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These, were my breast inspired with equal flame,
Like them in beauty, should be like in fame.
Here hills and vales, the woodland and the plain,
Here earth and water, seem to strive again;
Not chaos-like together crushed and bruised,
But, as the world, harmoniously confused,
Where order in variety we see,

And where, though all things differ, all agree.
Here waving groves a chequered scene display,
And part admit and part exclude the day,
As some coy nymph her lover's warm address
Nor quite indulges nor can quite repress;
There, interspersed in lawns and op'ning glades,
Thin trees arise, that shun each other's shades.
Here, in full light, the russet plains extend;
There, wrapt in clouds, the bluish hills ascend.
Ev'n the wild heath displays her purple dyes,
And 'midst the desert fruitful fields arise,
That, crowned with tufted trees and springing corn,
Like verdant isles the sable waste adorn.

Let India boast her plants, nor envy we
The weeping amber or the balmy tree,
While by our oaks the precious loads are borne,
And realms commanded which those trees adorn.
Not proud Olympus yields a nobler sight,
Though gods assembled grace his tow'ring height,
Than what more humble mountains offer here,
Where, in their blessings, all those gods appear:
See Pan with flocks, with fruits Pomona crowned;
Here blushing Flora paints th' enamelled ground;
Here Ceres' gifts in waving prospect stand,
And, nodding, tempt the joyful reaper's hand;
Rich Industry sits smiling on the plains,
And peace and plenty tell a Stuart reigns.

See! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs,
And mounts exulting on triumphant wings!
Short is his joy; he feels the fiery wound,
Flutters in blood, and, panting, beats the ground.
Ah, what avail his glossy, varying dyes,
His purple crest and scarlet-circled eyes,

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The vivid green his shining plumes unfold,
His painted wings, and breast that flames with gold?
Nor yet, when moist Arcturus clouds the sky,
The woods and fields their pleasing toils deny.
To plains with well-breathed beagles we repair,
And trace the mazes of the circling hare
(Beasts, urged by us, their fellow-beasts pursue,
And learn of man cach other to undo).
With slaught'ring guns th' unwearied fowler roves,
When frosts have whitened all the naked groves,
Where doves in flocks the leafless trees o'ershade,
And lonely wood-cocks haunt the wat'ry glade.
He lifts the tube, and levels with his eye;
Straight a short thunder breaks the frozen sky:
Oft, as in airy rings they skim the heath,
The clam'rous lapwings feel the leaden death;
Oft, as the mounting larks their notes prepare,
They fall, and leave their little lives in air.

In genial spring, beneath the quiv'ring shade,
Where cooling vapours breathe along the mead,
The patient fisher takes his silent stand,
Intent, his angle trembling in his hand;

With looks unmoved, he hopes the scaly breed,
And eyes the dancing cork and bending reed.
Our plenteous streams a various race supply:
The bright-eyed perch, with fins of Tyrian dye;
The silver eel, in shining volumes rolled;
The yellow carp, in scales bedropped with gold;
Swift trouts, diversified with crimson stains;
And pikes, the tyrants of the wat❜ry plains.

1704?

FROM

AN ESSAY ON CRITICISM

1713.

First follow Nature, and your judgment frame
By her just standard, which is still the same.
Unerring Nature, still divinely bright,
One clear, unchanged, and universal light,
Life, force, and beauty, must to all impart,
At once the source and end and test of Art.

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Art from that fund each just supply provides,
Works without show, and without pomp presides:
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.
Some, to whom Heav'n in wit has been profuse,
Want as much more, to turn it to its use;
For wit and judgment often are at strife,
Though 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, discovered not devised,
Are Nature still, but Nature methodized:
Nature, like liberty, is but restrained

By the same laws which first herself ordained.

Hear how learn'd Greece her useful rules indites,
When to repress and when indulge our flights:
High on Parnassus' top her sons she showed,
And pointed out those arduous paths they trod;
Held from afar, aloft, th' immortal prize,

And urged the rest by equal steps to rise.
Just precepts thus from great examples giv'n,
She drew from them what they derived from Heav'n.
The gen'rous critic fanned the poet's fire,

And taught the world with reason to admire;
Then Criticism the Muses' handmaid proved,
To dress her charms and make her more beloved.
But following wits from that intention strayed:
Who could not win the mistress wooed the maid;
Against the poets their own arms they turned,
Sure to hate most the men from whom they learned:
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 spoiled so much as they;
Some dryly plain, without invention's aid,

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Write dull receipts how poems may be made;
These leave the sense, their learning to display,
And those explain the meaning quite away.

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You, then, whose judgment the right course would steer,
Know well each ancient's proper character;
His fable, subject, scope in ev'ry page;
Religion, country, genius of his age:
Without all these at once before your eyes,
Cavil you may, but never criticise.

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 compared, his text peruse;
And let your comment be the Mantuan Muse.

When first young Maro in his boundless mind
A work t'outlast immortal Rome designed,
Perhaps he seemed above the critic's law,

And but from Nature's fountains scorned to draw;
But when t' examine ev'ry part he came,
Nature and Homer were, he found, the same:
Convinced, amazed, he checks the bold design;
And rules as strict his laboured work confine
As if the Stagyrite o'erlooked each line.
Learn hence for ancient rules a just esteem:
To copy Nature is to copy them.

Some beauties yet no precepts can declare,
For there's a happiness as well as care.
Music resembles poetry: in each

Are nameless graces which no methods teach,
And which a master-hand alone can reach.

If, where the rules not far enough extend

(Since rules were made but to promote their end),
Some lucky license answer to the full

Th' intent proposed, that license is a rule.
Thus Pegasus, a nearer way to take,
May boldly deviate from the common track;
From vulgar bounds with brave disorder part,
And snatch a grace beyond the reach of art,
Which, without passing through the judgment, gains
The heart, and all its end at once attains.

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In prospects thus, some objects please our eyes,
Which out of Nature's common order rise,
The shapeless rock or hanging precipice.
Great wits sometimes may gloriously offend,
And rise to faults true critics dare not mend.
But though 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 seldom and compelled by need;
And have, at least, their precedent to plead :
The critic else proceeds without remorse,
Seizes your fame, and puts his laws in force.

A little learning is a dang'rous thing;
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,
While from the bounded level of our mind
Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind;
But, more advanced, behold with strange surprise
New distant scenes of endless science rise.
So, pleased 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:
But, those attained, we tremble to survey
The growing labours of the lengthened 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 slight faults to find
Where nature moves and rapture warms the mind;
Nor lose, for that malignant, dull delight,

The gen'rous pleasure to be charmed with wit.
But in such lays as neither ebb nor flow,
Correctly cold and regularly low,
That, shunning faults, one quiet tenor keep,

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