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VOL. I. Page 36, line ult. Note, for “ Virgil's speech had formed the
conclusion," read" Virgil's speech, which formed the conclusion, had been compressed.” 48, line 16, Note, for “in censum,” read “in numerum." 312, line 15, Note,
66 The accents “ Sině," and “ Arăbia," are as they ought to be placed, not as the
stress is laid by Parnell.”
at " vessel.”
47, line 32, Note, after “ sky,” add " I fear, I muit be
thought very arrogant in presuming to suggest a word, but i ruth" for "run" was originally used by Pope."
VOL, IV. Page 13, line 9, Note, for “Charbonner les murailes," read
6 Charbonner les mures." 28, line 1, Note, for “ Effay on Man," read “ Efray on
“ Pope had given him the name'
21, line 1, Note, for “Swift's disappointment,” redd
66 Swift's subsequent disappointment.” 313, line 1, Note, for “ Corgate," read “ Coryate.” 328, line 7, Note, for “ gonfalo, Continho," read “ Over
his grave Gonfalo, Continho."
I Am inclined to think that both the writers of
books, and the readers of them, are generally not a little unreasonable in their expectations. The first seem to fancy the world must approve whatever they produce, and the latter to imagine that authors are obliged to please them at any rate. Methinks, as on the one hand, no single man is born with a right of controuling the opinions of all the rest; so on the other, the world has no title to demand, that the whole care and time of any particular person should be facrificed to its entertainment. Therefore I cannot
* The clearness, the closeness, and the elegance of style with which this preface is written, render it one of the best pieces of profe in our language. It abounds in strong good sense, and profound knowledge of life. It is written with such fimplicity that scarcely a single metaphor is to be found in it. Atterbury was so delighted with it, that he tells our Author he had read it over twice with pleasure, and desired him not to balance a moment about printing.it; “ always provided there is nothing faid there that you may have occasion to unfay hereafter.” These words are remarkable. This preface far excels those of Peliffon, Vaugelas, and D'Ablancourt of which the French boast fo highly. May I be allowed just to add, that the finest prefaces ever written, were, perhaps, that of Thuanas to his History, of Calvin to his Inftitutes, and of Caufabon to his Polybius.
J. WARTON, VOL. I. B
but believe that writers and readers are under equal obligations for as much fame, or pleasure, as each affords the other.
Every one acknowledges, it would be a wild notion to expea perfection in any work of man: and yet one would think the contrary was taken for granted, by the judgment commonly past upon Poems. A Critic fupposes he has done his part,
if he proves a writer to have failed in an expression, or erred in any particular point: and can it then be wondered at, if the Poets in general seem resolved not to own themselves in any error? For as long as one fide will make no allowances, the other will be brought to no acknowledgments *.
I am afraid this extreme zeal on both fides is ill-placed ; Poetry and Criticism being by no means the universal concern of the world, but only the affair of idle men who write in their closets, and of idle men who read there.
Yet sure, upon the whole, a bad Author deserves better usage than a bad Critic: for a Writer's endeavour, for the most part, is to please his Readers, and he fails merely through the misfortune of an ill judgment; but such a Critic's is to put them out of
• In the former editions it was thus-For as long as one fide despises a well-meant endeavour, the other will not be satisfied with a moderate approbation. But the Author altered it, as these words were rather a consequence from the conclufion le would draw, than the conclusion itself, which he has now inserted.
humour; a design he could never go upon without both that and an ill temper.
I think a good deal may be said to extenuate the fault of bad Poets. What we call a Genius, is hard to be distinguished by a man himself, from a strong inclination: and if his genius be ever so great, he cannot at first discover it
way, giving way to that prevalent propensity which renders him the more liable to be mistaken. The only method he has is to make the experiment by writing, and appealing to the judgment of others : now if he happens to write ill, (which is certainly no sin in itself,) he is immediately made an object of ridicule. I wish we had the humanity to reflect that even the worst authors might, in their endeavour to please us, deserve something at our hands. We have no cause to quarrel with them but for their obstinacy in persisting to write ; and this too may admit of alleviating circumstances. Their particular friends may be either ignorant, or infincere ; and the rest of the world in general is too well-bred to shock them with a truth, which generally their Booksellers are the first that inform them of. This happens not till they have spent too much of their time to apply to any profession which might better fit their talents; and till such talents as they have are so far discredited as to be but of small service to them. For (what is the hardest case imaginable) the reputation of a man generally depends upon the first steps he makes in the