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Pope excelled, he is fuperior to all mankind: and I only fay, that this fpecies of poetry is not the mod excellent one of the art.

We do not, it fhould 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 latterpj 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 diftinft from each other; and to imprefs on the reader, that a clear head, and acute underftanding, are not fufficient, 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

in in Prose; and that it is a creative and glowing Imagination, "acerfpiritus ac vis," and that alone, that can {tamp a writer with this exalted and very uncommon character, which fo few poflefs, and of which fo few can properly f judged j


For one perfon who can adequately relifh N and enjoy a work of imagination, twenty are to be found who can tafte, and judge of, obfervations on familiar life, and the manners of the age. The Satires of Ariofto are more read than the Orlando Furiofo, or even Dante. Are there fo many cordial admirers of Spenfer and Milton, as of Hudibras, if we ftrike out of the number of thefe fuppofed admirers, thofe who appear fuch out of falhion, and not of feeling? Swift's Rhapfody on Poetry is far more popular than Akenfide's noble Ode to Lord Huntingdon. The Epistles on the Characters of Men and Women, and your fprightly Satires, my good friend, are more frequently perufed, and quoted, than L'Allegro and II Penferofo of Milton. Had you written only thefe Satires, you would, indeed, have gained the title of a man of wit, and a

A 2 man

man of fenfe; but, I am confident, would not infill on being denominated a Poet Merely on their account.


It is amazing this matter mould ever have been miftaken, when Horace has taken particular and repeated pains to fettle and adjuft the opinion in queftion. He has more than once difclaimed all right and title to the name of Poet on the fcore of his ethic and fatiric pieces.



are lines often repeated, but whofe meaning is not extended and weighed as it ought to be. Nothing can be more judicious than the method he prefcribes, of trying whether any compofition be elTentially poetical or not; which is, to drop entirely the meafures and numbers, and tranfpofe and invert the order of the .


words: and in this unadorned manner to perufe the paflage. If there be really in it a true poetical fpirit, all your inverfions and tranfpofitions will not difguife and extinguifh it; but it will retain its luftre, like a diamond unfet, and thrown back into the rubbifh of the mine. Let us make a little experiment on the following well-known lines: "Yes, you defpife the man that is confined to books, who rails at humankind from his Jludy; though what he learns, he /peaks; and may, perhaps, advance fome general maxims, or may be right by chance* The coxcomb bird, Jo grave and Jo talkative, that cries whore, knave, and cuckold, from his cage, though he rightly call many a paffenger, you hold him no philofopher. And yet, fuch is the fate of all extremes, men may be read too much, as well as books. We grow more partial, for the fake of the obferver, to obfervations which we ourfelves make; lefs fo to written wifdom, becaufe another's. Maxims are drawn from notions, and thofe from guefs." What lhall we fay of this palfage? Why, that it is raoft excellent fenfe, butjuft as poetical as the "Qui fit Maecenas" of the author who recommends this method of trial. Take ten lines of the Iliad, Paradife Loft, or even of

the the Georgics of Virgil, and fee whether, by any procefs of critical chemiftry, you can lower and reduce them to the tamenefs of profe. You will find that they will appear like Ulyffes in his difguife of rags, ftill a hero, though lodged in the cottage of the herdfman Eumaeus.

<^The fublime and the pathetic are the two chief nerves of all genuine poefy. What is there tranfcendently fublirne or pathetic in Pope In his Works^tnere is,^maeed, nihil inane, nihil arceflkum; puro tamen fonti quam magno flumini proprior;" as the excellent Quintilian remarks of Lyfias. And becaufe I am, perhaps, unwilling to fpeak out in plain Englifh, I will adopt the following paflage of Voltaire, which, in my opinion, as exactly characterizes Pope as it does his model Boileau, for whom it was originally defigned: "Incapable Peut-etre Du Sublime Qui Eleve L'ame, Ex Du Sentiment Qui L'atTendrit, Mais Fait Pour Eclairer Ceux


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