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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, 596 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 ? Still humming on, their drowsy course they keep;
600 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, 605 Still run on poets in a raging vein, 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 ! Such shameless bards we have; and yet, 'tis true,
610 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 still edifies his ears, And always listening to himself appears. 615 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
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
No place so sacred from such fops is barr'd,
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;
635 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 ; 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; such the happy few, Athens and Rome in better
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, 645
Horace still charms with graceful negligence,
655 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, 665 And call new beauties forth from
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,
Fancy and art in gay Petronius please,
In grave Quintilian's copious work, we find
Thee, bold Longinus ! all the Nine inspire, 675 And bless their critic with a poet's fire. An ardent judge, who, zealous in his trust, With warmth gives sentence, yet is always just : Whose own example strengthens all his laws; And is himself that great sublime he draws.
Thus long succeeding critics justly reign'd, License repress'd, and useful laws ordain'd. Learning and Rome alike in empire grew; And arts still follow'd where her eagles flew; 684
669 Grave Quintilian. The manuscripts of Quintilian, complete, were found by the learned Poggio, in 1417, in the dust at the bottom of a tower of the monastery of St. Gal, near Constance: Silius Italicus and Valerius Flaccus were exhumed from the burial of centuries at the same place and period. This was the age of learned discovery, and the enthusiasm of the discoverers was fully proportioned to the value of the prize. Leonardo Aretino congratulates Poggio in raptures worthy only of a scholar and an Italian :
-By your exertions we are at length in possession of a perfect copy of Quintilian. I have inspected the titles of the books; we have now the intire treatise, of which before we had only one half, and that in a very mutilated state. O, wbat a valuable acquisition! what an unexpected pleasure! Shall I then behold Quintilian whole and intire, who, even in his imperfect state, was so rich a source of delight? I entreat you, my dear Poggio, to send me the manuscripts as so possible, that I may see them before I die.'-Shepherd's Life of Poggio.
From the same foes, at last, both felt their doom,
At length Erasmus, that great injured name,
bays; Rome's ancient genius, o'er its ruins spread, Shakes off the dust, and rears his reverend head. Then Sculpture and her sister-arts revive; 701 Stones leap'd to form, and rocks began to live; With sweeter notes each rising temple rung; A Raphael painted, and a Vida sung. Immortal Vida; on whose honor'd brow 705 The poet's bays and critic's ivy grow :
705 Immorta' Vida. A rare instance of poetry leading to the highest honors of professional life. Vida was the son of a Cremonese peasant, but of an ancient Italian line. In a day when Latin was the universal language of scholarship, and verse the favorite accomplishment of the Roman court, the young poet and scholar was taken into the patronage of the most accomplished, elegant, and voluptuous prince that ever refined the taste, or swelled the profligacy, of modern RomeLeo X.: from Leo be obtained a priory. He was now in the high road to fortune : by Clement VII. he was preferred, on the merits of his Christiad,' to the bishopric of Alba : from Paul III. he was on the point of obtaining