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While, from the bounded lever of our mind,
Short views we take, nor see the lengtlis behind;
But more advanc'd, behold with strange surprise
New distant scenes of endless science rise!
So pleas'd at first the towering Alps we try,
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;
Th' increasing prospect tires our wandering 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
Where nature moves, and rapture warms the mind;
Nor lose, for that malignant dull delight,
The generous pleasure to be charm'd with wit.
But, in such lays as neither ebb nor flow,
Correctly cold, and regularly low,
That, shunning faults, one quiet tenour keep;
We cannot blame indeed--but we may sleep..
In wit, as nature, what affects our hearts
Is not th' exactness of peculiar parts:
"Tis not a lip, or eye, we beauty call,
But the joint force and full result of all.
Thus when we view some well-proportion's dome
(The world's just wonder, and ev'n thine, O Rome!),
No single parts unequally surprise,
All comes united to the 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 every work regard the writer's end,
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;,
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,
And all to one lov'd folly sacrifice.
Once on a time, La Mancha's knight, they say,
A certain bard encountering on the way, .
Discours'd in terms as just, with looks as sage,
As e'er could Dennis, of the Grecian stage;
Concluding all were desperate 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,
The manners, passions, unities; 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 Stagyrite.'.. • Not so, by heaven! (he answers in a rage) • Knights, squires, and steeds must enter on the
stage.'-. • So vast a throng the stage can ne'er contain:'... • Then build a new, or act it on a plain.'
Thus critics, of less judgement 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 glittering thoughts struck out at every line;
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 every part,
And hide with ornaments their want of art.
True wit is nature to advantage dressid,
What oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd;
oraise is still no take upon Gov most abound
Something, whose truth convinc'd at sight we find,
That gives us back the image of our mind.
As shades more sweetly recommend the light,
So modest plainness sets off sprightly wit;
For works may have more wit than does them good,
As bodies perish through excess of blood.
Others for language all their care express,
And value books, as women men, for dress :
Their praise is still--the style is excellent;
The sense they humbly take upon content.
Words are like leaves; and where they most abound,
Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.
False eloquence, like the prismatic glass,
Its gaudy colours spreads on every place;
The face of nature we no more survey,
All glares alike, without distinction gay:
But true expression, like th'unchanging sun,
Clears and improves whate'er it shines upon;
It gilds all objects, but it alters none.
Expression is the dress of thought, and still
Appears more decent, as more suitable:
A vile conceit in pompous words express'd,
Is like a clown in regal purple dressid:
For different styles with different subjects sort,
As several garbs, with country, town, and court.
Some by old words to fame have made pretence,
Ancients in phrase, mere moderns in their sense;
Such labour'd nothings, in so strange a style,
Amaze th' unlearn'd, and make the learned smile.
Uulucky, as Fungosa in the play,
These sparks with awkward vanity display
What the fine gentleman wore yesterday,
And but so mimic ancient wits at best, ,
As apes our grandsires in their doublets drest.
In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold;
Alike fantastic if too new or old:
Be not the first by whom the new are tried,
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.
But most by numbers judge a poet's song; And smooth or rough with them, is right or wrong:
In the bright muse though thousand charms con
spire, Her voice is all these tuneful fools admire; Who haunt Parnassus but to please their ear, Not mend their minds; as some to church repair, 1 Not for the doctrine, but the music there, These, equal syllables alone require, Though oît the ear the open vowels tire; While expletives their feeble aid do join, And ten low words oft creep in one dull line: While they ring round the same unvaried chimes, With sure returns of still expected rhymes; Where'er you find the cooling western breeze,' In the next line it whispers through the trees:' If crystal streams with pleasing murmurs creep,' The reader's threaten'd (not in vain) with sleep:' Then at the last and only couplet, fraught With some unmeaning thing they call a thought, A needless Alexandrine ends the song, That like a wounded snake, drags its slow length
along. Leave such to tune their own dull rhymes and kvow What's roundly smooth or languishingly slow; And praise the easy vigour of a line, Where Denham's strength and Waller's sweetness
join. True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance. 'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence, The sound must seem an echo to the sense: Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows, And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows; But when loud surges lash the sounding shore, The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar. When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to
throw, The line too labours, and the words move slow: Not so when swift Camilla scours the plain, Flies o'er the unbending corn, and skims along the
Hear howTimotheus' varied lays surpriae,
And bid alternate passions fall unit ria!
While, at each change, the son of l y * *
Now burns with glory, and then prila wito !*
Now his fierce eyes with spartine TanY
Now signs steal out, and tours 3
Persians and Greeks take turus at 1**:
And the world's victor stort bintang
The power of music all our is Ale
And what Timotheus wa, is
* Avoid extremes, and stau
a extremes, and stan Who still are pleas'd to
m At every trifle scoru so "" That always shows
> Those heads, as storia neads, as stotinace
. * Which aauseate all, and Yet let not each gay .. For fools adme , bu
elektr o As things sees are Dulness is ever apt a
Some foreign na