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The Poem is in one book, but divided into three prin
cipal parts or members. The first (to ver. 201.] gives rules for the Study of the Art of Criticism; the second [from thence to ver. 560.] exposes the Causes of wrong Judgment; and the third [from thence to the end) anarks out the Morals of the Critic. When the Reader hath well considered the whole, and hath observed the regularity of the plan, the masterly conduct of the several paits, the penetration into Nature, and the compass of learning so conspicuous throughout, he shculd then be told that it was the work of an Author who had not attained the twentieth
of his age. --A very learned Critic has shewn, that Horace had the same attention to method in his Art of Poetry,
CO N T E T S
ESSAY ON CRITICISM.
PAR T I.
ill, as to write ill, and a more dangerous one to the public, ver. 1. That a true Taste is as rare to be found as a true Ge
nius, ver. 9 to 18. That most men are born with some Taste, but spoil'd
by false Education, ver. 19 to 25. The multitude of Critics and causes of them, ver. 26
That we are to study our own Taste, and know the limits
of it, ver. 46 to 67. Nature the best guide of judgment, ver. 68 to 87. Improved by Art and Rules, which are but methodized
Nature, ver. 88. Rules derived from the practice of the Ancient Poets,
ver. 88. to 110. That therefore the Ancients are necessary to be studied
by a Critic, particularly Homer and Virgil, ver. 120
Of Licences, and the use of them by the Ancients, ver.
140 to 180. Reverence due to the Ancients, and praise of them, ver, 181, &c.
Causes hindering a true Judgment. 1. Pride, ver. 208.
2. Imperfect Learning, ver. 215. 3. Judging by
parts, and not by the whole, ver. 233 to 288. Cri-
tics in Wit, Language, Versification, only, 288, 305,
4. Being too hard to please, or too apt
to admire, ver. 384. 5. Partiality—too much love
to a Sect,-to the Ancients or Moderns, ver. 394.
6. Prejudice or Prevention, ver. 408. 7. Singularity,
ver. 424. 8. Inconstancy, ver. 430. 9. Party Spi-
Rules for the Conduct of Manners in a Critic. 1. Can-
dour, ver. 563. Modesty, ver. 566. Good-breed-
ing, ver. 572. Sincerity and Freedom of Advice,
ver. 578. 2. When one's Counsel is to be restrained,
584. Character of an incorrigible Poet, ver.
600. And of an impertinent Critic, ver. 610, &c.
Character of a good Critic, ver. 629. The History
of Criticism, and Characters of the best Critics :
Aristotle, ver. 645. Horace, ver. 653. Dionysius,
ver. 665. Petronius, ver. 667. Quintilian, ver.
670. Longinus, ver. 675. Of the Decay of Criti-
cism, and its Revival. Erafinus, ver. 693. Vida,
ver. 705. Boileau, ver. 714. Lord Roscommon,
E S s
Is hard to say, if greater want of skill
Appear in writing or in judging ill;
'Tis with our judgments as our watches ; none Go just alike, yet each believes his own.
10 In Poets as true genius is but rare, True taste as seldom is the Critic's share, Both must alike from Heaven derive their light, These born to judge, as well as those to write. La fuch teach others who themselves excel, 15 And censure freely who have written well. Authors are partial to their wit, 'tis true, But are not Critics to their judgment too?
Yet, if we look more closely, we shall find Moft have the seeds of judgment in their mind :
Natare affords at least a glimmering light;
Some have at first for Wits, then Poets past, Turn'd Critics next, and prov'd plain fools at last.
Between ver. 25 and 26 were these lines, since onitted by the Author :
Many are spoil'd by that pedantic throng,
Which yet, with all their skill, they ne'er could do. Ver. 30, 31. In the first edition thus :
Those hate as rivals all that write; and others
envy wits, -as eunuchs envy lovers. Ver. 32. “ All fools,” in the first edition : « All such"
in edition 1717 ; since restored.