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If once right reason drives that cloud away,
foe. A little learning is a dangerous thing : 215 Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring : There, shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again. Fired at first sight with what the Muse imparts, In fearless youth we tempt the heights of arts, 220 While from the bounded level of our mind, Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind ; But more advanced, behold, with strange sur
prise, New distant scenes of endless science rise. So pleased at first the towering Alps we try, 225 Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky; The eternal snows appear already pass’d, And the first clouds and mountains seem the last: But, those attain’d, we tremble to survey The growing labors of the lengthen'd way: 230 The increasing prospect tires our wandering eyes; Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
A perfect judge will read each work of wit With the same spirit that its author writ:
232 Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise. Johnson lavishes panegyric on this simile, as the most apt, the most proper, and the most sublime of any in the English language :' he omits to mention that the simile, and of course the panegyric, belong to another. Warton gives the passage almost word for word from Drummond :
All as a pilgrim who the Alpes doth passe
Till mounting some tall mountaine, he doth finde
Survey the whole, nor seek slight faults to find,
240 That shunning faults, one quiet tenor keep; We cannot blame indeed—but we may sleep. In wit, as nature, what affects our hearts Is not the exactness of peculiar parts ; 'Tis not a lip or eye we beauty call ;
245 But the joint force and full result of all. Thus when we view some well-proportion'd dome, (The world's just wonder, and ev’n thine, O
Rome!) No single parts unequally surprise ; All comes united to the admiring eyes ; No monstrous height, or breadth, or length ap
The whole at once is bold and regular.
Whoever thinks a faultless piece to see, Thinks what ne'er was, nor is, nor e'er shall be. In every work regard the writer's end, 255 Since none can compass more than they intend; And if the means be just, the conduct true, Applause, in spite of trivial faults, is due. As men of breeding, sometimes men of wit, To avoid great errors, must the less commit: 260 Neglect the rules each verbal critic lays; For not to know some trifles, is a praise. Most critics, fond of some subservient art, Still make the whole depend upon a part:
They talk of principles, but notions prize ;
Once on a time, La Mancha's knight, they say,
knight. Yes, or we must renounce the Stagirite. 280 • Not so, by Heaven !'he answers in a rage; • Knights, squires, and steeds must enter on the
stage.' So vast a throng the stage can ne'er contain. • Then build a new, or act it in a plain.'
Thus critics of less judgment than caprice, 285 Curious not knowing, not exact but nice, Form short ideas; and offend in arts, As most in manners, by a love to parts.
Some to conceit alone their taste confine, 289 And glittering thoughts struck out at every line; Pleased with a 'work where nothing 's just or fit; One glaring chaos and wild heap of wit.
287 Once on a time La Mancha's knight. An allusion to a story in the 'Second Part of Don Quixote,' wr by Alonzo Avellanada, and translated by Le Sage.
Poets, like painters, thus, unskill'd to trace
Others for language all their care express; 305 And value books, as women men, for dress : Their praise is still,—the style is excellent;' The sense, they humbly take upon content. Words are like leaves; and where they most
abound, Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found : 310 False eloquence, like the prismatic glass, Its gaudy colors spreads on every place; The face of nature we no more survey; All glares alike, without distinction gay: But true expression, like the unchanging sun, 315 Clears and improves whate'er it shines upon; It gilds all objects, but it alters none, Expression is the dress of thought, and still Appears more decent, as more suitable. A vile conceit, in pompous words express’d, 320 Is like a clown in regal purple dress’d: For different styles with different subjects sort, As several garbs with country, town, and court.
Some by old words to fame have made pretence;
But most by numbers judge a poet's song,
spire, Her voice is all these tuneful fools admire ; 340 Who haunt Parnassus but to please their ear, Not mend their minds; as some to church repair, Not for the doctrine, but the music there. These equal syllables alone require, Though oft the ear the open vowels tire; 345 While expletives their feeble aid do join ; And ten low words oft creep in one dull line:
324 Some by old words to fame have made pretence. The adoption of obsolete phrases must be injurious to poetry; for that which is not capable of being understood is not capable of being felt : but Gray, a true critic, pronounces that “the language of the age is never the language of poetry :' he might have added, nor is the language of vulgarity the language of nature ; though this dogma has been stoutly fought for. 328 Fungoso. Ben Jonson's. Every Man out of his Humor.'