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Causes hindering a true judgment. 1. Pride, v. 209. 2. Imperfect learning, v. 215. 3. Judging by parts, and not by the whole, v. 233. 288. Critics in wit, language, versification only, v. 289. 305. 337, &c. 4. Be. ing too hard to please, or too apt to admire, v. 384. 5. Partiality, too much love to a sect; to the ancients or moderns, v. 394. 6. Prejudice or prevention, v. 408. 7. Singularity, v. 424. 8. Inconstancy, v. 430. 9. Party spirit, v. 452, &c. 10. Envy, v. 466. Against envy, and in praise of good-nature, v. 508, &c. When severity is chiefly to be used by critics, v. 526, &c.
Rules for the conduct of manners in a critic. 1. Candour, v. 563. Modesty, v. 566. Good-breeding, v. 572. Sincerity and freedom of advice, v. 578. Character of an incorrigible poet, v. 600; and of an impertinent critic, v. 610, &c. Character of a good critic, v. 631. The history of criticism, and characters of the best critics. Aristotle, v. 645. Horace, v. 653. Dionysius, v. 665. Petronius, v. 667. Quintilian, v. 669. Longinus, v. 675. Of the decay of criticism, and its revival. Erasmus, v. 693. Vida, v.705. Boileau, v. 714. Lord Roscommon &c. v. 725. Conclusion.
ESSAY ON CRITICISM.
'TIS hard to say if greater want of skill
'Tis with our judgments as our watches, none Go just alike, yet each believes his own.
10 In poets as true genius is but rare, True taste as seldom is the critic's share; Both must alike from heav'n derive their light, These born to judge as well as those to write. Let such teach others who themselves excel, And censure freely who have written well. Authors are partial to their wit, 'tis true, But are not critics to their judgment too?
Yet if we look more closely we shall find Most have the seeds of judgment in their mind: 20 Nature affords at least a glimm'ring light; The lines tho' touch'd but faintly are drawn right:
But as the slightest sketch, if justly trac'd,
Some have at first for wits, then poets, past, 36
But you who seek to give and merit fame,
Launch not beyond your depth, but be discreet, 50
First follow Nature, and your judgment frame By her just standard, which is still the same : Unerring Nature! still divinely bright, 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 supply provides, Works without show, and without pomp presides:
In some fair body thus th' informing soul
76 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, 80 Want as much more to turn it to its use; For wit and judgment often are at strife, Tho' meant each other's aid, like man and wife. "Tis more to guide than spur the Muses' steed, Restrain his fury than provoke his speed: 85 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 still, 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 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 givin, She drew from them what they deriv'd from heav'n;
he gen'rous critic fann'd the poets fire, . 100 And taught the world with reason to admire.