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In the bright Muse tho' thousand charms confpire,
Her Voice is all thefe tuneful fools admire;
340
Who haunt Parnaffus but to please their ear,
Not mend their minds; as fome to Church repair,
Not for the doctrine, but the mufic there.

COMMENTARY.

mony And fecondly, as it is varied in compliance to the fubject, where the found becomes an echo to the fense, so far as is confiftent with the prefervation of numbers; in contradiction to the monotony of false Harmony: Of this he gives us in the delivery of his precepts, four fine examples, of smoothness, roughness, flowness, and rapidity. The first ufe of this correspondence of the found to the fenfe, is to aid the fancy in acquiring a perfecter and more lively image of the thing reprefented. A fecond and nobler, is to calm and fubdue the turbulent and felfifh paffions, and to raife and inflame the beneficent: Which he illuftrates in the famous adventure of Timotheus and Alexander; and by referring to Mr. Dryden's Ode on that subject, turns it to a very high complement on that great poet.

NOTES.

337. But mot by Num

bers, &c.]
Quis populi fermo eft? quis
enim? nifi carmina molli
Nunc demum numero fluere,
ut per lave feveras

Effugiat junctura ungues :
feit tendere verfum,
Non fecus ac fi oculo rubri-
cam dirigat uno.
Perfius, Sat. 1.]

These equal fyllables alone require,

Tho' oft the ear the open vowels tire ;
While expletives their feeble aid do join;

345

And ten low words oft' creep in one dull line;
While they ring round the fame unvary'd chimes,
With fure returns of ftill expected rhymes.
Where-e'er you find "the cooling western breeze,"
In the next line, it whispers thro' the trees;" 351
If crystal streams "with pleasing murmurs creep,'
The reader's threaten'd (not in vain) with "fleep."
Then, at the last and only couplet fraught
With some unmeaning thing they call a thought,
A needlefs Alexandrine ends the fong,
356
That, like a wounded snake, drags its flow length
along....

Leave fuch to tune their own dull rhimes, and know

What's roundly fmooth, or languishingly flow; And praife the eafy vigour of a line,

360 Where Denham's ftrength, and Waller's fweetness join.

NOTES.

345, Tho' oft the ear, &c.] Fugiemus crebras vocalium concurfiones, quæ va. Sam atque biantem oratio

nem reddunt. Cic. ad. He-
ren. lib. iv. Vide etiam.
Quintil. lib. 9. c. 4.
D 2

At ev'ry trifle fcorn to take offence,

That always fhows great pride, or little fenfe;
Thofe heads, as ftomachs, are not fure the beft,
Which nauseate all, and nothing can digeft.
Yet let not each gay Turn thy rapture move, 390
For fools admire, but men of fense approve.
As things feem large which we thro' mifts.defery,
Dulness is ever apt to magnify.

Some foreign writers, fome our own defpife: The Ancients only, or the Modern's prize. 395

COMMENTARY,

perfons. This, therefore, as the main root of all the foregoing, he profecutes at large from 383 to 473:

First he previously exposes that capricious turn of mind, which, by running men into Extrêmes, either of praise or difpraife, lays the foundation of an habitual partiality. He cautions therefore both against one and the other; and fhews that excels of Praife is the mark of a bad tafe, and excefs of Cenfure, of a bad digestion.

VER. 394. Some foreign writers, &c.] Having explained the difpofition of mind which produces an habitual partiality, he proceeds to expofe this partiality in all the fhapes it appears in, both amongst the unlearned and the

learned.

I. In the unlearned, it is feen, 1. In an unreasonable fondness for, or averfion to our cwn or foreign, to ancient or modern writers. And as it is the mob of unlearned readers he is here fpeaking of, he expofes their folly in a very appofite fimilitude:

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Thus Wit, like Faith, by each man is apply'd
To one small fect, and all are damn'd befide.
Meanly they seek the bleffing to confine,
And force that fun but on a part to shine,
Which not alone the southern wit fublimes, 400
But ripens fpirits in cold northern climes ;
Which from the firft has fhone on ages past,
Enlights the prefent, and fhall warm the laft:
Tho' each may feel encreases and decays,

And fee now clearer and now darker days. 405
Regard not then if Wit be old or new,

But blame the falfe, and value ftill the true.

COMMENTARY.

Thus Wit, like Faith, by each man is apply'd
To one small fect, and all are damn'd befide.

But he fhews that these Critics have as wrong a notion of
Reafon as thofe Bigots have of God: For that Genius is
not confined to times or climates; but, as the universal
gift of Nature, is extended throughout all ages and coun-
tries: That indeed this intellectual light, like the material
light of the Sun itself, may not always fhine in every
place with equal fplendor; but be fometimes clouded with
popular ignorance, and fometimes again eclipsed by the dif-
countenance of Princes; yet it 'fhall ftill recover itself;
and, by breaking through the strongest of these impedi-
ments, manifeft the eternity of its nature.
D 4

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move eafieft who have learn'd to dance.
'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence,
The found muft feem an Echo to the fenfe: 365
Soft is the ftrain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;
But when loud furges lafh the founding fhoar,
The hoarfe, rough verfe fhould like the torrent

roar.

When Ajax, ftrives, fome rock's vast weight to throw,

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The line too labours, and the words move flow;

NOTES.

364. 'Tis not enough no barfbnejs gives offence; The found must seem an Echo to the fenfe,] The judicious introduction of this precept is remarkable. The Poets, and even fome of the belt of them, while too intent to give this beauty of making the found an Echo to the fenfe, fall fometimes into an unharmonious diffonance. But this is car

rying a particular precept of the art into an extreme, that deftroys one of the general principles of it, which is Harmony. The poet therefore, by the introductory line would infinuate, that Harmony is always prefuppofed as obferved; tho' it may and ought to be perpetually varied, fo as to exprefs the beauty above fpoken of,

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