à une érudition fans lumiere. II y a une grande difference entre s'enrichir des mots ou "des chofes, entre alleguer des autoritez ou des raisons. "Si un homme pouvoit fe furprendre à n' avoir que cette forte de mérite, il en rougiroit plûtôt que d'en • être vain."
VER. 217. There foallow draughts, etc.] The thought was taken from Lord Verulam, who applies it to more ferious enquiries.
So pleas'd at firft the tow'ring Alps to try,
The Traveller beholds with chearful eyes
The lefs'ning vales, and feems to tread the skies.
But, thofe attain'd, we tremble to furvey
VER. 233. A perfect Judge, etc.] Diligenter legendum eft, ac pane ad fcribendi follicitudinem: Nec per partes modo fcrutanda funt omnia, fed perlectus liber utique ex integro refumendus. Quin.
VER. 235. Survey the Whole, nor feek flight faults to find, Where nature moves, and rapture warms the mind;] The fecond line, in apologizing for those faults which the firft fays fhould be overlooked, gives the reafon of the precept. For when a writer's attention is fixed on a general view of Nature, and his imagination warm'd with the contemplation of great ideas, it can hardly be but that there must be fmall irregularities in the difpofition both of matter and ftyle, because the avoiding these requires a coolness of recollection, which a writer fo bufied is not master of.