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CRITICISM.

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IS hard to fay, if greater want of skill
Appear in writing or in judging ill;
But, of the two, lefs dang'rous is th' offence
To tire our patience, than mislead our sense.
Some few in that, but numbers err in this,
Ten cenfure wrong, for one who writes amifs;
A fool might once himself alone expofe,
Now one in verfe makes many more in prose.

'Tis with our judgments as our watches, none Go juft alike, yet each believes his own.

In Poets as true genius is but rare,

True Taste as feldom is the Critic's fhare;

Both must alike from Heav'n derive their light,
These born to judge, as well as thofe to write.

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Let

Let fuch teach others who themfelves excel,
And cenfure freely who have written well.
Authors are partial to their wit, 'tis true,
But are not Critics to their judgment too?

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Yet if we look more closely, we shall find Moft have the feeds of judgment in their mind: 20 Nature affords at least a glimm'ring light;

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The lines, tho' touch'd but faintly, are drawn right,
But as the slightest sketch, if justly trac❜d,
Įs by ill-colouring but the more difgrac'd,
So by falfe learning is good fenfe defac'd:
Some are bewilder'd in the maze of schools,
And fome made coxcombs Nature meant but fools.
In fearch of wit these lose their common sense,
And then turn Critics in their own defence:

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Each

VER. 15. Let fuch teach others.] Qui fcribit artificiofe, ab aliis commode fcripta facile intelligere poterit. Cic. ad Herenn. lib. 4. De pittore, fculptore, fillore, nifi artifex, judicare non poteft. Pliny. P.

VER. 20. Moft have the feeds] Omnes tacito quodam fenfu, fine ulla arte, aut ratione, quæ fint in artibus ac rationibus recta et prava dijudicant. Cic. de Orat. lib. iii. P.

VER. 25. So by falfe learning) Plus fine do&rina prudenția, quam fine prudentia valet doctrina. Quint. P.

VARIATIONS.

Between v. 25 and 26 were these lines, fince omitted by the author:

Many are fpoil'd by that pedantic throng,
Who with great pains teach youth to reafon
Tutors, like Virtuofo's, oft inclin'd

wrong.

By frange transfufion to improve the mind,
Draw off the fenfe we have, to pour in new;
Which yet, with all their skill, they ne'er could do. P.

Each burns alike, who can, or cannot write,
Or with a Rival's, or an Eunuch's fpite.
All fools have still an itching to deride,
And fain would be upon the laughing fide,
If Mævius fcribble in Apollo's fpight,

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There are, who judge ftill worse than he can write.
Some have at firft for Wits, then Poets paft, 36
Turn'd Critics next, and prov'd plain fools at laft.
Some neither can for Wits nor Critics pass,
As heavy mules are neither horse nor ass.
Those half-learn'd witlings, num'rous in our ifle,
As half-form'd infects on the banks of Nile;
Unfinish'd things, one knows not what to call,
Their geoeration's fo equivocal:

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To tell 'em, would a hundred tongues require,
Or one vain wit's, that might a hundred tire.
But you who feek to give and merit fame,
And justly bear a Critic's noble name,
Be sure yourself and your own reach to know,
How far your genius, tafte, and learning go;
Launch not beyond your depth, but be discreet, 50
And mark that point where fenfe and dullness meet.
Nature to all things fix'd the limits fit,

And wifely curb'd proud man's pretending wit.

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VER. 51. And mark that point where fenfe and dullness meet.] This precept cautions us against going on, when our Ideas begin to grow obfcure; as we are apt to do, tho' that obfcurity is a monition that we thould leave off; for it arifes either thro' our fmall acquaintance with the fubject, or the incomprehenfibility of its nature. In which circumftances a genius will always write as heavily as a dunce. An obfervation well worth the attention of all profound writers.

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