« EdellinenJatka »
When love was all an easy
monarch's care; Seldom at council, never in a war: Jilts ruled the state, and statesmen farces writ; Nay, wits had pensions, and young lords had wit: The fair sate panting at a courtier's play, 540 And not a mask went unimproved away: The modest fan was lifted up no more, And virgins smiled at what they blush'd before. The following license of a foreign reign Did all the dregs of bold Socinus drain : 545 Then unbelieving priests reform’d the nation, And taught more pleasant methods of salvation ; Where Heaven's free subjects might their rights
dispute, Lest God himself should seem too absolute : Pulpits their sacred satire learn’d to spare, And Vice admired to find a flatterer there! Encouraged thus, wit's Titans braved the skies, And the press groan'd with licensed blasphemies. These monsters, critics! with your darts engage, Here point your thunder, and exhaust your
555 Yet shun their fault, who, scandalously nice, Will needs mistake an author into vice. All seems infected that the infected spy, As all looks yellow to the jaundiced eye.
Learn then what morals critics ought to show; For ’tis but half a judge's task, to know. 561
541 And not a mask, &c. Alluding to the custom in that age of ladies going in masks to the play.
544 Foreign reign. The reign of William IJI.
'Tis not enough, taste, judgment, learning join;
Be silent always, when you doubt your sense;
with pleasure own your errors past, 570 And make each day a critique on the last.
'Tis not enough your counsel still be true; Blunt truths more mischief than nice falsehoods
Men must be taught as if you taught them not, And things unknown proposed as things forgot. Without good-breeding truth is disapproved ; 576 That only makes superior sense beloved.
Be niggards of advice on no pretence; For the worst avarice is that of sense : With mean complacence ne'er betray your trust, Nor be so civil as to prove unjust : Fear not the anger of the wise 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 most to tax an honorable fool, Whose right it is, uncensured, to be dull : Such, without wit, are poets when they please, 590 As without learning they can take degrees. Leaye dangerous truths to unsuccessful satires, And flattery to some fulsome dedicators,
Whom, when they praise, the world believes no
No place so sacred from such fops is barr'd,
stow, Still pleased to teach, and yet not proud to
know? Unbiass’d or by favor or by spite ; Not dully prepossess'd nor blindly right; Though learn'd, well-bred; and though well-bred, sincere;
635 Modestly bold, and humanly severe; Who to a friend his faults can freely show, And gladly praise the merit of a foe; Bless'd with a taste exact, yet unconfined ; A knowlege both of books and human kind; 640 Generous converse; a soul exempt from pride ; And love to praise, with reason on his side ?
Such once were critics; such the happy few, Athens and Rome in better ages knew.
624 Nay, fly to altars. A passage imitated from Boileau's Il n'est temple si saint, des anges respecté. Du Perrier, a French scribbler, had followed Boileau to church, and insisted on his listening to a newly-written Ode during the elevation of the host; desiring also his opinion,' whether it were not a rival of Malherbe !'
The mighty Stagirite first left the shore,
645 Spread all his sails, 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 unconfined and free, Still fond and proud of savage liberty, Received his laws; and stood convinced 'twas fit, Who conquer'd nature, should preside o'er wit.
Horace still charms with graceful negligence, And without method talks us into sense: Will, like a friend, familiarly convey
655 The truest notions in the easiest way. He, who supreme in judgment as in wit, Might boldly censure as he boldly writ, Yet judged with coolness though he sung with fire: His precepts teach but what his works inspire. Our critics take a contrary extreme;
661 They judge with fury, but they write with phlegm : Nor suffers Horace more in
translations By wits, than critics in as wrong quotations.
See Dionysius Homer's thoughts refine, 665 And call new beauties forth from every line !
645 The mighty Stagirite. Aristotle, the first and the best of critics.
Between ver. 646 and 649, Warburton found the following lines, afterwards suppressed by the author :
That bold Columbus of the realms of wit,