There are some critics so with spleen diseased,
They scarcely come inclining to be pleased:
And sure he must have more than mortal
Who pleases one against his will. (Congreve.
For I am nothing if not critical.
Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer.
The strength of criticism lies only in the
weakness of the thing criticised.
For, poems read without a name
We justly praise, or justly blame;
And critics have no partial views,
JExcept they know whom they abuse.
And since you ne'er provoke their spite,
Depend upon't their judgment's right.
How commentators each dark passage shun,
And hold their farthing candle to the sun.
Authors are partial to their wit, 'tis true;
But are not Critics to their judgment too?
Attack is the reaction; I never think I have
hit hard unless it rebounds.