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In the fat age of pleasure, wealth, and ease,
Sprang the rank weed, and thriv'd with large in.

crease :
When love was all an easy monarch's care;
Seldom at council, never in a war:
Jilts rul'd the state, and statesmen farces writ:
Nay wits had pensions, and young lords had wit:
The fair sat panting at a courtier's play,
And not a mask went unimprov'd away:
The modest fan was lifted up no more,
And virgins smil'd at what they blush'd before,
The following licence of a foreign reign
Did all the dregs of bold Socinus drain;
Then unbelieving priests reform'd the nation,
And taught more pleasant methods of salvation;
Where Heaven's free subjects might their rights

dispute, Lest God himself should seem too absolute: Pulpits their sacred satire learn'd to spare, And vice admir'd to find a flatterer there ! Encourag'd thus, wit's Titans bray'd the skies, And the press groan'd with licens'd blasphemies. These monsters, critics ! with your darts engage, Here point your thunder, and exhaust your rage! Yet shun their fault, who, scandalously nice, Will needs mistake an author into vice; All seems infected that th' infected spy, As all looks yellow to the jaundic'd eye.

PART III.

Rules for the conduct and manners in a critic.

1. Candour, ver. 563. Modesty, ver. 566. Good. breeding, ver. 572. Sincerity and freedom of advice, ver. 578. 2. When one's counsel is to be restrained, ver. 584. Character of an incorrigi. ble poet, ver. 600; and of an impertinent critic, ver. 610, &c. Character of a good critic, ver. 629. The history of criticism, and characters of the best critics : Aristotle, ver. 645. Horace, ver. 653. Dionysius, ver. 665. Petronius, ver. 667. Quintilian, ver. 670. Longinus, ver. 675. Of the decay of criticism, and its revival : Erasmus, ver. 693. Vida, ver. 705. Boileau, ver. 714. Lord Roscommon, &c. ver. 725. Conclusion.

T EARN then what morals critics ought to show; u For 'tis but half a judge's task to know. 'Tis not enough, taste, judgement, learning, join ; In all you speak, let truth and candour shine; That not alone what to your sense is due All may allow, but seek your friendship too.

Be silent always, when you doubt your sense; And speak, though sure, with seeming diffidence: Some positive, persisting fops we know, Who, if once wrong, will needs be always so ; But you, with pleasure, own your errors past, And make each day a critique on the last.

'Tis not enough your counsel still be true; Blunt truths more mischief than nice falsehoods do: Men must be taught as if you taught them not, And things unknown propos'd as things forgot. Without good-breeding truth is disapprov'd; That only makes superior seuse belov’d.

Be niggards of advice on no pretence; For the worst avarice is that of sense. With mean complacence, ne'er betray your trust, Nor be so civil as to prove unjust. Fear not the anger of the wise to raise; Those best can bear reproof, who merit praise,

'Twere well might critics still this freedom take: But Appius reddens at each word you speak, And stares tremendous, with a threatening eye, Like some fierce tyrant in old tapestry. Fear most to tax an honourable fool, Whose right it is, uncensur'd, to be dull! Such, without wit, are poets when they please, . As without learning they can take degrees. Leave dangerous truths to unsuccessful satires, And flattery to fulsome dedicators, Whom, when they praise, the world believes 20

more Than when they promise to give scribbling o'er. Tis best sometimes your censure to restrain, And charitably let the dull be vain: Your silence there is better than your spite, For who can rail so long as they can write ? Still humming on, their drowsy course they keep, And lash'd so long, like tops, are lash'd asleep. False steps but help them to renew the race, As after stumbling jades will mend their pace. What crowds of these, impenitently bold, In sounds and jingling syllables grown old, Still run on poets, in a raging vein, Ev’n to the dregs and squeezings of the brain, Strain out the last dull droppings of their sense, And rhyme with all the rage of impotence !

Such shameless bards we have: and yet 'tis true, There are as mad, abandon'd critics too. The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read, With loads of learned lumber in his head, With his own tongue still edifies his ears, And always listening to himself appears.

All books he reads, and all he reads assails,
From Dryden's Fables down to Durfey's Tales:
With him most authors steal their works, or buy; .
Garth did not write his own Dispensary.
Name a new play, and he's the poet's friend,
Nay, show'd his faults-but when would poets mend?
No place so sacred from such fops is barr'd,
Nor is Paul's church more safe than Paul's church.

yard :
Nay, fly to altars, there they'll talk you dead;
For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
Distrustful sense with modest caution speaks,
It still looks home, and short excursions makes;
But rattling nonsense in full volteys breaks,
And, never shock'd, and never turn'd aside,
Bursts out, resistless, with a thundering tide,

But where's the man who counset can bestow,
Still pleas'd to teach, and yet not proud to know?
Unbiass'd, or by favour, or by spite;
Not dully prepossess'd, nor blindly right;
Though learn'd, well-bred; and though welt-bred,

sincere; ..
Modestly bold and humanly severe;
Who to a friend his faults can free!y show,
And gladly praise the merit of a foe?
Blest with a taste exact, yet unconfin'd;
A knowledge both of books and human kind;
Geperous converse; a soul exempt from pride;
And love to praise, with reason on his side?

Such once were critics; such the happy few
Athens and Rome in better ages knew :
The mighty Stagyrite first left the shore,
Spread all his sails, and durst the deeps explore:
He steer'd securely, and discover'd far,
Led by the light of the Mæonian star.
Poets, a race long unconfin'd and free,
Still fond and proud of savage liberty,
Receiv'd his laws, and stood convinc'd 'twas fit
Who conquer'd nature should preside o'er wit.

Horace still charms with graceful negligence, And without method talks us into sense ; Will, like a friend, familiarly convey The truest notions in the easiest way. He who, supreme in judgement as in wit, Might boldly censure, as he boldly writ, Yet judg'd with coolness, though he sung with fire; His precepts teach but what his works inspire, Our critics take a contrary extreme, They judge with fury, but they write with phlegm: Nor suffers Horace more in wrong translations By wits, than critics in as wrong quotations.

See Dionysius Homer's thoughts refine,
And call new beauties forth from every line!

Fancy and art in gay Petronius please,
The scholar's learning with the courtier's ease.

In grave Quintilian's copious work, we find
The justest rules and clearest method join'd;
Thus useful arms in magazines we place,
All rang'd in order, and dispos'd with grace,
But less to please the eye, than arm the hand,
Still fit for use, and ready at command.

Thee, bold Longinus! all the Nine inspire,
And bless their critic with a poet's fire.
An ardent judge, who, zealous in his trust,
With warmth gives sentence, yet is always just;
Whose own example strengthens all his laws;
And is himself that great sublime he draws.

Thus long succeeding critics justly reign'd,
Licence repress'd, and useful laws ordaiņ'd :
Lcarning and Rome alike in empire grew,
And arts still follow'd where her eagles flew;
From the same foes, at last, both felt their doom,
And the same age saw learning fall and Rome.
With tyranny then superstition join'd,
As that the body, this enslav'd the mind;
Much was believ'd, but little understood,
And to be dull was construed to be good:
A second deluge learning thus o'er-ran,
Add the monks finish'd what the Goths began.

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