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INTRODUCTION. That it is as great a fault to
judge ill as to write ill, and a more dangerous one to
the public, ver. 1. That a true taste is as rare to be
found as a true genius, v.9. 18. That most men are
born with some taste, but spoiled by false education,
v. 19. 25. . The multitude of critics, and causes of
them, v. 26. 45. That we are to study our own taste,
and know the limits of it, v. 46. 67. Nature the best
guide of judgment, v. 68. 87; improved by art and
rules, which are but methodized Nature, v. 88. Rules
derived from the practice of the ancient poets, v. 88.
110; that therefore the ancients are necessary to be
studied by a critic, particularly Homer and Virgil, v.
118. 138. Of licenses, and the use of them, by the
ancients, v. 141. 180. Reverence due to the ancients,
and praise of them, v. 181, &c

PART 11.

Causes hindering a true judgment. 1. Pride, v. 209. 2. Imperfect learning, v. 215. 3. Judging by parts, and not by the whole, v. 233. 288. Critics in wit, language, versification only, v. 289. 305. 337, &c. 4. Be. ing too hard to please, or too apt to admire, v. 384. 5. Partiality, too much love to a sect; to the ancients or moderns, v. 394. 6. Prejudice or prevention, v. 408. 7. Singularity, v. 424. 8. Inconstancy, v. 430. 9. Party spirit, v. 452, &c. 10. Envy, v. 466. Against envy, and in praise of good-nature, v. 508, &c. When severity is chiefly to be used by critics, v. 526, &c.

PART III.

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Rules for the conduct of manners in a critic. 1. Candour, v. 563. Modesty, v. 566. Good-breeding, v. 572. Sincerity and freedom of advice, v. 578. Cha. racter of an incorrigible poet, v. 600; and of an impertinent critic, v. 610, &c. Character of a good critic, v. 631. The history of criticism, and characters of the best critics. Aristotle, v. 645. Horace, v. 653. Dionysius, v. 665. Petronius, v. 667. Quintilian, v. 669. Longinus, v. 675. Of the decay of criticism, and its revival. Erasmus, v. 693. Vida, v.705. Boi. leau, v. 714. Lord Roscommon &c. v. 725. Con. clusion.

AN

ESSAY ON CRITICISM.

PART I.

'TIS hard to say if greater want of skill
Appear in writing or in judging ill;
But of the two, less dang'rous is th' offence
To tire our patience than mislead our sense:
Some few in that, but numbers err in this,

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Ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss ;
A fool might once himself alone expose;
Now one in verse makes many more in prose.

"Tis with our judgments as our watches, none Go just alike, yet each believes his own. . 10 In poets as true genius is but rare, True taste as seldom is the critic's share; Both must alike from heav'n derive their light, These born to judge as well as those to write. Let such teach others who themselves excel, 15 And censure 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 shall find Most have the seeds of judgment in their mind: 20 Nature affords at least a glimm'ring light ; The lines tho' touch'd but faintly are drawn right:

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But as the slightest sketch, if justly trac'd,
Is by ill-colouring but the more disgrac'd,
So by false learning is good sense defac’d: 25
Some are bewilder'd in the maze of schools,
And some made coxcombs Nature meant but fools:
In search of wit these lose their common sense,
And then turn critics in their own defence :
Each burns alike who can or cannot write, 30
Or with a rival's or an eunuch's spite.
All fools have still an itching to deride,
And fain would be upon the laughing side.
If Mævius scribble in Apollo's spite,
There are who judge still worse than he can write.

Some have at first for wits, then poets, past, 36
Turn'd critics next, and prov'd plain fools at last.
Some neither can for wits nor critics pass,
As heavy mules are neither horse nor ass.
Those half-learn’d witlings, num'rous in our isle, 40
As half-form'd insects on the banks of Nile;
Unfinish'd things, one knows not what to call,
Their generation's so equivocal;
To tell them would an hundred tongues require,
Or one vain wit's that might an hundred tire. 45

But you who seek 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;

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