Sivut kuvina

Encourag'd thus, Wit's Titans brav'd the fkies,
And the prefs groan'd with licens'd blafphemies.
These monsters, Critics! with your darts engage,
Here point your thunder, and exhauft your rage!
Yet fhun their fault, who fcandaloufly nice,
Will needs mistake an author into vice;
All seems infected that th' infected spy,
As all looks yellow to the jaundic'd eye.



LEARN then what MORALS Critics ought to fhow, For 'tis but half a Judge's task, to know.

'Tis not enough, tafte, judgment, learning, join;
In all you speak, let truth and candour shine :
That not alone what to your fense is due
All may allow; but feek your friendship too.

Be filent always, when you doubt your fenfe;
And fpeak, tho' fure, with feeming diffidence:
Some pofitive, perfifting fops we know,
Who, if once wrong, will needs be always fo;





VER. 560. Learn then, &c.] We enter now on the third part, the Morals of the Critic; included in Candour, Modefty, and Good-breeding. This third and latt part is in two divifions. In the firft of which [from ver. 559 to 631.] our author inculcates these morals by precept: In the fecond [from ver. 630 to the end] by example. His firft precept [from ver. 561 to 566.] recommends. Candour, for its ufe to the Critic, and to the writer criticised. WARBURTON.


VER 559. jaundic'd] The idea, and almoft the very expreffions,

are in Sir Philip Sydney's Arcadia.


you, with pleasure own your errors past, And make each day a Critique on the last.

'Tis not enough your counsel still be true;


Blunt truths more mischief than nice falfhoods do;
Men must be taught as if you taught them not,
And things unknown propos'd as things forgot. 575
Without Good-Breeding, truth is difapprov'd;

That only makes superior sense belov❜d.

Be niggards of advice on no pretence:

For the worst avarice is that of fenfe.

With mean complacence ne'er betray your trust,
Nor be fo civil as to prove unjust.


581 Fear

VER. 570. your errors paft,] "Et ipfa emendatio habet finem; funt enim qui ad omnia fcripta, tanquam vitiofa re. deunt; & quafi nihil fas fit rectum effe quod primum eft, melius exiftiment quidquid eft aliud; idque faciunt quoties librum in manus refumpferint; fimiles medicis, etiam integra fecantibus. Accidit itaque ut cicatricofa fint, & exanguia, & curâ pejora. Sit aliquando quod placeat ; aut certè quod fufficiat : ut plus poliat lima, non exterat." Quintil. lib. 10. WARTON.

VER. 580. With mean complacence ne'er betray your trust,

Nor be fo civil as to prove unjust.]

Our Poet practised this excellent precept in his conduct towards Wycherley, whofe pieces he corrected with equal freedom and judgment. But Wycherley, who had an infufferable fhare of vanity, one of the profeffed wits of the last age, was foon disgusted at this candour and ingenuity of Pope; infomuch that he came to an open and ungenerous rupture with him. WARTON.

and was

Dr. Warton fhould have ftated that Pope, in correcting Wycherley's verfes, was fo unmerciful to the old gentleman, aș to blot out almost all. This was borne with great temper by the fuperannuated Bard, till, after great pains, numerous emendations, corrections, and additions, Pope seriously advised him to turn the whole into Profe! Patience could bear no more.

Fear not the anger of the wife to raise;
Those best can bear reproof, who merit praise.

"Twere well might Critics still this freedom take, But Appius reddens at each word you speak,




VER. 584. 'Twere well might Critics, &c.] The Poet having thus recommended, in his general rules of conduct for the Judg. ment, these three critical Virtues to the Heart; fhews next [from ver. 583 to 631.] upon what three forts of writers these virtues, together with the advice conveyed under them, would be thrown away; and, which is worse, be repaid with obloquy and fcorn. Thefe are the false Critic, the dull Man of Quality, and the bad Poet; each of which species of incorrigible writers he hath very exactly painted. But having drawn the last of them at full length, and being always attentive to the two main branches of his subject, which are, of writing and judging well, he re-affumes the character of the bad Critic (whom he had touched upon before) to contraft him with the other; and makes the characteristic common to both, to be a never-ceafing repetition of their own impertinence, The Poet-ftill runs on in a raging vein, &c. ver. 6:6, &c. The Critic with his own tongue ftill edifies his ears, 614, &c. WARBURTON.


VER. 582. Fear not the anger of the wife to raife;] The freedom and unreservednefs with which Boileau and Racine communicated their works to each other, is hardly to be paralleled; of which many amiable inftances appear in their letters lately pub, lished by a fon of the latter; particularly in the following: "J'ai trouvé que la Trompette & les Sourds etoient trop joués, & qu'il ne falloit point trop appuyer fur votre incommodité, moins encore chercher de l'efprit fur ce fujet." Boileau communicated to his friend the first sketch of his Ode on the Taking Namur. It is entertaining to contemplate a rude draught by such a master ; and is no less pleafing to observe the temper with which he receives the objections of Racine. J'ai deja retouché à tout cela; mais je ne veux point l'achever que je n'aie reçu vos remarques, qui furé. ment m'éclaireront encore l'efprit." WARTON


And ftares, tremendous, with a threat'ning eye,
Like fome fierce tyrant in old tapestry.

Fear most to tax an Honourable fool,

Whofe right it is, uncenfur'd, to be dull;

Such, without wit, are Poets when they please, 590
As without learning they can take Degrees.
Leave dang❜rous truths to unsuccessful Satires,
And flattery to fome fulfome Dedicators,

Whom, when they praise, the world believes no more,
Than when they promise to give scribbling o'er. 595
'Tis best sometimes your cenfure to restrain,
And charitably let the dull be vain :

Your filence there is better than your spite,

For who can rail fo long as they can write?

Still humming on, their drouzy course they keep,
And lash'd fo long, like tops, are lash'd asleep. 601
False steps but help them to renew the race,
As, after stumbling, Jades will mend their pace.
What crouds of thefe, impenitently bold,

In founds and jingling fyllables grown old,




VER. 586. And flares, tremendous, &c ] This picture was taken to himself by John Dennis, a furious old critic by profeffion, who, upon no other provocation, wrote against this Essay and its author, in a manner perfectly lunatic: For, as to the mention made of him in ver. 270, he took it as a compliment, and faid it was treacherously meant to cause him to overlook this abuse of his perfon. POPE.

VER. 597. And charitably let the du'l be vain:] If Cibber was the dull fellow Pope would have had him thought, no conduct could have been more proper towards him, than that which Pope here recommends. Pope feems to have anticipated Colley's fubfequent refolution" to write, as long" as Pope "could rail.”

Still run on Poets in a raging vein,

Ev'n to the dregs and fqueezing of the brain,
Strain out the laft dull droppings of their fense,
And rhyme with all the rage of Impotence.


Such fhameless Bards we have; and yet 'tis true, There are as mad, abandon'd Critics too. The bookful blockhead ignorantly read,

With loads of learned lumber in his head,
With his own tongue ftill edifies his ears,
And always list'ning to himself appears.


All books he reads, and all he reads affails,
From Dryden's Fables down to Durfey's Tales.
With him most authors steal their works, or buy;
Garth did not write his own Difpenfary.


Name a new play, and he's the Poet's friend,

Nay fhow'd his faults-but when would Poets mend?

No place fo facred from fuch fops is barr'd,

Nor is Paul's church more fafe than Paul's church-yard:



VER. 607. Squeezing of the brain,] There can be no doubt, I think, respecting the allufion in thefe lines to old Wycherley; whom elfe could they fuit at that period, when Pope says

"Such bards we have?"

If Wycherley was intended, what muft we think of Pope, who could wound, in this manner, his old friend, for whom he profeffed fo much kindnefs, and who firft introduced him to notice and patronage!

VER. 619. Garth did not write, &c.] A common slander at that time in prejudice of that deferving author. Our Poet did him this juftice, when that flander most prevailed; and it is now (perhaps the fooner for this very verse) dead and forgotten. POPE.

VER. 622. No place fo facred] This ftroke of fatire is literally taken from Boileau:

" Gardez

« EdellinenJatka »