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Or meets his spouse's fonder eye;
What home-felt raptures move!
Fires that scorch, yet dare not shine :
Sacred Hymen ! these are thine.
ODE ON SOLITUDE.
HAPPY the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound, Content to breath his native air
In his own ground. Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire ; Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire. Bless'd, who can unconcern'dly find Hours, days, and years,
slide soft away, In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day, Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mix'd ; sweet recreation, And innocence, which most does please
Thus unlamented let me die,
Tell where I lie.
Quit, oh quit this mortal frame:
Hark! they whisper; angels say,
Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
With sounds seraphic ring :
Oh death! where is thy sting?
AN ESSAY ON CRITICISM.
PART I, 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, ver. 9 to 18. That most men are born with some taste, but spoiled by false education, ver. 10 to 25. The multitude of critics, and causes of them, ver. 26 to 45. That we are to study our own taste, and know the limits of it, ver. 46 to 67. Nature the best guide of judgment, ver. 68 to 87. Improved by art and rules, which are but methodized nature, ver. 88. Rules derived from the practice of ancient poets, ver. 88 to 110. That therefore the ancient are necessary to be studied by a critic, particularly Homer and Virgil, ver. 120 to 138. Of licences, and the use of them by the ancients, ver. 140 to 180. Reverence due to the ancients, and praise of them, ver. 181, &c. 'Tis hard to say, if greater want of skill Appear in writing or in judging ill ; But of the two, less dangerous is the offence To tire our patience, than mislead our sense.
Some few in that, but numbers err in this ;
'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 Heaven derive their light, These born to judge, as well as those to write. Let such teach others who themselves excel, 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 glimmering light; The lines, though touch'd but faintly, are drawn
Some have at first for wits, then poets, pass'd :
But you, who seek to give and merit fame,
Nature to all things fix'd the limits fit,
First follow nature, and your judgment frame By her just standard, which is still the same : Unerring nature, still divinely bright,
70 One clear, unchanged, and universal light, Life, force, and beauty, must to all impart At once the source, and end, and test of art. Art from that fund each just supply provides ; Works without show, and without pomp presides : In some fair body thus th' informing soul With spirits feeds, with vigour fills the whole, Each motion guides, and every nerve sustains; Itself unseen, but in the effects remains. Some, to w.hoin Heaven in wit has been profuse, 80 Want as much more to turn it to its use; For wit and judgment often are at strife, Though meant each other's aid, like man and wife. 'Tis more to guide, than spur the muse's steed; Restrain his fury, than provoke his speed: The winged courser, like a generous horse, Shews most true mettle when you check his course.
Those rules of old discover'd, not devised, Åre nature still, but nature methodized
: Nature, like liberty, is but restrain'd
00 By the same laws which first herself ordain'd.
Hear how learn'd Greece her useful rules indites, When to repress, and when indulge our flights: High on Parnassus' top her sons she shew'd, And pointed out those arduous paths they trod; Held from afar, aloft th' immortal prize, And urged the rest by equal steps to rise. Just precepts thus from great examples given, She drew from them what they derived from Heaven. The generous critic fann'd the poet's fire,
100 And taught the world with reason to admire. Then criticism the muse's handmaid proved, To dress her charms, and make her more beloved : But following wits from that intention stray'd ; Who could not win the mistress, woo'd the maid; Against the poets their own arms they turn'd, Sure to hate most the men from whom they learn'd. So modern 'pothecaries, taught the art By doctors' bills to play the doctor's part, Bold in the practice of mistaken rules,
110 Prescribe, apply, and call their masters fools. Some on the leaves of ancient authors prey, Nor time nor moths e'er spoil'd so much as they; Some drily plain, without invention's aid, Write dull receipts how poems may be made. These leave the sense, their learning to display, And those explain the meaning quite away. (steer,
You then, whose judgment the right course would Know well each ancient's proper character : His fable, subject, scope in every page;
120 Religion, country, genius of his age : Without all these at once before your eyes, Cavil you may, but never criticise. Be Homer's works your study and delight, Read them by day, and meditate by night : (bring, Thence form your judgment, thence your maxims And trace the muses upward to their spring : Still with itself compared, his text peruse : And let your comment be the Mantuan Muse.