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When love was all an easy monarch's care;
Jilts ruled the state, and statesmen farces writ;
Lest God himself should seem too absolute :
Yet shun their fault, who, scandalously nice,
Learn then what morals critics ought to show; For 'tis but half a judge's task, to know.
541 And not a mask, &c. Alluding to the custom in that age
of ladies going in masks to the play.
544 Foreign reign. The reign of William III.
'Tis not enough, taste, judgment, learning join ; In all you speak, let truth and candor shine: That not alone what to your sense is due
All may allow; but seek your friendship too. 565
Who, if once wrong, will needs be always so;
"Tis not enough your counsel still be true;
Blunt truths more mischief than nice falsehoods
Men must be taught as if you taught them not, And things unknown proposed as things forgot. Without good-breeding truth is disapproved; 576 That only makes superior sense beloved.
Be niggards of advice on no pretence; For the worst avarice is that of sense: With mean complacence ne'er betray your trust, Nor be so civil as to prove unjust: Fear not the anger of the wise 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, 585 And stares, tremendous, with a threatening eye, Like some fierce tyrant in old tapestry.
Fear most to tax an honorable fool,
Whose right it is, uncensured, to be dull:
Such, without wit, are poets when they please, 590
Whom, when they praise, the world believes no
Than when they promise to give scribbling o'er. "Tis best sometimes your censure to restrain, And charitably let the dull be vain:
Your silence there is better than your spite,
For who can rail so long as they can write?
And lash'd so long, like tops, are lash'd asleep:
Ev'n to the dregs and squeezing of the brain;
Such shameless bards we have; and yet, 'tis
There are as mad, abandon'd critics too.
With his own tongue still edifies his ears,
And always listening to himself appears.
Garth did not write his own Dispensary.
Name a new play, and he's the poet's friend, 620 Nay, show'd his faults: but when would poets mend?
No place so sacred from such fops is barr'd,
Nor is Paul's church more safe than Paul's church
Nay, fly to altars, there they'll talk you dead;
Still pleased to teach, and yet not proud to know?
Unbiass'd or by favor or by spite;
Not dully prepossess'd nor blindly right;
Though learn'd, well-bred; and though well-bred,
Modestly bold, and humanly severe;
Who to a friend his faults can freely show,
A knowlege both of books and human kind; 640 Generous converse; a soul exempt from pride;
And love to praise, with reason on his side?
Such once were critics; Athens and Rome in better
such the happy few, ages knew.
624 Nay, fly to altars. A passage imitated from Boileau's 'Il n'est temple si saint, des anges respecté.' Du Perrier, a French scribbler, had followed Boileau to church, and insisted on his listening to a newly-written Ode during the elevation of the host; desiring also his opinion, whether it were not a rival of Malherbe!'
The mighty Stagirite first left the shore,
Spread all his sails, and durst the deeps explore; He steer'd securely, and discover'd far,
Led by the light of the Mæonian star.
See Dionysius Homer's thoughts refine,
645 The mighty Stagirite. Aristotle, the first and the best of critics.
Between ver. 646 and 649, Warburton found the following lines, afterwards suppressed by the author:
That bold Columbus of the realms of wit,