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One science only will one genius fit;
60 One science only will one genius fit. Warton vindicates this maxim; but adduces only the weak examples ;-that La Fontaine wrote clever tales, but was hissed in comedy; that Terence made no attempt in tragedy; that Rowe's · Biter' was wretched; that Heemskirk and Teniers could never have succeeded in the sublime of painting ; that Tully made bad verses, &c. However, he has the candor to acknowlege other instances against him; and what are these ? that Garrick could alike personate Lear and Abel Drugger; and that Macbeth and Falstaff were the work of the same pen.
Roscoe, on the other hand, charges both the poet and the commentator with an attempt to depreciate the powers of the human mind; and adduces the examples of Michael Angelo, the ‘sculptor, painter, architect, and poet;' of Bacon, and Shakspeare. The actual argument in the text seems to have equally escaped both. Warton coincides with Pope on palpably inadequate grounds : for his evidences from the failures of writers and artists in different styles of their own arts, are trifling: Roscoe's evidences from the success of writers and artists in different styles of their own arts, are not less insufficient. The painting, sculpture, and architecture of Angelo are too analogous to each other to afford an argument for the universality of genius: as a poet, he was nothing. And what was the science of Shakspeare, beyond the drama ? The true question is, whether any pre-eminent genius has ever maintained his pre-eminence in more than one province of intellectual distinction; whether the great poet, the great painter, the great orator, the great mathematician,- whether any man, standing in the foremost rank of mind, has ever been enabled to pursue fame with complete success in more directions than one. We do not here speak of the general activity which loves
First follow Nature, and your judgment frame By her just standard, which is still the same : Unerring Nature, still divinely bright, 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 76 With spirits feeds, with vigor 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, Want as much more to turn it to its use; 81 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 : 85 The winged courser, like a generous horse, Shows most true mettle when you check his course.
Those rules of old discover'd, not devised, Are nature still, but nature methodised. Nature, like liberty, is but restrain'd
90 By the same laws which first herself ordain'd. Hear how learn'd Greece her useful rules in
dites, When to repress, and when indulge our flights :: High on Parnassus' top her sons she show'd, And pointed out those arduous paths they trod; to throw off its superfluous force on every pursuit within its reach : we speak of equal triumphs achieved in totally separate departments by powers of the first order. Probably not a single instance of the kind is discoverable in the whole history of man.
Held from afar, aloft, the immortal prize, 96
107 Sure to hate most. It is amusing to see the picture of criticism, as sketched by Swift, himself the most unsparing of critics :- Momus, fearing the worst, and calling to mind an ancient prophecy, which bore no very good face to his children the moderns, bent his Aigbt to the region of a malignant deity, called Criticism. She dwelt on the top of a snowy mountain in Nova Zembla : there Momus found her extended in her den, on the spoils of numberless volumes, half devoured. At her right hand sat Ignorance, her father and husband, blind with age; at her left, Pride, her mother, dressing her up in the scraps of paper herself had torn. There was Opinion, her sister, light of foot, hoodwinked and headstrong, yet giddy, and perpetually turning. About her played her children, Noise and Impudence, Dulness and Vanity, Positiveness, Pedantry, and Ill Manners. The goddess herself had claws like a cat,' &c. &c.—Tale of a Tub.
110 Bold in the practice of mistaken rules. The abbé d'Aubignac, patronised by Richelieu, wrote a treatise on the Aristotelic rules of the drama; but this did not prevent his writing a tragedy, which was hissed off the stage. The great Condé ob
Some on the leaves of ancient authors prey;
And trace the Muses upward to their spring.
served, on this catastrophe of the critic's fame,- Je sçais bon gré à l'abbé d'Aubignac d'avoir suivi les règles d'Ari. stote, mais je ne pardonne pas aux règles d'Aristote d'avoir fait faire une si mauvaise tragédie à l'abbé d'Aubignac.'Warton.
123 Cavil you may, but never criticise. The author, after this verse, originally inserted the following, which he has however omitted in all the later editions :
Zoilus, had these been known, without a name
When first young Maro in his boundless mind A work to outlast immortal Rome design’d, 131 Perhaps he seem'd above the critic's law, And but from nature's fountain scorn'd to draw : But when to examine every part he came, Nature and Homer were, he found, the same. 135 Convinced, amazed, he checks the bold design: And rules as strict his labor'd work confine, As if the Stagyrite o’erlook'd each line. ' Learn hence for ancient rules a just esteem: To copy nature is to copy them.
Some beauties yet no precepts can declare,
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. 160