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both (faith Horace) muft mutually allift each other, and confpire to make a Poet accomplifhd. But though Nature be of little Value without the help of Art, yet we may approve of Quintilian's Opinion, who believ'd that all
Art did less contribute to that perfection thari Nature. And by the Comparison that Longinus makes betwixt Apollonius and Homer, Eratoft benes and Archilochus, Bacchilides and Pindar, lori and Sophocles, the former of all which never transgrested against the Rules of Art, whereas thefe other did; it appears that the Advani tage of Wit is always prefer'd before that of Att.
'Tis not enough to have a Genius; one must kņow that he has it, and be sure by the Experience he ought to have of it ; and he must know well of what it is most capable, and of what it is not; left he force it contrary to the Precept of Horace'; which yet cannot be known without a long time making Reflections on himself: And though Nature is always ready to discover it fell, yet we are not to rely on that, but ftudy 'it with great Attention, to fearn its Strength. There are universal Genius's capable of all Things by the immensity of their Wit, as'Horace and Virgil; and there are others that are limited. Demetrius Phalereus says, That Archilochus had not that Greatness of Soul proper for an heroick Poem, which Homer was endu'd withal. Anacreon, whose Delicacy of Wit was admirable, had not that Loftiness. Propere tiøs affirms of himself, That he was not fit to fing the Wars of Augustus, nor describe the Genealogy of Cæfar. Horace peradventure, by the
Strength of his Genius, might have been capa. ble of a great Poem, if his Inclination and Nature had not determined him to lyrick Verfe. Fracaftorius, who with fo good Success writ his Syphilis, the most excellent Poem in Latin Verse that these latter Ages has producd in Italy, and which is writ in Imitation of Virgil's Georgicks, was not so happy in his epick Poem of foseph Viceroy of Egypt, a Fragment whereof is extant ; for this poem is of a poor Genius, and low Character. Ronsard, who bad a Talent for lyrick Verse in Scaliger's Opinion, and who gọt Reputation by his Odes, fell short extreamly in his Franciad, which is dry and barren throughout, and has nothing of an beroick Air in it.
But 'tis not so much to discover its Strength, that we must know our Gepius, as that we may be diligent to form it by the Help of Art, and not go astray in the way we take to bring it to Perfection. 'Twas thus that Horace, whose Genius was capable of all Things, chiefly applied himself to Satyr, by the Inclination of his natural Gaiety, which made him rally fo pleafantly on all Occasions. He had found in his Nature the Seeds of this Character, which he afterwards cultivated with so much Success: And what Loftiness he found in his Nature, he confined to lyrick Poefte, for, which he had an Inclination. For though he had a Genius for greater Things, yet by a certain Love of Ease, which was natural to him, he only applied himself to the little, for that he was not of an Humour to strain, or give himself trouble. Ovid finding in himself a Capacity of expres
sing Things naturally, left heroick Verse to write Elegies, in which he was more happy. Virgil, who perceiv'd himself more strong, and had a greater Elevation of Soul, took Trumpet in Hand, and raised himself by his Eclogues, and Georgicks, as by so many Steps to the most fublime Character of heroick Verse. 'Tis therefore, by reflecting a long time on a Man's self, and by continual Study of his Nature, join'd with the Care and Exercise of compofing, that he does accomplish his Genius, and arrives to Perfection,
Nothing can more contribute to this perfe&ion, than a Judgment proportion'd to the Wit; for, the greater that the Wit is, and the more Strength and Vigour that the Imagination has to form these Idea’s that enrich Poesie, the more Wisdom and Discretion is requisite to moderate that Heat, and govern its natural Fury. For Reason ought to be much stronger than the Fancy, to difcern how far the Transports may be carried. 'Tis a great Talent to forbear speaking all one Thinks, and to leave something for others to employ their Thoughts. 'Tis not ordinarily known how far Matters Ahould be carried ; a Man of an accomplish'd Genius stops regularly where he ought to stop, and retrenches boldly what ought to be omitted.'Tis a great Faultnot to leave a Thing when ’tis well, for which Apelles fo much blam’d Protogenes. This Moderation is the Character of a great Wit, the Vulgar understand it not ; and (whatever is alledgd to the contrary) never any, fave Homer and Virgil, had the Discretion to leave a Thipg when 'twas well....
This natural Discernment, which is necef sary for a Poet to accomplish bim, ought it self to be improv'd, and to attain'to Perfection by the Ministry of Art, without which, pothing exact or regular can be produc'd. A Poet that defigns to write nothing but what is just and accurate, above all Things ought to apply himself with great Attention to the Precepts of Aristotle, as the best Master that ever writ of this Art'; but because his Method is nothing exact, though his Matter be solid, I rather attend his Rules, than the Order in which he has left them. Horace, who was the first loter. preter of Aristotle, in his Book on this Subject, has observ'd as little Method, because peradventure it was writ in an Epitle, whose Character ought to be free, and without constraint. This is what may be said in General, of fubje&ting the Wit to Rules of Art, which the Italian and Spanish Poets scarce ever were acquainted withal : Hereafter follows what may be obseryd in Particular of this Art.
The Art of Poetry in general, comprehends the Matters of which a Poot treats, and the Manner in which he handles them, the Iron vention, the Contrivance, the Defign, the Proportion, and Symmetry of Parts, the general Dispofition of Matters, and whatever regards the Invention, belonging to the Matters of which this Art ought to treat. The Fable, the Man hers, the Sentiments, the Words, the Figures, the Numbers, the Harmony, the Verfification, regard
the Männer in which the Matters are to be handled : So that the Art is (as it were) the Inftrument of the Genius, because it contains effentially all the different Parts which are employ'd in the Management. So that those who are furnish'd with a naked Wit only, and, who, to be great Poets, rely principally on their Fancy, as Cavalier Marino among the Italians, Theophile among the French; and those likewise who place the Essence of Poetry in big and pompous Words, as Statius among the Latins, and Du Bartas among the French, are much mistaken in their Account, when they aspire to the Glory of Poetry by such feeble Means.
Among the Particulars of this Art, the Subject and Design ought to have the first place, because it is, as it were, the first Production of the Wit; and the Design in a Poem is, what they call the Ordonnance in a Picture. The great Painters only are capable of a great Design in their Draughts, such as a Raphael, a Julius Romanus, a Poussin ; and only great, Poets are capable of a great Subject in their Poetry. An indifferent Wit may form a vast Design in his Imagination, but it must be an extraordinary Genius that can work this Design, and fashion it according to Juftnefs and Pro. portion. For 'tis necessary that the fame Spirit reign throughout, that all contribute to the same End, and that all the Parts bear a fe. cret Relation to each other; all depend on this Relation and Alliance ; and this general Design is nothing else but the Form which a Poet gives to his work. This also is the most