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Τ Ο Τ Η Ε
R E A D E RE
ET A nafcitur, non fit, is a fentence of
as great truth as antiquity; it being most certain, that all the acquired learning imaginable is insufficient to complete a Poes, without a natural genius and propensity to so noble and fublime an art. And we may, without offence, observe, that many very learned men, who have been ambitious to be thought poets, have only rendered themfelves obnoxious to that fatirical inspiration our Author wittily invokes,
Which made them, tho' it were in spite
On the other side, some wbo have had very little human learning *, but were en
lued with a large share of natural wit and parts, have become the most celebrated poets of the age chey lived in. But as these last are rara avis in terris; so when the Mufes have not disdained the afistances of
* Shakespeare, D'Avenant, br.
(iv) other arts and sciences, we are then" blefied wiih those lasting monuments of wit and learning which may juftly claim a kind of eternity upon earth, And our Author, had his modelty permitted him, might, with Horace, have said,
Exegi monumentum ære perennius ;
Or, with Ovid,
Jamque opus exegi, quod nec Jovis ira, nec
ignes, Nec poterit ferrum, nec edax abolere vetuftas.
The author of this celebrated Poem was of this laft composition ; for although he had not the happiness of an academical educa. tion, as fome affirm, it may be perceived throughout his whole Poem, that he had read much, and was very well accomplished in the most useful parts of human learning.
Rapin, in his Reflections, speaking of the neceffary qualities belonging to a poet, tells us, he must have a genius extraordinary; great natural' gifts; a wit juft, fruitful; piercing, folid, and universal ;: an under. standing clear and diftin&t; an imagination neat and pleasant; an elevation of soul, that depends not only on art or study, but is purely the gift of Heaven, which must be
fustained by a lively sense and vivacity; judgment to consider wisely of things, and vivacity for the beautiful expreffion of them, &c.
Now, how jully this character is due to our Author, I leave to the impartial reader, and those of nicer judgments, who had the happiness to be more intimately acquainted with him.
The reputation of this incomparable Poem is so thoroughly established in the world, that it would be fuperfluous, if not impertinent, to endeavour any panegyric u. pon it. King Charles the Second, whom the judicious part of mankind will readily acknowledge to be a sovereign judge of wit, was so great an admirer of it, that he would often pleasantly quote it in his conversation. However, since moit men have a curiosity to have some account of such anonymous authors whose compositions have been eminent for wit and learning, I have been desired to oblige them with such informations as I could receive from those who had the happiness to be acquainted with him, and also to rectify the mistakes of the Oxford Anti. quary, in his Athena. Oxonienfes, concerning him,