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Unfinish'd things, one knows not what to call,
Their generation's so equivocal :
To tell 'em, would a hundred tongues require,
Or one vain Wit's that might a hundred tire,

ESSAY ON CRITICISM, V. I. p. 73

THE RULES OF NATURE.

FIRST follow Nature, and your judgment frame
By her just standard, which is still the same:
Unerring Nature, fill divinely bright,
One clear, unchang'd, and univerfal light,
Life, force, and beauty, muft 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
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 fpur 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.

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Those

Those Rules of old discover'd, not devis'd,
Are Nature ftill, but Nature methodis'd:
Nature, like Liberty, is but restrain's
By the same laws which first herself ordain'd.

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BOLDNESS IN COMPOSITION, GREAT Wits sometimes may gloriously offend, And rise to faults true Critics dare not mend; 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. In profpeéts thus, some objects please our eyes, Which out of Nature's common order rise, The Shapeless rock, or hanging precipice. But though the Ancients thus their rules invade, (As Kings difpense with laws themselves have

made)
Moderns, beware! or, if you must offend.?
Against the precept, n'er transgress its end;
Let it be feldom, and compellid by need;
And have, at least, their precedent to plead :
The Critic elfe proceeds without remorse,
Seizes your fame, and puts his laws in force..

IBID. p. 80.

PRIDE.

PRI DE.

OF all the causes which conspire to blind Man's erring judgment, and misguide the mind, What the weak head with strongest bias rules Is Pride, the never-failing vice of fools. Whatever Nature has in worth deny'd She gives in large recruits of needless Pride! For, as in bodies, thus in souls, we find What wants in blood, and spirits, swell’d with wind.. Pride, where Wit fails, steps in to our defence, And fills up all the mighty void of sense. If once right reafon drives that cloud away, Truth breaks upon us with resistless day. Trust not yourself; but your defects to know, Make use of ev'ry friend

and ev'ry foe. A little learning is a dang'rous thing ; . Drink deep, or tafte not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again. Fir'd 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 advanc'd, behold with strange surprise New diftant scenes of endless science rise! So pleas'd at firft the tow'ring Alps we try, Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky; Th'eternal fnows appear already past, And the first clouds and mountains seem the last:

Buis

But, those attain'd, we tremble to survey
The growing labours of the lengthen’d way;
Th’increasing prospect tires our wand'ring eyes 5
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise !

I.BID. Po

81..

CAN DO R. A perfect judge will read each work of Wit. With the fame spirit that its author writ; Survey the whole, nor seek slight faults to find Where Nature moves, and rapture warms the mind i Nor lose, for that malignant dull delight, The gen'rous pleasure to be charm'd with wit. But, in such lays as neither ebb nor flow, Correctly cold, and regularly. low, That, shunning faults, one quiet tenor keep ki We cannot blame indeed-but we may sleep. In Wit, as Nature, what affects our hearts Is not th’exactness of peculiar parts; 'Tis not a lip, or eye, we beauty call,, But the joint force and full result of, all.. Thus when we view fome well-proportion'd dome, (The world's juft wonder, and e'en thine, O Rome!) No fingle parts unequally surprise, All comes united to th’admiring eyes ; No monstrous height, or breadth, or length appear; The whole at once is bold, and regular,

IBID. p. 82..

TRUE

T R U E W I T. SOME to Conceit alone their taste confine, And glitt'ring thoughts struck out at ev'ry line ; Pleas'd with a work where nothing's just or fit, One glaring chaos and wild heap of wit. Poets like painters, thus, unskill'd to trace The naked nature and the living grace, With gold and jewels cover ev'ry part, And hide with ornaments their want of art. True Wit is Nature to advantage dress’d, What oft was thought, but ne'er so well express’d; Something, whose truth convinc'd at fight we find, That gives us back the image of our mind. As fhades more sweetly recommend the light, So modeft plainness sets off sprightly wit; For works may have more wit than does 'em good, As bodies perish through excess of blood.

IBID. p. 85

HARMONY OF EXPRESSION. BUT moft, by numbers, judge a Poet's song ; And smooth, or rough, with them is right or

wrong : In the bright Muse though thousand charms con

fpire, Her voice is all these tuneful fools admire; Who haunt Parnasus but to please the ear, Not mend their minds; as some to church repair, Not for the doctrine, but the music there.

There

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