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Without all these at once before your eyes,
When first young Maro in his boundless mind
Some beauties yet no precepts can declare, For there's a happiness as well as care. Music resembles poetry; in each Are nameless graces which no methods teach, And which a master-hand alone can reach. If, where the rules not far enough extend, (Since rules were made but to promote their end) Some lucky licence answer to the full The intent propos'd, that licence is a rule. Thus Pegasus a nearer way to take, May boldly deviate from the common track. From vulgar bounds with brare disorder part, And snatch a grace beyond the reach of art, 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. Great wits sometimes may gloriously offend, And rise to faults true critics dare not mend ;
But though the ancients thus their rules invade,
I know there are to whose presumptuous thoughts
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 ! Hear in all tongues consenting pæans ring ! In praise so just let every voice be join'd, And fill the general chorus of mankind. Hail, bards triumphant! born in happier days, Immortal heirs of universal praise ! Whose honours with increase of ages grow, As streams roll down, enlarging as they flow Nations unborn your mighty names shall sound, And worlds applaud that must not yet be found! O may some spark of your celestial fire 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 leach vain wits a science little known, To' admire superior sense, and doubt their own!
learning.-Judging by parts, and not by the whole.
Man's erring judgment, and misguide the mind,
The' increasing prospect tires our wandering eyes, Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
A perfect judge will read each work of wit With the same spirit that its author writ; Survey the whole, por seek slight faults to find Where nature moves, and rapture warms the mind; Nor lose, for that malignant dull delight, The generous pleasure to be charmd with wit. But in such lays as neither ebb nor flow, Correctly cold, and regularly low, That shunning faults one quiet tenor keep, We cannot blame indeed-but we may sleep. In wit, as nature, what affects our hearts Is not the exactness of peculiar parts; 'Tis not a lip, or eye, we beauty call, But the joint force and full result of all. Thus when we view some well-proportion'd dome, (The world's just wonder, and ev'n thine, O Rome !) No single parts unequally surprise, All comes united to the admiring eyes; No monstrous height, or breadth, or length, appear; The whole at once is bold and regular.
Whoever thinks a faultless piece to see, Thinks what ne'er was, nor is, nor e'er shall be. In every work regard the writer's end, Since none can compass more than they intend; And if the means be just, the conduct true, Applause, in spite of trivial faults, is due. As men of breeding, sometimes men of wit, To avoid great errors must the less commit; Neglect the rules each verbal critic lays, For not to know some trifles is a praise. Most critics, fond of some subservient art, Still make the whole depend upon a part: They talk of principles, but notions prize, And all to one lov'd folly sacrifice.
Once on a time La Mancha's Knight, they say, A certain bard encountering on the way, Discours’d in terms as just, with looks as sage, As e'er could Dennis of the Grecian stage,
Concluding all were desperate sots and fools Who durst depart from Aristotle's rules. Our author, happy in a judge so nice, 'Produc'd his play, and begg'd the knight's advice; Made him observe the subject and the plot, The manners, passions, unities; what not? All which exact to rule were brought about, Were but a combat in the lists left out. • What! leave the combat out?' exclaims the knight. • Yes, or we must renounce the Stagirite.'• Not so, by Heav'n! (he answers in a rage) Knights, squires, and steeds, must enter on the
Thus critics of less judgment than caprice,
Some to conceit alone their taste confine,
Others for language all their care express, And value books, as women men, for dress: Their praise is still the style is excellent; The sense they humbly take upon content.