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These Monsters, Critics! with
Here point your thunder, and exhauft your rage! 555
Yet shun their fault, who, fcandalously nice,
Will needs mistake an author into vice;
All seems infected that th' infected fpy,
As all looks yellow to the jaundic'd eye.
LEARN then what MORALS Critics ought to show;
For ’tis but half a judge's task, to know.
Tis not enough, taste, judgment, 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. 565
Be silent always, when you
And speak, though sure, with seeming diffidence:
Some positive, perfifting fops we know,
Who, if once wrong, will needs be always fo;
with pleasure, own your errors past, 570 And make each day a critique on the last.
'Tis not enough your counfel still be true;
Blunt truths more mischi :f than nice falsehoods do;
Men must be taught as if you taught them not,
And things unknown propos'd as things forgot.
575 Without good-breeding, truth is disapprov'd; That only makes superior sense belov'd.
Be VARIATIONS. Ver. 562. 'Tis not enough, wit, art, and learning join. Ver. 564. That not alone what to your judgment's due. Ver. 569. That if once wrong, &c. Ver. 595. And things ne'er known, &c. Ver. 576. Without good-breeding truth is not approvid.
Be niggards of advice on no pretence;
For the worst avarice is that of sense.
With mean complacence, ne'er betray your trust, 580
Nor be so civil as to prove unjust.
Fear not the anger of the wife 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, 585
And stares tremendous, with a threatening eye,
Like some fierce tyrant in old tapestry.
Fear molt to tax an honourable fool,
Whose right it is, uncensur'd, to be dull i
Such, without wit, are Poets when they please, 590
As without learning they can take degrees.
Leave dangerous truths to unsuccessful fatires,
And flattery to fulsome dedicators,
Whom, when they praise, the world believes no more
Than when they promise to give scribbling o'er. 595
'Tis best sometimes your censure to restrain,
And charitably let the dull be vain :
Ver. 586. And stares, tremendous, &c.] This pic-
ture was taken to himself by John Dennis, a furious
old critic by profession, who, upon no other provoca-
tion, wrote against this Essay, and its author, in a man-
ner perfectly lunatic : For, as to the mention made of
him in ver. 270. he took it as a compliment, and said
it was treacherously meant to cause him to overlook this
Abuse of his Person.
Ver. 597. And charitably let dull fools be vain.
Your filence there is better than your spite,
For who can rail so long as they can write ?
Still humming on, their drowzy course they keep, 600
And lash'd so long, like tops, are lash'd afieep.
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 fyllables 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 dropping of their sense,
And rhyme with all the rage of impotence.
Such shameless Bards we have: and yet 'tis true, 610'
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 ftill edifies his ears,
And always listening to himself appears.
All books he reads, and all he reads affails,
From Dryden's Fables down to Durfey's Tales :
With him, most authors steal their works, or buy;
Garth did not write his own Dispenfary.
Still humming on, their old dull course they keep.
Ver. 619. Garth did not write, &c.] A common flander at that time in prejudice of that deserving author. Our Poet did him this justice, when that flander most prevailed; and it is now (perhaps the sooner for this very verfe) dead and forgotten.
Name a new Play, and he's the Poet's friend, 620
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
For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread. 625
Distrustful sense with modest caution speaks,
It still looks home, and short excursions makes :
But rattling nonsense in full vollies breaks,
And, never shock'd, and never turn'd aside,
Bursts out, resistless, with a thundering tide. 630
But where 's the man, who counfel can bestow,
Still pleas’d to teach, and yet not proud to know?
Unbiass’d, or by favour, or by spite ;
Not dully prepoffefs'd, nor blindly right;
Though learn'd, well-bred; and though well-bred,
Modestly bold, and humanly severe :
Who to a friend his faults can freely show,
And gladly praise the merit of a foe?
Bleft with a taste exact, yet unconfind;
A knowledge both of books and human kind; 640
Ver. 623. Between this and ver. 624.
In vain you shrug and sweat, and strive to fly:
These know no Manners but of Poetry.
They'll stop a hungry Chaplain in his grace,
To treat of Unities of time and place.
Ver. 624. Nay run to Altars, &c.
Ver. 634. Not dully prepossess’d, or blindly right.
Generous converse; a foul exempt from pride;
And love to praise, with reason on his fide ?
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 fails, 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 fense,
Will, like a friend, familiarly convey
The truest notions in the easiest way.
Between ver. 646 and 649, I found the following lines, since suppressed by the Author :
That bold Columbus of the realms of wit,
Whose first discovery's not exceeded yet,
Led by the Light of the Mæonian Star,
He steer'd securely, and discover'd far.
He, when all Nature was subdued before,
Like his great Pupil, figh’d, and long d for more:
Fancy's wild regions yet unvanquish'd lay,
A boundless empire, and that own'd no lway.
After ver. 648. the first edition reads,
Not only Nature did his laws obey,
But Fancy's boundless empire own'd his sway.
Ver. 655. Does, like a friend, &c.
Ver. 655, 656. These lines are not in ed. s.