« ZurückWeiter »
GENIUS AND WRITINGS
IN TWO VOLUMES.
% JOSEPH JVARTON, D. D.
THE FIFTH EDITION, COBRECTED.
Satyra quidem tota nostra est: in qua primuj insignem laudem adeptus est
Printed bv Thomas Maiden, Sherbourn-Lane, Lombard-Street,
REV. DR. YOUNG,
RECTOR OF WELWYN,
Permit me to break into your retirement, the refidence of virtue and literature, and to trouble you with a few reflections on the merits and real character of an admired Author, and on other collateral fubjecls of criticifm, that will naturally arife in the courfe of fuch an enquiry. No love of Angularity, no affectation of paradoxical opinions, gave rife to the following Work. I revere the memory of Pope, I refpeft and honour his abilities; but I do not think him at the head of his profeffion. In other words, in that fpecies of poetry wherein Vol. i. A Pope Pope excelled, he is fuperior to all mankind: and I only fay, that this fpecies of poetry is not the moft excellent one of the art.
We do not, it mould feem, fufficiently attend to the difference there is betwixt a Man Of Wit, a Man Of Sense, and a TRUE POET. Donne and Swift were undoubtedly men of wit, and men of fenfe: but what traces have they left of Pure Poetry? It is remarkable, that Dryden fays of Donne, "He was the greateft wit, though not the greateft poet, of this nation. Fontenelle and La Motte are entitled to the former character; but what can they urge to gain the latter? Which of thefe characters is the moft valuable and ufeful, is entirely out of the queftion: all I plead for, is, to have their feveral provinces kept diftinci from each other; and to imprefs on the reader, that a clear head, and acute underftanding, are not fufhcient, alone, to make a Poet; that the moft folid obfervations on human life, exprefled with the utmoft elegance and brevity, are Morality, and not Poetry; that the Epistles of Boileau in Rhyme, are no more poetical, than the Characters of La Bruyere