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Thus useful arms in magazines we place,
Thee, bold Longinus! all the Nine inspire, 675
Thus long succeeding Critics justly reignid,
C o MMENTARY. Ver. 681. Thus long succeeding Critics, &c.] 2. The next period in which the true Critic (he tells us) appear'd, was at the revival and restoration of letters in the West.
This occasions his giving a short history [from y 682 to 211.) of the decline and re-establishment of arts and sciences in Italy. He shews that they both fell under the same enemy, despotic power ; and that when both had made some little efforts to restore themselves, they were foon quite overwhelmed by a fecond deluge of another kind, Superfition; and a calm of Dulness finish'd upon Rome and Letters what the rage of Barbarism had begun :
A second deluge learning thus o'er run,
Learning and Rome alike in empire grew :
At length Erasmus, that great, injur'd name, (The glory of the Priesthood, and the thame!)
COMMEN, TA RY., When things had been long in this condition, and all roovery now appear'd desperate, it was a Critic, our au: thor hiews us, for the honour of the Art he here teaches, who ar length broke the charm of dulness, dissipated the inchantment, and, like another Hercules, drove those cowid and booded ferpents from the Hesperian' tree of knowledge, which they had so long guarded from human approach.
Ver. 693. At length Erasmus, &c.] Nothing can be conceived niore artful than the application of his example; or more happy than the turn of compliment to this ima mortal man. And, to throw glory quite round his illustrious character, he makes it to be (as in fact it really was) by his asistance chiefly, that Leo was enabled to re. fore letters and the line arts, in his Pontificate.
Stem'd the wild torrent of a barb'rous age, 695 And drove those holy Vandals off the stage.
But see! each Mufe, in Leo's golden days, Starts from her trance, and trims her wither'd bays!
COMMENTARY. VER. 697. But see each Muse in Leo's golden days) This brings us to that fecond period in which the true Critic
Between 60 and 691. the author omitted these two,
Vain Wits and Critics were no more allow'd,
694. The glory of the Priesthood as well as of a Priesthood and the foame ! ] Christian in general, where Our author elsewhere gives comparing himself to Eraf us to understand what he
mus, he fays, esteems to be the glory of the
In moderation placing all my glory. and consequently, what he so little in what true Chri, esteems to be the Same of it. ftian Liberty consisted, that The whole of this character they carried with them, into, belong'd most eminently and
the churches they founded, almoft solely to Erasmus: that very spirit of perfecution, For all the other Reformers, which had drove them from such as Luther, Calvin, and the church they left. their followers, understood
Rome's ancient Genius, o'er its ruins spread,
. But soon by impious arms from Latium chas'd, Their ancient bounds the banilhid Muses pass’d ; 710
COMMENTARY. appear'd; of whom he has given us a perfea Idea in the single example of Marcus Hieranyanus Vida: For his fabjež being poetical Griticism, for the usę principally of a, critical Poet; his example is an eminent poetical Critic, who had written of that Art in verle.
Ver. 709. But soon by impious arms, &c.] This is the third period, after learning had till travelled farther Weft; when the arms of the Emperor, in the lack of Rome by
NOT E S. g 706. The Poet's bays, as this Plant cannot rise but and Critic's ivy] The Ivy by being attach'd to stronger is ascribed to the Critic with Trees, lo Criticism can only no small propriety : The al- exalt itself by its attachment legory is obvious enough ; to great Authors....
Thence Arts o'er all the northern world advance;
CoMMENTARY! the duke of Bourbon, had drove it out of Italy, and forced it to pass the Mountains - The Examples he gives in this period, are of Boileau in France, and of the lord Roscommon and the duke of Buckingham in England: And thele were all Poets as well as Critics in verse. It is true, the last instance is of one who was no eminent poet, the late Mr. Walth. This small deviation might be well overlooked, was it only for its being a pious offering to the memory of his friend : But it may be farther justified as it was an hoinage paid in particular to the MORALS of the Critic, nothing being more amiable than the character here drawn of this excellent person. He being our Author's Judge and Censor, as well as. Friend, it gives him graceful opportunity to acld himself to the number of the later Critics; and with a character of bimself, fustained by that modefty and dignity'which it is so difficult to make consistent this performance concludes.
I have given a short and plain account of the Elay on Criticism, concerning which I have but one thing more to acquaint the reader: That when he considers the Regularity of the plan, the masterly Conduct of each part, the penetration into Nature, and the compaís, of Learning, fo confpicuous throughout, he thould at the same time know, it was the work of an Author '
who had not attained the twentieth year of his age.