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65

As on the land while here the ocean gains,

In other parts it leaves wide sandy plains; 55 ! Thus in the soul while memory prevails,

The solid pow'r of understanding fails;
Where beams of warm imagination play,
The memory's soft figures melt away.
One science only will one genius fit ;

60
So vast is art, so narrow human wit:
Not only bounded to peculiar arts,
But oft in those confin'd to single parts.
Like Kings we lose the conquests gain'd before,
By vain ambition still to make them more ;
Each might his sev'ral province well command,
Would all but stoop to what they understand.

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

70 One clear, unchang’d, and universal light, Life, force, and beauty, muft to all impart, At once the source, and end, and teft of Art. Art from that fund each just fupply provides, Works without show, and without pomp prefides : In some fair body thus th' informing foul With spirits feeds, with vigour fills the whole, Each motion guides, and ev'ry nerve sustains ; Itself unseen, but in th' effects, remains.

Some,

76

Ver. 67. Would all but ftoop to what they understand.) The expression is delicate, and implies what is very true, that most men think it a degradation of their genius to employ it in cultivating what lies level to their comprehension, but had rather exercise their ambition in fub• duing what is placed above it.

85

Some, to whom Heav'n in wit has been profuse,
Want as much more to turn it to its use;

81 For wit and judgment often are at ftrife, Tho' meant each other's aid, like man and wife. 'Tis more to guide, than spur the Mufe'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 indites, When to repress, and when indulge our flights : High on Parnassus' top her sons she show'd, And painted out those arduous paths they trod; 95 Held from afar, aloft, th' immortal prize, And urg'd the rest by equal steps to rise.

Juft

Ver. 88. Thofe rules of old, etc.] Cicero has, best of any one I know, explained what that is which reduces the wild and fcattered parts of human knowledge into arts.-Nihil eft quod ad artem redigi poffit, nifi ille prin: qui illa tenet; quorum artem inflituere vult, habeat 'illum scientiam, ut ex iis rebus, quarum ars nondum fit, artein efficere poffit.-Omnia fere, quæ sunt conclufa nunc artibus, dispersa et dispata quondam fuerunt, ut in Muficis, ita Adhibita eft igitur ars quædam extrinfecus, ex

alio

genere quodam, quod fibi totum PHILO3O PHT fumunt, que : difolutam divullamque conglutinaret, et ratione quud..in conftringeret. De Orat. 1. i. c 4!, 2.

VARIATIONS.
VER. 8o.

There are whom Heav'n has bleft with store of wit,
Yet want as much again to manage it.

ren

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 firė, 100
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 cou'd not win the mistress, woo'd the maid ;
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 party
Bold in the practice of mistaken rules, 110
Prescribe, apply, and call their masters fools.
Some on the leaves of ancient authors prey;
Nor time nor moths e'er spoil'd so much as they.

Some

VER. 98. Just precepts] Nec enim artibus editis fa&tum eft ut argumenta in veniremus, fed dicta funt omnia antequam præciperentur ; mox ea sçriptores observata et cela lesta ediderunt. Quintil. P.

Ver. 112. Some on the leaves-Some drily plain.) The first, the Apes of those Italian Critics, who at the restoration of letters having found the claffic writers miserably mangled by the hands of monkish Librarians, very commendably employed their pains and talents in restoring them to their native purity. The second, the plagiaries from the French, who had made fome admirable Com. mentaries on the ancient critics. But that acumen and tafle, which separately conftitute the distinct value of those two species of foreign Criticism, make no part of the character of these paltry mimics at home, de cribed by our Poet in the following lines,

These lenve the sense, their learning to display,

And those explain the meaning quite away. Which species is the least hurtful, the Poet has enabled

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Some drily plaing without invention's aid,
Write dull receits how poems may be made. 119
These leave the senses 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, fcope in ev'ry 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 ; 125
Thence form your judgment, thence your maxims

bring, And trace the Muses upward to their spring.

Still

I 20

us to determine in the lines with which he opens his poem,

But of the two less dang’rous is th’offence

To tire our patience than mislead our sense. From whence we conclude, that the reverend Mr. Upton was much more innocently employed when he quibbled upon Epictetus, than when he commented upon Shakefpear.

VARIATION S. VER. 123. Cavil you may, but never criticize.] The áuthor after this verse originally inserted the following, which he has however omitted in all the editions:

Zoilus, had these been known, without a name
Had dy'd, and Perault ne'er been damn'd to fame ;
The sense of sound Antiquity had reign'd,
And sacred Homer yet been unprophan'd.
None e'er had thought his comprehenfive mind
To modern customs, modern rules confin'd;
Who for all ages writ, and all mankind. P.

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Still with itself compar'd, his text peruse;
And let your comment be the Mantuan Muse.

When firft young Maro in his boundless mind
A work t' outlast immortal Rome design'd, 131
Perhaps he feem'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.
Convinc'd, amaz’d, he checks the bold design;
And rules as itrict his labour'd work confine,
As if the Stagirite 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. Mufic resembles Poetry, in each Are nameless graces which no methods teach, And which a master-hand alone can reach. 145

If,

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VER. 130. When first young Maro, etc.] Virg. Eclog. vi,

Cum canerem reges et prælia, Cyntbius aurem
Vellit.

It is a tradition preserved by Servius, that Virgil began with writing a poem of the Alban and Roman affairs; which he found above his years, and descended first to imitate Theocritus on rural subjects, and afterwards to copy Homer in Heroic poetry. P.

VARIATION S.
Ver. 130

When first young Maro sung of Kings and Wars,
Ere warning Phoebus touch'd his trembling ears.

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