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Where beams of warm imagination play,
The memory's soft figures melt away.
One science only will one genius fit; 60
So vast is art, fo narrow human wit :
Not only bounded to peculiar arts,
But oft' in those confin'd to single parts.
Like Kings we lose the conquests gain'd before,
By vain ambition still to make them more; 65
Each might his fev'ral province well command,
Would all but ftoop to what they understand,

NOTE s. er; the understanding being breaking, and disipating rather passive while the me- those trains, by constantly mory is cultivating. As to making new associations, the other appearance, the muft neceffarily weaken and decay of memory by the vi- disorder the recollective ta. gorous exercise of Fancy, culty. the poet himself seems to * 67. Would all but haye intimated the cause in Roop to what tbey underthe epithet he has given to fland) The expression is der the Imagination. For, if licate, and implies what is according to the Atomic very true, that most men Philosophy, the memory think it a degradation of of things be preserved in their genius to employ it in a concatenation of ideas, what lies under their comproduced by the animal fpi- prehension, but had rather rits moving in continued exercise their ambition in trains; the force and rapi- subduing what is placed dity of the Imagination above it.

First follow Nature, and your judgment frame By her juft standard, which is still the same:

COMMENTARY. Ver. 68. Firs follow Nature, &c.] The Critic observing the directions here given, and finding himself qualified for his office, is shewni next bow to exercise it.' And as he was to attend to Nature for a Call, so he is first and principally to follow her when called. And here again in this, as in the foregoing precept, the poet [from x 67 to 84.) shews both the reasonableness, and the necesity of it. The reason is, 1. Because Nature is the fource of poetic Art; as that art is only a representation of Nature ; lhe being its great exemplar and original. 2. Because she is the end of Art; the design of poetry being to convey the knowledge of Nature in the most agreable manner. 3. Because ihe is the test of Art, as she is unerring, constant, and still the same. Hence he obferves that, as she is the jource, she conveys life to Art: As the end, she conveys

force to it, for the force of any thing arises from its being directed to its end; and, as the test, the conveys beauty to it, for everything acquires beauty by its being reduced to its true fandard. Such is the important sense of those two lines,

Life, force, and beauty mus to all impart, ! At once the source, and end, and test of Art.

We now conie to the necessity of the Precept. The two gical constituent qualities of a composition as such, are Art and Wit: Bue neither of these attains its perfection, Prill the first be bid, and the other judiciously reflrained which is only then when Nature is exactly followed, for

Unerring NATURE, still divinely bright, :70
One clear, unchang'd, and universal light,
Life, force, and beauty, must to all impart,
At once the source, and end, and test of Art,

.. COM M E N TA RY. then Art can never make a parade or Wit commit an extravagance. Art, while it adheres to Nature, and has so large a fund in the resources which the supplies, disposes every thing with so much ease and fimplicity, that we see nothing but those natural images it works withi, while itself Itands behind and unobserved : But when

Art. leaves Nature, deluded either by the bold extrava• gance of Fancy or the quaint grotesques of Fashion, the

is then obliged at every step to come forward in a painful or pompous oftentation, to cover, or foften, or regulate the shocking disproportion of unnatural images. In the first case, the poet compares Art to the Soul within, informing a beauteous Body : But we generally find it, in the last cafe, only like the Habit without; bolstering up by the skill of the Taylor, the defects of a mishapen

-Again, as to Wil, it might perhaps be imagined that this needed only Judgment to govern it: But as he well observes

one.

--Wit and Judgment often are at ftrife,
Tho' meant each others aid, like Man and Wifi,

They want therefore some friendly Mediator or Reconciler, which is Nature ; And in attending to her, the Judgment will learn where to comply with the charms of Wit, and the Wit how to obey the directions of July ment,

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Art from that fund each just supply provides,
Works without show, and without pomp presides :
In some fair body thus th' informing soul
With spirits feeds, with vigour fills the whole,
Each motion guides, and ev'ry nerve sustains ;
Itself unseen, but in th' effects, remains.
Some, to whom Hear'n in. wit has been profuse, 80
Want as much more, to turn it to its use;
For wit and judgment often are at strife,
Tho' 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 gen'rous horse,
Shows most true mettle when you check his course,

Those Rules of old discover'd, not devis'd,
Are Nature ftill, but Nature methodiz'd;

COM M E N TARY. Ver. 88. Those Rules of old, &c.] Having thus, in his first precept, to follow Nature, settled Criticism on its true bottom; he proceeds to Thew what affiftance may be þad from Art. But left this should be thought to draw the Critic from the foundation where he had before fixed him, he previously observes [from $ 87 to 92] that those Rules of Art, which he is now about to recommend to his study, were not invented in the Imagination, but discovered in the book of Nature: And that, there fore, tho they may seem to restrain Nature by Lausa

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Nature, liké Liberty, is bát restraint...

90 By the fame Laits 'which first herself ordain'd.

Hear how learn'd Greece her useful rules indites, When to repress, and when indulge our Rights :

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Co M MEN TĄ RY: yet, as they are laws of her own making, the Critic is Itill properly in the very liberty of Nature. Those Rules the ancient Critics. borrowed from the Poets, who received them immediately from Natart,

wly. jup Precepts thus from great Examples gio'n,

These dresu from them what they deriv'd from Heav'n; and are both therefore to be well itadiad. VER:93. Hear bow learn'd Greece, &c.] He speaks of the Critics first, and with great judgment, as the previoas knowledge of them is necessary for reading the Poets, with that fruit which the intent here proposed rez quires. But having, in the previous observation, sufficiently explained the Nature of ancient Criticism, he enters on the subject [created of from 91 to 118] with a sublime description of its End; which was to ilJultrate the beauties of the best Writers, in order to excite others to an emulation of their excellence. From the transports which these Ideas raise in him, the poct is naturally brought back to reflect on the degeneracy of mo .

and as the Integrity and {plendor is the great purpose of his poem, he first takes notice of those, who seem not to understand that Nature is exhaustless, and that new models of good writing may be produced in every age, and confequently

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