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Great wits sometimes may gloriously offend,'
And rise to faults true critics dare not mend;”
From vulgar bounds with brave disorder part,
And snatch a grace beyond the reach of art,” 155
Which, without passing through the judgment, gains
The heart, and all its end at once attains.
In prospects, thus, some objects please our eyes,
Which out of nature's common order rise,"
The shapeless rock, or hanging precipice.” 16t
Dut though the ancients thus their" rules invade,
(As kings dispense with laws themselves have made,’)
Moderns, beware l or if you must offend
Against the precept, ne'er transgress its end;

Quintil lib. ii. cap. 13.−

mur. PopF.

* Dryden's Aurengzebe: Mean soul, and dar'st not gloriously offend I —STEEVENS.

* This couplet, in the quarto of 1743, was for the first time placed immediately after the triplet which ends at ver. 160. The effect of this arrangement was that “Pegasus,” instead of the “great wits,” became the antecedent to the lines, “From vulgar bounds,” &c., and the poetic steed was said to “snatch a grace.” Warton commented upon the absurdity of using such language of a horse, and since it is evident that Pope must have overlooked the incongruity, when he adopted the transposition, the lines were restored to their original order in the editions of Warton, Bowles, and Roscoe.

* So Soame and Dryden of the Ode, in the Translation of Boileau's Art of Poetry: Her generous style at random oft will part, And by a brave disorder shows her art. And again: A generous Muse, [art, When too much fettered with the rules of

May from her stricter bounds and limits part.—WAKErie LD.

* This allusion is perhaps inaccurate. The shapeless rock, and hanging precipice do not rise out of nature's common order. These objects are characteristic of some of the features of nature, of those especially that are picturesque. If he had said that amid cultivated scenery we are pleased with a hanging rock, the allusion would have been accurate. — Bowles. The criticism of Bowles does not apply to the passage in Sprat's Account of Cowley, from which Pope borrowed his comparison: “He knew that in diverting men's minds there should be the same variety observed as in the prospects of their eyes, where a rock, a precipice, or a rising wave is often more delightful than a smooth even ground, or a calm sea.” * Another couplet originally followed here: But care in poetry must still be had ; It asks discretion ev'n in running mad : And though, &c. which is the insamire cum ratione taken from Terence by Horace, at Sat. ii. 3, 271.-WAKEFIELD. 6 “Their” means “their own.” —WARTON. 7 Dryden in his dedication to the

Let it be seldom, and compelled by need; tgs
And have, at least, their precedent to plead.
The critic else proceeds without remorse,
Seizes your fame, and puts his laws in force.
I know there are, to whose presumptuous thoughts
Those freer beauties, ev’n in them, seem faults.' 17t
Some figures monstrous and mis-shaped” appear,
Considered singly, or beheld too near,
Which, but proportioned to their light, or place,
Due distance reconciles to form and grace.”
A prudent chief not always must display" 175
His pow'rs in equal rank, and fair array,
But with th' occasion and the place comply,
Conceal his force, nay, seem sometimes to fly.
Those oft are stratagems which errors seem,”
Nor is it Homer nods but we that dream." 180

AEneis: “Wirgil might make this
anachronism by superseding the
mechanic rules of poetry, for the
same reason that a monarch may
dispense with or suspend his own
laws.”
" Pope's manuscript supplies two
omitted lines:
The boldest strokes of art we may despise,
Viewed in false lights with undiscerning
eyes.
* A violation of grammatical pro-
priety, into which many of our first
and most accurate writers have fallen.
“Mishapen” is doubtless the true
participle.—WAKEFIELD.
* Pope took his imagery from
Horace, Ars Poet., 361 :
Ut pictura, poesis erit: quae, si propitis
stes, [abstes:
Te capiat magis; et quaedam, si longitis
Haec amat obscurum ; volet haec sub luce
videri.
He was also indebted to the trans-
lation of Boileau's Art of Poetry by
Dryden and Soame:

Each object must be fixed in the due place, And diff'ring parts have corresponding grace.

* Olov ri troudtow of ppóvuot a spatmad-
Tai karū tas td (sis Táv arrparévuárwy.
Dion. Hal. De Struct. Orat.—WAR-
BURTON.
* It may be pertinent to subjoin
Roscommon's remark on the same
subject:
Far the greatest part
Of what some call neglect is studied art.
When Virgil seems to trifle in a lino,
'Tis but a warning piece which gives the
sign,
To wake your fancy and prepare your sight
To reach the noble height of some unusual
flight.—WARton.

Variety and contrast are necessary,
and it is impossible all parts should
be equally excellent. Yet it would
be too much to recommend introduc-
ing trivial or dull passages to enhance
the merit of those in which the whole
effort of genius might be employed.—
Bow LEs.
* Modeste, et circumspecto judicio
de tantis viris pronunciandum est,
ne (quod plerisque accidit) damnent
quod non intelligunt. Ac si necesse
est in alteram errare partem, omnia

Still green with bays each ancient altar stands, Above the reach of sacrilegious hands;" Secure from flames, from envy's fiercer rage, Destructive war, and all-involving age.” See, from each clime, the learn'd their incense bring; 185 Hear, in all tongues consenting Paeans ring ! In praise so just let ev'ry voice be joined, And fill the gen'ral chorus of mankind.” Hail, bards triumphant born in happier days;" Immortal heirs of universal praise! 190

Whose honours with increase of ages grow,
As streams roll down, enlarging as they flow;

eorum legentibus placere, quam multa
displicere maluerim. Quint.—PoPE.
Lord Roscommon was not disposed
to be so diffident in those excellent
verses of his Essay :
For who, without a qualm, hath ever
looked [cooked?
On holy garbage, though by Homer
Whose railing heroes, and whose wounded
gods,
Make some suspect he snores as well as
nods.-WAKEFIELD.
Pope originally wrote in his manu-
script,
Nor Homer nods so often as we dream,
which was followed by this couplet:
In sacred writ where difficulties rise,
'Tis safer far to fear than criticise.
* So Roscommon's epilogue to Alex-
ander the Great :
Secured by higher pow'rs exalted stands
Above the reach of sacrilegious hands.-
WAKEFIELD.
* The poet here alludes to the four
great causes of the ravage amongst
ancient writings. The destruction of
the Alexandrine and Palatine libraries
by fire; the fiercer rage of Zoilus,
Maevius, and their followers, against
wit ; the irruption of the barbarians
into the empire; and the long reign
of ignorance and superstition in the
cloisters. —WARBURTON.
I like the original verse better—

Destructive war, and all-devouring age,

as a metaphor much more perspicu-
ous and specific.—WAKEFIELD.
In his epistle to Addison, Pope has
“all-devouring age,” but the epithet
here is more original and striking,
and admirably suited to the subject.
This shows a nice discrimination.
“All-involving” would be as improper
in the Essay on Medals as “all-de-
vouring” would be in this place.—
Bowl Es.
A couplet in Cooper's Hill suggested
the couplet of Pope :
Now shalt thou stand, though sword, or
time, or fire, [spire.
Or zeal more fierce than they, thy fall con-
* Thus in a poem on the Fear of
Death, ascribed to the Duke of
Wharton:
There rival chiefs combine
To fill the gen'ral chorus of her reign.—
WAKEFIELD.
* Cowley on the death of Crashaw :
Hail, bard triumphant.
Virg. Æn. vi. 649:

Magnanimi heroes! nati melioribus annis.
—WAKEFIELD.

Dryden's Religio Laici:
Those giant wits in happier ages born.
From Pope's manuscript it ap-
pears that he had originally written
Hail, happy heroes, born in better days.

Nations unborn your mighty names shall sound, And worlds applaud, that must not yet be found !' O may some spark of your celestial fire, 195 The last, the meanest of your sons inspire, (That on weak wings, from far, pursues your flights; Glows while he reads, but trembles as he writes,) To teach vain wits a science little known, || To admire superior sense, and doubt their own I/ 200

Of all the causes which conspire to blind Man's erring judgment, and misguide the mind, What the weak head with strongest bias rules, Is pride, the never-failing vice of fools. Whatever nature has in worth denied,” 205 She gives in large recruits of needful pride; For as in bodies, thus in souls, we find What wants in blood and spirits, swelled with wind:" Pride, where wit fails, steps in to our defence, And fills up all the mighty void of sense. 210 If once right reason drives that cloud away, Truth breaks upon us with resistless day.

In a note he gave the line from Virgil of which his own was a translation.

* An imitation of Cowley, David. ii. 833 : Round the whole earth his dreaded name shall sound

And reach to worlds that must not yet be found.—WAKE FIELD.

* Oldham's Elegies: What nature has in bulk to me denied.

* “Everybody allows,” says Malebranche, “that the animal spirits are the most subtle and agitated parts of the blood. These spirits are carried with the rest of the blood to the brain,

and are there separated by some organ destined to the purpose.” Pope adopted the doctrine “allowed by everybody,” but which consisted of assumptions without proof. The very existence of these fluid spirits had never been ascertained. The remaining physiology of Pope's couplet was erroneous. When there is a deficiency of blood, its place is not supplied by wind. The grammatical construction, again, is vicious, and ascribes “blood and spirits” to souls as well as to bodies. The moral reflection illustrated by the simile is but little more correct. Men in general are not proud in proportion as they have nothing to be proud of.

Trust not yourself; but your defects to know,
Make use of ev'ry friend and ev'ry foe.
A little learning is a dang'rous thing; 215
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:"
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again. -
Fired at first sight with what the muse imparts,”
In fearless youth we tempt the heights of arts,” 220
While from the bounded level of our mind,
Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind;"
But more advanced, behold with strange surprise,
New distant scenes of endless science rise!
So pleased at first the tow'ring Alps we try," 225
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 attained, we tremble to survey
The growing labours of the lengthened way, 230
Th’ increasing prospect tires our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise !"

* Pope is commonly considered to have laid down the general proposition that total ignorance was preferable to imperfect knowledge. The context shows that he was speaking only of conceited critics, who were presumptuous because they were ill-informed. He tells such persons that the more enlightened they become the humbler they will grow. * In the early editions, Fired with the charms fair science does impart. Though “does” is removed, “with what ” is less dignified and graceful than “with the charms.” The diction of the couplet is prosaic and devoid of elegance.—WAKEFIELD. * Dryden, in the State of Innocence, Act i. Sc. i. : Nor need we tempt those heights which angels keep.–WAKEFIELD.

* The proper word would have been “beyond.”

* [Much we begin to doubt and much to fear

Our sight less trusting as we see more clear.]

So pleased at first the tow'ring Alps to try,

Filled with ideas of fair Italy,

The traveller beholds with cheerful eyes

The less'ning vales, and seems to tread the skies.—Pope.

The couplet between brackets is from
the manuscript. The next couplet,
with a variation in the first line, was
transferred to the epistle to Jervas.
* This is, perhaps, the best simile
in our language—that in which the
most exact resemblance is traced
between things in appearance utterly
unrelated to each other. — John-
SON.
I will own I am not of this opinion.
The simile appears evidently to have

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