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When love was all an easy monarch's care;
Seldom at council, never in a war:

540

Jilts ruled the state, and statesmen farces writ;
Nay, wits had pensions, and young lords had wit:
The fair sate panting at a courtier's play,
And not a mask went unimproved away:
The modest fan was lifted up no more,
And virgins smiled at what they blush'd before.
The following license of a foreign reign
Did all the dregs of bold Socinus drain:
Then unbelieving priests reform'd the nation,
And taught more pleasant methods of salvation;
Where Heaven's free subjects might their rights
dispute,

545

550

Lest God himself should seem too absolute :
Pulpits their sacred satire learn'd to spare,
And Vice admired to find a flatterer there!
Encouraged thus, wit's Titans braved the skies,
And the press groan'd with licensed blasphemies.
These monsters, critics! with your darts engage,
Here point your thunder, and exhaust your
rage!

Yet shun their fault, who, scandalously nice,
Will needs mistake an author into vice.
All seems infected that the infected spy,
As all looks yellow to the jaundiced eye.

III.

555

Learn then what morals critics ought to show; For 'tis but half a judge's task, to know.

561

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
Be silent always, when you doubt your sense;
And speak, though sure, with seeming diffidence:
Some positive, persisting fops we know,

Who, if once wrong, will needs be always so;
But you with pleasure own your errors past, 570
And make each day a critique on the last.

"Tis not enough your counsel still be true;

Blunt truths more mischief than nice falsehoods

do:

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.

581

"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
As without learning they can take degrees.
Leave dangerous truths to unsuccessful satires,
And flattery to some fulsome dedicators,

POPE.

II.

F

Whom, when they praise, the world believes no

more,

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,

596

For who can rail so long as they can write?
Still humming on, their drowsy course they
keep;

And lash'd so long, like tops, are lash'd asleep:
False steps but help them to renew the race,
As, after stumbling, jades will mend their pace.
What crowds of these, impenitently bold,
In sounds and jingling syllables grown old,
Still run on poets in a raging vein,

600

Ev'n to the dregs and squeezing of the brain;
Strain out the last dull droppings of their sense,
And rhyme with all the rage of impotence!

605

Such shameless 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,

610

With his own tongue still edifies his ears,

And always listening to himself appears.
All books he reads, and all he reads assails,
From Dryden's Fables down to Durfey's Tales.
With him most authors steal their works, or

615

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buy;

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

yard:

625

Nay, fly to altars, there they'll talk you dead;
For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
Distrustful sense with modest caution speaks;
It still looks home, and short excursions makes;
But rattling nonsense in full volleys breaks;
And never shock'd, and never turn'd aside,
Bursts out, resistless, with a thundering tide. 630
But where's the man who counsel can be-

stow,

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,

sincere ;

Modestly bold, and humanly severe;

Who to a friend his faults can freely show,
And gladly praise the merit of a foe;
Bless'd with a taste exact, yet unconfined;

635

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!'

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The mighty Stagirite first left the shore,

645

Spread all his sails, and durst the deeps explore; He steer'd securely, and discover'd far,

650

655

Led by the light of the Mæonian star.
Poets, a race long unconfined and free,
Still fond and proud of savage liberty,
Received his laws; and stood convinced 'twas fit,
Who conquer'd nature, should preside o'er wit.
Horace still charms with graceful negligence,
And without method talks us into sense:
Will, like a friend, familiarly convey
The truest notions in the easiest way.
He, who supreme in judgment as in wit,
Might boldly censure as he boldly writ,
Yet judged with coolness though he sung with fire:
His precepts teach but what his works inspire.
Our critics take a contrary extreme;
They judge with fury, but they write with phlegm:
Nor suffers Horace more in wrong translations
By wits, than critics in as wrong quotations.

See Dionysius Homer's thoughts refine,
And call new beauties forth from every line!

661

665

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,
Whose first discovery 's not exceeded yet,
Led by the light of the Mæonian star,
He steer'd securely, and discover'd far.
He, when all nature was subdued before,
Like his great pupil, sigh'd and long'd for more:
Fancy's wild regions yet unvanquish'd lay,
A boundless empire, and that own'd no sway.
Poets, &c.

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