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Fondly we think we honour merit then,
When we but praise ourselves in other men. 455
Parties in Wit attend on those of State,
And public faction doubles private hate.
Pride, Malice, Folly, against Dryden rose,
In various shapes of Parsons, Critics, Beaus;
But sense surviv'd when merry jests were paft; 460
For rising merit will buoy up at last.
Might he return, and bless once more our eyes,
New Blackmores and new Milbourns must arise :
Nay should great Homer lift his awful head,
Zoilus again would start up from the dead. 465

Envy

NOTES.

Ver. 458. Pride, Malice, &c.] Neither has philofophy escaped a similar fate; witness the persecution of Galileo.

Ver. 459. Mbapes of Parsons, Critics,] The Parfon alluded to was Jeremy Collier; the Critic was the Duke of Buckingham ; the first of whom very powerfully attacked the profligacy, and the latter the irregularity and bombast of some of Dryden's plays. These attacks were much more than merry jests.

WARTON. Ver. 463. Milbourn] The Rev. Mr. Luke Milbourn. Dennis served Mr. Pope in the fame office. But these men are of all times, and rise up on all occafions. Sir Walter Raleigh had Alexander Ross; Chillingworth had Cheynel; Milton a first Edwards ; and Locke a second; neither of them related to the third Edwards of Lincoln's Inn. They were Divines of parts and learning: this a Critic without one or the other. Yet (as Mr. Pope says of Luke Milbourn) the fairest of all critics; for having written against the Editor's remarks on Shakespear, he did him justice in printing, at the same time, some of his own.

WARBURTON. But all impartial critics ailow these marks to have been decisive and judicious; and his Canons of Criticism remain unrefuted and unanswerable.

WARTON.

Envy will, merit, as its shade, pursue ;
But like a shadow, proves the Substance true:
For envy'd Wit, like Sol eclips'd, makes known
Th' opposing body's grossness, not its own.
When first that fun too pow'rful beams displays,
It draws up vapours which obscure its rays; 471
But ev’n those clouds at last adorn its way,
Reflect new glories, and augment the day.

Be thou the first true merit to befriend ;
His praise is lost, who stays till all commend. 475

Short COMMENTARY. Ver. 474. Be thou the firs, &c.] The Poet having now gone through the last cause of wrong Judgment, and the root of all the rest, PARTIALITY ; and ended his remarks upon it with a detection of the two rankest kinds, those which arise out of PAKTYRAGE and Envy; takes the occasion, which this affords him, of closing his second divihon in the most graceful manner, [from ver. 473 to 560.] by concluding from the premises, and calling upon the TRUE CRITIC to be careful of his charge, which is the protection and support of W'it. For, the defence of it from malevolent cenfure is its true protection; and the illustration of its beauties, is its true support.

WARBURTON. NOTES. Ver. 465. Zoilus again] In the fifth book of Vitruvius is an account of Zoilus's coming to the court of Ptolemy at Alexandria, and presenting to him his virulent and brutal censures of Homer, and begging to be rewarded for his work; instead of which, it is said, the king ordered him to be crucified, or, as some faid, itoned alive. His person is minutely described in the Lith book of Ælian's various History.

WAKTON, VER. 472, But ev’n those clouds, &c.] A beautiful and poetical illustration. Pope has the art of enlivening his subject continually by images and illustrations drawn from nature, which by contratt have a particularly pleasing effect, and which are indeed absolutely necessary in a didactic poem.

Short is the date, alas, of modern rhymes,
And ’tis but just to let them live betimes.

No
NOTES.
VER. 474. Be thou the firft true merit ta befriend;

His praise is loft, who fags till all commend. ] When Thomson publifhed his Winter, 1726, it lay a long time neglected, till Mr. Spence made honourable mention of it in his Essay on the Odyssey ; which becoming a popalar book, made the poem universally known. Thomson always acknowledged the ufe of this recommendation; and from this circum. kance an intimacy commenced between the critic and the poet, which lasted till the lamented death of the latter, who was of a molt amiable and benevolent temper. I have before me a letter of Mr. Spence to Pitt, earnestly begging him to subscribe to the quarto edition of Thomson's Seasons, and mentioning a design which Thomson had formed of writing a descriptive poem on Blenheim ; a subject that would have shone in his hands. It was fome time after publication, before the Odes of Gray were relished and admired. They were even burlesqued by two men of wit and genius, who, however, once owned to me, that they repented of the attempt. The Hecyra of Terence, the Misanthrope of Moliere, the Phædra of Racine, the Way of the World of Congreve. the Silent Woman of Ben Jonson, were ill received on their first exhibitions. Out of an hundred comedies written by Menander, cight only obtained the prize; and only five of Euripides out of the seventy tragedies he wrote. Our author seems to be eminently fortunate, who never, from his early youth, published a piece that did not meet with immediate approbation, except, perhaps, the first Epiftle of the Essay on Man.

WARTON. VER 476. Short is the date,] “ All living languages are liable to change. The Greek and Latin, though composed of more durable materials than ours, were subject to perpetual vicissitude, till they ceased to be spoken. The former is; with reason, be. lieved to have been more stationary than any other; and indeed a very particular attention was paid to the preservation of it ; yet between Spenser and Pope, Hooker and Sherlock, Raleigh and Smollet, a difference of dialect is not more perceptible, than be. tween Homer and Apollonius, Xenophon and Plutarch, Arif

totle

No longer now that golden age appears,
When Patriarch-wits surviv'd a thousand years :
Now length of Fame (our second life) is lost,

480
And bare threescore is all ev'n that can boast;
Our fons their fathers' failing language fee,
And such as Chaucer is, shall Dryden be.

So NOTES. totle and Antoninus. In the Roman authors, the change of language is still more remarkable. How different, in this respect, is Ennius from Virgil, Lucilius from Horace, Cato from Columella, and even Catullus from Ovid! The Laws of the Twelve Tables, though studied by every Roman of condition, were not perfectly understood, even by antiquarians, in the time of Cicero, when they were not quite four hundred years old. Cicero him. self, as well as Lucretius, made several improvements in the Latin tongue ; Virgil introduced some new words ; and Horace afferts his right to the same privilege ; and from his remarks upon it, appears to have considered the immutability of living language as an impossible thing. It were vain then to flatter ourselves with the hope of permanency to any of the modern tongues of Europe ; which, being more ungrammatical than the Latin and Greek, are exposed to more dangerous, because less discernible, innovations. Our want of tenses and cafes makes a multitude of auxiliary verbs necessary; and to these the unlearned are not attentive, because they look upon them as the least important parts of language ; and hence they come to be omitted or misapplied in conversation, and afterwards in writing. Besides, the spirit of commerce, manufacture, and naval enterprize, so honourable to modern Europe, and to Great Britain in particular, and the free circulation of arts, sciences, and opinions, owing, in part, to the use of printing, and to our improvements in navigation, must render the modern tongues, and especially the English, more variable than the Greek or Latin.". Beattie.

WARTON. VER. 482. failing language] “In England (says an ingenious Italian) the Translation of the Bible is the standard of their lan. guage ; in Italy the standard is, the Decamerone of Boccacio,

WARTON,

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So when the faithful pencil has design'd
Some bright Idea of the master's mind, 485
Where a new world leaps out at his command,
And ready nature waits upon his hand :
When the ripe colours foften and unite,
And sweetly melt into just shade and light;
When mellowing years their full perfection give,
And each bold figure just begins to live, 491
The treach'rous colours the fair art betray,
And all the bright creation fades away!

Unhappy Wit, like most mistaken things,
Atones not for that envy which it brings. . 495
In youth alone its empty praise we boast,
But soon the short-liv'd vanity is loft:
Like some fair flow'r the early spring supplies,
That gaily blooms, but ev'n in blooming dies.

What

NOTES.

VER. 484. So when the faithful pencil, &c ] This is again a beautiful illustration. These images and fimiles interspersed in a dry didactic poem, prove the Poet's great judgment; and as the subjects of each illustration are so poetical, the expressions so forcible and well-felected, and the whole image so entirely and beautifully painted, they illustrate most happily the Poet's own. doctrine:

A prudent chief not always must display

His pow'rs, in equal ranks and fair array. For if occafionally he becomes profaic, he amply repays a moment's languor to the reader by his unexpected, highly polished, accurate, and poetical illustrations.

Ver. 498. Like fome fair flower, &c.] Something like this idea, and the comparison, may be found in George Herbert's slegant canzonet :

" I made

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