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Bat yon with pleasure own your errors past,
Tis not enough your counsel still be true;
Be niggards of advice on no pretence, For the worst avarice is that of sense. With mean complacence ne'e'r betray your trust, Nor be so civil as to prove unjust. Fear not the anger of the wise to raiso'; Those best can bear reproof who merit praise.
Twere well might critics still this freedom take, But Appius reddens at each word you speak. And stares tremendous, with a threatening eye, Like some fierce tyrant in old tapestry. Fear most to tax an honourable fool, Whose right it is, uncensur'd, to be dull: Such, without wit, are poets when they please, As without learning they can take degrees. Leave dangerous truths to unsuccessful satires, And flattery to fulsome dedicators; 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, For who can rail so long as they can write? Stilt 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, Ev'n to the dregs and squeezings of the brain, Strain out the last dull droppings of their sense, And rhyme with all the rase of impotence!
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, 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 buy; Garth did not write his own Dispensary. Name a new play, and he's the poet's friend; 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 churchyard: 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 vollies breaks, And never shock'd and never turn'd aside, Bursts out, resistless, with a thundering tide.
But where's the man who counsel can bestow,
Such once were critics; such the happy few
He steer'd securely, and discover' d far,
Horace still charms with graceful negligence,
See Dionysius Homer's thoughts refine,
Fancy and art in gay Petronius please,
In grave Quintilian's copious work we find
Thee, bold Longinus! all the Nine inspire,
Thus long succeeding critics justly reign'd, Licence repress'd, and useful laws ordain'd; Learning and Rome alike in empire grew, And arts still fbllow'd where her eagles flew; From the same foes at last both felt their doom. And the same age saw learning fall and Rome. Vol. II. D
With tyranny then superstition join'd,
As that the body, this enslav'd the mind;
Much was believ'd, but little understood,
And to be dull was construed to be good:
A second deluge learning thus o'er-ran,
And the monks iinish'd what the Goths began.
At length Erasmus, that great iujur'd name, (The glory of the priesthood, and the shame!) Stemm'd the wild torrent of a barbarous age, And drove those holy Vandals off the stage.
But see ! each Muse in Leo's golden days Starts from her trance, and trims her wither'd 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; 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 honour d brow The poet's bays and critic's ivy grow! Cremona now shall ever boast thy name, A? nest in place to Mantua, next in fame!
But soon by impious arms from Latium chac'd, Their ancient bounds the banish'.! Muses pass'd; Thence arts o'er all the northern world advance, But critic learning flourish'd most in France; The rules a nation born to serve obeys, And Boileau still in right of Horace sways. But we, brave Britons, foreign laws despis'd, And kept unconquer'd and unciviliz'd; Fierce for the liberties of wit, and bold, We still defied the Romans, as of old. Yet some there were, among the sounder few Of those who less presum'd and better knew, Who durst assert the juster ancient cause, And here restor'd wit's fundamental laws. Such was the Muse, whose rules and practice tell * Nature's chief masterpiece is writing well.' Such was Roscommon, not more learn'd than good, With manners generous as his noble blood;
To him the wit of Greece and Rome was known,
OF THE USE OF RICHES.
To Alien, Lord Bathurst,
And soundest casuists doub t,)ike you and me?
But I, who think more highly of our kind,
Like doctors thus, when much dispute has past. We find our tenets just the same at last: