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Still green with bays each ancient altar stands
Above the reach of sacrilegious hands,
Secure from flames, from envy's fiercer rage,
Destructive war, and all-involving age.
See from each clime the learn'd their incense bring!
Hear in all tongues consenting pæans ring! 186
In praise so just let ev'ry voice be join'd,
And fill the gen'ral chorus of mankind.
Hail, bards triumphant! born in happier days,
Immortal heirs of universal praise !

Whose honours with increase of ages grow,
As streams roll down, evlarging as they flow;
Nations unborn your mighty name shall sound,
And worlds applaud that must not yet be found !
O may some spark of your celestial fire 195
The last, the meanest of your sons inspire,
(That on weak wings, from far, pursues your flights,
Glows while he reads, but trembles as he writes,)
To teach vain wits a science little known,
T'admire superior sense, and doubt their own! 200


OF all the causes which conspire to blind Man's erring judgment, and misguide the mind, What the weak head with strongest bias rules, Is pride, the never-failing vice of fools. Whatever Nature has in worth deny'd,

205 She gives in large recruits of needful pride: For as in bodies thus in souls we find, What wants in blood and spirits swell'd with wind: Pride, where wit fails, steps in to our defence, And fills up all the mighty void of sense : 210 If once right reason drives that cloud away, Truth breaks upon us with resistless day. Trust not yourself; but, your defects to know, Make use of ev'ry friend....and ev'ry foe. A little learning is a dang’rous thing ;

215 Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring : There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again. Fir'd at first sight with what the Muse imparts, In fearless youth we tempt the heights of arts, 220 While from the bounded level of our mind Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind; But more advanc'd, behold with strange surprise, New distant scenes of endless science rise!

So pleas'd at first the tow'ring Alps we try, 225
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky!
Th' eternal snows appear already past,
And the first clouds and mountains seem the last:
But those attain'd, we tremble to survey
The growing labours of the lengthen'd way; 230
Th’increasing prospect tires our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!

A perfect judge will read each work of wit
With the same spirit that its author writ;
Survey the whole, nor seek slight faults to find 235
Where Nature moves, and rapture warms the mind;
Nor lose, for that malignant dull delight,
The gen'rous pleasure to be charm'd with wit.
But in such lays as neither ebb nor flow,
Correctly cold, and regularly low,

240 That shunning faults one quiet tenor keep, We cannot blame indeed....but we may sleep. In wit, as nature, what affects our hearts Is not the exactness of peculiar parts: 'Tis not a lip or eye we beauty call,

215 But the joint force and full result of all. Thus when we view some well-proportion'd dome, (The world's just wonder, even thine, O Rome!) No single parts unequally surprise, All comes united to th' admiring eyes ;


No monstrous height, or breadth, or length, appear, The whole at once is bold and regular.

Whoever thinks a faultless piece to see, Thinks what ne'er was, nor is, nor e'er shall be. In ev'ry work regard the writer's end,

255 Since none can compass more than they intend; And if the means be just, the conduct true, Applause, in spite of trivial faults, is due. As men of breeding, sometimes men of wit, T'avoid great errors, must the less commit; 260 Neglect the rules each verbal critic lays, For not to know some trifles is a praise. Most critics, fond of some subservient art, Still make the whole depend upon a part: They talk of principles, but notions prize, 265 And all to one lov'd folly sacrifice.

Once on a time, La Mancha's Knight, they say, A certain bard encount'ring on the way, Discours'd in terms as just, with looks as sage, As e'er could Dennis of the Grecian stage,

270 Concluding all were desp'rate sots and fools Who durst depart from Aristotle's rules. Our author, happy in a judge so nice, Produc'd his play, and begg'd the Knight's advice; Made him observe the subject and the plot, 275 The mamiers, passions, mities; what not?


All which exact to rule were brought about, Were but a combat in the lists left out. “What! leave the combat out?' exclaims the Knight. “Yes, or we must renounce the Stagirite." 280 * Not so, by heav'n! (he answers in a rage ;) “Knights, squires, and steeds, must enter on the

“So vast a throng the stage can ne'er contain."
" Then build a new, or act it on a plain.”

Thus critics of less judgment than caprice,
Curious, not knowing, not exact, but nice,
Form short ideas, and offend in arts
(As most in manners) by a love to parts.

Some to conceit alone their taste confine,
And glitt'ring thoughts struck out at ev'ry line; 290
Pleas'd with a work where nothing's just or fit,
One glaring chaos and wild heap of wit.
Poets, like painters, thus unskill'd to trace
The naked nature and the living grace,
With gold and jewels cover ev'ry part,
And hide with ornaments their want of art.
True wit is Nature to advantage dress’d,
What oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd;
Something whose truth convinc'd at sight we find,
That gives us back the image of our mind. 300
As shades more sweetly recommend the light,
So modest plainness sets off sprightly wit:


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