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Yet if we look more closely, we shall find Most have the feeds of judgment in their mind: 20

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COMMENTARY.

VER. 19. Yet if we look, &c.] "He owns that the feeds of Judgment are indeed fown in the minds of moft men; but by ill culture, as it fprings up, it generally runs wild either on the one hand, by falfe knowledge "which pedants call Philology, or falfe reasoning which "Philofophers call School Learning; or on the other, by falfe wit which is not regulated by fenfe; or falfe politeness which is folely regulated by the fashion. Both thefe forts, who have their Judgments thus doubly de"praved, the poet obferves are naturally turned to cen"fure and reprehenfion; only with this difference, that "the Dunce always affects to be on the reafoning, and the "Fool on the laughing fide.-And thus, at the fame time,

NOTES.

20, Moft bave the feeds] Omnes tacito quodam fenfu, fine ulla arte, aut ratione, qua fint in artibus ac rationibus rela & prava dijudicant. Cic. de Orat.

lib. 3.

25. So by falfe learning] Plus fine doctrina prudentia, quam fine prudentia walet doctrina. Quintil.

Between 25 and 26 were these lines, fince omitted by the author.

Many are spoil'd by that pedantic throng,
Who with great pains teach youth to reafon wrong.
Tutors, like Virtuofo's, oft inclin'd

By frange transfufion to improve the mind,
Draw off the fenfe we have, to pour in new;
Which yet, with all their skill, they ne'er could do.

25

Nature affords at least a glimmʼring light;
The lines, tho' touch'd but faintly, are drawn right.
But as the flightest sketch, if justly trac❜d,
Is by ill-colouring but the more difgrac'd,
So by falfe learning is good fenfe defac'd:
Some are bewilder'd in the maze of schools,
And fome inade coxcombs Nature meant but fools.
In fearch of wit these lose their common sense,
And then turn Critics in their own defence:
Each burns alike, who can, or cannot write, 30.
Or with a Rival's, or an Eunuch's spite.
All fools have still an itching to deride,
And fain would be upon the laughing fide.
If Mævius fcribble in Apollo's spight,

There are, who judge ftill worse than he can write.
Some have at firft for Wits, then Poets paft, 36
Turn'd Critics next, and prov'd plain fools at last.

COMMENTARY.

As our author proves the truth of his introductory obferva"tion, that the number of bad Critics is vaftly juperior to "that of bad Poets."

VER. 36. Some have at firft for Wits, &c.] The poet having thus enumerated the feveral fort of bad Crities, and ranked them into two general Claffes; as the first fort, namely those spoiled by falfe learning, are but few in comparison of the other, and likewife come leís

Some neither can for Wits nor Critics pafs,

As heavy mules are neither horfe nor ass.
Thofe half-learn'd witlings, num'rous in our ifle, 40
As half-form'd infects on the banks of Nile;
Unfinish'd things, one knows not what to call,
Their generation's fo equivocal:

To tell 'em, would a hundred tongues require,
Or one vain wit's, that might a hundred tire. 45
But you who feek to give and merit fame,
And justly bear a Critic's noble name,

COMMENTARY.

within his main view (which is poetical Criticism) but keep groveling at the bottom amongft words and letters, he thought it here fufficient juft to have mentioned them, propofing to do them right elsewhere. But thofe fpoiled by falfe tafte are innumerable; and thofe are his proper concern: He therefore, from 35 to 46 fubdivides thefe again into the two claffes of the volatile and heavy : He defcribes in few words the quick progrefs of the one thro' Criticism, from falfe wit to plain folly, where they. end; and the fixed ftation of the other between the confines of both; who under the name of Witlings, have neither end nor measure. A kind of half formed creature from the equivocal generation of vivacity and dulness, like those on the banks of Nile, from heat and mud.

VER. 46. But you who feek, &c.] Our author having thus far, by way of INTRODUCTION, explained the nature, ufe, and abuse of Criticism, in a figurative defcription of the qualities and characters of the Critics; pro

Be fure yourfelf and your own reach to know,
How far your genius, tafte, and learning go;

COMMENTARY,

ceeds now to deliver the precepts of the Art. The first of which, from ✯ 47 to 68. is, that he who fets up for a Critic fhould previously examine his own ftrength, and fee how far he is qualified for the exercite of his profeffion. He puts him in a way to make this discovery, in that admirable direction given y 51.

And mark that point where sense and dulnefs meet:

In whatsoever fubject then the Critic's genius no longer accompanies his Judgment, there he may be affured he is going out of his depth. This our author finely calls,

that point where fenfe and dulnefs meet.

And immediately adds the REASON of his precept; the Author of Nature having fo conftituted the mental faculties, that one of them can never excell but at the expenfe of another.

From this ftate and ordination of the mental faculties, and the influence and effects they have one on another, our Poet draws this CONSEQUENCE, that no one genius can excell in more than one Art or Science; rarely in more than one part or portion of a Science. The confequence fhews the neceffity of the precept, juft as the premies, for which it is drawn, fhew the reasonableness of it.

Launch not beyond your depth, but be discreet, 50
And mark that point where fenfe and dulnefs meet.
Nature to all things fix'd the limits fit,
And wifely curb'd proud man's pretending wit.
As on the land while here the ocean gains,
In other parts it leaves wide fandy plains;
Thus in the foul while memory prevails,
The folid pow'r of understanding fails;

NOTES.

51. And mark that point where fenfe and dullnefs meet] Befides the peculiar fente explained above in the comment, the words have still a more general meaning, and caution us against going on, when our Ideas begin to grow obfcure; as we are apt to do, tho' that obfcurity is a monition that we should leave off; for it arifes either thro' our small acquaintance with the fubject matter, or the incomprehenfible nature of the thing. In which circumftances a genius will always write as dully as a dunce. An obfervation well

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worth the attention of all profound writers.

56. Thus in the foul while memory prevails, The folid pow'r of underflanding fails: Where beams of warm ima gination play, The memory's foft figures melt away.]

Thefe obfervations are collected from an intimate knowledge of human nature. The caufe of that languor and heaviness in the understanding, which is almoft infeparable from a very ftrong and tenacious memory,

feems to be want of the
proper
exercife of that pow-

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