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one be what he ought, without falling into those parts which others are to sustain in a poem. This he has faid, not distinguishing rightly between our natural difpofitions and accidental offices. And this he has faid again, not minding, that though it be taken from another book, it is still from the same author. However, vanity loves to gratify itself by the repetion of what it esteems to be written with spirit, and even when we repeat it ourselves, provided another hears us.

Hence has he been followed by a magisterial set of men who quote themselves, and swell their new performances with what they admire in their former treatises. This is a moft extraordinary knack of arguing, whereby a man can never want a proof, if he be allowed to become an authority for his own opinion.

Book I. page 72. ver. 12. And no kind billow.) How impertinent is this case of pity, says Zoilus, to bemoan, that the prince was not tossed towards land : it is enough he loft his life, and there is an end of his suffering where there is an end of his feeling. To carry the matter farther is just the same foolish management as Homer bas mewn in his Iliad, which he spins out into forty trifles beyond the death of Hector. But the critic muft allow me to put the reader in mind, that death was not the last distress the ancients believed was to be met upon earth. The last was the remaining unburied, which had this misery annexed, that while the body was without its funeral-rites in this world, the foul was supposed to be without reft

fore us.

in the next ; which was the case of the Mouse be

And accordingly the Ajax of Sophocles continues after the death of its heroe more than an act, upon the contest concerning his burial. All this Zoilus knew very well : but Zoilus is not the only one, who disputes for victory rather than truth. These foolish critics write even things they themfelves can answer, to fhew how much they can write against an author. They act unfairly, that they may be sure to be fharp enough ; and trifle with the reader, in order to be voluminous. It is needless to wish them the return they deserve : their disregard to candour is no sooner discovered, but they are for ever banished from the eyes of men of fenfe, and condemned to wander from stall to stall, for a temporary refuge from that oblivion which they cannot escape.

Book I. page 73. ver. 5. Our Eldest peris’d.] Zoilys has here taken the recapitulation of these misfortunes which happened to the royal family, as an impertinence that expatiates from the subje&t ; though indeed there seems nothing more proper to raise that sort of compassion, which was to inflame his audience to war. But what appears extremely pleasant is, that at the same time he condemns the passage, he fhould make use of it as an opportunity, to fall into an ample digreffion on the various kinds of Mousetraps, and display that minute learning which every critic of his fort is fond to thew himself master of This they imagine is tracing of knowledge through

its

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its hidden veins, and bringing discoveries to daylight, which time had covered over. Indefatigable and useless mortals ! who value themselves for knowledge of no consequence, and think of gaining applause by what the reader is careful to pass over unread. What did the disquisition signify formerly, whether Ulysses's fon, or his dog, was the elder? or how can the account of a vesture, or a player's masque, deserve that any should write the bulk of a treatise, or others read it when it is written ? A vanity thus poorly supported, which neither affords. pleasure nor profit, is the unsubstantial amusement of a dream to ourselves, and a provoking occasion of our derision to others.

Book II. page 73. ver, 19, 20. Quills aptly bound Fac'd with the plunder of a Cat they flay'd.] This passage is something difficult in the original, which, gave Zoilus the opportunity of inventing an expression, which his followers conceitedly use when any thing appears dark to them. This, say they, let Phæbus explain ; as if what exceeds their capacity must of necessity demand oracular interpretations, and an interposal of the God of wit and learning. The basis of such arrogance is the opinion they have of that knowledge they ascribe to themselves.

They take criticism to be beyond every other part of learning, because it gives judgment upon books written in every other part. They think in confequence, that every critic must be a greater genius than any author whom he censures; and therefore

if they esteem themselves critics, they set enthroned infancy at the head of literature. Criticism indeed deserves a noble elogy, when it is enlarged by such a comprehensive learning as Aristotle and Cicero were masters of; when it adorns its precepts with the consummate exactness of Quintilian, or is exalted into the sublime sentiments of Longinus. But let not {uch men tell us they participate in the glory of these great men, and place themselves next to Phoebus, who, like ZOILUS, entangle an author in the wrangles of grammarians, or try him with a positive air and barren imagination, by the set of rules they have collected out of others.

Book II. page 74. ver. 13: Ye Frogs, the Mice.] At this speech of the heralds, which recites the cause of the war, Zoiluş is angry with the author, for not finding out a cause entirely juft; for, says he, it appears not from his own fable, that Physignathus invited the prince with any malicious intention to make him away. To this we answer, ist, That it is not necessary in relating facts to make every war have a just beginning. 2dly, This doubtful cause agrees better with the moral, by fhewing that ill-founded leagues have accidents to destroy them, even without the intention of parties. 3dly, There was all appearance imaginable against the Frogs ; and if we may

be allowed to retort on our adversary the pracsice of his posterity, there is more humanity in an hoftility proclaimed upon the appearance of injustice done us, than in their custom of attacking the works of others as soon as they come out, purely because they are esteemed to be good. Their performances, which could derive no merit from their own names, are then fold upon the merit of their antagonist: and if they are lo sensible of fame, or even of envy, they have the mortification to remember, how much by this means they became indebted to those they injure.

Book II. page 75. ver. 13. Where high the Banks.] This project is not put in practice during the following battle, by reason of the fury of the combatants : yet the mention of it is not impertinent in this place, forasmuch as the probable face of success which it carries with it tended to animate the Frogs. Zoilus however cannot be so satisfied ; It were better says he, to cut it entirely out, nor would HOMER be the worse, if half of him were served in the same manner ; fo, continues he, they will find it, whoever in any country Mall hereafter undertake so odd a task, as that of translating him. Thus envy finds words to put in the mouth of ignorance; and the time will come, when ignorance thall repeat what envy has pronounced fo rafhly,

Book II, page 76. ver. 13. And tap’ring Seareçu's.] If we here take the reed for that of our own growth, it is no spear to match the long fort of needles, with which the Mice had armed themfelves ; but the cane, which is rather intended, has its splinters stiff and sharp, to answer all the uses of a spear in battle. Nor is it here to be lightly pait

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