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A vapour fed from wild desire;
And burn for ever one;
What various joys on one attend,
Whether his hoary sire he spies,
What home-felt raptures move !
Fires that scorch, yet dare not shine:
Sacred Hymen! these are thine.
ODE ON SOLITUDE. Written when the Author was about twelve Years ora HAPPY the man whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound, Content to breathe his native air
In his own groun
Perhaps e'en Britain's utmost shore
And Athens rising near the pole !
In every age, in every state !
CHORUS OF YOUTHS AND VIRGINS
Wisdom and wit in vain reclaim,
Love, soft intruder, enters here,
Which nature hath impress'd?
Brutus for absent Porcia sighs,
What is loose love ? a transient gust,
Lend, lend your wings ! I mount ! I fly.
Oh death! where is thy sting?
AN ESSAY ON CRITICISM.
Written in the Year 1709.
PART I. Introduction. That it is as great a fault to judge ill, as
to write ill, and a more dangerous one to the public, ver. 1. That a true taste is as rare to be found as a true genius, ver. 9 to 18. That most men are born with some taste, but spoiled by false education, ver. 19 to 25. The multitude of critics, and causes of them, ver. 26 to 45. That we are to study our own taste, and know the limits of it, ver. 46 to 67. Nature the best guide of judgment, ver. 68 to 87. Improved by art and rules, which are but methodized nature, ver. 88. Rules derived from the practice of ancient poets, ver. 88 to 110. That therefore the ancients are necessary to be studied by a critic, particularly Homer and Virgil, ver. 120 to 138. Of licenses, and the use of them by the ancients, ver. 140 to 180. Reverence due to the ancients, and praise of them, ver. 181, &c.
'Tis hard to say, if greater want of skill
'Tis with our judgments as our watches ; none
Both must alike from Heaven derive their light,
Yet, if we look more closely, we shall find
right. But as the slightest sketch, if justly traced, Is by ill-colouring but the more disgraced, So by false learning is good sense defaced : Some are bewilder'd in the maze of schools, And some made coxcombs nature meant but fools: In search of wit these lose their common sense, And then turn critics in their own defence : Each burns alike, who can, or cannot write, 30 Or with a rival's or an eunuch's spite. All fools have still an itching to deride, And fain would be upon the laughing side If Mævius scribble in Apollo's spite, There are who judge still worse than he can write.
Some have at first for wits, then poets pass'd;
But you, who seek to give and merit same,
Launch not beyond your depth, but be discreet, 50
Nature to all things fix'd the limits fit,
First follow nature, and your judgment frame
70 One clear, unchanged, and universal light, Life, force, and beauty, must to all impart, At once the source, and end, and test of art; Art from that fund each just supply provides ; Works without show, and without pomp presides : In some fair body thus the informing soul With spirits feeds, with vigour fills the whole, Each motion guides, and every nerve sustains ; Itself unseen, but in the effects remains. Some, to whom Heaven in wit has been profuse, 80 Want as much more, to turn it to its use; For wit and judgment often are at strife, Though meant each other's aid, like man and wife 'Tis more to guide, than spur the muse's steed; Restrain his fury, than provoke his speed.: The winged courser, like a generous hoise, Shows most true mettle when you cheri'x his course