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First follow Nature, and your judgment frame By her just standard, which is still the same : Unerring Nature, ftill divinely bright,

70 One clear, unchang’d, and universal light, Life, force, and beauty, must to all impart, At once the source, and end, and test of art. Art from that fund each just fupply provides, Works without show, and without pomp presides : 75 In some fair body thus th' informing soul With spirits feeds, with vigour fills the whole, Each motion guides, and ev'ry nerve sustains ; Itself unseen, but in th' effects, remains, There are whom heav'n has bleft with store of wit, do Yet want as much again to manage it; For wit and judgment ever are at strife, Tho' meant each other's aid, like man and wife. "Tis more to guide than spur the Muse's steed; Restrain his fury, than provoke his speed; The winged courser, like a gen’rous horse, Shows most true mettle when you check his course.

Those Rules of old discover'd, not devis'd, Are nature ftill, but nature methodiz'd; Nature, like Liberty, is but restrain'd

90 By the same laws' which first herself ordain'd. Hear how learn'd Greece her useful rules inditcs, When to repress, and when indulge our flights ! High on Parnafsus' top her sons the fhow'd, And pointed out those arduous paths they trod, 95 Held from afar, aloft, th’immortal prize, And urg'd the rest by equal steps to rise. Just precepts thus from great examples giv'n, She drew from them what they deriv'd from heav'n. The gen'rous Critic fann'd the Poet's fire, And taught the world with reason to admire. Then Criticism the Muses handmaid prov'd, To dress her charms, and make her more belov'd :: But following wits from that intention stray'd, Who could not win the mistress, woo'd the maid; 105


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Against the Poets their own arms they turn'd,
Sure to hate most the men from whom they learn’d.
So modern 'Pothecaries, taught the art
By Doctor's bills to play the Doctor's part,
Bold in the practice of mistaken rules,
Prescribe, apply, and call their masters fools.
Some on the leaves of ancient authors prey,
Nor time nor moths e'er spoild so much as they.
Some drily plain, without invention's aid,
Write dull receipts how poems may be made. 115
These lose the sense, their learning to display,
And those explain the meaning quite away.

You then whose judgment the right course would steer,
Know well each Ancient's proper character; ;
His Fable, Subject, scope in every page;
Religion, Country, genius of his Age:
Without all these at once before your eyes,
Cavil you may, but never criticize.
Be Homer's works your study and delight,
Read them by day, and meditate by night;
Thence form your judgment, thence your maxims bring,
And trace the Muses upward to their spring.
Still with itself compar'd, his text peruse ;
Or let your comment be the Mantuan Muse.

When first young Maro sung of Kings and wars, E'er warning Phoebus touch'd his trembling ears, 131 Perhaps he seem'd above the Critic's law, And but from Nature's fountains scorn'd to draw ; But when t'examine ev'ry part he came, Nature and Homer were, he found, the fame : 135 Convinc'd, amaz’d, he checks the bold defign; And rules as strict his labour'd work confine, As if the Stagyrite o'erlook'd each line. Learn hence for ancient rules a just esteem; To copy nature is to copy them.

140 Some beauties yet no precepts can declare, For there's a happiness as well as care.




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Music resembles Poetry, in each
Are nameless graces which no methods teach,
And which a master-hand alone can reach, 145
If, where the rules not far enough extend,
(Since rules were made but to promote their end)
Some lucky Licence answers to the full
Th'intent propos'd, that Licence is a rule,
Thus Pegasus, a nearer way to take,

May boldly deviate from the common track.
Great Wits sometimes may gloriously offend,
And rise to faults trie Critics dare not mond,
From vulgar bounds with brave disorder part,
And snatch a grace beyond the reach of art,
Which without passing thro' the judgment, gains
The heart, and all its end at once attains.
In prospects, thus, some objeěts please our eyes,
Which out of nature's common order rise,
The shapeless rock, or hanging precipice, 160
But care in poetry must still be had,
It asks discretion ev'n in running mad:
And tho' the Ancients thus their rules invade,
(As Kings dispense with laws themselves have made)
Moderns beware! or if you must offend
Against the precept, ne'er transgress its end;
Let it be feldom, and compell’d by need ;
And have, at least, their precedent to plead.
The Critic elfe proceeds without remorse,
Seizes your fame, and puts his laws in force.

170 I know there are, to whose presumptuous thoughts Those freer beauties, evin in them, seem faults. Some figures monstrous and mishap'd appear, Consider'd fingly, or beheld too near, Which, but proportion'd to their light, or place, 175 Due distance reconciles to form and grace. À prudenț chief not always must display His pow'rs in equal ranks, and fair árray, But with th' occafion and the place comply, Conceal his force, nay seem sometimes to fly. I 80



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Thofe oft' are stratagemś which errors seem,
Nor is it Homer nods, but we that dream.

Still green with bays each ancient Altar stands,
Above the reach of sacrilegious hands;
Secure from flames, from envy's fiercer rage, 185
Deftru&tive war, and all-devouring age.
See, from each clime the learn’d their incense bring :
Hear, in all tongues consenting Pæans ring !
In praise so just let ev'ry voice be join'd,

fo And fill the gen'ral Chorus of mankind !

190 Hail, Bards triumphant! born in happier days; Immortal heirs of universal praise ! Whose honours with increase of ages grow, As streams roll down, enlarging as they flow! Nations unborn your mighty names shall sound, 195 And worlds applaud that must not yet be found ! Oh may some spark of your celestial fire, The lait, the meanest of your sons inspire, (That on weak wings, from far, pursues your flights ; Glows while he reads, but trembles as he writes) 200 To teach vain Wits a science little known, T'admire superior sense, and doubt their own!

Of all the causes which conspire to blind Man's erring judgment, and misguide the mind, What the weak head with strongest biass rules, 205 Is Pride, the never-failing vice of fools. Whatever nature has in worth deny'd, She gives in large recruits of needful pride; For as in bodies, thus in souls we find What wants in blood and spirits, swell’d with wind: 210 Pride, where Wit fails, steps in to our defence, And fills up all the mighty void of sense. If once right reason drives that cloud away, Truth breaks upon us with resistless day. Truft not yourself; but your defects to know, 215 Make use of ev'ry friend--and ev'ry foc.

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A little learning is a dang’rous thing;
Drink deep, or tafte not the Piërian spring :
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely fobers us again.

Fir'd at first fight with what the Muse imparts,
In fearless youth we tempt the heights of arts,
While from the bounded level of our mind,
Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind.
But more advanc'd, behold with strange surprize 225
New diftant scenes of endless science rife!
So pleas'd at first the tow'ring Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky,
Th’eternal snows appear already past,
And the first clouds and mountains seem the last : 2:30
But those attain'd, we tremble to survey
The growing labours of the lengthen'd way,
Th’increasing prospect tires our wand’ring 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,
Survey the Whole, nor seek flight faults to find
Where nature moves, and rapture warms the mind;
Nor lose, for that malignant dull delight,
The gen'rous pleasure to be charm'd with wit, 24
But in such lays as neither ebb, nor flow,
Corre&tly cold, and regularly low,
That shunning faults, one quiet tenor keep;
We cannot blaine indeed -but we may sleep,
In wit, as nature, what affects our hearts

Is not th' exactness of peculiar parts ;
'Tis not a lip, or eye, we beauty call,
But the joint force and full result of all,
Thus when we view fome well-proportion'd dome,
(The world's just wonder, and ev’n thine, O Rome!) 250
No single parts unequally surprize,
All comes united to th’admiring eyes;
No monstrous height, or breadth, or length appear;
The Whole at once is bold, and regular.


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