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Who haunt Parnaffus but to please their ear,
Tho' oft the ear the open vowels tire;
While expletives their feeble aid do join ;
And ten low words oft creep in one dull line :
Leave such to tune their own dull rhymes, and know What's roundly smooth, or languishingly flow; And praise the eafy vigour of a line,
360 Where Denham's ftrength, and Waller's sweetness join.
VER. 345. Tho' oft the ear, etc.] Fugiemus crebras vocalium concurfiones, que vaftam atque biantem orationem reddunt. Cic. ad Heren. lib. iv. Vide etiam Quintil. lib. ix. c. 4.
VER. 346. While expletives their feeble aid do join,
And ten low words oft creep in one dull line.] From Dryden, "He creeps along with ten little words in every "line, and helps out his numbers with [for] [to] and [unto] and all the pretty expletives he can find, while "the fenfe is left half tired behind it." Efay on Dram. Poetry.
True eafe in writing comes from art, not chance,
VER. 364. 'Tis not enough no barfbnefs gives offence;
The found muft feem an Echo to the fenfe :] The judicrous introduction of this precept is remarkable. The Poets, and even some of the best of them, have been so fond of the beauty arifing from this trivial precept, that, in their practice, they have violated the very End of it, which is the encrease of harmony; and, fo they could but raise an Echo, did not care whofe ears they offended by its diffonance. To remedy this abufe therefore, the poet, by the introductory line, would infinuate, that Harmony is always prefuppofed as observed; tho' it may and ought to be perpetually varied, fo as to produce the
effect here recommended.
VER. 365. The found must feem an Echu to the fense :] Lord Rofcommon fays,
The found is still a comment to the fenfe. They are both well expreffed: only this fuppofes the fenfe to be affifted by the found; that, the found affifted by the fenfe.
VER. 366. Soft is the ftrain, etc.]
Vida Poet. 1. iii. v. 403.
Tam filata canunt, etc.
Vida ib. 388.
Atque ideo fi quid geritur molimine magno, etc.
Vida ib. 417.
Not fo, when swift Camilla fcours the plain,
Flies o'er th' unbending corn, and fkims along the
Hear how Timotheus' vary'd lays furprize,
And bid alternate paffions fall and rise!
While, at each change, the son of Libyan Jove
That always fhows great pride, or little sense;
Yet let not each gay Turn thy rapture move; 390
As things feem large which we thro' mifts defcry,
Some foreign writers, fome our own defpife;
VER. 374. Hear how Timotheus, etc.] See Alexander's Feast, or the Power of Mufick; an Ode by Mr. Dryden. P.
VER. 372. Not fo, when fawift Camilla, etc.]
At mora fi fuerit damno, properare jubebo, etc.
Vida ib. 420.
Thus Wit, like Faith, by each man is apply'd
And own ftale nonsense which they ne'er invent.
VER. 402. Which from the firft, etc.] Genius is the fame in all ages; but its fruits are various; and more or lefs excellent as they are checked or matured by the influence of Government or Religion upon them. Hence in fome parts of Literature the Ancients excel; in others, the modern; juft as those accidental circumstances influenced them.
Before his facred name flies ev'ry fault,
As oft the Learn'd by being fingular;
So much they scorn the croud, that if the throng
And are but damn'd for having too much wit.
A Mufe by these is like a mistress us'd,
This hour fhe's idoliz'd, the next abus'd;
VER. 444. Scotifs and Thomifts] Thefe were two parties amongst the schoolmen, headed by Duns Scotus. and Thomas Aquinas, of different opinions, and from that difference denominated Realifts and Nominalifts; they were perpetually difputing on the immaculate conception, and on fubjects of the like importance.
VER. 444. Scotifts] So denominated from Johannes Duns Scotus. He fuffered a miferable reverse of fortune at Oxford in the time of Henry VIII. That grave Antiquary