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They reason and conclude by precedent, 410
And own ftale nonsense which they ne'er invent.
Some judge of authors' names, not works, and then
Nor praise nor blame the writings, but the men.
Of all this servile herd, the worst is he
That in proud dulness joins with Quality. 415
A constant Critic at the great man's board,
To fetch and carry nonsense for my

What woful stuff this madrigal would be,
In some starv'd hackney fonneteer, or me?
But let a Lord once own the happy lines, 420
How the wit brightens ! how the stile refines !
Before his facred name flies ev'ry fault,
And each exalted stanza teems with thought!

The Vulgar thus through Imitation err; As oft the Learn'd by being singular ;


So COMMENTARY. VER. 424. The Vu'gar thus -- As oft the Learn'd] II. He comes in the second place (from ver. 423 to 452.] to consider the in. ftances of partiality in the learned. 1. The first is fingularity,


NOTES. they are checked or matured by the influence of government or religion upon them. Hence in some parts of literature the An. cients excel ; in others, the Moderns; just as those accidental circumstances occurred.

WARBURTON. VER. 403. Enlights] Warton calls “ enlights” an improper word,-it is, I believe, in Shakespear.

VER. 420. let a Lord] “ You ought not to write verses, (said George the Second, who had little taste, to Lord Hervey,) 'tis beneath

your rank ; leave such work to little Mr. Pope; it is his trade.” But this Lord Hervey wrote some that were above the level of those described here by our author.


So much they scorn the croud, that if the throng
By chance go right, they purposely go wrong:
So Schismatics the plain believers quit,
And are but damn'd for having too much wit.
Some praise at morning what they blame at night;
But always think the last opinion right. 431
A Muse by these is like a mistress us'd,
This hour she's idoliz'd, the next abus'd;
While their weak heads, like towns unfortify'd,
'Twixt fense and nonsense daily change their side.
Ask them the cause ; they're wiser still, they say; 436
And still to-morrow's wiser than to-day.
We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow;
Our wiser fons, no doubt, will think us fo.
Once School-divines this zealous isle o'er-spread;
Who knew most Sentences, was deepest read; 441
Faith, Gospel, all, seem'd made to be disputed,
And none had sense enough to be confuted :
Scotists and Thomists, now, in peace remain,
Amidst their kindred cobwebs in Duck-lane. 445


NOTES, Ver. 444. Scotists] So denominated from Johannes Duns Sco.

Erasmus tells us, an eminent Scotist assured him, that it was impossible to understand one single proposition of this famous Duns, unless you had his whole metaphysics by heart. This hero of incomprehensible fame suffered a miserable reverse at Oxford in the time of Henry VIII. That grave antiquary, Mr. Antony Wood (in the Vindication of himself and his writings from the reproaches of the Bishop of Salisbury), fadly laments the deformation, as he calls it, of that University by the King's Com.


millioners ;

If Faith itself has diff'rent dresses worn,
What wonder modes in Wit should take their turn?


NOTES. miffioners; and even records the blasphemous speeches of one of them, in his own wordsm" We have set Duns in Boccardo, with all his blind Gloflers, fast nailed up upon pofts in all common houses of easement.” Upon which our venerable Antiquary thus exclaims : “ If so be, the Commissioners had such disrespect for that most famous author J. Duns, who was so much admired by our predecessors, and so difficult to be understood, that the Doctors of those times, namely Dr. William Roper, Dr. John Keynton, Dr. William Mowse, &c. professed, that, in twenty-eight years study, they could not understand him rightly, what then had they for others of inferior note ?"—What indeed! But they, If so be, that most famous J. Duns was so difficult to be understood (for that this is a molt theologic proof of his great worth, is paft all doubt), I should conceive our good old Antiquary to be a little mistaken. And that the nailing up this Proteus of the Schools was done by the Commissioners in honour of the most famous Duns: There being no other way of catching the sense of so flippery and dodging an Author, who had eluded the pursuit of three of their most renowned Doctors in full cry after him, for eight and twenty years together. And this Boccardo in which he was confined, seemed very fit for the purpose ; it being obferved, that men are never more serious and thoughtful than in that place of retirement, Scribl.

WARBURTON. VER. 444. Thomifts] From Thomas Aquinas, a truly great genius, who, in those blind ages, was the same in theology, that our Friar Bacon was in natural philosophy ; less happy than our countryman in this, that he soon became surrounded with a num. ber of dark Gloffers, who never left him till they had extinguished the radiance of that light, which had pierced through the thickest night of Monkery, the thirteenth century, when the Waldenses were suppressed, and Wickliffe not yet rifen. WARBURTON.

The Summa fummæ, &c. of Thomas Aquinas, is a treatise well deserving a most attentive perusal, and contains an admirable view of Aristotle's Ethics.


Oft, leaving what is natural and fit,
The current folly proves the ready wit ;


VER. 447. Between this and ver. 452.

The rhyming clowns that gladded Shakespear's age,

with crambo entertain the stage.
Who now in anagrams


patron praise,
Or fing their miftress in acrostic lays?
Ev'n pulpits pleas'd with merry puns of yore ;
Now all are banish'd to th' Hibernian fhore !
Thus leaving what was natural and fit,
The current folly prov'd their ready wit ;
And authors thought their reputation safe,
Which liv'd as long as fools were pleas'd to laugh.

NOTES, Aquinas did not understand Greek; what he knew of Aristotle he got from Averroes, an Arabian, whom the Spanish Jews first translated into Hebrew, and from Hebrew into Latin. WARTON,

VER. 445. Amid their kindred cobwebs] Were common sense disposed to credit any of the Monkish miracles of the dark and blind ages of the Church, it would certainly be one of the seventh century recorded by honest Bale. “ In the fixth general council (says he) holden at Conftantinople, Anno Dom. 680, contra Monothelitas, where the Latin Mass was first approved, and the Latin ministers deprived of their lawful wives, spiders' webbs, in wonderfull copye were seen falling down from above, upon the heads of the people, to the marvelous astonishment of many."The justest emblem and prototype of School Metaphysics, the divinity of Scotifts and Thomifts, which afterwards fell, in wonderfull copye on the heads of the people, in support of Transubftantiation, to the marvelous astonishment of many, as it continues to do to this day.

WARBURTON VEK. 445. Duck-lane.) A place where old and second-hand books were fold formerly, near Smithfield.

Pope. Ver. 448. Oft, leaving what is natural] Ita comparatum eft humanum ingenium, ut optimarum rerum fatietate defatigetur.


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And authors think their reputation safe,

450 Which lives as long as fools are pleas'd to laugh.

Some valuing those of their own side or mind, Still make themselves the measure of mankind :

Fondly COMMENTARY. Vær. 452. Some valuing thosc, &c.] III. The third and last in. Kance of partiality in the learned, is party and fadtion, which is conGidered from verse 451 to verse 474.

NOTES. Unde fit, artes, necessitatis vi quâdam crescere, aut decrefcere semper, & ad fummum faftigium evectas, ibi non diu pofse confil. tere. Thus music, deserting simple and pathetic expreftion, is taken up with tricks of execution, and a sort of Night of hand. Thus Borromini, to be new and original, has, as Mr. Walpole expresses it, twisted and curled architecture, by inverting the volutes of the Ionic order. L'ennui du Beau, amene le gout

du Singu. lier. This will happen in every country, every art, and every age.

WARTON. VER. 451. as long as fools] “ Mirabile est (fays Tully) De Oratore, lib. iii. quum plurimum in faciendo inter doctum & sudem, quàm non multum differant in judicando."

Horace and Milton declare against general approbation, and wish for “ fit audience thougb few." And Tully relates, in his Brutus, the story of Antimachus, who, when his numerous auditors all gradually left him, except Plato, said, I still continue reading my work; Plato, enim mihi unus inftar elt omnium. The noble confidence and strength of mind in Milton, is not in any circumstance more visible and more admirable, than his writing a poem in a style and manner that he was sure would not be relish. ed or regarded by his corrupt contemporaries.

He was different in this respect from Bernardo Taffo, the father of þis beloved Torquato, who, to satisfy the vulgar taste and current opinions of his country, new-modelled his epic poem Amadigi, to make it more wild and romantic, and less suited to the rựles of Aristotle.

WARTON. VER. 452. fide or mind, ] Are two vulgar words, unworthy of qur author.


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