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If Mævius scribble in Apollo's spight,
Some have at first for Wits, then Poets paft,
Nature to all things fix'd the limits fit,
First follow Natore, and your judgment frame By her just flandard, 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 test of Art. Art from that fund each just fupply provides ; Works without show, and without pomp prefides : 75 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, to whom Heav'n in wit has been profuse, 8 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 Muse's steed; Refrain his fury, than provoke his speed: The winged.coarser, like a gen'rous horse, Shows most true mettle when you check his course.
Those Rules of old discover'd, not devis'd, Are Natare lill, but Nature methodiz'd:
VER. 88. Tbose rules of old, etc.] Cicero has, best of any one i know, explained what that is which reduces the wild and scatter: ed parts of human knowledge into art. -“Nihil eft quod ad 90
artem redigi poffit, nifi ille prius, qui illa tenet, quorum « artem inftituere vult, habeat illam fcientiam, ut ex iis rebus,
quarum ars nondum fit, aitem efficere poflit.Omnia fere, quæ “ funt corclusa nunc artibus, dispersa et dilipata quondan fuerunt, " ut in Muficis, etc. Adhibita eft igitur ars quædam extrinfecas" « ex alio genere quodam, quod fibi totum PHILOSOPHI affumunt,
quæ rei diffolutam divulfamque conglutinaret, et ratione qua- dam confiringeret." De Orat. l. i. c. 41, 2.
There are whom Heav'n has blest with fore of wit,
Nature, like Liberty, is but refrain'd
Hear how learn'd Greece her useful rules indites,
fteer, Know well each Ancient's proper character:
VER. 98. Juft precepts] “ Nec enim artibus editis factum eft « ut argumenta inveniremus, sed dicta sunt omnia antequam pres ciperentur : mox ea fcriptores observata et collecta ediderunt," Quintil.
His Fable, Subject, fcope in ev'ry page;
126 Religion, Country, genius of his Age: Without all these at once before your eyes, Cavil you may, but never criticize.
it Be Homer's works your study and delight,
When first young Maro in his boundless mind 130
VER. 123. Cavil you may, but never criticize.] The Author af. ter this verse originally inserted the following, which he has however omitted in all the editions :
Zoilus, had these been known, without a Name
When firit young Maro sung of Kings and Wars
I MI TATIONS.
VIR. 130. When first young Maro, etc.] Virg. Ecl. vi.
Cum canerem reges et prælia, Cynthius aurem
Vellit, It is a tradition preserved by Servius, that Virgil began with writ. ing a poem of the Alban and Roman affairs : which he found above his years, and descended first to imitate Theocritus on rural subfeets, and afterwards to copy Homer in Heroic poetry.
But when t'examine ev'ry part he came,
140 Some beauties yet no precepts can declare, For there's a happiness as well as care, Music resembles Poetry, in each
2 Are nameless graces which no methods teach, And which a master-hand alone can reach.
145) If, where the roles not far enough extend, (Since roles were made but to promote their end) Some lucky License answer to the full Th’intent propos’d, that License is a rule. Thus Pegasus, a nearer way to take,
15 May boldly deviate from the common track.
VIR. 146. If, wbere the rules, etc.] “ Neque enim rogationibus « plebisve scitis fancta sunt ifta præcepta, fed hoc, quicquid eft, « Utiliras excogitavit. Non negabo autem fic utile efle plerum“ que; verum fi eadem illa nobis aliud suadebit Utilitas, hanc, “ relictis magiftrorum autoritatibus, fequemur." Quintil. lib. ii. cap. 13.
VER, 750. Tbus Pegasus, etc.] He first describes the fublime fight of a Poet, soaring above all vulgar bounds, to snatch a grace directly, which lies beyond the reach of a common adventurer. And afterwards, the effect of that grace upon the true Critic: whom it penetrates with an equal rapidity; going the nearest way to his beart, without pafing through his Judgment. By which is not meant that it could not stand the test of Judgment; but that, as it was a beauty uncommon, and above rule, and the judgment habituated to determine only by rule, it makes its direct application to the heart; which once gained, loon opens and enlarges the Judgment, whose concurrence (it being now fet above forms) is easily procured. That this is the Poet's sublime conception appears from the concluding words:
and all its end at once attains. For Poetry doth not attain all its end, till it hath gained the Judgment as well as Heart.