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Such shameless bards we have; and yet 'tis true There are as mad abandon'd critics too. 611 The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read, With loads of learned lumber in his head, With his own tongue still edifies his ears, And always list'ning to himself appears : 615 All books he reads, and all he reads assails, From Dryden's Fables down to Dursey'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; 620 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 Church

yard : Nay, fly to altars, there they'll talk you dead; For fools rush in where angels fear to tread. 625 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 thund’ring tide. 630

But where's the man who counsel can bestow, Still pleas'd to teach, and yet not proud to know; Unbiass'd or by favour or by spite, Not dully prepossess'd nor blindly right :

Tho' learn'd well-bred, and tho' well-bred sincere; Modestly bold, and humanely severe;

636 Who to a friend his faults can freely show, And gladly praise the merit of a foe; Blest with a taste exact, yet unconfin'd, A knowledge both of books and humankind; 640 Gen'rous converse; a soul exempt from pride ; And loves to praise, with reason on his side.

Such once were Critics; such the happy few Athens and Rome in better ages knew. The mighty Stagirite first left the shore, 645 Spread all liis sails, and durst the deep explore; He steer'd securely, and discover'd far, Led by the light of the Mæonian star. Poets, a race long unconfin’d and free, Still fond and proud of savage liberty,

650 Receiv'd his laws, and stood convinc'd 'twas fit, Who conquer'd Nature should preside o'er wit.

Horace still charms with graceful negligence,
And without method talks us into sense;
Will, like a friend, familiarly convey

The truest notions in the easiest way.
He who, supreme in judgment as in wit,
Might boldly censure as he boldly writ,
Yet judg’d with co ness, tho' he sung with fire;
His precepts teach but what his works inspire. 668

Our critics take a contrary extreme,
They judge with fury, but they write with phlegm;
Nor suffers Horace more in wrong translations
By wits, than critics in as wrong quotations.

See Dionysius Homer's thoughts refine, 665 And call new beauties forth in ev'ry line!

Fancy and art in gay Petronius please,
The scholar's learning with the courtier's ease.

In grave Quintillian's copious work we find
The justest rules and clearest methods join'd. 670
Thus useful arms in magazines we place,
All rang'd in order, and dispos’d with grace;
But less to please the eye than arm the hand,
Still fit for use, and ready at command.

Thee, bold Longinus ! all the Nine inspire, 676 And bless their critic with a poet's fire : An ardent judge, who, zealous in his trust, With warmth gives sentence, yet is always just ; Whose own example strengthens all his laws, And is himself the great sublime he draws. 680

Thus long succeeding critics justly reign'd, License repress’d, and useful laws ordain'd: Learning and Rome alike in empire grew, And arts still follow'd where her Eagles flew; From the same foes at last both felt their doom, 685 And the same age saw learning fall and Rome,

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 constru'd to be good : 690
A second deluge Learning thus o'er-ran,
And the Monks finish'd what the Goths began.

At length Erasmus, that great injur’d name,
(The glory of the priesthood, and the shame!)
Stemm'd the wild torrent of a barb'rous age, 695
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 rev'rend head. 700
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 705
The poet's bays and critic's ivy grow!
Cremona now shall ever boast thy name,
As next in place to Mantua, next in fame!

But soon by impious arms from Latium chas'd,
Their ancient bounds the banish'd Muses pass'd: 710
Thence arts o'er all the northern world advance,
But critic learning flourish'd most in France :

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The rules a nation born to serve obeys,
And Boileau still in right of Horace sways.
But we, brave Britons! foreign laws despis’d, 715
And kept unconquer'd and unciviliz'd;
Fierce for the liberties of wit, and bold,
We still defy'd 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 gen'rous as his noble blood; 726
To him the wit of Greece and Rome was known,
And ev'ry author's merit but his own.
Such late was Walsh....the Muse's judge and friend,
Who justly knew to blame or to commend; 730
To failings mild, but zealous for desert,
The clearest head, and the sincerest heart.
This humble praise, lamented shade! receive;
This praise at least a grateful Muse may give:
The Muse whose early voice you taught to sing, 735
Prescrib'd her heights, and prun'd her tender wing,
(Her guide now lost) no more attempts to rise,
But in low numbers short excursions tries;

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