Amicitiae Causa. J. Richardson f.


Mr. Pope


J. Richardson. fecit. 1738.


Isaac Taylor del. et sculpt.


Plate I. Vol. I. facing the general Title.

Blakey del. Major Sculp
Pond f.

THE WORKS OF Alexander Pope Esq.


LONDON, Printed for J. and P. KNAPTON, H. LINTOT, J. and R. TONSON, and S. DRAPER. MDCCLL

Alte spectare si voles, neque sermonibus VULGI dederis te, nec in Praemiis humanis spem posu­eris rerum tuarum: suis te illecebris oportet ipsa Virtus trahat ad verum decus. QUID DE TE ALII LOQUANTUR IPSI VIDEANT, SED LO­QUENTUR TAMEN. Cic.

THE WORKS OF Alexander Pope Esq.



LONDON, Printed for H. LINTOT, J. and R. TONSON, and S. DRAPER. MDCCLL


MR. POPE, in his last illness, amused himself, amidst the care of his higher concerns, in preparing a corrected and complete Edition of his Writingsa; and, with his usual delicacy, was even so­licitous to prevent any share of the offence they might occasion, from falling on the Friend whom he had engaged to give them to the Publicb.

[Page iv] In discharge of this trust, the Public has here a complete Edition of his Works; ex­ecuted in such a manner, as, I am persuad­ed, would have been to his satisfaction.

The Editor hath not, for the sake of profit, suffered the Author's Name to be made cheap by a Subscription; nor his Works to be defrauded of their due Ho­nours by a vulgar or inelegant Impression; nor his memory to be disgraced by any pieces unworthy of his talents or virtue. On the contrary, he hath, at a very great expense, ornamented this Edition with all the advantages which the best Artists in Paper, Printing, and Sculpture could be­stow upon it.

If the Public hath waited longer than the deference due to it should have suf­fered, it was owing to a reason which the Editor need not make a secret. It was his regard to the family-interests of his de­ceased Friend. Mr. Pope, at his death, left large impressions of several parts of his Works, unsold; the property of which was adjudged to belong to his Execu­tors; and the Editor was willing they should have time to dispose of them to the [Page v] best advantage, before the publication of this Edition (which hath been long pre­pared) should put a stop to the sale.

But it may be proper to be a little more particular concerning the superiority of this Edition above all the preceding; so far as Mr. Pope himself was concerned. What the Editor hath done, the Reader must collect for himself.

The FIRST Volume, and the original poems in the SECOND, are here printed from a copy corrected throughout by the Author himself, even to the very preface: Which, with several additional notes in his own hand, he delivered to the Editor a little before his death. The Juvenile translations, in the other part of the SE­COND Volume, it was never his inten­tion to bring into this Edition of his Works, on account of the levity of some, the freedom of others, and the little im­portance of any. But these being the pro­perty of other men, the Editor had it not in his power to follow the Author's in­tention.

The THIRD Volume, all but the Essay on Man (which, together with the Essay [Page vi] on Criticism, The Author, a little before his death, had corrected and published in Quarto, as a specimen of his projected Edi­tion) was printed by him in his last ill­ness (but never published) in the manner it is now given. The disposition of the Epi­stle on the Characters of Men is quite al­tered; that on the Characters of Women, much enlarged; and the Epistles on Riches and Taste corrected and improved. To these advantages of the THIRD Volume, must be added a great number of fine verses taken from the Author's Manuscript-copies of these poems, communicated by him for this purpose to the Editor. These, when he first published the poems to which they belong, he thought proper, for va­rious reasons, to omit. Some from the Ma­nuscript-copy of the Essay on Man, which tended to discredit fate, and to recom­mend the moral government of God, had, by the Editor's advice, been restored to their places in the last Edition of that Poem. The rest, together with others of the like sort from his Manuscript-copy of the other Ethic Epistles, are here inserted [Page vii] at the bottom of the page, under the title of Variations.

The FOURTH Volume contains the Sa­tires; with their Prologue, the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot; and Epilogue, the two poems intitled MDCCXXXVIII. The Pro­logue and Epilogue are here given with the like advantages as the Ethic Epistles in the foregoing Volume, that is to say, with the Variations, or additional verses from the Author's Manuscripts. The Epi­logue to the Satires is likewise inriched with many and large notes now first printed from the Author's own Manuscript.

The FIFTH Volume contains a correcter and completer Edition of the Dunciad than hath been hitherto published; of which, at present I have only this further to add, That it was at my request he laid the plan of a fourth Book. I often told him, It was pity so fine a poem should re­main disgraced by the meanness of its sub­ject, the most insignificant of all Dunces, bad Rymers and malevolent Cavillers: That he ought to raise and enoble it by pointing his Satire against the most per­nicious of all, Minute-philosophers and [Page viii] Free-thinkers. I imagined, too, it was for the interests of Religion to have it known, that so great a Genius had a due abhorrence of these pests of Virtue and Society. He came readily into my opinion; but, at the same time, told me it would create him many Enemies. He was not mistaken. For tho' the terror of his pen kept them for some time in re­spect, yet on his death they rose with un­restrained fury in numerous Coffee-house tales, and Grub-street libels. The plan of this admirable Satire was artfully contrived to shew, that the follies and defects of a fashionable EDUCATION naturally led to, and necessarily ended in, FREE-THINK­ING; with design to point out the only remedy adequate to so fatal an evil. It was to advance the same ends of virtue and religion, that the Editor prevailed on him to alter every thing in his moral writings that might be suspected of hav­ing the least glance towards Fate or NA­TURALISM; and to add what was proper to convince the world, that he was warm­ly on the side of moral Government and a revealed Will. And it would be injustice [Page ix] to his memory not to declare that he em­braced these occasions with the most un­feigned pleasure.

The SIXTH Volume consists of Mr. Pope's miscellaneous pieces in verse and prose. Amongst the Verse several fine poems make now their first appearance in his Works. And of the Prose, all that is good, and nothing but what is exquisitely so, will be found in this Edition.

The SEVENTH, EIGHTH, and NINTH Volumes consist entirely of his Letters. The more valuable, as they are the only true models which we, or perhaps any of our neighbours have, of familiar Epistles. This collection is now made more com­plete by the addition of several new pieces. Yet, excepting a short explanatory letter to Col. M. and the Letters to Mr. A. and Mr. W. (the latter of which are given to shew the Editor's inducements, and the engagements he was under, to intend the care of this Edition) excepting these, I say, the rest are all here published from the Author's own printed tho' not pub­lished, copies delivered to the Editor.

[Page x] On the whole, the Advantages of this Edition, above the preceding, are these, That it is the first complete collection which has ever been made of his ori­ginal Writings; That all his principal poems, of early or later date, are here given to the public with his last corrections and improvements; That a great num­ber of his verses are here first printed from the Manuscript-copies of his principal poems of later date; That many new notes of the Author's are here added to his Poems; and lastly, that several pieces, both in prose and verse, make now their first appearance before the Public.

The Author's life deserves a just Vo­lume; and the Editor intends to give it. For to have been one of the first Poets in the world is but his second praise. He was in a higher Class. He was one of the noblest works of God. He was an honest Man a. A Man, who alone possessed more real virtue than, in very corrupt times, needing a Satirist like him, will sometimes fall to the share of multitudes. [Page xi] In this history of his lifeb, will be con­tained a large account of his writ­ings; a critique on the nature, force, and extent of his genius, exemplified from these writings; and a vindication of his moral character exemplified by his more distinguished virtues; his filial piety, his disinterested friendships, his reverence for the constitution of his country, his love and admiration of VIRTUE, and, (what was the necessary effect) his hatred and contempt of VICE, his extensive cha­rity to the indigent, his warm benevo­lence to mankind, his supreme veneration of the Deity, and, above all, his sincere belief of Revelation. Nor shall his faults be concealed. It is not for the interests of his Virtues that they should. Nor indeed could they be concealed if we were so minded, for they shine thro' his Virtues; no man being more a dupe to the specious appearances of Virtue in others. In a word I mean not to be his Panegyrist, but his Historian. And may I, when Envy [Page xii] and Calumny take the same advantage of my absence (for, while I live, I will freely trust it to my Life to confute them) may I find a Friend as careful of my honest fame as I have been of His! Together with his Works, he hath bequeathed me his DUNCES. So that as the property is transferred, I could wish they would now let his memory alone. The veil which Death draws over the Good is so sacred, that to throw dirt upon the Shrine scan­dalizes even Barbarians. And though Rome permitted her Slaves to calumniate her best Citizens on the day of Triumph, yet the same petulancy at their Funeral would have been rewarded with execra­tion and a gibbet.

Contents of the First Volume.

  • PREFACE page i
  • Recommendatory Poems xi
  • A Discourse on Pastoral Poetry 37
  • SPRING, the first Pastoral 45
  • SUMMER, the second Pastoral 55
  • AUTUMN, the third Pastoral 62
  • WINTER, the fourth Pastoral 69
  • MESSIAH, a Sacred Eclogue in Imitation of Virgil's Pollio 79
  • Ode on St. Cecilia's Day 117
  • Two Chorus's to the Tragedy of Brutus 124
  • Ode on Solitude 130
  • The Dying Christian to his Soul, an Ode 131
  • Essay on Criticism 137
  • The Rape of the Lock 213
  • Elegy to the Memory of an unfortunate Lady 265
  • Prologue to Mr. Addison's Tragedy 269


  • Page 65 l. penult. for aqua read aquae
  • 118 ℣ 12. for number read numbers
  • 159 Not. ad ℣ 180. ne quod (quod dele the first quod
  • 176 Not. ad ℣ 337. for carmine read carmina
  • 226 ℣ 24. for His figit read Hic figit


I Am inclined to think that both the writers of books, and the readers of them, are gene­rally not a little unreasonable in their expectations. The first seem to fancy that the world must ap­prove whatever they produce, and the latter to imagine that authors are obliged to please them at any rate. Methinks, as on the one hand, no single man is born with a right of controuling the opi­nions of all the rest; so on the other, the world has no title to demand, that the whole care and time of any particular person should be sacrificed to its entertainment. Therefore I cannot but be­lieve that writers and readers are under equal ob­ligations, for as much fame, or pleasure, as each affords the other.

Every one acknowledges, it would be a wild notion to expect perfection in any work of man: and yet one would think the contrary was taken for granted, by the judgment commonly past up­on Poems. A Critic supposes he has done his part, if he proves a writer to have failed in an expres­sion, or erred in any particular point: and can it then be wondered at, if the Poets in general seem resolved not to own themselves in any error? For [Page ii] as long as one side will make no allowances, the other will be brought to no acknowledgementsa.

I am afraid this extreme zeal on both sides is ill-placed; Poetry and Criticism being by no means the universal concern of the world, but only the affair of idle men who write in their clo­sets, and of idle men who read there.

Yet sure upon the whole, a bad Author de­serves better usage than a bad Critic: for a Writer's endeavour, for the most part, is to please his Readers, and he fails merely through the misfor­tune of an ill judgment; but such a Critic's is to put them out of humor; a design he could ne­ver go upon without both that and an ill temper.

I think a good deal may be said to extenuate the fault of bad Poets. What we call a Genius, is hard to be distinguished by a man himself, from a strong inclination: and if his genius be ever so great, he cannot at first discover it any other way, than by giving way to that prevalent propensity which renders him the more liable to be mistaken. The only method he has, is to make the experi­ment by writing, and appealing to the judgment of others: now if he happens to write ill (which is certainly no sin in itself) he is immediately made [Page iii] an object of ridicule. I wish we had the huma­nity to reflect that even the worst authors might, in their endeavour to please us, deserve something at our hands. We have no cause to quarrel with them but for their obstinacy in persisting to write; and this too may admit of alleviating circumstances. Their particular friends may be either ignorant, or insincere; and the rest of the world in general is too well bred to shock them with a truth, which generally their Booksellers are the first that inform them of. This happens not till they have spent too much of their time, to apply to any profession which might better fit their talents; and till such talents as they have are so far discredited as to be but of small service to them. For (what is the hardest case imaginable) the reputation of a man generally depends upon the first steps he makes in the world, and people will establish their opinion of us, from what we do at that season when we have least judgment to direct us.

On the other hand, a good Poet no sooner com­municates his works with the same desire of in­formation, but it is imagined he is a vain young creature given up to the ambition of fame; when perhaps the poor man is all the while trembling with the fear of being ridiculous. If he is made to hope he may please the world, he falls under very unlucky circumstances: for, from the mo­ment he prints, he must expect to hear no more truth, than if he were a Prince, or a Beauty. If [Page ii] [...] [Page iii] [...] [Page iv] he has not very good sense (and indeed there are twenty men of wit, for one man of sense) his living thus in a course of flattery may put him in no small danger of becoming a Coxcomb: if he has, he will consequently have so much diffidence as not to reap any great satisfaction from his praise; since, if it be given to his face, it can scarce be di­stinguished from flattery, and if in his absence, it is hard to be certain of it. Were he sure to be commended by the best and most knowing, he is as sure of being envied by the worst and most ig­norant, which are the majority; for it is with a fine Genius as with a fine fashion, all those are dis­pleased at it who are not able to follow it: and it is to be feared that esteem will seldom do any man so much good, as ill-will does him harm. Then there is a third class of people who make the largest part of mankind, those of ordinary or indifferent capacities; and these (to a man) will hate, or suspect him: a hundred honest Gentle­men will dread him as a Wit, and a hundred in­nocent Women as a Satirist. In a word, what­ever be his fate in Poetry, it is ten to one but he must give up all the reasonable aims of life for it. There are indeed some advantages accruing from a Genius to Poetry, and they are all I can think of: the agreeable power of self-amusement when a man is idle or alone; the privilege of being admitted into the best company; and the free­dom of saying as many careless things as other [Page v] people, without being so severely remarked up­on.

I believe, if any one, early in his life, should contemplate the dangerous fate of authors, he would scarce be of their number on any consider­ation. The life of a Wit is a warfare upon earth; and the present spirit of the learned world is such, that to attempt to serve it (any way) one must have the constancy of a martyr, and a resolution to suffer for its sake. I could wish people would believe what I am pretty certain they will not, that I have been much less concerned about Fame than I durst declare till this occasion, when me­thinks I should find more credit than I could here­tofore: since my writings have had their fate already, and it is too late to think of prepossessing the reader in their favour. I would plead it as some merit in me, that the world has never been prepared for these Trifles by Prefaces, byassed by recommendations, dazled with the names of great Patrons, wheedled with fine reasons and pretences, or troubled with excuses. I confess it was want of consideration that made me an author; I writ because it amused me; I corrected because it was as pleasant to me to correct as to write; and I pub­lished because I was told I might please such as it was a credit to please. To what degree I have done this, I am really ignorant; I had too much fondness for my productions to judge of them at first, and too much judgment to be pleased with [Page vi] them at last. But I have reason to think they can have no reputation which will continue long, or which deserves to do so: for they have always fallen short not only of what I read of others, but even of my own Ideas of Poetry.

If any one should imagine I am not in earnest, I desire him to reflect, that the Ancients (to say the least of them) had as much Genius as we: and that to take more pains, and employ more time, cannot fail to produce more complete pieces. They constantly apply'd themselves not only to that art, but to that single branch of an art, to which their talent was most powerfully bent; and it was the business of their lives to correct and finish their works for posterity. If we can pretend to have used the same industry, let us expect the same im­mortality: Tho' if we took the same care, we should still lie under a farther misfortune: they writ in languages that became universal and ever­lasting, while ours are extremely limited both in extent and in duration. A mighty foundation for our pride! when the utmost we can hope, is but to be read in one Island, and to be thrown aside at the end of one Age.

All that is left us is to recommend our produc­tions by the imitation of the Ancients: and it will be found true, that, in every age, the highest cha­racter for sense and learning has been obtain'd by those who have been most indebted to them. For, to say truth, whatever is very good sense, must [Page vii] have been common sense in all times; and what we call Learning, is but the knowledge of the sense of our predecessors. Therefore they who say our thoughts are not our own, because they resemble the Ancients, may as well say our faces are not our own, because they are like our Fathers: And indeed it is very unreasonable, that people should expect us to be Scholars, and yet be angry to find us so.

I fairly confess that I have serv'd myself all I could by reading; that I made use of the judg­ment of authors dead and living; that I omitted no means in my power to be inform'd of my er­rors, both by my friends and enemies: But the true reason these pieces are not more correct, is owing to the consideration how short a time they, and I, have to live: One may be ashamed to consume half one's days in bringing sense and rhyme together; and what Critic can be so unrea­sonable, as not to leave a man time enough for any more serious employment, or more agreeable amuse­ment?

The only plea I shall use for the favour of the public, is, that I have as great a respect for it, as most authors have for themselves; and that I have sacrificed much of my own self-love for its sake, in preventing not only many mean things from seeing the light, but many which I thought tolerable. I would not be like those Authors, who forgive them­selves some particular lines for the sake of a whole [Page viii] Poem, and vice versa a whole Poem for the sake of some particular lines. I believe no one qualifica­tion is so likely to make a good writer, as the power of rejecting his own thoughts; and it must be this (if any thing) that can give me a chance to be one. For what I have published, I can only hope to be pardon'd; but for what I have burn'd, I deserve to be prais'd. On this account the world is under some obligation to me, and owes me the justice in return, to look upon no verses as mine that are not inserted in this collection. And per­haps nothing could make it worth my while to own what are really so, but to avoid the imputa­tion of so many dull and immoral things, as partly by malice, and partly by ignorance, have been a­scribed to me. I must farther acquit myself of the presumption of having lent my name to recom­mend any Miscellanies, or Works of other men; a thing I never thought becoming a person who has hardly credit enough to answer for his own.

In this office of collecting my pieces, I am al­together uncertain, whether to look upon myself as a man building a monument, or burying the dead.

If Time shall make it the former, may these Poems (as long as they last) remain as a testimony, that their Author never made his talents subservi­ent to the mean and unworthy ends of Party or Self-interest; the gratification of public prejudices, or private passions; the flattery of the undeserv­ing, [Page ix] or the insult of the unfortunate. If I have written well, let it be consider'd that 'tis what no man can do without good sense, a quality that not only renders one capable of being a good writer, but a good man. And if I have made any ac­quisition in the opinion of any one under the no­tion of the former, let it be continued to me under no other title than that of the latter.

But if this publication be only a more solemn funeral of my Remains, I desire it may be known that I die in charity, and in my senses; without any murmurs against the justice of this age, or any mad appeals to posterity. I declare I shall think the world in the right, and quietly submit to every truth which time shall discover to the prejudice of these writings; not so much as wishing so irrational a thing, as that every body should be deceived merely for my credit. However, I desire it may then be considered, That there are very few things in this collection which were not written under the age of five and twenty: so that my youth may be made (as it never fails to be in Executions) a case of compassion. That I was never so concerned about my works as to vindicate them in print, be­lieving, if any thing was good, it would defend it­self, and what was bad could never be defended. That I used no artifice to raise or continue a repu­tation, depreciated no dead author I was obliged to, bribed no living one with unjust praise, insulted no adversary with ill language; or when I could [Page x] not attack a Rival's works, encouraged reports against his Morals. To conclude, if this volume perish, let it serve as a warning to the Critics, not to take too much pains for the future to destroy such things as will die of themselves; and a Me­mento mori to some of my vain contemporaries the Poets, to teach them that, when real merit is want­ing, it avails nothing to have been encouraged by the great, commended by the eminent, and fa­voured by the public in general.

Variations in the Author's Manuscript Preface.

AFTER pag. v. l. 2. it followed thus—For my part, I confess, had I seen things in this view at first, the public had never been trou­bled either with my writings, or with this apo­logy for them, I am sensible how difficult it is to speak of ones self with decency: but when a man must speak of himself, the best way is to speak truth of himself, or, he may depend upon it, others will do it for him. I'll therefore make this Pre­face a general confession of all my thoughts of my own Poetry, resolving with the same freedom to [Page xi] expose myself, as it is in the power of any other to expose them. In the first place I thank God and nature, that I was born with a love to poetry; for nothing more conduces to fill up all the inter­vals of our time, or, if rightly used, to make the whole course of life entertaining: Cantantes licet usque (minus via laedet.) 'Tis a vast happiness to possess the pleasures of the head, the only plea­sures in which a man is sufficient to himself, and the only part of him which, to his satisfaction, he can employ all day long. The Muses are amicae omnium horarum; and, like our gay acquaintance, the best company in the world as long as one ex­pects no real service from them. I confess there was a time when I was in love with myself, and my first productions were the children of self love upon innocence. I had made an Epic Poem, and Panegyrics on all the Princes in Europe, and thought myself the greatest genius that ever was. I can't but regret those delightful visions of my childhood, which, like the fine colours we see when our eyes are shut, are vanished for ever. Many tryals and sad experience have so undeceived me by degrees, that I am utterly at a loss at what rate to value myself. As for fame I shall be glad of any I can get, and not repine at any I miss; and as for vanity, I have enough to keep me from hang­ing myself, or even from wishing those hanged who would take it away. It was this that made me write. The sense of my faults made me cor­rect; [Page xii] besides that it was as pleasant to me to cor­rect as to write.

At p. vii. l. 9. In the first place I own that I have used my best endeavours to the finishing these pieces. That I made what advantage I could of the judgment of authors dead and living; and that I omitted no means in my power to be informed of my errors by my friends and by my enemies. And that I expect no favour on account of my youth, business, want of health, or any such idle excuses. But the true reason they are not yet more correct is owing to the consideration how short a time they and I have to live. A man that can ex­pect but sixty years may be ashamed to employ thirty in measuring syllables and bringing sense and rhime together. We spend our youth in pursuit of riches or fame, in hopes to enjoy them when we are old; and when we are old, we find it is too late to enjoy any thing. I therefore hope the Wits will pardon me, if I reserve some of my time to save my soul; and that some wise men will be of my opinion, even if I should think a part of it better spent in the enjoyments of life than in pleasing the critics.


WITH Age decay'd, with Courts and bus'ness tir'd,
Caring for nothing but what Ease requir'd;
Too dully serious for the Muse's sport,
And from the Critics safe arriv'd in Port;
I little thought of launching forth agen,
Amidst advent'rous Rovers of the Pen;
And after so much undeserv'd success,
Thus hazarding at last to make it less.
Encomiums suit not this censorious time,
Itself a subject for satiric rhyme;
Ignorance honour'd, Wit and Worth defam'd,
Folly triumphant, and ev'n Homer blam'd!
But to this Genius, join'd with so much Art,
Such various Learning mix'd in ev'ry part,
[...] [...]
[Page xii] Poets are bound a loud applause to pay;
Apollo bids it, and they must obey.
And yet so wonderful, sublime a thing,
As the great ILIAD, scarce could make me sing;
Except I justly could at once commend
A good Companion, and as firm a Friend.
One moral, or a mere well-natur'd deed
Can all desert in Sciences exceed.
'Tis great delight to laugh at some mens ways,
But a much greater to give Merit praise.

To Mr. POPE, on his Pastorals.

IN these more dull, as more censorious days,
When few dare give, and fewer merit praise,
A Muse sincere, that never Flatt'ry knew,
Pays what to friendship and desert is due.
Young, yet judicious; in your verse are found
Art strength'ning Nature, Sense improv'd by Sound.
Unlike those Wits, whose numbers glide along
So smooth, no thought e'er interrupts the song:
Laboriously enervate they appear,
And write not to the head, but to the ear:
[Page xiii] Our minds unmov'd and unconcern'd they lull,
And are at best most musically dull;
So purling streams with even murmurs creep,
And hush the heavy hearers into sleep.
As smoothest speech is most deceitful found,
The smoothest numbers oft are empty sound.
But Wit and Judgment join at once in you,
Sprightly as Youth, as Age consummate too:
Your strains are regularly bold, and please
With unforc'd care, and unaffected ease,
With proper thoughts, and lively images:
Such as by Nature to the Ancients shown,
Fancy improves, and judgment makes your own:
For great mens fashions to be follow'd are,
Altho' disgraceful 'tis their clothes to wear.
Some in a polish'd style write Pastoral,
Arcadia speaks the language of the Mall;
Like some fair Shepherdess, the Sylvan Muse,
Should wear those flow'rs her native fields produce;
And the true measure of the shepherd's wit
Should, like his garb, be for the Country fit:
Yet must his pure and unaffected thought
More nicely than the common swain's be wrought.
So, with becoming art, the Players dress
In silks the shepherd, and the shepherdess;
[Page xiv] Yet still unchang'd the form and mode remain,
Shap'd like the homely russet of the swain.
Your rural Muse appears to justify
The long lost graces of Simplicity:
So rural beauties captivate our sense
With virgin charms, and native excellence.
Yet long her Modesty those charms conceal'd,
'Till by mens Envy to the world reveal'd;
For Wits industrious to their trouble seem,
And needs will envy what they must esteem.
Live and enjoy their spite! nor mourn that fate,
Which would, if Virgil liv'd, on Virgil wait;
Whose Muse did once, like thine, in plains delight;
Thine shall, like his, soon take a higher flight;
So Larks, which first from lowly fields arise,
Mount by degrees, and reach at last the skies.

To Mr. POPE, on his Windsor-Forest.

HAIL, sacred Bard! a Muse unknown before
Salutes thee from the bleak Atlantic shore.
To our dark world thy shining page is shown,
And Windsor's gay retreat becomes our own.
[Page xv] The Eastern pomp had just bespoke our care,
And India pour'd her gaudy treasures here:
A various spoil adorn'd our naked land,
The pride of Persia glitter'd on our strand,
And China's Earth was cast on common sand:
Toss'd up and down the glossy fragments lay,
And dress'd the rocky shelves, and pav'd the paint­ed bay,
Thy treasures next arriv'd: and now we boast
A nobler cargo on our barren coast:
From thy luxuriant Forest we receive
More lasting glories than the East can give.
Where-e'er we dip in thy delightful page,
What pompous scenes our busy thoughts engage!
The pompous scenes in all their pride appear,
Fresh in the page, as in the grove they were.
Nor half so true the fair Lodona shows
The sylvan state that on her border grows,
While she the wond'ring shepherd entertains
With a new Windsor in her wat'ry plains;
Thy juster lays the lucid wave surpass,
The living scene is in the Muse's glass.
Nor sweeter notes the echoing Forests chear,
When Philomela sits and warbles there,
[Page xvi] Than when you sing the greens and op'ning glades,
And give us Harmony as well as Shades:
A Titian's hand might draw the grove, but you
Can paint the grove, and add the Music too.
With vast variety thy pages shine;
A new creation starts in ev'ry line.
How sudden trees rise to the reader's sight,
And make a doubtful scene of shade and light,
And give at once the day, at once the night!
And here again what sweet confusion reigns,
In dreary deserts mix'd with painted plains!
And sée! the deserts cast a pleasing gloom,
And shrubby heaths rejoice in purple bloom:
Whilst fruitful crops rise by their barren side,
And bearded groves display their annual pride.
Happy the Man, who strings his tuneful lyre,
Where woods, and brooks, and breathing fields in­spire!
Thrice happy you! and worthy best to dwell
Amidst the rural joys you sing so well.
I in a cold, and in a barren clime,
Cold as my thought, and barren as my rhyme,
Here on the Western beach attempt to chime.
[Page xvii] O joyless flood! O rough tempestuous main!
Border'd with weeds, and solitudes obscene!
Snatch me, ye Gods! from these Atlantic shores,
And shelter me in Windsor's fragrant bow'rs;
Or to my much-lov'd Isis' walks convey,
And on her flow'ry banks for ever lay.
Thence let me view the venerable scene,
The awful dome, the groves eternal green:
Where sacred Hough long found his fam'd retreat,
And brought the Muses to the sylvan seat,
Reform'd the wits, unlock'd the Classic store,
And made that Music which was noise before.
There with illustrious Bards I spent my days,
Nor free from censure, nor unknown to praise,
Enjoy'd the blessings that his reign bestow'd,
Nor envy'd Windsor in the soft abode.
The golden minutes smoothly danc'd away,
And tuneful Bards beguil'd the tedious day:
They sung, nor sung in vain, with numbers fir'd
That Maro taught, or Addison inspir'd.
Even I essay'd to touch the trembling string:
Who could hear them, and not attempt to sing?
Rouz'd from these dreams by thy commanding strain,
I rise, and wander thro' the field or plain;
[Page xviii] Led by thy Muse from sport to sport I run,
Mark the stretch'd Line, or hear the thund'ring gun.
Ah! how I melt with pity, when I spy
On the cold earth the flutt'ring Pheasant lie;
His gaudy robes in dazling lines appear,
And ev'ry feather shines and varies there.
Nor can I pass the gen'rous courser by,
But while the prancing steed allures my eye,
He starts, he's gone! and now I see him fly
O'er hills and dales, and now I lose the course,
Nor can the rapid sight pursue the flying horse.
Oh cou'd thy Virgil from his orb look down,
He'd view a courser that might match his own!
Fir'd with the sport, and eager for the chace,
Lodona's murmurs stop me in the race.
Who can refuse Lodona's melting tale?
The soft complaint shall over time prevail;
The Tale be told, when shades forsake her shore,
The Nymph be sung, when she can flow no more.
Nor shall thy song, old Thames! forbear to shine,
At once the subject and the song divine.
Peace, sung by thee, shall please ev'n Britons more
Than all their shouts for Victory before.
Oh! could Britannia imitate thy stream,
The world should tremble at her awful name:
[Page xix] From various springs divided waters glide,
In diff'rent colours roll a diff'rent tyde,
Murmur along their crooked banks awhile,
At once they murmur and enrich the Isle,
A while distinct thro' many channels run,
But meet at last, and sweetly flow in one;
There joy to lose their long-distinguish'd names,
And make one glorious, and immortal Thames.

To Mr. POPE, In Imitation of a Greek Epigram on HOMER.

WHEN Phoebus, and the nine harmonious maids,
Of old assembled in the Thespian shades;
What theme, they cry'd, what high immortal air,
Befit these harps to sound, and thee to hear?
Reply'd the God; "Your loftiest notes employ,
" To sing young Peleus, and the fall of Troy."
The wond'rous song with rapture they rehearse;
Then ask who wrought that miracle of verse?
He answer'd with a frown; "I now reveal
" A truth, that Envy bids me not conceal:
[Page xx] " Retiring frequent to this Laureat vale,
" I warbled to the Lyre that fav'rite tale,
" Which, unobserv'd, a wand'ring Greek and blind,
" Heard me repeat, and treasur'd in his mind;
" And fir'd with thirst of more than mortal praise,
" From me, the God of Wit, usurp'd the bays.
" But let vain Greece indulge her growing fame,
" Proud with celestial spoils to grace her name;
" Yet when my Arts shall triumph in the West,
" And the white Isle with female pow'r is blest;
" Fame, I foresee, will make reprisals there,
" And the Translator's Palm to me transfer.
" With less regret my claim I now decline,
" The World will think his English Iliad mine."

To Mr. POPE.

TO praise, and still with just respect to praise
A Bard triumphant in immortal bays,
The Learn'd to show, the Sensible commend,
Yet still preserve the province of the Friend;
What life, what vigour must the lines require?
What Music tune them, what Affection fire?
O might thy Genius in my bosom shine;
Thou should'st not fail of numbers worthy thine;
The brightest Ancients might at once agree
To sing within my lays, and sing of thee.
Horace himself would own thou dost excell
In candid arts to play the Critic well.
Ovid himself might wish to sing the Dame
Whom Windsor Forest sees a gliding stream:
On silver feet, with annual Osier crown'd,
She runs for ever thro' Poetic ground.
How flame the glories of Belinda's Hair,
Made by thy Muse the Envy of the Fair?
Less shone the tresses Aegypt's Princess wore,
Which sweet Callimachus so sung before.
Here courtly trifles set the world at odds;
Belles war with Beaux, and Whims descend for Gods.
The new Machines, in names of ridicule,
Mock the grave phrenzy of the Chemic fool.
But know, ye Fair, a point conceal'd with art,
The Sylphs and Gnomes are but a Woman's heart.
The Graces stand in sight; a Satire-train
Peeps o'er their head, and laughs behind the scene.
In Fame's fair Temple, o'er the boldest wits
Inshrin'd on high the sacred Virgil sits;
[Page xxii] And sits in measures such as Virgil's Muse
To place thee near him, might be fond to chuse.
How might he tune th'alternate reed with thee,
Perhaps a Strephon thou, a Daphnis he;
While some old Damon, o'er the vulgar wife,
Thinks he deserves, and thou deserv'st the Prize.
Rapt with the thought, my fancy seeks the plains,
And turns me shepherd while I hear the strains.
Indulgent nurse of ev'ry tender gale,
Parent of flowrets, old Arcadia, hail!
Here in the cool my limbs at ease I spread,
Here let thy poplars whisper o'er my head:
Still slide thy waters, soft among the trees,
Thy aspins quiver in a breathing breeze!
Smile, all ye valleys, in eternal spring,
Be hush'd, ye winds, while Pope and Virgil sing.
In English lays, and all sublimely great,
Thy Homer warms with all his ancient heat;
He shines in Council, thunders in the Fight,
And flames with ev'ry sense of great delight.
Long has that Poet reign'd, and long unknown,
Like Monarchs sparkling on a distant throne;
In all the Majesty of Greek retir'd,
Himself unknown, his mighty name admir'd;
[Page xxiii] His language failing, wrapt him round with night;
Thine, rais'd by thee, recalls the work to light.
So wealthy Mines, that ages long before
Fed the large realms around with golden Ore,
When choak'd by sinking banks, no more appear,
And shepherds only say, The mines were here:
Should some rich youth (if nature warm his heart,
And all his projects stand inform'd with art)
Here clear the caves, there ope the leading vein;
The mines detected flame with gold again.
How vast, how copious, are thy new designs!
How ev'ry Music varies in thy lines!
Still, as I read, I feel my bosom beat,
And rise in raptures by another's heat.
Thus in the wood, when summer dress'd the days,
While Windsor lent us tuneful hours of ease,
Our ears the lark, the thrush, the turtle blest,
And Philomela sweetest o'er the rest:
The shades resound with song—O softly tread,
While a whole season warbles round my head.
This to my Friend—and when a friend inspires,
My silent harp its master's hand requires,
Shakes off the dust, and makes these rocks resound;
For fortune plac'd me in unfertile ground:
[Page xxiv] Far from the joys that with my soul agree,
From wit, from learning—very far from thee.
Here moss-grown trees expand the smallest leaf;
Here half an acre's corn is half a sheaf;
Here hills with naked heads the tempest meet,
Rocks at their sides, and torrents at their feet;
Or lazy lakes unconscious of a flood,
Whose dull brown Naiads ever sleep in mud.
Yet here Content can dwell, and learned Ease,
A Friend delight me, and an Author please;
Ev'n here I sing, when POPE supplies the theme,
Shew my own love, tho' not increase his fame.

To Mr. POPE.

LET vulgar souls triumphal arches raise,
Or speaking marbles, to record their praise;
And picture (to the voice of Fame unknown)
The mimic Feature on the breathing stone;
Mere mortals; subject to death's total sway,
Reptiles of earth, and beings of a day!
'Tis thine, on ev'ry heart to grave thy praise,
A monument which Worth alone can raise:
[Page xxv] Sure to survive, when time shall whelm in dust
The arch, the marble, and the mimic bust:
Nor 'till the volumes of th'expanded sky
Blaze in one flame, shalt thou and Homer die:
Then sink together in the world's last fires,
What heav'n created, and what heav'n inspires.
If aught on earth, when once this breath is fled,
With human transport touch the mighty dead,
Shakespear, rejoice! his hand thy page refines;
Now ev'ry scene with native brightness shines;
Just to thy Fame, he gives thy genuine thought;
So Tully publish'd what Lucretius wrote;
Prun'd by his care, thy laurels loftier grow,
And bloom afresh on thy immortal brow.
Thus when thy draughts, O Raphael! time invades,
And the bold figure from the canvass fades,
A rival hand recalls from ev'ry part
Some latent grace, and equals art with art;
Transported we survey the dubious strife,
While each fair image starts again to life.
How long, untun'd, had Homer's sacred lyre
Jarr'd grating discord, all extinct his fire?
[Page xxvi] This you beheld; and taught by heav'n to sing,
Call'd the loud music from the sounding string.
Now wak'd from slumbers of three thousand years,
Once more Achilles in dread pomp appears,
Tow'rs o'er the field of death; as fierce he turns,
Keen flash his arms, and all the Hero burns;
With martial stalk, and more than mortal might,
He strides along, and meets the Gods in fight:
Then the pale Titans, chain'd on burning floors,
Start at the din that rends th'infernal shores,
Tremble the tow'rs of Heav'n, earth rocks her coasts,
And gloomy Pluto shakes with all his ghosts.
To ev'ry theme responds thy various lay;
Here rolls a torrent, there Meanders play;
Sonorous as the storm thy numbers rise,
Toss the wild waves, and thunder in the skies;
Or softer than a yielding virgin's sigh,
The gentle breezes breathe away and die.
Thus, like the radiant God who sheds the day,
You paint the vale, or gild the azure way;
And while with ev'ry theme the verse complies,
Sink without groveling, without rashness rise.
Proceed, great Bard! awake th'harmonious string,
Be ours all Homer! still Ulysses sing.
[Page xxvii] How long a that Hero, by unskilful hands,
Strip'd of his robes, a Beggar trod our lands?
Such as he wander'd o'er his native coast,
Shrunk by the wand, and all the warrior lost:
O'er his smooth skin a bark of wrinkles spread;
Old age disgrac'd the honours of his head;
Nor longer in his heavy eye-ball shin'd
The glance divine, forth-beaming from the mind.
But you, like Pallas, ev'ry limb infold
With royal robes, and bid him shine in gold;
Touch'd by your hand, his manly frame improves
With grace divine, and like a God he moves.
Ev'n I, the meanest of the Muses' train,
Inflam'd by thee, attempt a nobler strain;
Advent'rous waken the Maeonian lyre,
Tun'd by your hand, and sing as you inspire:
So arm'd by great Achilles for the fight,
Patroclus conquer'd in Achilles' right:
Like theirs, our Friendship! and I boast my name
To thine united—for thy Friendship's Fame.
This labour past, of heav'nly subjects sing,
While hov'ring angels listen on the wing,
[Page xxviii] To hear from earth such heart-felt raptures rise,
As, when they sing, suspended hold the skies:
Or nobly rising in fair Virtue's cause,
From thy own life transcribe th'unerring laws:
Teach a bad world beneath her saway to bend;
To verse like thine fierce savages attend,
And men more fierce: when Orpheus tunes the lay,
Ev'n fiends relenting hear their rage away.

To Mr. POPE, On the publishing his WORKS.

HE comes, he comes! bid ev'ry Bard prepare
The song of triumph, and attend his Car.
Great Sheffield's Muse the long procession heads,
And throws a lustre o'er the pomp she leads,
First gives the Palm she fir'd him to obtain,
Crowns his gay brow, and shews him how to reign.
Thus young Alcides, by old Chiron taught,
Was form'd for all the miracles he wrought:
Thus Chiron did the youth he taught applaud,
Pleas'd to behold the earnest of a God.
But hark what shouts, what gath'ring crouds rejoice!
Unstain'd their praise by any venal voice,
Such as th'Ambitious vainly think their due,
When Prostitutes, or needy Flatt'rers sue.
And see the Chief! before him laurels born;
Trophies from undeserving temples torn;
Here Rage enchain'd reluctant raves, and there
Pale Envy dumb, and sick'ning with despair,
Prone to the earth she bends her loathing eye,
Weak to support the blaze of majesty.
But what are they that turn the sacred page?
Three lovely Virgins, and of equal age;
Intent they read, and all enamour'd seem,
As he that met his likeness in the stream:
The GRACES these; and see how they contend,
Who most shall praise, who best shall recommend.
The Chariot now the painful steep ascends,
The Paeans cease; thy glorious labour ends.
Here fix'd, the bright eternal Temple stands,
Its prospect an unbounded view commands:
Say, wond'rous youth, whatColumn wilt thou chuse,
What laurell'd Arch for thy triumphant Muse?
[Page xxx] Tho' each great Ancient court thee to his shrine,
Though ev'ry Laurel thro' the dome be thine,
(From the proud Epic, down to those that shade
The gentler brow of the soft Lesbian maid)
Go to the Good and Just, an awful train,
Thy soul's delight, and glory of the Fane:
While thro' the earth thy dear remembrance flies,
" Sweet to the World, and grateful to the skies."

To Mr. POPE.

IMmortal Bard! for whom each Muse has wove
The fairest garlands of th' Aonian Grove;
Preserv'd, our drooping Genius to restore,
When Addison and Congreve are no more;
After so many stars extinct in night,
The darken'd Age's last remaining light!
To thee from Latian realms this verse is writ,
Inspir'd by memory of ancient Wit;
For now no more these climes their influence boast,
Fall'n is their Glory, and their Virtue lost;
[Page xxxi] From Tyrants, and from Priests, the Muses fly,
Daughters of Reason and of Liberty.
Nor Baiae now, nor Umbria's plain they love,
Nor on the banks of Nar, or Mincio rove;
To Thames's flow'ry borders they retire,
And kindle in thy breast the Roman fire.
So in the shades, where chear'd with summer rays
Melodious linnets warbled sprightly lays,
Soon as the faded, falling leaves complain
Of gloomy winter's unauspicious reign,
No tuneful voice is heard of joy or love,
But mournful silence saddens all the grove.
Unhappy Italy! whose alter'd state
Has felt the worst severity of Fate:
Not that Barbarian hands her Fasces broke,
And bow'd her haughty neck beneath their yoke;
Nor that her palaces to earth are thrown,
Her cities desart, and her fields unsown;
But that her ancient Spirit is decay'd,
That sacred Wisdom from her bounds is fled,
That there the source of Science flows no more,
Whence its rich streams supply'd the world before.
Illustrious Names! that once in Latium shin'd,
Born to instruct, and to command Mankind;
[Page xxxii] Chiefs, by whose Virtue mighty Rome was rais'd,
And Poets, who those chiefs sublimely prais'd!
Oft I the traces you have left explore,
Your ashes visit, and your urns adore;
Oft kiss, with lips devout, some mould'ring stone,
With ivy's venerable shade o'ergrown;
Those hallow'd ruins better pleas'd to see
Than all the pomp of modern Luxury.
As late on Virgil's tomb fresh flow'rs I strow'd,
While with th'inspiring Muse my bosom glow'd,
Crown'd with eternal bays my ravish'd eyes
Beheld the Poet's awful Form arise:
Stranger, he said, whose pious hand has paid
These grateful rites to my attentive shade,
When thou shalt breathe thy happy native air,
To Pope this message from his Master bear:
Great Bard, whose numbers I myself inspire,
To whom I gave my own harmonious lyre,
If high exalted on the Throne of Wit,
Near Me and Homer thou aspire to sit,
No more let meaner Satire dim the rays
That flow majestic from thy nobler Bays;
In all the flow'ry paths of Pindus stray,
But shun that thorny, that unpleasing way;
[Page xxxiii] Nor, when each soft engaging Muse is thine,
Address the least attractive of the Nine.
Of thee more worthy were the task, to raise
A lasting Column to thy Country's Praise,
To sing the Land, which yet alone can boast
That Liberty corrupted Rome has lost;
Where Science in the arms of Peace is laid,
And plants her Palm beneath the Olive's shade.
Such was the Theme for which my lyre I strung,
Such was the People whose exploits I sung;
Brave, yet refin'd, for Arms and Arts renown'd,
With diff'rent bays by Mars and Phoebus crown'd,
Dauntless opposers of Tyrannic Sway,
But pleas'd, a mild AUGUSTUS to obey.
If these commands submissive thou receive,
Immortal and unblam'd thy name shall live;
Envy to black Cocytus shall retire,
And howl with Furies in tormenting fire;
Approving Time shall consecrate thy Lays,
And join the Patriot's to the Poet's Praise.

WITH A Discourse on PASTORAL.
Written in the Year MDCCIV.

Rura mihi et rigui placeant in vallibus amnes,
Flumina amem, sylvasque, inglorius!


THERE are not, I believe, a greater num­ber of any sort of verses than of those which are called Pastorals; nor a smaller, than of those which are truly so. It therefore seems necessary to give some account of this kind of Poem, and it is my design to comprize in this short paper the substance of those numerous dissertations the Critics have made on the subject, without omitting any of their rules in my own favour. You will also find some points reconciled, about which they seem to differ, and a few remarks, which, I think, have escaped their observation.

The original of Poetry is ascribed to that Age which succeeded the creation of the world: and as the keeping of flocks seems to have been the first employment of mankind, the most ancient sort of poetry was probably pastoral b. It is natural to [Page 38] imagine, that the leisure of those ancient shepherds admitting and inviting some diversion, none was so proper to that solitary and sedentary life as sing­ing; and that in their songs they took occasion to celebrate their own felicity. From hence a Poem was invented, and afterwards improved to a per­fect image of that happy time; which by giving us an esteem for the virtues of a former age, might recommend them to the present. And since the life of shepherds was attended with more tran­quillity than any other rural employment, the Poets chose to introduce their Persons, from whom it received the name of Pastoral.

A Pastoral is an imitation of the action of a shepherd, or one considered under that character. The form of this imitation is dramatic, or narra­tive, or mixed of bothc; the fable simple, the manners not too polite nor too rustic: the thoughts are plain, yet admit a little quickness and passion, but that short and flowing: the expression humble, yet as pure as the language will afford; neat, but not florid; easy, and yet lively. In short, the fable, manners, thoughts, and expressions are full of the greatest simplicity in nature.

The complete character of this poem consists in simplicityd, brevity, and delicacy; the two first of which render an eclogue natural, and the last delightful.

[Page 39] If we would copy Nature, it may be useful to take this Idea along with us, that Pastoral is an image of what they call the golden age. So that we are not to describe our shepherds as shep­herds at this day really are, but as they may be conceived then to have been; when the best of men followed the employment. To carry this resemblance yet farther, it would not be amiss to give these shepherds some skill in astronomy, as far as it may be useful to that sort of life. And an air of piety to the Gods should shine through the Poem, which so visibly appears in all the works of antiquity: and it ought to preserve some relish of the old way of writing; the connection should be loose, the narrations and descriptions shorte, and the periods concise. Yet it is not sufficient, that the sentences only be brief, the whole Eclogue should be so too. For we cannot suppose Poetry in those days to have been the business of men, but their recreation at vacant hours.

But with a respect to the present age, nothing more conduces to make these composures natural, than when some Knowledge in rural affairs is dis­coveredf. This may be made to appear rather done by chance than on design, and sometimes is best shewn by inference; lest by too much study to seem natural, we destroy that easy simplicity from whence arises the delight. For what is in­viting [Page 40] in this sort of poetry proceeds not so much from the Idea of that business, as of the tranquil­lity of a country life.

We must therefore use some illusion to render a Pastoral delightful; and this consists in exposing the best side only of a shepherd's life, and in con­cealing its miseriesg. Nor is it enough to introduce shepherds discoursing together in a natural way; but a regard must be had to the subject; that it contain some particular beauty in itself, and that it be different in every Eclogue. Besides, in each of them a designed scene or prospect is to be pre­sented to our view, which should likewise have its varietyh. This variety is obtained in a great de­gree by frequent comparisons, drawn from the most agreeable objects of the country; by inter­rogations to things inanimate; by beautiful di­gressions, but those short; sometimes by insisting a little on circumstances; and lastly, by elegant turns on the words, which render the numbers extremely sweet and pleasing. As for the num­bers themselves, though they are properly of the heroic measure, they should be the smoothest, the most easy and flowing imaginable.

It is by rules like these that we ought to judge of Pastoral. And since the instructions given for any art are to be delivered as that art is in perfec­tion, they must of necessity be derived from those [Page 41] in whom it is acknowledged so to be. It is there­fore from the practice of Theocritus and Virgil (the only undisputed authors of Pastoral) that the Cri­tics have drawn the foregoing notions concerning it.

Theocritus excels all others in nature and sim­plicity. The subjects of his Idyllia are purely pa­storal; but he is not so exact in his persons, hav­ing introduced reapers i and fishermen as well as shepherds. He is apt to be too long in his descri­ptions, of which that of the Cup in the first pa­storal is a remarkable instance. In the manners he seems a little defective, for his swains are sometimes abusive and immodest, and perhaps too much in­clining to rusticity; for instance, in his fourth and fifth Idyllia. But 'tis enough that all others learnt their excellencies from him, and that his Dialect alone has a secret charm in it, which no other could ever attain.

Virgil, who copies Theocritus, refines upon his original: and in all points where judgment is principally concerned, he is much superior to his master. Though some of his subjects are not pa­storal in themselves, but only seem to be such; they have a wonderful variety in them, which the Greek was a stranger tok. He exceeds him in regularity and brevity, and falls short of him in [Page 42] nothing but simplicity and propriety of style; the first of which perhaps was the fault of his age, and the last of his language.

Among the moderns, their success has been greatest who have most endeavoured to make these ancients their pattern. The most considerable Ge­nius appears in the famous Tasso, and our Spen­ser. Tasso in his Aminta has as far excelled all the Pastoral writers, as in his Gierusalemme he has out-done the Epic poets of his country. But as this piece seems to have been the original of a new sort of poem, the Pastoral Comedy, in Italy, it cannot so well be considered as a copy of the an­cients. Spenser's Calendar, in Mr. Dryden's opi­nion, is the most complete work of this kind which any nation has produced ever since the time of Virgil1. Not but that he may be thought imper­fect in some few points. His Eclogues are some­what too long, if we compare them with the an­cients. He is sometimes too allegorical, and treats of matters of religion in a pastoral style, as Mantuan had done before him. He has employed the Lyric measure, which is contrary to the prac­tice of the old Poets. His Stanza is not still the same, nor always well chosen. This last may be the reason his expression is sometimes not concise enough: for the Tetrastic has obliged him to ex­tend his sense to the length of four lines, which [Page 43] would have been more closely confined in the Couplet.

In the manners, thoughts, and characters, he comes near to Theocritus himself; tho', notwith­standing all the care he has taken, he is certainly inferior in his Dialect: For the Doric had its beau­ty and propriety in the Time of Theocritus; it was used in part of Greece, and frequent in the mouths of many of the greatest persons: whereas the old English and country phrases of Spenser were either entirely obsolete, or spoken only by people of the lowest condition. As there is a difference betwixt simplicity and rusticity, so the expression of sim­ple thoughts should be plain, but not clownish. The addition he has made of a Calendar to his Eclogues, is very beautiful; since by this, besides the general moral of innocence and simplicity, which is common to other authors of Pastoral, he has one peculiar to himself; he compares human Life to the several Seasons, and at once exposes to his readers a view of the great and little worlds, in their various changes and aspects. Yet the scru­pulous division of his Pastorals into Months, has obliged him either to repeat the same description, in other words, for three months together; or, when it was exhausted before, entirely to omit it: whence it comes to pass that some of his Eclogues (as the sixth, eighth, and tenth for example) have nothing but their Titles to distinguish them. The reason is evident, because the year has not that va­riety [Page 44] in it to furnish every month with a particular description, as it may every season.

Of the following Eclogues I shall only say, that these four comprehend all the subjects which the Critics upon Theocritus and Virgil will allow to be fit for pastoral: That they have as much va­riety of description, in respect of the several sea­sons, as Spenser's: that in order to add to this variety, the several times of the day are observ'd, the rural employments in each season or time of day, and the rural scenes or places proper to such employments; not without some regard to the se­veral ages of man, and the different passions pro­per to each age.

But after all, if they have any merit, it is to be attributed to some good old Authors, whose works as I had leisure to study, so I hope I have not want­ed care to imitate.


hereFIRST in these fields I try the sylvan strains,
Nor blush to sport on Windsor's blissful plains:
Fair Thames, flow gently from thy sacred spring,
While on thy banks Sicilian Muses sing;
[Page 46] Let vernal airs thro' trembling osiers play,
And Albion's cliffs resound the rural lay.
You, that too wise for pride, too good for pow'r,
Enjoy the glory to be great no more,
[Page 47] And carrying with you all the world can boast,
To all the world illustriously are lost!
O let my Muse her slender reed inspire,
hereTill in your native shades you tune the lyre:
So when the Nightingale to rest removes,
The Thrush may chant to the forsaken groves,
But, charm'd to silence, listens while she sings,
And all th' aërial audience clap their wings.
hereSoon as the flocks shook off the nightly dews,
Two Swains, whom Love kept wakeful, and the Muse,
[Page 48] Pour'd o'er the whitening vale their fleecy care,
Fresh as the morn, and as the season fair:
The dawn now blushing on the mountain's side,
Thus Daphnis spoke, and Strephon thus reply'd.
Hear how the birds, on ev'ry bloomy spray,
With joyous musick wake the dawning day!
Why sit we mute when early linnets sing,
When warbling Philomel salutes the spring?
Why sit we sad when Phosphor shines so clear,
hereAnd lavish Nature paints the purple year?
Sing then, and Damon shall attend the strain,
While yon' slow oxen turn the furrow'd plain.
Here the bright crocus and blue vi'let glow;
Here western winds on breathing roses blow.
I'll stake yon' lamb, that near the fountain plays,
hereAnd from the brink his dancing shade surveys.
hereAnd I this bowl, where wanton ivy twines,
hereAnd swelling clusters bend the curling vines:
Four figures rising from the work appear,
hereThe various seasons of the rowling year;
And what is that, which binds the radiant sky,
Where twelve fair signs in beauteous order lie?
hereThen sing by turns, by turns the Muses sing,
Now hawthorns blossom, now the daisies spring,
Now leaves the trees, and flow'rs adorn the ground;
Begin, the vales shall ev'ry note rebound.
Inspire me, Phoebus, in my Delia's praise,
hereWith Waller's strains, or Granville's moving lays!
hereA milk-white bull shall at your altars stand,
That threats a fight, and spurns the rising sand.
hereO Love! for Sylvia let me gain the prize,
And make my tongue victorious as her eyes;
No lambs or sheep for victims I'll impart,
Thy victim, Love, shall be the shepherd's heart.
Me gentle Delia beckons from the plain,
Then hid in shades, eludes her eager swain;
But feigns a laugh, to see me search around,
And by that laugh the willing fair is found.
[Page 51]
The sprightly Sylvia trips along the green,
hereShe runs, but hopes she does not run unseen;
While a kind glance at her pursuer flies,
How much at variance are her feet and eyes!
here hereO'er golden sands let rich Pactolus flow,
And trees weep amber on the banks of Po;
Blest Thames's shores the brightest beauties yield,
Feed here my lambs, I'll seek no distant field.
[Page 52]
Celestial Venus haunts Idalia's groves;
Diana Cynthus, Ceres Hybla loves;
If Windsor-shades delight the matchless maid,
Cynthus and Hybla yield to Windsor-shade.
here hereAll nature mourns, the skies relent in show'rs,
Hush'd are the birds, and clos'd the drooping flow'rs;
If Delia smile, the flow'rs begin to spring,
The skies to brighten, and the birds to sing.
All nature laughs, the groves are fresh and fair,
The Sun's mild lustre warms the vital air;
If Sylvia smiles, new glories gild the shore,
And vanquish'd nature seems to charm no more.
In spring the fields, in autumn hills I love,
At morn the plains, at noon the shady grove,
[Page 53] But Delia always; absent from her sight,
Nor plains at morn, nor groves at noon delight.
Sylvia's like autumn ripe, yet mild as May,
More bright than noon, yet fresh as early day;
Ev'n spring displeases, when she shines not here;
But blest with her, 'tis spring throughout the year.
Say, Daphnis, say, in what glad soil appears,
hereA wond'rous Tree that sacred Monarchs bears:
Tell me but this, and I'll disclaim the prize,
And give the conquest to thy Sylvia's eyes.
Nay tell me first, in what more happy fields
hereThe Thistle springs, to which the Lilly yields:
And then a nobler prize I will resign;
For Sylvia, charming Sylvia shall be thine.
[Page 54]
Cease to contend, for, Daphnis, I decree,
The bowl to Strephon, and the lamb to thee:
Blest Swains, whose Nymphs in ev'ry grace excel:
Blest Nymphs, whose Swains those graces sing so well!
Now rise, and haste to yonder woodbine bow'rs,
A soft retreat from sudden vernal show'rs;
hereThe turf with rural dainties shall be crown'd,
While op'ning blooms diffuse their sweets around.
For see! the gath'ring flocks to shelter tend,
And from the Pleiads fruitful show'rs descend.


These Pastorals were written at the age of sixteen, and then past thro' the hands of Mr. Walsh, Mr. Wycherley, G. Granville afterwards Lord Lansdown, Sir William Trumbal, Dr. Garth, Lord Hallifax, Lord Somers, Mr. Mainwaring, and others. All these gave our Author the greatest encouragement, and par­ticularly Mr. Walsh (whom Mr. Dryden, in his Postscript to Vir­gil, calls the best critic of his age.) ‘"The Author (says he) seems to have a particular genius for this kind of Poetry, and a judgment that much exceeds his years. He has taken very [Page 46] very freely from the Ancients. But what he has mixed of his own with theirs is no way inferior to what he has taken from them. It is not flattery at all to say that Virgil had written nothing so good at his Age. His Preface is very judicious and learned."’ Letter to Mr. Wycherley, Ap. 1705. The Lord Lansdown about the same time, mentioning the youth of our Poet, says (in a printed Letter of the Character of Mr. Wy­cherley) ‘"that if he goes on as he has begun in the Pastoral way, as Virgil first tried his strength, we may hope to see English Poety vie with the Roman,"’ etc. Notwithstanding the ear­ly time of their production, the Author esteemed these as the most correct in the versification, and musical in the numbers, of all his works. The reason for his labouring them into so much softness, was, doubtless, that this sort of poetry derives almost its whole beauty from a natural ease of thought and smoothness of verse; whereas that of most other kinds consists in the strength and fulness of both. In a letter of his to Mr. Walsh about this time we find an enumeration of several Niceties in Versification, which perhaps have never been strictly observed in any English poem, except in these Pastorals. They were not printed till 1709. P.

Sir William Trumball.] Our Author's friendship with this gen­tleman commenced at very unequal years; he was under sixteen, but Sir William above sixty, and had lately resign'd his employ­ment of Secretary of State to King William. P.

[Page 47] VER. 12. in your native shades]’ Sir W. Trumbal was born in Windsor-forest, to which he retreated, after he had resigned the post of Secretary of State to King William III. P.

VER. 17, etc. The Scene of this Pastoral a Valley, the Time the Morning It stood originally thus,

Daphnis and Strephon to the Shades retir'd,
Both warm'd by Love, and by the Muse inspir'd,
Fresh as the morn, and as the season fair,
In flow'ry vales they fed their fleecy care;
And while Aurora gilds the mountain's side,
Thus Daphnis spoke, and Strephon thus reply'd.

[Page 48] VER. 28. purple year?]’ Purple here used in the Latin sense of the brightest most vivid colouring in general, not of that pecu­liar tint so called.

VER. 34. The first reading was,

And his own image from the bank surveys.

[Page] VER. 46. Granville—]’ George Granville, afterwards Lord Lansdown, known for his Poems, most of which he compos'd very young, and propos'd Waller as his model. P.

[Page 53] VER. 86. A wond'rous Tree that sacred Monarchs bears.]’ An allusion to the Royal Oak, in which Charles II. had been hid from the pursuit after the battle of Worcester. P.


VER. 1.

Prima Syracosio dignata est ludere versu,
Nostra nec erubuit sylvas habitare Thalia.

This is the general exordium and opening of the Pastorals, in imitation of the sixth of Virgil, which some have therefore not improbably thought to have been the first originally. In the beginnings of the other three Pastorals, he imitates expresly those [Page 47] which now stand first of the three chief Poets in this kind, Spencer, Virgil, Theocritus.

A Shepherd's Boy (he seeks no better name)—

Beneath the shade a spreading Beach displays,—

Thyrsis, the Music of that murm'ring Spring,—

are manifestly imitations of

—A Shepherd's Boy (no better do him call)

—Tityre, tu patulae recubans sub tegmine fagi.



[Page] VER. 41. Then sing by turns.]’ Literally from Virgil,

Alternis dicetis, amant alterna Camoenae:
Et nunc omnis ager, nunc omnis parturit arbos,
Nunc frondent sylvae, nunc formosissimus annus.


VER. 35, 36.

Lenta quibus torno facili superaddita vitis,
Diffusos edera vestit pallente corymbos.


VER. 38. The various seasons]’ The Subject of these Pasto­rals engraven on the bowl is not without its propriety. The Shepherd's hesitation at the name of the Zodiac, imitates that in Virgil,

Et quis fuit alter,
Descripsit radio totum qui gentibus orbem?


[Page] VER. 47. A milk-white Bull.]’

—Pascite taurum,
Qui cornu petat, et pedibus jam spargat arenam.


[Page 51] VER. 58. She runs, but hopes.]’ Imitation of Virgil,

Malo me Galatea petit, lasciva puella,
Et fugit ad salices, sed se cupit ante videri.


[Page 52] VER. 69. All nature mourns,]’

Aret ager, vitio moriens sitit aëris herba, etc.
Phyllidis adventu nostrae nemus omne virebit.


[Page 53] VER. 90. The Thistle springs to which the Lilly yields,]’ Al­ludes to the device of the Scots Monarchs, the Thistle, worn by Queen Anne; and to the arms of France, the Fleur de lys. The two riddles are in imitation of those in Virg. Ecl. iii.

Dic quibus in terris inscripti nomina Regum
Nascantur Flores, & Phyllida solus habeto.



VER. 36.

And clusters lurk beneath the curling vines.


[Page] VER. 49. Originally thus in the MS.

Pan, let my numbers equal Strephon's lays,
Of Parian stone thy statue will I raise;
But if I conquer and augment my fold,
Thy Parian statue shall be chang'd to Gold.

[Page 51] VER. 61. It stood thus at first,

Let rich Iberia golden fleeces boast,
Her purple wool the proud Assyrian coast,
Blest Thames's shores, etc.


VER. 61. Originally thus in the MS.

Go, flow'ry wreath, and let my Sylvia know,
Compar'd to thine how bright her Beauties show;
Then die; and dying teach the lovely Maid
How soon the brightest beauties are decay'd.
Go, tuneful bird, that pleas'd the woods so long,
Of Amaryllis learn a sweeter song;
To Heav'n arising then her notes convey,
For Heav'n alone is worthy such a lay.

[Page 52] VER. 69. etc. These verses were thus at first:

All nature mourns, the birds their songs deny,
Nor wasted brooks the thirsty flow'rs supply;
If Delia smile, the flow'rs begin to spring,
The brooks to murmur, and the birds to sing.


[Page 54] VER. 99. was originally,

The turf with country dainties shall be spread,
And trees with twining branches shade your head.



hereA Shepherd's Boy (he seeks no better name)
Led forth his flocks along the silver Thame,
here hereWhere dancing sun-beams on the waters play'd,
And verdant alders form'd a quiv'ring shade.
[Page 56] Soft as he mourn'd, the streams forgot to flow,
The flocks around a dumb compassion show,
The Naiads wept in ev'ry wat'ry bow'r,
hereAnd Jove consented in a silent show'r.
hereAccept, O GARTH, the Muse's early lays,
That adds this wreath of Ivy to thy Bays;
Hear what from Love unpractis'd hearts endure,
From Love, the sole disease thou canst not cure.
Ye shady beeches, and ye cooling streams,
Defence from Phoebus', not from Cupid's beams,
hereTo you I mourn, nor to the deaf I sing,
hereThe woods shall answer, and their echo ring.
The hills and rocks attend my doleful lay,
Why art thou prouder and more hard than they?
The bleating sheep with my complaints agree,
They parch'd with heat, and I inflam'd by thee.
[Page 57] The sultry Sirius burns the thirsty plains,
While in thy heart eternal winter reigns.
hereWhere stray ye Muses, in what lawn or grove,
While your Alexis pines in hopeless love?
In those fair fields where sacred Isis glides,
Or else where Cam his winding vales divides?
here hereAs in the crystal spring I view my face,
Fresh rising blushes paint the wat'ry glass;
But since those graces please thy eyes no more,
I shun the fountains which I sought before.
Once I was skill'd in ev'ry herb that grew,
And ev'ry plant that drinks the morning dew;
Ah wretched shepherd, what avails thy art,
To cure thy lambs, but not to heal thy heart!
Let other swains attend the rural care,
Feed fairer flocks, or richer fleeces sheer:
But nigh yon' mountain let me tune my lays,
Embrace my Love, and bind my brows with bays.
hereThat flute is mine which Colin's tuneful breath
hereInspir'd when living, and bequeath'd in death;
He said; Alexis, take this pipe, the same
That taught the groves my Rosalinda's name:
But now the reeds shall hang on yonder tree,
For ever silent since despis'd by thee.
Oh! were I made by some transforming pow'r
The captive bird that sings within thy bow'r!
Then might my voice thy list'ning ears employ,
And I those kisses he receives, enjoy.
And yet my numbers please the rural throng,
Rough Satyrs dance, and Pan applauds the song:
The Nymphs, forsaking ev'ry cave and spring,
Their early fruit, and milk-white turtles bring;
Each am'rous nymph prefers her gifts in vain,
On you their gifts are all bestow'd again.
[Page 59] For you the swains the fairest flow'rs design,
And in one garland all their beauties join;
Accept the wreath which you deserve alone,
In whom all beauties are compriz'd in one.
See what delights in sylvan scenes appear!
hereDescending Gods have found Elysium here.
In woods bright Venus with Adonis stray'd,
And chaste Diana haunts the forest-shade.
Come, lovely nymph, and bless the silent hours,
When swains from sheering seek their nightly bow'rs;
When weary reapers quit the sultry field,
And crown'd with corn their thanks to Ceres yield,
This harmless grove no lurking viper hides,
But in my breast the serpent Love abides.
Here bees from blossoms sip the rosy dew,
But your Alexis knows no sweets but you.
Oh deign to visit our forsaken seats,
The mossy fountains, and the green retreats!
Where'er you walk, cool gales shall fan the glade,
Trees, where you sit, shall croud into a shade:
[Page 60] Where'er you tread, the blushing flow'rs shall rise,
And all things flourish where you turn your eyes.
Oh! how I long with you to pass my days,
Invoke the Muses, and resound your praise!
hereYour praise the birds shall chant in ev'ry grove,
hereAnd winds shall waft it to the pow'rs above.
But would you sing, and rival Orpheus' strain,
The wond'ring forests soon should dance again,
The moving mountains hear the pow'rful call,
And headlong streams hang list'ning in their fall!
But see, the shepherds shun the noon-day heat,
The lowing herds to murm'ring brooks retreat,
To closer shades the panting flocks remove;
hereYe Gods! and is there no relief for Love?
[Page 61] But soon the sun with milder rays descends
To the cool ocean, where his journey ends:
hereOn me love's fiercer flames for ever prey,
By night he scorches, as he burns by day.


VER. 1, 2, 3, 4. were thus printed in the first edition:

A faithful swain, whom Love had taught to sing,
Bewail'd his fate beside a silver spring;
Where gentle Thames his winding waters leads
Thro' verdant forests, and thro' flow'ry meads.


VER. 3. Originally thus in the MS.

There to the winds he plain'd his hapless love,
And Amaryllis fill'd the vocal grove.

[Page 57] VER. 27.

Oft in the crystal spring I cast a view,
And equal'd Hylas, if the glass be true;
But since those graces meet my eyes no more,
I shun, etc.


[Page 60] VER. 79, 80.

Your praise the tuneful birds to heav'n shall bear,
And list'ning wolves grow milder as they hear.

So the verses were originally written. But the author, young as he was, soon found the absurdity which Spenser himself over­looked, of introducing Wolves into England. P.

[Page 61] VER. 91.

Me love inflames, nor will his fires allay.



VER. 3. The Scene of this Pastrol by the river's side; suit­able to the heat of the season; the time noon. P.

[Page 56] VER. 9.] Dr. Samuel Garth, Author of the Dispensary, was one of the first friends of the Author, whose acquaintance with him began at fourteen or fifteen. Their friendship continued from the year 1703 to 1718, which was that of his death.


VER. 16. The woods shall answer, and their echo ring,]’ Is a line out of Spenser's Epithalamion. P.

[Page 58] VER. 39. Colin]’ The name taken by Spenser in his Eclogues, where his mistress is celebrated under that of Rosalinda. P.


VER. 8. And Jove consented]’

Jupiter et laeto descendet plurimus imbri.


VER. 15. nor to the deaf I sing,]’

Non canimus surdis, respondent omnia sylvae.


[Page 57] VER. 23. Where stray ye Muses, etc.]’

Quae nemora, aut qui vos saltus habuere, puellae
Naiades, indigno cum Gallus amore periret?
Nam neque Parnassi vobis juga, nam neque Pindi
Ulla moram fecere, neque Aonia Aganippe.
Virg. out of Theocr.


VER. 27. Virgil again from the Cyclops of Theocritus,

nuper me in littore vidi
Cum placidum ventis staret mare, non ego Daphnim,
Judice te, metuam, si nunquam fallat imago.


[Page 58] VER. 40. bequeath'd in death; etc.]’

Virg. Ecl. ii.
Est mihi disparibus septem compacta cicutis
Fistula, Damoetas dono mihi quam dedit olim,
Et dixit moriens, Te nunc habet ista secundum.


[Page 59] VER. 60. Descending Gods have found Elysium here.]’

Habitarunt Dî quoque sylvas—

Et formosus oves ad flumina pavit Adonis.


[Page 60] VER. 80. And winds shall wast, etc.]’

Partem aliquam, venti, divûm referatis ad aures!


VER. 88. Ye Gods! etc.]’

Me tamen urit amor, quis enim modus adsit amori?



BEneath the shade a spreading Beech displays,
Hylas and Aegon sung their rural lays,
This mourn'd a faithless, that an absent Love,
And Delia's name and Doris fill'd the Grove.
Ye Mantuan nymphs, your sacred succour bring;
Hylas and Aegon's rural lays I sing.
hereThou, whom the Nine with Plautus' wit inspire,
hereThe art of Terence, and Menander's fire;
[Page 63] hereWhose sense instructs us, and whose humour charms,
Whose judgment sways us, and whose spirit warms!
Oh, skill'd in Nature! see the hearts of Swains,
Their artless passions, and their tender pains.
Now setting Phoebus shone serenely bright,
And fleecy clouds were streak'd with purple light;
[Page 64] When tuneful Hylas with melodious moan,
Taught rocks to weep and made the mountains groan.
Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs away!
To Delia's ear, the tender notes convey.
As some sad Turtle his lost love deplores,
And with deep murmurs fills the sounding shores;
Thus, far from Delia, to the winds I mourn,
A like unheard, unpity'd, and forlorn.
Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs along!
For her, the feather'd quires neglect their song:
For her, the lymes their pleasing shades deny;
For her, the lillies hang their heads and die.
Ye flow'rs that droop, forsaken by the spring,
Ye birds that, left by summer, cease to sing,
Ye trees that fade when autumn-heats remove,
Say, is not absence death to those who love?
Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs away!
Curs'd be the fields that cause my Delia's stay;
Fade ev'ry blossom, wither ev'ry tree,
Die ev'ry flow'r, and perish all, but she.
What have I said? where'er my Delia flies,
Let spring attend, and sudden flow'rs arise;
hereLet op'ning roses knotted oaks adorn,
And liquid amber drop from ev'ry thorn.
Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs along!
The birds shall cease to tune their ev'ning song,
The winds to breathe, the waving woods to move,
And streams to murmur, e'er I cease to love.
hereNot bubling fountains to the thirsty swain,
Not balmy sleep to lab'rers faint with pain,
Not show'rs to larks, or sun-shine to the bee,
Are half so charming as thy sight to me.
Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs away!
hereCome, Delia, come; ah, why this long delay?
Thro' rocks and caves the name of Delia sounds,
Delia, each cave and echoing rock rebounds.
Ye pow'rs, what pleasing frenzy sooths my mind!
hereDo lovers dream, or is my Delia kind?
She comes, my Delia comes!—Now cease my lay,
And cease, ye gales, to bear my sighs away!
Next Aegon sung, while Windsor groves admir'd;
Rehearse, ye Muses, what yourselves inspir'd.
Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful strain!
Of perjur'd Doris, dying I complain:
Here where the mountains less'ning as they rise
Lose the low vales, and steal into the skies:
While lab'ring oxen, spent with toil and heat,
In their loose traces from the field retreat:
While curling smoaks from village-tops are seen,
And the fleet shades glide o'er the dusky green.
Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful lay!
Beneath yon' poplar oft we past the day:
Oft' on the rind I carv'd her am'rous vows,
While she with garlands hung the bending boughs:
The garlands fade, the vows are worn away;
So dies her love, and so my hopes decay.
Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful strain!
Now bright Arcturus glads the teeming grain,
Now golden fruits on loaded branches shine,
hereAnd grateful clusters swell with floods of wine;
Now blushing berries paint the yellow grove;
Just Gods! shall all things yield returns but love?
Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful lay!
The shepherds cry, " Thy flocks are left a prey—
Ah! what avails it me, the flocks to keep,
Who lost my heart while I preserv'd my sheep.
Pan came, and ask'd, what magic caus'd my smart,
hereOr what ill eyes malignant glances dart?
What eyes but hers, alas, have pow'r to move!
And is there magic but what dwells in love?
Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful strains!
I'll fly from shepherds, flocks, and flow'ry plains.
From shepherds, flocks, and plains, I may remove,
Forsake mankind, and all the world—but love!
hereI know thee, Love! on foreign Mountains bred,
Wolves gave thee suck, and savage Tygers fed.
Thou wert from Aetna's burning entrails torn,
Got by fierce whirlwinds, and in thunder born!
Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful lay!
Farewell, ye woods, adieu the light of day!
One leap from yonder cliff shall end my pains,
No more, ye hills, no more resound my strains!
Thus sung the shepherds till th'approach of night,
hereThe skies yet blushing with departing light,
When falling dews with spangles deck'd the glade,
And the low sun had lengthen'd ev'ry shade.


This Pastoral consists of two parts, like the viiith of Virgil: The Scene, a Hill; the Time at Sun-set. P.

VER. 7. Thou, whom the Nine,]’ Mr. Wycherley, a famous [Page 63] Author of Comedies; of which the most celebrated were the Plain-Dealer and Country-Wife. He was a writer of infinite spi­rit, satire, and wit. The only objection made to him was that he had too much. However he was followed in the same way by Mr. Congreve; tho' with a little more correctness. P.

VER. 8. The Art of Terence and Menander's fire;]’ This line evidently alludes to that famous Character given of Terence, by Caesar,

Tu quoque, tu in summis, ô dimidiate Menander,
Poneris, et merito, puri sermonis amator;
Lenibus atque utinam scriptis adjuncta foret vis

So that the judicious critic sees he should have said—with Menander's fire. For what the Poet meant, in this line, was, that his Friend had joined to Terence's art what Caesar thought wanting in Terence, namely the vis comica of Me­nander. Besides,—and Menander's fire is making that the Characteristic of Menander which was not. His character was the having art and comic spirit in perfect conjunction, of which Terence having only the first, he is called the half of Me­nander.

VER. 9. Whose sense instructs us]’ He was always very care­full in his encomiums not to fall into ridicule, the trap which weak and prostitute flatterers rarely escape. For sense, he would willingly have said, moral; propriety required it. But this dra­matic poet's moral was remarkably faulty. His plays are all mon­strously immoral both in the Dialogue and Action.

[Page 66] VER. 74. And grateful clusters etc.]’ The scene is in Windsor-forest. So this image not so exact.

[Page 68] VER. 98, 100.] There is a little inaccuracy here; the first line makes the time after sun-set; the second, before.


VER. 48. Originally thus in the MS.

With him thro' Libya's burning plains I'll go,
On Alpine mountains tread th' eternal snow;
Yet feel no heat but what our loves impart,
And dread no coldness but in Thyrsis' heart.


VER. 37.

Aurea durae
Mala ferant quercus; narcisso floreat alnus,
Pinguia corticibus sudent electra myricae.
Virg. Ecl. viii.


VER. 43, etc.]

Quale sopor fessis in gramine, quale per aestum
Dulcis aquae saliente sitim restinguere rivo.
Ecl. v.


VER. 52.

An qui amant, ipsi sibi somnia fingunt?
Id. viii.


[Page 67] VER. 82. Or what ill eyes]’

Nescio quis teneros oculus mihi fascinat agnos.


VER. 89.

Nunc scio quid sit Amor: duris in cotibus illum, etc.


hereTo the Memory of Mrs. TEMPEST.

hereTHYRSIS, the music of that murm'ring spring
Is not so mournful as the strains you sing.
Nor rivers winding thro' the vales below,
So sweetly warble, or so smoothly flow.
[Page 70] Now sleeping flocks on their soft fleeces lie,
The moon, serene in glory, mounts the sky,
While silent birds forget their tuneful lays,
Oh sing of Daphne's fate, and Daphne's praise!
hereBehold the groves that shine with silver frost,
Their beauty wither'd, and their verdure lost.
Here shall I try the sweet Alexis strain,
That call'd the list'ning Dryads to the plain?
hereThames heard the numbers as he flow'd along,
And bade his willows learn the moving song.
[Page 71]
So may kind rains their vital moisture yield,
And swell the future harvest of the field.
Begin; this charge the dying Daphne gave,
And said, "Ye shepherds, sing around my grave!"
Sing, while beside the shaded tomb I mourn,
And with fresh bays her rural shrine adorn.
Ye gentle Muses, leave your crystal spring,
Let Nymphs and Sylvans cypress garlands bring;
hereYe weeping Loves, the stream with myrtles hide,
And break your bows, as when Adonis dy'd;
And with your golden darts, now useless grown,
Inscribe a verse on this relenting stone:
" Let nature change, let heav'n and earth deplore,
" Fair Daphne's dead, and love is now no more!
here'Tis done, and nature's various charms decay,
See gloomy clouds obscure the chearful day!
[Page 72] Now hung with pearls the dropping trees appear,
Their faded honours scatter'd on her bier.
See, where on earth the flow'ry glories lie,
With her they flourish'd, and with her they die.
Ah what avail the beauties nature wore?
Fair Daphne's dead, and beauty is no more!
For her the flocks refuse their verdant food,
The thirsty heifers shun the gliding flood.
The silver swans her hapless fate bemoan,
In notes more sad than when they sing their own;
In hollow caves sweet Echo silent lies,
Silent, or only to her name replies;
Her name with pleasure once she taught the shore,
Now Daphne's dead, and pleasure is no more!
No grateful dews descend from ev'ning skies,
Nor morning odours from the flow'rs arise;
No rich perfumes refresh the fruitful field,
Nor fragrant herbs their native incense yield.
The balmy Zephyrs, silent since her death,
Lament the ceasing of a sweeter breath;
Th' industrious bees neglect their golden store!
Fair Daphne's dead, and sweetness is no more!
No more the mounting larks, while Daphne sings,
Shall list'ning in mid air suspend their wings;
[Page 73] No more the birds shall imitate her lays,
Or hush'd with wonder, hearken from the sprays:
No more the streams their murmurs shall forbear,
A sweeter music than their own to hear,
But tell the reeds, and tell the vocal shore,
Fair Daphne's dead, and music is no more!
Her fate is whisper'd by the gentle breeze,
And told in sighs to all the trembling trees;
The trembling trees, in ev'ry plain and wood,
Her fate remurmur to the silver flood;
The silver flood, so lately calm, appears
Swell'd with new passion, and o'erflows with tears;
The winds and trees and floods her death deplore,
Daphne, our grief! our glory now no more!
hereBut see! where Daphne wond'ring mounts on high
Above the clouds, above the starry sky!
Eternal beauties grace the shining scene,
Fields ever fresh, and groves for ever green!
There while you rest in Amaranthine bow'rs,
Or from those meads select unfading flow'rs,
[Page 74] Behold us kindly, who your name implore,
Daphne, our Goddess, and our grief no more!
How all things listen, while thy Muse complains!
Such silence waits on Philomela's strains,
In some still ev'ning, when the whisp'ring breeze
Pants on the leaves, and dies upon the trees.
hereTo thee, bright goddess, oft a lamb shall bleed,
If teeming ewes encrease my fleecy breed.
hereWhile plants their shade, or flow'rs their odours give,
Thy name, thy honour, and thy praise shall live!
But see, Orion sheds unwholsome dews,
hereArise, the pines a noxious shade diffuse;
Sharp Boreas blows, and Nature feels decay,
hereTime conquers all, and we must Time obey.
[Page 75] hereAdieu, ye vales, ye mountains, streams and groves,
Adieu, ye shepherd's rural lays and loves;
Adieu, my flocks, farewell ye sylvan crew,
Daphne, farewell, and all the world adieu!


‘WINTER.]’ This was the Poet's favourite Pastoral.

Mrs. Tempest.]’ This Lady was of an ancient family in York­shire, and particularly admired by the Author's friend Mr. Walsh, who, having celebrated her in a Pastoral Elegy, desired [Page 70] his friend to do the same, as appears from one of his Letters, dated Sept. 9, 1706. ‘"Your last Eclogue being on the same subject with mine on Mrs. Tempest's death, I should take it very kindly in you to give it a little turn as if it were to the memory of the same lady."’ Her death having happened on the night of the great storm in 1703, gave a propriety to this eclogue, which in its general turn alludes to it. The scene of the Pastoral lies in a grove, the time at midnight. P.

VER. 9. shine with silver frost,]’ The image is a fine one, but improperly placed. The idea he would here raise is the deformity of Winter, as appears by the following line: but this contradicts it. It should have been—glare with hoary frost, or some such expression: the same inaccuracy in ℣ 31, where he uses pearls, when he should have said tears.

[Page 75] VER. 89, etc.] These four last lines allude to the several subjects of the four Pastorals, and to the several scenes of them, particularized before in each. P.


VER. 1. Thyrsis, the music, etc.]’

[...], etc.
Theocr. Id. i.

[Page 70] VER. 13. Thames heard etc.]’

Audiit Eurotas, jussitque ediscere lauros.


[Page 71] VER. 23, 24, 25.

Inducite fontibus umbras —
Et tumulum facite, et tumulo superaddite carmen.


[Page 73] VER. 69, 70.

miratur limen Olympi,
Sub pedibusque videt nubes et sydera Daphnis.


[Page 74] VER. 81.

illius aram
Saepe tener nostris ab ovilibus imbuet agnus.


VER. 86.

solet esse gravis cantantibus umbra,
Juniperi gravis umbra.


VER. 88. Time conquers all, etc.

Omnia vincit amor, et nos cedamus amori.
Vid. etiam Sannazarii Ecl. et Spencer's Calendar.


VER. 29. Originally thus in the MS.

'Tis done, and nature's chang'd since you are gone;
Behold the clouds have put their Mourning on.

[Page 74] VER. 83. Originally thus in the MS.

While Vapours rise, and driving snows descend,
Thy honour, name, and praise shall never end.

A Sacred Eclogue, In Imitation of VIRGIL's POLLIO.


IN reading several passages of the Prophet Isaiah, which foretell the coming of Christ and the felicities attending it, I could not but observe a remarkable pa­rity between many of the thoughts, and those in the Pollio of Virgil. This will not seem surprising, when we reflect, that the Eclogue was taken from a Sibylline prophecy on the same subject. One may judge that Virgil did not copy it line by line, but selected such ideas as best agreed with the nature of pastoral poetry, and disposed them in that manner which served most to beautify his piece. I have endeavoured the same in this imitation of him, though without admitting any thing of my own; since it was written with this parti­cular view, that the reader, by comparing the several thoughts, might see how far the images and descrip­tions of the Prophet are superior to those of the Poet. But as I fear I have prejudiced them by my management, I shall subjoin the passages of Isaiah, and those of Virgil, under the same disadvantage of a literal translation. P.


YE Nymphs of Solyma! begin the song:
To heav'nly themes sublimer strains belong.
The mossy fountains, and the sylvan shades,
The dreams of Pindus and th'Aonian maids,
Delight no more—O thou my voice inspire
Who touch'd Isaiah's hallow'd lips with fire!
Rapt into future times, the Bard begun:
hereA Virgin shall conceive, a Virgin bear a Son!
[Page 80] From a Jesse's root behold a branch arise,
Whose sacred flow'r with fragrance fills the skies:
Th' Aethereal spirit o'er its leaves shall move,
And on its top descends the mystic Dove.
hereYe b Heav'ns! from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly show'r!
The c sick and weak the healing plant shall aid,
From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade.
hereAll crimes shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail;
Returning d Justice lift aloft her scale;
[Page 81] Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-rob'd Innocence from heav'n descend.
Swift fly the years, and rise th' expected morn!
Oh spring to light, auspicious Babe, be born!
hereSee Nature hastes her earliest wreaths to bring,
With all the incense of the breathing spring:
See e lofty Lebanon his head advance,
See nodding forests on the mountains dance:
See spicy clouds from lowly Saron rise,
And Carmel's flow'ry top perfumes the skies!
hereHark! a glad voice the lonely desart chears;
Prepare the f way! a God, a God appears:
[Page 82] A God, a God! the vocal hills reply,
The rocks proclaim th' approaching Deity.
Lo, earth receives him from the bending skies!
Sink down ye mountains, and ye valleys rise,
With heads declin'd, ye cedars homage pay;
Be smooth ye rocks, ye rapid floods give way!
The Saviour comes! by ancient bards foretold:
Hear g him, ye deaf, and all ye blind, behold!
hereHe from thick films shall purge the visual ray,
And on the sightless eye-ball pour the day:
[Page 83] 'Tis he th' obstructed paths of sound shall clear,
And bid new music charm th' unfolding ear:
The dumb shall sing, the lame his crutch forego,
And leap exulting like the bounding roe.
No sigh, no murmur the wide world shall hear,
From ev'ry face he wipes off ev'ry tear.
In h adamantine chains shall Death be bound,
And Hell's grim Tyrant feel th' eternal wound.
As the good i shepherd tends his fleecy care,
Seeks freshest pasture and the purest air,
Explores the lost, the wand'ring sheep directs,
By day o'ersees them, and by night protects,
The tender lambs he raises in his arms,
Feeds from his hand, and in his bosom warms;
Thus shall mankind his guardian care engage,
The promis'd k father of the future age.
No more shall l nation against nation rise,
Nor ardent warriours meet with hateful eyes,
Nor fields with gleaming steel be cover'd o'er,
The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more;
[Page 84] But useless lances into scythes shall bend,
And the broad faulchion in a plow-share end.
Then palaces shall rise; the joyful m Son
Shall finish what his short-liv'd Sire begun;
Their vines a shadow to their race shall yield,
And the same hand that sow'd, shall reap the field
hereThe swain in barren n desarts with surprize
See lillies spring, and sudden verdure rise;
And starts, amidst the thirsty wilds to hear
New falls of water murm'ring in his ear.
On rifted rocks, the dragon's late abodes,
The green reed trembles, and the bulrush nods.
Waste sandy o valleys, once perplex'd with thorn,
The spiry fir and shapely box adorn:
To leafless shrubs the flow'ring palms succeed,
And od'rous myrtle to the noisom weed.
[Page 85] hereThe p lambs with wolves shall graze the verdant mead,
And boys in flow'ry bands the tyger lead;
The steer and lion at one crib shall meet,
And harmless q serpents lick the pilgrim's feet.
The smiling infant in his hand shall take
The crested basilisk and speckled snake,
Pleas'd the green lustre of the scales survey,
And with their forky tongue shall innocently play.
hereRise, crown'd with light, imperial r Salem, rise!
Exalt thy tow'ry head, and lift thy eyes!
[Page 86] See, a long s race thy spacious courts adorn;
See future sons, and daughters yet unborn,
In crouding ranks on ev'ry side arise,
Demanding life, impatient for the skies!
See barb'rous t nations at thy gates attend,
Walk in thy light, and in thy temple bend;
See thy bright altars throng'd with prostrate kings
And heap'd with products of v Sabaean springs!
For thee Idume's spicy forests blow,
And seeds of gold in Ophyr's mountains glow.
See heav'n its sparkling portals wide display,
And break upon thee in a flood of day!
No more the rising w Sun shall gild the morn,
Nor ev'ning Cynthia fill her silver horn;
But lost, dissolv'd in thy superior rays,
One tide of glory, one unclouded blaze
O'erflow thy courts: the Light himself shall shine
Reveal'd, and God's eternal day be thine!
The x seas shall waste, the skies in smoke decay,
Rocks fall to dust, and mountains melt away;
But fix'd his word, his saving pow'r remains;
Thy realm for ever lasts, thy own MESSIAH reigns!


VER. 8.

A Virgin shall conceive—
All crimes shall cease, etc.]

VIRG. E. iv. ℣ 6.
Jam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna;
Jam nova progenies caelo demittitur alto.
Te duce, si qua manent sceleris vestigia nostri,
Irrita perpetua solvent formidine terras—
Pacatumque reget patriis virtutibus orbem.

Now the Virgin returns, now the kingdom of Saturn returns, now a new Progeny is sent down from high heaven. By means of thee, whatever reliques of our crimes remain, shall be wiped away, and free the world from perpctual fears. He shall govern the earth in peace, with the virtues of his Father.

ISAIAH, Ch. vii. ℣ 14. Behold a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son.Ch. ix. ℣ 6, 7. Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; the Prince of Peace: of the increase of his govern­ment, [Page 80] and of his peace, there, shall be no end: Upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order and to stablish it, with judg­ment, and with justice, for ever and ever. P.

[Page 81] VER. 23. See Nature hastes, etc]’

VIRG. E. iv. ℣ 18.
At tibi prima, puer, nullo munuscula cultu,
Errantes hederas passim cum baccare tellus,
Mixtaque ridenti colocasia fundet acantho—
Ipsa tibi blandos fundent cunabula flores.

For thee, O Child, shall the earth, without being tilled, produce her early offerings; winding ivy, mixed with Baccar, and Colo­casia with smiling Acanthus. Thy cradle shall pour forth pleasing flowers about thee.

ISAIAH, Ch. xxxv. ℣ 1. The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad, and the desart shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. Ch. lx. ℣ 13. The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir­tree, the pine-tree, and the box together, to beautisy the place of thy sanctuary. P.

VER. 29. Hark, a glad Voice, etc.]’

VIRG. E. iv. ℣ 46.
Aggredere ô magnos, aderit jam tempus, honores,
Cara deûm soboles, magnum Jovis incrementum—

[Page 82]
Ipsi laetitia voces ad sydera jactant
Intonsi montes, ipsae jam carmina rupes,
Ipsa sonant arbusta, Deus, deus ille Menalca!
E. v. ℣ 62.

Oh come and receive the mighty honours: the time draws nigh, O beloved offspring of the Gods, O great encrease of Jove! The un­cultivated mountains send shouts of joy to the stars, the very rocks sing in verse, the very shrubs cry out, A God, a God!

ISAIAH, Ch. xl. ℣ 3, 4. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord! make strait in the desart a high way for our God! Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made strait, and the rough places plain. Ch. iv. ver. 23. Break forth into singing, ye mountains! O forest, and every tree therein! for the Lord hath redeemed Israel.’ P.

[Page 84] VER. 67. The swain in barren desarts]’

Virg. E. iv. ℣ 28.
Molli paulatim flavescet campus arista,
Incultisque rubens pendebit sentibus uva,
Et durae quercus sudabunt roscida mella.

The fields shall grow yellow with ripen'd cars, and the red grape shall hang upon the wild brambles, and the hard oaks shall distill honey like dew.

ISAIAH, Ch. xxxv. ℣ 7. The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: In the habitations where dragons lay, shall be grass, and reeds, and rushes. Ch. lv. ℣ 13. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree, and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree. P.

[Page 85] VER. 77. The lambs with wolves etc]’

Virg. E. iv. ℣ 21.
Ipsae lacte domum referent distenta capellae
Ubera, nec magnos metuent armenta leones—
Occidet et serpens, et fallax herba veneni

The goats shall bear to the fold their udders distended with milk: nor shall the herds be afraid of the greatest lions. The serpent shall die, and the herb that conceals poison shall die.

ISAIAH, Ch. xi. ℣ 16, etc. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together: and a little child shall lead them.—And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the den of the cockatrice. P.

VER. 85. Rise, crown'd with light, imperial Salem, rise!]’ The thoughts of Isaiah, which compose the latter part of the poem, are wonderfully elevated, and much above those general ex­clamations of Virgil, which make the loftiest parts of his Pollio.

Magnus ab integro saeclorum nascitur ordo!
—toto surget gens aurea mundo!
—incipient magni procedere menses!
Aspice, venturo laetentur ut omnia saeclo! etc.

The reader needs only to turn to the passages of Isaiah, here cited.



VER. 13.

Ye Heav'ns! from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly show'r!]

His Original says, Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righte­ousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together.—This is a very noble de­scription of divine grace shed abroad in the hearts of the faithful under the Gospel dispensation. And the poet understood all its force, as appears from the two lines preceding these,—Th' Ae­thereal Spirit, etc. The prophet describes this under the image of rain, which chiefly fits the first age of the Gospel: The poet, under the idea of dew, which extends it to every age. And it was his purpose it should be so understood, as appears from his expression of soft silence, which agrees with the common not the extraordinary effusions of the Holy Spirit. The term of dewy nectar, for divine grace, is wonderfully happy. For he who would moralize the ancient Mythology in the manner of Bacon, must say, that by the poetical nectar, can be meant only theological grace.

VER. 17. ancient fraud]’ i. e. the fraud of the Serpent.

[Page 82] VER. 39. He from thick films shall purge the visual ray,]’ The fense and language shew, that, by visual ray, the poet meant the sight, or, as Milton calls it, the visual nerve. And no critic would quarrel with the figure which calls the instrument of vision by the name of the cause. But tho' this term be just, nay noble, and even sublime, yet the expression of thick films is faulty; and he fell into it by a common neglect of the following rule of good writing, ‘"That [Page 83] when a figurative term is used, whatsoever is predicated of it ought not only to agree to the thing to which the figure is applied, but likewise to that from which the figure is taken."’ Thick films agree only with the thing to which it is applied, name­ly to the sight or eye; and not to that from which it is taken, namely a ray of light coming to the eye. He should have said thick clouds, which would have agreed with both. But these inac­curacies are not to be found in his later poems.

To the Right Honourable GEORGE Lord LANSDOWN.

Non injussa cano: Te nostrae, Vare, myricae,
Te Nemus omne canet; nec Phoebo gratior ulla est,
Quam sibi quae Vari praescripsit pagina nomen.

Plate II. Vol. I. facing p.89.

S. Wale inv: et del: J. S. Müller sc:

My humble Muse, in unambitious Strains
Paints the green Forests & the flow'ry Plains.
Windsor Forest.

To the Right Honourable GEORGE Lord LANSDOWN.

THY forests, Windsor! and thy green retreats,
At once the Monarch's and the Muse's seats,
hereInvite my lays. Be present, sylvan maids!
Unlock your springs, and open all your shades.
GRANVILLE commands; your aid, O Muses, bring!
hereWhat Muse for GRANVILLE can refuse to sing?
The Groves of Eden, vanish'd now so long,
Live in description, and look green in song:
These, were my breast inspir'd with equal flame,
Like them in beauty, should be like in fame.
Here hills and vales, the woodland and the plain,
Here earth and water seem to strive again;
Not Chaos-like together crush'd and bruis'd,
But, as the world, harmoniously confus'd:
Where order in variety we see,
And where, tho' all things differ, all agree.
Here waving groves a chequer'd scene display,
And part admit, and part exclude the day;
As some coy nymph her lover's warm address
Nor quite indulges, nor can quite repress.
There, interspers'd in lawns and op'ning glades,
Thin trees arise that shun each other's shades.
Here in full light the russet plains extend:
There wrapt in clouds the blueish hills ascend.
hereEv'n the wild heath displays her purple dyes,
And 'midst the desart fruitful fields arise,
[Page 91] That crown'd with tufted trees and springing corn,
Like verdant isles the sable waste adorn.
Let India boast her plants, nor envy we
The weeping amber or the balmy tree,
While by our oaks the precious loads are born,
And realms commanded which those trees adorn.
hereNot proud Olympus yields a nobler sight,
Tho' Gods assembled grace his tow'ring height,
Than what more humble mountains offer here,
Where, in their blessings, all those Gods appear.
See Pan with flocks, with fruits Pomona crown'd,
Here blushing Flora paints th'enamel'd ground,
Here Ceres' gifts in waving prospect stand,
And nodding tempt the joyful reaper's hand;
Rich Industry sits smiling on the plains,
And peace and plenty tell, a STUART reigns.
Not thus the land appear'd in ages past,
A dreary desart, and a gloomy waste,
hereTo savage beasts and savage laws a prey,
And kings more furious and severe than they;
Who claim'd the skies, dispeopled air and floods,
The lonely lords of empty wilds and woods:
hereCities laid waste, they storm'd the dens and caves,
(For wiser brutes were backward to be slaves.)
What could be free, when lawless beasts obey'd,
And ev'n the elements a Tyrant sway'd?
In vain kind seasons swell'd the teeming grain,
Soft show'rs distill'd, and suns grew warm in vain;
The swain with tears his frustrate labour yields,
And famish'd dies amidst his ripen'd fields.
hereWhat wonder then, a beast or subject slain
Were equal crimes in a despotic reign?
[Page 93] Both doom'd alike, for sportive Tyrants bled,
But while the subject starv'd, the beast was fed.
Proud Nimrod first the bloody chace began,
A mighty hunter, and his prey was man:
Our haughty Norman boasts that barb'rous name,
And makes his trembling slaves the royal game.
here hereThe fields are ravish'd from th'industrious swains,
From men their cities, and from Gods their fanes:
The levell'd towns with weeds lie cover'd o'er;
The hollow winds thro' naked temples roar;
Round broken columns clasping ivy twin'd;
O'er heaps of ruin stalk'd the stately hind;
The fox obscene to gaping tombs retires,
hereAnd savage howlings fill the sacred quires.
Aw'd by his Nobles, by his Commons curst,
Th'Oppressor rul'd tyrannic where he durst,
[Page 94] Stretch'd o'er the Poor and Church his iron rod,
And serv'd alike his Vassals and his God.
Whom ev'n the Saxon spar'd and bloody Dane,
The wanton victims of his sport remain.
But see, the man who spacious regions gave
hereA waste for beasts, himself deny'd a grave!
hereStretch'd on the lawn his second hope survey,
At once the chaser, and at once the prey:
Lo Rufus, tugging at the deadly dart,
Bleeds in the forest like a wounded hart.
Succeeding monarchs heard the subjects cries,
Nor saw displeas'd the peaceful cottage rise.
Then gath'ring flocks on unknown mountains fed,
O'er sandy wilds were yellow harvests spread,
hereThe forests wonder'd at th'unusual grain,
And secret transport touch'd the conscious swain.
hereFair Liberty, Britannia's Goddess, rears
Her chearful head, and leads the golden years.
Ye vig'rous swains! while youth ferments your blood,
And purer spirits swell the sprightly flood,
Now range the hills, the gameful woods beset,
Wind the shrill horn, or spread the waving net.
hereWhen milder autumn summer's heat succeeds,
And in the new-shorn field the partridge feeds,
Before his lord the ready spaniel bounds,
Panting with hope, he tries the furrow'd grounds;
But when the tainted gales the game betray,
Couch'd close he lies, and meditates the prey:
Secure they trust th' unfaithful field beset,
'Till hov'ring o'er 'em sweeps the swelling net.
Thus (if small things we may with great compare)
When Albion sends her eager sons to war,
[Page 96] hereSome thoughtless Town, with ease and plenty blest,
Near, and more near, the closing lines invest;
Sudden they seize th' amaz'd, defenceless prize,
And high in air Britannia's standard flies.
See! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs,
And mounts exulting on triumphant wings:
Short is his joy; he feels the fiery wound,
Flutters in blood, and panting beats the ground.
hereAh! what avail his glossy, varying dyes,
His purple crest, and scarlet-circled eyes,
The vivid green his shining plumes unfold,
His painted wings, and breast that flames with gold?
Nor yet, when moist Arcturus clouds the sky,
The woods and fields their pleasing toils deny.
To plains with well-breath'd beagles we repair,
And trace the mazes of the circling hare:
[Page 97] (Beasts, urg'd by us, their fellow-beasts pursue,
And learn of man each other to undo.)
With slaught'ring guns th' unweary'd fowler roves,
hereWhen frosts have whiten'd all the naked groves;
Where doves in flocks the leafless trees o'ershade,
And lonely woodcocks haunt the wat'ry glade.
hereHe lifts the tube, and levels with his eye;
Strait a short thunder breaks the frozen sky:
Oft, as in airy rings they skim the heath,
The clam'rous Lapwings feel the leaden death:
Oft, as the mounting larks their notes prepare,
hereThey fall, and leave their little lives in air.
In genial spring, beneath the quiv'ring shade,
Where cooling vapours breathe along the mead,
The patient fisher takes his silent stand,
Intent, his angle trembling in his hand:
With looks unmov'd, he hopes the scaly breed,
And eyes the dancing cork, and bending reed.
Our plenteous streams a various race supply,
The bright-ey'd perch with fins of Tyrian dye,
[Page 98] The silver eel, in shining volumes roll'd,
The yellow carp, in scales bedrop'd with gold,
Swift trouts, diversify'd with crimson stains,
And pykes, the tyrants of the watry plains.
Now Cancer glows with Phoebus' fiery car:
The youth rush eager to the sylvan war,
Swarm o'er the lawns, the forest walks surround,
Rouze the fleet hart, and chear the opening hound.
hereTh' impatient courser pants in ev'ry vein,
And pawing, seems to beat the distant plain:
Hills, vales, and floods appear already cross'd,
And e'er he starts, a thousand steps are lost.
See the bold youth strain up the threat'ning steep,
Rush thro' the thickets, down the valleys sweep,
Hang o'er their coursers heads with eager speed,
hereAnd earth rolls back beneath the flying steed.
[Page 99] Let old Arcadia boast her ample plain,
Th' immortal huntress, and her virgin-train;
Nor envy, Windsor! since thy shades have seen
hereAs bright a Goddess, and as chaste a QUEEN;
Whose care, like hers, protects the sylvan reign,
The Earth's fair light, and Empress of the Main.
Here too, 'tis sung, of old Diana stray'd,
And Cynthus' top forsook for Windsor shade;
Here was she seen o'er airy wastes to rove,
Seek the clear spring, or haunt the pathless grove;
Here arm'd with silver bows, in early dawn,
Her buskin'd Virgins trac'd the dewy lawn.
Above the rest a rural nymph was fam'd,
Thy offspring, Thames! the fair Lodona nam'd;
(Lodona's fate, in long oblivion cast,
The Muse shall sing, and what she sings shall last.)
Scarce could the Goddess from her nymph be known,
But by the crescent and the golden zone.
hereShe scorn'd the praise of beauty, and the care;
A belt her waist, a fillet binds her hair;
[Page 100] A painted quiver on her shoulder sounds,
And with her dart the flying deer she wounds.
It chanc'd, as eager of the chace, the maid
Beyond the forest's verdant limits stray'd,
Pan saw and lov'd, and burning with desire
Pursu'd her flight, her flight increas'd his fire.
hereNot half so swift the trembling doves can fly,
When the fierce eagle cleaves the liquid sky;
Not half so swiftly the fierce eagle moves,
When thro' the clouds he drives the trembling doves;
As from the God she flew with furious pace,
Or as the God, more furious, urg'd the chace.
Now fainting, sinking, pale, the nymph appears;
Now close behind, his sounding steps she hears;
hereAnd now his shadow reach'd her as she run,
His shadow lengthen'd by the setting sun;
And now his shorter breath, with sultry air,
Pants on her neck, and fans her parting hair.
[Page 101] In vain on father Thames she calls for aid,
Nor could Diana help her injur'd maid.
Faint, breathless, thus she pray'd, nor pray'd in vain;
" Ah Cynthia! ah—tho' banish'd from thy train,
" Let me, O let me, to the shades repair,
" My native shades—there weep, and murmur there.
She said, and melting as in tears she lay,
In a soft, silver stream dissolv'd away.
The silver stream her virgin coldness keeps,
For ever murmurs, and for ever weeps;
hereStill bears the name the hapless virgin bore,
And bathes the forest where she rang'd before.
In her chaste current oft the Goddess laves,
And with celestial tears augments the waves.
hereOft in her glass the musing shepherd spies
The headlong mountains and the downward skies,
The watry landskip of the pendant woods,
And absent trees that tremble in the floods;
In the clear azure gleam the flocks are seen,
And floating forests paint the waves with green,
[Page 102] Thro' the fair scene roll slow the ling'ring streams,
Then foaming pour along, and rush into the Thames.
Thou too, great father of the British floods!
With joyful pride survey'st our lofty woods;
Where tow'ring oaks their growing honours rear,
And future navies on thy shores appear.
Not Neptune's self from all her streams receives
A wealthier tribute, than to thine he gives.
No seas so rich, so gay no banks appear,
No lake so gentle, and no spring so clear.
Nor Po so swells the fabling Poet's lays,
While led along the skies his current strays,
As thine, which visits Windsor's fam'd abodes,
To grace the mansion of our earthly Gods:
Nor all his stars above a lustre show,
Like the bright Beauties on thy banks below;
hereWhere Jove, subdu'd by mortal Passion still,
Might change Olympus for a nobler hill.
hereHappy the man whom this bright Court approves,
His Sov'reign favours, and his Country loves:
Happy next him, who to these shades retires,
Whom Nature charms, and whom the Muse inspires,
Whom humbler joys of home-felt quiet please,
Successive study, exercise, and ease.
He gathers health from herbs the forest yields,
And of their fragant physic spoils the fields:
With chymic art exalts the min'ral pow'rs,
And draws the aromatic souls of flow'rs:
Now marks the course of rolling orbs on high;
O'er figur'd worlds now travels with his eye;
Of ancient writ unlocks the learned store,
Consults the dead, and lives past ages o'er:
Or wand'ring thoughtful in the silent wood,
Attends the duties of the wise and good,
hereT'observe a mean, be to himself a friend,
To follow nature, and regard his end;
Or looks on heav'n with more than mortal eyes,
Bids his free soul expatiate in the skies,
Amid her kindred stars familiar roam,
Survey the region, and confess her home!
[Page 104] Such was the life great Scipio once admir'd,
Thus Atticus, and TRUMBAL thus retir'd.
Ye sacred Nine! that all my soul possess,
Whose raptures fire me, and whose visions bless,
hereBear me, oh bear me to sequester'd scenes,
The bow'ry mazes, and surrounding greens:
To Thames's banks which fragrant breezes fill,
Or where ye Muses sport on COOPER'S HILL.
(On COOPER'S HILL eternal wreaths shall grow,
While lasts the mountain, or while Thames shall flow)
hereI seem thro' consecrated walks to rove,
I hear soft music die along the grove:
Led by the sound, I roam from shade to shade,
By god-like Poets venerable made:
Here his first lays majestic DENHAM sung;
hereThere the last numbers flow'd from COWLEY'S tongue.
[Page 105] O early lost! what tears the river shed,
When the sad pomp along his banks was led?
hereHis drooping swans on ev'ry note expire,
And on his willows hung each Muse's lyre.
Since fate relentless stop'd their heav'nly voice,
No more the forests ring, or groves rejoice;
Who now shall charm the shades, where COWLEY strung
His living harp, and lofty DENHAM sung?
But hark! the groves rejoice, the forest rings!
Are these reviv'd? or is it GRANVILLE sings?
'Tis yours, my Lord, to bless our soft retreats,
And call the Muses to their ancient seats;
To paint anew the flow'ry sylvan scenes,
To crown the forests with immortal greens,
Make Windsor-hills in lofty numbers rise,
And lift her turrets nearer to the skies;
To sing those honours you deserve to wear,
hereAnd add new lustre to her silver star.
hereHere noble SURREY felt the sacred rage,
SURREY, the GRANVILLE of a former age:
Matchless his pen, victorious was his lance,
Bold in the lists, and graceful in the dance:
In the same shades the Cupids tun'd his lyre,
To the same notes, of love, and soft desire:
Fair Geraldine, bright object of his vow,
Then fill'd the groves, as heav'nly Mira now.
Oh would'st thou sing what Heroes Windsor bore,
What Kings first breath'd upon her winding shore,
Or raise old warriours, whose ador'd remains
In weeping vaults her hallow'd earth contains!
hereWith Edward's acts adorn the shining page,
Stretch his long triumphs down thro' ev'ry age,
Draw Monarchs chain'd, and Cressi's glorious field,
The lillies blazing on the regal shield:
[Page 107] hereThen, from her roofs when Verrio's colours fall,
And leave inanimate the naked wall,
Still in thy song should vanquish'd France appear,
And bleed for ever under Britain's spear.
hereLet softer strains ill-fated Henry mourn,
And palms eternal flourish round his urn.
Here o'er the Martyr-King the marble weeps,
hereAnd fast beside him, once-fear'd Edward sleeps:
Whom not th' extended Albion could contain,
From old Belerium to the northern main,
The grave unites; where ev'n the Great find rest,
And blended lie th' oppressor and th' opprest!
Make sacred Charles's tomb for ever known,
(Obscure the place, and un-inscrib'd the stone)
hereOh fact accurst! what tears has Albion shed,
Heav'ns, what new wounds! and how her old have bled?
[Page 108] She saw her sons with purple deaths expire,
Her sacred domes involv'd in rolling fire,
A dreadful series of intestine wars,
Inglorious triumphs and dishonest scars.
hereAt length great ANNA said—"Let Discord cease!"
She said, the world obey'd, and all was Peace!
In that blest moment from his oozy bed
Old father Thames advanc'd his rev'rend head.
hereHis tresses drop'd with dews, and o'er the stream
His shining horns diffus'd a golden gleam:
Grav'd on his urn appear'd the moon, that guides
His swelling waters, and alternate tides;
The figur'd streams in waves of silver roll'd,
And on their banks Augusta rose in gold.
[Page 109] Around his throne the sea-born brothers stood,
Who swell with tributary urns his flood;
First the fam'd authors of his ancient name,
The winding Isis and the fruitful Tame:
The Kennet swift, for silver eels renown'd;
The Loddon slow, with verdant alders crown'd;
Cole, whose dark streams his flow'ry islands lave;
And chalky Wey, that rolls a milky wave:
The blue, transparent Vandalis appears;
The gulphy Lee his sedgy tresses rears;
And sullen Mole, that hides his diving flood;
And silent Darent, stain'd with Danish blood.
High in the midst, upon his urn reclin'd,
(His sea-green mantle waving with the wind)
The God appear'd: he turn'd his azure eyes
Where Windsor-domes and pompous turrets rise;
Then bow'd and spoke; the winds forget to roar,
And the hush'd waves glide softly to the shore.
Hail, sacred Peace! hail long-expected days,
That Thames's glory to the stars shall raise!
Tho' Tyber's streams immortal Rome behold,
Tho' foaming Hermus swells with tides of gold,
From heav'n itself tho' sev'n-fold Nilus flows,
And harvests on a hundred realms bestows;
[Page 110] These now no more shall be the Muse's themes,
Lost in my fame, as in the sea their streams.
hereLet Volga's banks with iron squadrons shine,
And groves of lances glitter on the Rhine,
Let barb'rous Ganges arm a servile train;
Be mine the blessings of a peaceful reign.
No more my sons shall die with British blood
Red Iber's sands, or Ister's foaming flood:
Safe on my shore each unmolested swain
Shall tend the flocks, or reap the bearded grain;
The shady empire shall retain no trace
Of war or blood, but in the sylvan chace;
The trumpet sleep, while chearful horns are blown,
And arms employ'd on birds and beasts alone.
Behold! th' ascending Villa's on my side,
Project long shadows o'er the crystal tide,
Behold! Augusta's glitt'ring spires increase,
hereAnd Temples rise, the beauteous works of Peace.
[Page 111] I see, I see, where two fair cities bend
Their ample bow, a new Whitehall ascend!
There mighty Nations shall enquire their doom,
The World's great Oracle in times to come;
There Kings shall sue, and suppliant States be seen
Once more to bend before a BRITISH QUEEN.
hereThy trees, fair Windsor! now shall leave their woods,
And half thy forests rush into thy floods,
Bear Britain's thunder, and her Cross display,
To the bright regions of the rising day;
Tempt icy seas, where scarce the waters roll,
hereWhere clearer flames glow round the frozen Pole;
[Page 112] Or under southern skies exalt their sails,
Led by new stars, and borne by spicy gales!
For me the balm shall bleed, and amber flow,
The coral redden, and the ruby glow,
The pearly shell its lucid globe infold,
And Phoebus warm the rip'ning ore to gold.
The time shall come, when free as seas or wind
hereUnbounded Thames shall flow for all mankind,
Whole nations enter with each swelling tide,
And seas but join the regions they divide;
Earth's distant ends our glory shall behold,
And the new world launch forth to seek the old.
Then ships of uncouth form shall stem the tyde,
And feather'd people croud my wealthy side,
And naked youths and painted chiefs admire
Our speech, our colour, and our strange attire!
Oh stretch thy reign, fair Peace! from shore to shore,
'Till Conquest cease, and Slav'ry be no more;
'Till the freed Indians in their native groves
Reap their own fruits, and woo their sable loves,
[Page 113] Peru once more a race of Kings behold,
And other Mexico's be roof'd with gold.
Exil'd by thee from earth to deepest hell,
In brazen bonds, shall barb'rous Discord dwell;
Gigantic Pride, pale Terror, gloomy Care,
And mad Ambition shall attend her there:
There purple Vengeance bath'd in gore retires,
Her weapons blunted, and extinct her fires:
There hateful Envy her own snakes shall feel,
And Persecution mourn her broken wheel:
There Faction roar, Rebellion bite her chain,
And gasping Furies thirst for blood in vain.
hereHere cease thy flight, nor with unhallow'd lays
Touch the fair fame of Albion's golden days:
The thoughts of Gods let GRANVILLE'S verse recite,
And bring the scenes of op'ning fate to light.
My humble Muse, in unambitious strains,
Paints the green forests and the flow'ry plains,
[Page 114] Where Peace descending bids her olives spring,
And scatters blessings from her dove-like wing.
Ev'n I more sweetly pass my careless days,
Pleas'd in the silent shade with empty praise;
Enough for me, that to the list'ning swains
First in these fields I sung the sylvan strains.


VER. 3, etc. originally thus,

Chaste Goddess of the woods,
Nymphs of the vales, and Naiads of the floods,
Lead me thro' arching bow'rs, and glimm'ring glades.
Unlock your springs—


[Page 90] VER. 25. Originally thus;

Why should I sing our better suns or air,
Whose vital draughts prevent the leach's care,
While thro' fresh fields th'enliv'ning odours breathe,
Or spread with vernal blooms the purple heath?


[Page 92] VER. 49. Originally thus in the MS.

From towns laid waste, to dens and caves they ran
(For who first stoop'd to be a slave was man.)

VER. 57, etc.

No wonder savages or subjects slain—
But subjects starv'd while savages were fed.

It was originally thus, but the word savages is not properly ap­plied to beasts but to men; which occasioned the alteration. P.

[Page 93] VER. 72. ‘And wolves with howling fill etc. The Author thought this an error, wolves not being common in England at the time of the Conqueror. P.

[Page 95] VER. 91.

Oh may no more a foreign master's rage,
With wrongs yet legal, curse a future age!
Still spread, fair Liberty! thy heav'nly wings,
Breath plenty on the fields, and fragrance on the springs.


VER. 97.

When yellow autumn summer's heat succeeds,
And into wine the purple harvest bleedsa,
The partridge feeding in the new-shorn fields,
Both morning sports and ev'ning pleasures yields.

[Page 96] VER. 107. It stood thus in the first Editions,

Pleas'd, in the Gen'ral's sight, the host lie down
Sudden before some unsuspecting town;
The young, the old, one instant makes our prize,
And o'er their captive heads Britannia's standard flies.

[Page 97] VER. 126.

O'er rustling leaves around the naked groves.

VER. 129.

The fowler lifts his levell'd tube on high.


VER. 233.

Happy the man, who to the shades retires,
But doubly happy, if the Muse inspires!
Blest whom the sweets of home-felt quiet please;
But far more blest, who study joins with ease.


[Page 102]VER. 231. It stood thus in the MS.

And force great Jove, if Jove's a lover still,
To change Olympus, etc.

[Page 104] VER. 265. it stood thus in the MS.

Methinks around your holy scenes I rove,
And hear your music echoing thro' the grove:
With transport visit each inspiring shade
By God-like Poets venerable made.

[Page 105] VER. 273.

What sighs, what murmurs fill'd the vocal shore!
His tuneful swans were heard to sing no more.


VER. 288. her silver star]’ All the lines that follow were not added to the poem till the year 1710. What immediately fol­lowed this, and made the Conclusion, were these,

My humble Muse in unambitious strains
Paints the green forests and the flow'ry plains;
[Page 106] Where I obscurely pass my careless days,
Pleas'd in the silent shade with empty praise,
Enough for me that to the list'ning swains
First in these fields I sung the sylvan strains.


[Page 107] VER. 305. Originally thus in the MS.

When Brass decays, when Trophies lie o'er thrown,
And mould'ring into dust drops the proud stone.

VER. 319. Originally thus in the MS.

Oh fact accurst! oh sacrilegious brood,
Sworn to Rebellion, principled in blood!
Since that dire morn what tears has Albion shed,
Gods! what new wounds, etc.

[Page 108] VER. 325. Thus in the MS.

Till Anna rose and bade the Furies cease;
Let there be Peace—she said, and all was Peace.

Between Verse 328 and 329, originally stood these lines,

From shore to shore exulting shouts he heard,
O'er all his banks a lambent light appear'd,
With sparkling flames heav'n's glowing concave shone,
Fictitious stars, and glories not her own.
He saw, and gently rose above the stream;
His shining horns diffuse a golden gleam:
With pearl and gold his tow'ry front was drest,
The tributes of the distant East and West.


[Page 110] VER. 361. Originally thus in the MS.

Let Venice boast her Tow'rs amidst the Main,
Where the rough Adrian swells and roars in vain;
Here not a Town, but spacious Realm shall have
A sure foundation on the rolling wave.

[Page 111] VER. 383, etc. were originally thus,

Now shall our fleets the bloody Cross display
To the rich regions of the rising day,
Or those green isles, where headlong Titan steeps
His hissing axle in th' Atlantic deeps;
Tempt icy seas, etc.



This Poem was written at two different times: the first part of it, which relates to the country, in the year 1704, at the same time with the Pastorals: the latter part was not added till the year 1713, in which it was published. P.

[Page 91] VER. 33. Not proud Olympus etc.]’ Sir J. Denham, in his Cooper's Hill, had said,

Than which a nobler weight no mountain bears,
But Atlas only, which supports the spheres.

The comparison is childish, for this story of Atlas being fabulous, leaves no room for a compliment. Our Poet has been more art­ful (though he employs as fabulous a circumstance in his com­parison) by shewing in what the nobility of the hills of Windsor-Forest consists—

Where, in their blessings, all those Gods appear. etc.

not to speak of the beautiful turn of wit.

[Page 92] VER. 45. savage laws]’ The Forest Laws.

[Page 93] VER. 65. The fields are ravish'd etc.]’ Alluding to the destru­ction made in the New Forest, and the tyrannies exercised there by William I. P.

[Page 94] VER. 80. himself deny'd a grave!]’ The place of his inter­ment at Caen in Normandy was claimed by a Gentleman as his inheritance, the moment his servants were going to put him in his tomb: so that they were obliged to compound with the owner before they could perform the King's obsequies.

VER. 81. second hope]’ Richard, second son of William the Conqueror.

[Page 99] VER. 162. Queen ANNE.

[Page 101] VER. 205. Still bears the name]’ The River Loddon.

VER. 209. Oft in her glass, etc.]’ These six lines were ad­ded after the first writing of this poem. P.

[Page 104] VER. 270. There the last numbers flow'd from Cowley's tongue]’ Mr. Cowley died at Chertsey, on the borders of the Forest, and was from thence convey'd to Westminster. P.

[Page 106] VER. 289. Here noble Surrey]’ Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, one of the first refiners of the English poetry; who flourish'd in the time of Henry VIII. P.

VER. 301. Edward's acts]’ Edward III. born here. P.

[Page 107] VER. 309. Henry mourn]’ Henry VI. P.

VER. 312. once-fear'd Edward sleeps:]’ Edward IV. P.

[Page 110] VER. 376. And Temples rise,]’ The fifty new Churches. P.

[Page 111] VER. 388. Where clearer flames glow round the frozen Pole.]’ The Poet is here recommending the advantages of commerce, and therefore the extremities of heat and cold are not represent­ed in a forbidding manner: as again,

Or under southern skies exalt their sails,
Led by new stars, and borne by spicy gales.

But in the Dunciad, where the mischief of Dulness is described, they are painted in all their inclemencies,

See round the Poles where keener spangles shine,
Where spices smoke beneath the burning line.

[Page 112] VER. 396. Unbounded Thames, etc.]’ A wish that London may be made a FREE PORT. P.


VER. 6.

neget quis carmina Gallo?

[Page 93] VER. 65.

The fields were ravish'd from th'industrious swains,
From men their cities, and from Gods their fanes:]

Translated from,

Templa adimit divis, fora civibus, arva colonis,

an old monkish writer, I forget who.


[Page 94] VER. 89.

Miraturque novas frondes et non sua poma.

[Page 96] VER. 115.

nec te tua plurima, Pantheu,
Labentem pietas, vel Apollinis infula texit.

[Page 97] VER. 134.

Praecipites alta vitam sub nube relinquunt.

[Page 98] VER. 151. Th' impatient courser etc.]’ Translated from Sta­tius,

Stare adeo miserum est, pereunt vestigia mille
Ante fugam, absentemque ferit gravis ungula campum.

These lines Mr. Dryden, in his preface to his translation of Fres­noy's Art of painting, calls wonderfully fine, and says they would cost him an hour, if he had the leisure to translate them, there is so much of beauty in the original; which was the reason, I suppose, why Mr. P. tried his strength with them.

VER. 158. and earth rolls back]’ He has improved his ori­ginal,

terraeque urbesque recedunt.

[Page 99] VER. 175.

Nec positu variare comas; ubi fibula vestem,
Vitta coercuerat neglectos alba capillos.

[Page 100] VER. 183, 186.

Ut fugere accipitrem penna trepidante columbae,
Ut solet accipiter trepidas agitare columbas.

VER. 191, 194.

Sol erat a tergo: vidi praecedere longam
Ante pedes umbram: nisi si timor illa videbat.
Sed certe sonituque pedum terrebar; et ingens
Crinales vittas afflabat anhelitus oris.

[Page 103] VER. 249, 50.

Servare modum finemque tenere,
Naturamque sequi.

[Page 104] VER. 259.

O qui me gelidis, etc.

[Page 113] VER. 421.

Quo, Musa, tendis? desine pervicax
Referre sermones Deorum et
Magna modis tenuare parvis.



DEscend, ye Nine! descend and sing;
The breathing instruments inspire,
Wake into voice each silent string,
And sweep the sounding lyre!
In a sadly-pleasing strain
Let the warbling lute complain:
hereLet the loud trumpet sound,
'Till the roofs all around
The shrill echos rebound:
[Page 118] While in more lengthen'd notes and slow,
The deep, majestic, solemn organs blow.
Hark! the numberssoft and clear,
Gently steal upon the ear;
Now louder, and yet louder rise
And fill with spreading sounds the skies;
Exulting in triumph now swell the bold notes,
In broken air, trembling, the wild music floats;
'Till, by degrees, remote and small,
The strains decay,
And melt away,
In a dying, dying fall.
By Music, minds an equal temper know,
Nor swell too high, nor sink too low.
If in the breast tumultuous joys arise,
Music her soft, assuasive voice applies;
[Page 119] Or when the soul is press'd with cares,
Exalts her in enlivening airs.
Warriors she fires with animated sounds;
Pours balm into the bleeding lover's wounds:
Melancholy lifts her head,
Morpheus rouzes from his bed,
Sloth unfolds her arms and wakes,
List'ning Envy drops her snakes;
Intestine war no more our Passions wage,
And giddy Factions hear away their rage.
But when our Country's cause provokes to Arms,
How martial music ev'ry bosom warms!
So when the first bold vessel dar'd the seas,
High on the stern the Thracian rais'd his strain,
While Argo saw her kindred trees
Descend from Pelion to the main.
Transported demi-gods stood round,
And men grew heroes at the sound,
Enflam'd with glory's charms:
Each chief his sev'nfold shield display'd,
And half unsheath'd the shining blade:
And seas, and rocks, and skies rebound
To arms, to arms, to arms!
But when thro' all th' infernal bounds,
Which flaming Phlegeton surrounds,
Love, strong as Death, the Poet led
To the pale nations of the dead,
What sounds were heard,
What scenes appear'd,
O'er all the dreary coasts!
Dreadful gleams,
Dismal screams,
Fires that glow,
Shrieks of woe,
Sullen moans,
Hollow groans,
And cries of tortur'd ghosts!
But hark! he strikes the golden lyre;
And see! the tortur'd ghosts respire,
See, shady forms advance!
Thy stone, O Sysiphus, stands still,
Ixion rests upon his wheel,
And the pale spectres dance!
The Furies sink upon their iron beds,
And snakes uncurl'd hang list'ning round their heads.
By the streams that ever flow,
By the fragrant winds that blow
O'er th' Elysian flow'rs;
By those happy souls who dwell
In yellow meads of Asphodel,
Or Amaranthine bow'rs;
By the hero's armed shades,
Glitt'ring thro' the gloomy glades;
By the youths that dy'd for love,
Wand'ring in the myrtle grove,
Restore, restore Eurydice to life:
Oh take the husband, or return the wife!
He sung, and hell consented
To hear the Poet's prayer:
Stern Proserpine relented,
And gave him back the fair.
Thus song could prevail
O'er death, and o'er hell,
A conquest how hard and how glorious?
Tho' fate had fast bound her
With Styx nine times round her,
Yet music and love were victorious.
But soon, too soon, the lover turns his eyes:
Again she falls, again she dies, she dies!
How wilt thou now the fatal sisters move?
No crime was thine, if 'tis no crime to love.
Now under hanging mountains,
Beside the falls of fountains,
Or where Hebrus wanders,
Rolling in Maeanders,
All alone,
Unheard, unknown,
He makes his moan;
And calls her ghost,
For ever, ever, ever lost!
Now with Furies surrounded,
Despairing, confounded,
He trembles, he glows,
Amidst Rhodope's snows:
See, wild as the winds, o'er the desart he flies;
Hark! Haemus resounds with the Bacchanals cries—
Ah see, he dies!
Yet ev'n in death Eurydice he sung,
Eurydice still trembled on his tongue,
[Page 123] Eurydice the woods,
Eurydice the floods,
Eurydice the rocks, and hollow mountains rung.
Music the fiercest grief can charm,
And fate's severest rage disarm:
Music can soften pain to ease,
And make despair and madness please:
Our joys below it can improve,
And antedate the bliss above.
This the divine Cecilia found,
And to her Maker's praise confin'd the sound.
When the full organ joins the tuneful quire,
Th' immortal pow'rs incline their ear;
Borne on the swelling notes our souls aspire,
While solemn airs improve the sacred fire;
And Angels lean from heav'n to hear.
Of Orpheus now no more let Poets tell,
To bright Cecilia greater power is giv'n;
His numbers rais'd a shade from hell,
Hers lift the soul to heav'n.


Ode for Music.]’ This is one of the most artful as well as sub­lime of our Poet's smaller compositions. The first stanza is a description of the various tones and measures in music. The second relates their power over the several passions in general. The third, their use in inspiring the Heroic passions in particular. The fourth, fifth, and sixth, their power over all nature in the fable of Orpheus's expedition to hell; which subject of illustra­tion arose naturally out of the preceding mention of the Argo­nautic [Page 118] expedition, where Orpheus gives an example of the use of Music to inspire the heroic passions. The seventh and last con­cludes in praise of Music, and the advantages of the sacred above the prophane.

VER. 7. Let the loud trumpet sound, etc.]’ Our Author in his rules for good writing had said, that the sound should be an coho to the sense. The graces it adds to the harmony are obvious. But we should never have seen all the advantages arising from it had this ode not been written. In which, one may venture to say, is found all the harmony that sound, when it comes in aid of sense, is capable of producing.



YE shades, where sacred truth is sought;
Groves, where immortal Sages taught:
hereWhere heav'nly visions Plato fir'd,
And Epicurus lay inspir'd!
In vain your guiltless laurels stood
Unspotted long with human blood.
War, horrid war, your thoughtful walks invades,
And steel now glitters in the Muses shades.
Oh heav'n-born sisters! source of art!
Who charm the sense, or mend the heart;
Who lead fair Virtue's train along,
hereMoral Truth, and mystic Song!
To what new clime, what distant sky,
Forsaken, friendless, shall ye fly?
Say, will ye bless the bleak Atlantic shore?
Or bid the furious Gaul be rude no more?
When Athens sinks by fates unjust,
When wild Barbarians spurn her dust;
Perhaps ev'n Britain's utmost shore
Shall cease to blush with stranger's gore,
See Arts her savage sons controul,
And Athens rising near the pole!
'Till some new Tyrant lifts his purple hand,
And civil madness tears them from the land.
Ye Gods! what justice rules the ball?
Freedom and Arts together fall;
Fools grant whate'er Ambition craves,
And men, once ignorant, are slaves.
Oh curs'd effects of civil hate,
In ev'ry age, in ev'ry state!
Still, when the lust of tyrant power succeeds,
Some Athens perishes, some Tully bleeds.


THESE two Chorus's were composed to enrich a very poor Play; but they had the usual effect of ill-adjusted Ornaments, to make its meanness but the more conspicuous.

VER. 3.

Where heav'nly visions Plato fir'd,
And Epicurus lay inspir'd!]

The propriety of these lines arises from hence, that Brutus, one of the Heroes of this Play, was of the Old Aca­demy; and Cassius, the other, was an Epicurean; but this had not been enough to justify the Poet's choice, had not Plato's system of Divinity, and Epicurus's system of Morals, been the most rational amongst the various sects of Greek Philosophy.

[Page 125] VER. 12. Moral truth AND mystic song.]’ He had expressed himself better had he said,

" Moral truth IN mystic song!

In the Antistrophe he turns from Philosophy to Mythology; and Mythology is nothing but moral truth in mystic song.

CHORUS of Youths and Virgins.

OH Tyrant Love! hast thou possest
The prudent, learn'd, and virtuous breast?
Wisdom and wit in vain reclaim,
And Arts but soften us to feel thy flame.
Love, soft intruder, enters here,
But entring learns to be sincere.
Marcus with blushes owns he loves,
And Brutus tenderly reproves.
hereWhy, Virtue, dost thou blame desire,
Which Nature has imprest?
Why, Nature, dost thou soonest fire
The mild and gen'rous breast?
Love's purer flames the Gods approve;
The Gods and Brutus bend to love:
Brutus for absent Portia sighs,
And sterner Cassius melts at Junia's eyes.
[Page 128] What is loose love? a transient gust,
Spent in a sudden storm of lust,
A vapour fed from wild desire,
A wand'ring, self-consuming fire.
But Hymen's kinder flames unite;
And burn for ever one;
Chaste as cold Cynthia's virgin light,
Productive as the Sun.
Oh source of ev'ry social tye,
United wish, and mutual joy!
What various joys on one attend,
As son, as father, brother, husband, friend?
Whether his hoary sire he spies,
While thousand grateful thoughts arise;
Or meets his spouse's fonder eye;
Or views his smiling progeny;
What tender passions take their turns,
What home-felt raptures move?
His heart now melts, now leaps, now burns,
With rev'rence, hope, and love.
Hence guilty joys, distastes, surmizes,
Hence false tears, deceits, disguises,
[Page 129] Dangers, doubts, delays, surprizes;
Fires that scorch, yet dare not shine:
Purest love's unwasting treasure,
Constant faith, sair hope, long leisure,
Days of ease, and nights of pleasure;
Sacred Hymen! these are thinea.


VER. 9. Why, Virtue, etc.]’ In allusion to that famous con­ceit of Guarini,

" Se il peccare è si dolce, etc.


HAPPY the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air,
In his own ground.
Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.
Blest, who can unconcern'dly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away,
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,
Sound sleep by night; study and ease,
Together mixt; sweet recreation;
And innocence, which most does please
With meditation.
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown,
Thus unlamented let me die,
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.

The dying Christian to his SOUL.

VITAL spark of heav'nly flame!
Quit, oh quit this mortal frame:
Trembling, hoping, ling'ring, flying,
Oh the pain, the bliss of dying!
Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife,
And let me languish into life.
Hark! they whisper; Angels say,
Sister Spirit, come away.
What is this absorbs me quite?
Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
Drowns my spirits, draws my breath?
Tell me, my Soul, can this be Death?
The world recedes; it disappears!
Heav'n opens on my eyes! my ears
With sounds seraphic ring:
Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
O Grave! where is thy Victory?
O Death! where is thy Sting?

Written in the Year MDCCIX.


  • INtroduction. That 'tis as great a fault to judge ill, as to write ill, and a more dangerous one to the public, ℣ 1.
  • That a true Taste is as rare to be found, as a true Ge­nius, ℣ 9 to 18.
  • That most men are born with some Taste, but spoil'd by false Education, ℣ 19 to 25.
  • The Multitude of Critics, and causes of them, ℣ 26 to 45.
  • That we are to study our own Taste, and know the Li­mits of it, ℣ 46 to 67.
  • Nature the best guide of Judgment, ℣ 68 to 87.
  • Improv'd by Art and Rules, which are but methodis'd Nature, ℣ 88.
  • Rules deriv'd from the Practice of the Ancient Poets, ℣ id. to 110.
  • That therefore the Ancients are necessary to be study'd by a Critic, particularly Homer and Virgil, ℣ 120 to 138.
  • Of Licenses, and the use of them by the Ancients, ℣ 140 to 180.
  • Reverence due to the Ancients, and praise of them, ℣ 181, etc.
PART II. Ver. 203, etc.
  • [Page 136]Causes hindering a true Judgment. 1. Pride, ℣ 208, 2. Imperfect Learning, ℣ 215. 3. Judging by parts, and not by the whole, ℣ 233 to 288. Critics in Wit, Language, Versification, only, ℣ 288. 305. 339, etc. 4. Being too hard to please, or too apt to admire, ℣ 384. 5. Partiality—too much Love to a Sect,—to the Anci­ents or Moderns, ℣ 394. 6. Prejudice or Prevention, ℣ 408. 7. Singularity, ℣ 424. 8. Inconstancy, ℣ 430. 9. Party Spirit, ℣ 452, etc. 10. Envy, ℣ 466. Against Envy, and in praise of Good-nature, ℣ 508, etc. When Severity is chiefly to be used by Critics, ℣ 526, etc.
PART III. Ver. 560, etc.
  • Rules for the Conduct of Manners in a Critic, 1. Can­dour, ℣ 563. Modesty, ℣ 566. Good-breeding, ℣ 572. Sincerity, and Freedom of advice, ℣ 578. 2. When one's Counsel is to be restrained, ℣ 584. Cha­racter of an incorrigible Poet, ℣ 600. And of an im­pertinent Critic, ℣ 610, etc. Character of a good Critic, ℣ 629. The History of Criticism, and Cha­racters of the best Critics, Aristotle, ℣ 645. Horace, ℣ 653. Dionysius, ℣ 665. Petronius, ℣ 667. Quintilian, ℣ 670. Longinus, ℣ 675. Of the De­cay of Criticism, and its Revival. Erasmus, ℣ 693. Vida, ℣ 705. Boileau, ℣ 714. Lord Roscommon, etc. ℣ 725. Conclusion.


here'TIS hard to say, if greater want of skill
Appear in writing or in judging ill;
But, of the two, less dang'rous is th' offence
To tire our patience, than mislead our sense.
[Page 138] Some few in that, but numbers err in this,
Ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss;
A fool might once himself alone expose,
Now one in verse makes many more in prose.
here'Tis with our judgments as our watches, none
Go just alike, yet each believes his own.
[Page 139] In Poets as true genius is but rare,
True Taste as seldom is the Critic's share;
Both must alike from Heav'n derive their light,
These born to judge, as well as those to write.
[Page 140] here hereLet such teach others who themselves excel,
And censure freely who have written well.
Authors are partial to their wit, 'tis true,
But are not Critics to their judgment too?
hereYet if we look more closely, we shall find
hereMost have the seeds of judgment in their mind:
[Page 141] Nature affords at least a glimm'ring light;
The lines, tho' touch'd but faintly, are drawn right.
But as the slightest sketch, if justly trac'd,
Is by ill-colouring but the more disgrac'd,
here hereSo by false learning is good sense defac'd:
hereSome are bewilder'd in the maze of schools,
And some made coxcombs Nature meant but fools.
[Page 142] hereIn search of wit these lose their common sense,
And then turn Critics in their own defence:
Each burns alike, who can, or cannot write,
Or with a Rival's, or an Eunuch's spite.
hereAll fools have still an itching to deride,
And fain would be upon the laughing side.
If Maevius scribble in Apollo's spight,
There are, who judge still worse than he can write.
hereSome have at first for Wits, then Poets past,
Turn'd Critics next, and prov'd plain fools at last.
[Page 143] Some neither can for Wits nor Critics pass,
As heavy mules are neither horse nor ass.
Those half-learn'd witlings, num'rous in our isle,
As half-form'd insects on the banks of Nile;
Unfinish'd things, one knows not what to call,
hereTheir generation's so equivocal:
[Page 144] To tell 'em, would a hundred tongues require,
Or one vain wit's, that might a hundred tire.
hereBut you who seek to give and merit fame,
And justly bear a Critic's noble name,
Be sure yourself and your own reach to know,
How far your genius, taste, and learning go;
Launch not beyond your depth, but be discreet,
hereAnd mark that point where sense and dullness meet.
Nature to all things fix'd the limits fit,
And wisely curb'd proud man's pretending wit.
As on the land while here the ocean gains,
In other parts it leaves wide sandy plains;
hereThus in the soul while memory prevails,
The solid pow'r of understanding fails;
Where beams of warm imagination play,
The memory's soft figures melt away.
One science only will one genius fit;
So vast is art, so narrow human wit:
[Page 146] Not only bounded to peculiar arts,
But oft' in those confin'd to single parts.
Like Kings we lose the conquests gain'd before,
By vain ambition still to make them more;
Each might his sev'ral province well command,
hereWould all but stoop to what they understand.
hereFirst follow Nature, and your judgment frame
By her just standard, which is still the same:
[Page 147] Unerring NATURE, still divinely bright,
One clear, unchang'd, and universal light,
Life, force, and beauty, must 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:
[Page 148] 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.
hereSome, 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,
Tho' meant each other's aid, like man and wife.
'Tis more to guide, than spur 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.
here hereThose RULES of old discover'd, not devis'd,
Are Nature still, but Nature methodiz'd;
[Page 149] Nature, like Liberty, is but restrain'd
By the same Laws which first herself ordain'd.
hereHear how learn'd Greece her useful rules indites,
When to repress, and when indulge our flights:
[Page 150] High on Parnassus' top her sons she show'd,
And pointed out those arduous paths they trod;
Held from afar, aloft, th' immortal prize,
And urg'd the rest by equal steps to rise.
hereJust precepts thus from great examples giv'n,
She drew from them what they deriv'd from Heav'n.
The gen'rous Critic fann'd the Poet's fire,
And taught the world with reason to admire.
[Page 151] Then Criticism the Muses handmaid prov'd,
To dress her charms, and make her more belov'd:
But following wits from that intention stray'd,
Who cou'd not win the mistress, woo'd the maid;
Against the Poets their own arms they turn'd,
Sure to hate most the men from whom they learn'd.
So modern 'Pothecaries, taught the art
By Doctor's bills to play the Doctor's part,
Bold in the practice of mistaken rules,
Prescribe, apply, and call their masters fools.
hereSome on the leaves of antient authors prey,
Nor time nor moths e'er spoil'd so much as they.
Some drily plain, without invention's aid,
Write dull receits how poems may be made.
[Page 152] These leave the sense, their learning to display,
And those explain the meaning quite away.
hereYou then whose judgment the right course would steer,
Know well each ANCIENT'S proper character;
[Page 153] His Fable, Subject, scope in ev'ry page;
Religion, Country, genius of his Age:
Without all these at once before your eyes,
hereCavil you may, but never criticize.
[Page 154] Be Homer's works your study and delight,
Read them by day, and meditate by night;
Thence form your judgment, thence your maxims bring,
And trace the Muses upward to their spring.
Still with itself compar'd, his text peruse;
And let your comment be the Mantuan Muse.
here hereWhen first young Maro in his boundless mind
A work t'outlast immortal Rome design'd,
Perhaps he seem'd above the Critic's law,
And but from Nature's fountains scorn'd to draw:
[Page 155] But when t'examine ev'ry part he came,
Nature and Homer were, he found, the same.
Convinc'd, amaz'd, he checks the bold design;
And rules as strict his labour'd work confine,
As if the Stagirite o'erlook'd each line.
Learn hence for ancient rules a just esteem;
To copy nature is to copy them.
hereSome beauties yet no Precepts can declare,
For there's a happiness as well as care.
Music resembles Poetry, in each
Are nameless graces which no methods teach,
And which a master-hand alone can reach.
here hereIf, where the rules not far enough extend,
(Since rules were made but to promote their end)
[Page 156] Some lucky Licence answer to the full
Th'intent propos'd, that Licence is a rule.
hereThus Pegasus, a nearer way to take,
May boldly deviate from the common track;
[Page 157] From vulgar bounds with brave disorder part,
And snatch a grace beyond the reach of art,
Which without passing thro' the judgment, gains
The heart, and all its end at once attains.
In prospects thus, some objects please our eyes,
Which out of nature's common order rise,
The shapeless rock, or hanging precipice.
hereGreat Wits sometimes may gloriously offend,
And rise to faults true Critics dare not mend.
But tho' the Ancients thus their rules invade,
(As Kings dispense with laws themselves have made)
Moderns, beware! or if you must offend
Against the precept, ne'er transgress its End;
Let it be seldom, and compell'd by need;
And have, at least, their precedent to plead.
[Page 158] The Critic else proceeds without remorse,
Seizes your fame, and puts his laws in force.
hereI know there are, to whose presumptuous thoughts
Those freer beauties, ev'n in them, seem faults.
Some figures monstrous and mis-shap'd appear,
Consider'd singly, or beheld too near,
Which, but proportion'd to their light, or place,
Due distance reconciles to form and grace.
hereA prudent chief not always must display
His pow'rs in equal ranks, and fair array,
[Page 159] But with th'occasion and the place comply,
Conceal his force, nay seem sometimes to fly.
Those oft are stratagems which errors seem,
hereNor is it Homer nods, but we that dream.
hereStill green with bays each ancient Altar stands,
Above the reach of sacrilegious hands;
hereSecure from Flames, from Envy's fiercer rage,
Destructive War, and all-involving Age.
[Page 160] See, from each clime the learn'd their incense bring!
Hear, in all tongues consenting Paeans ring!
In praise so just let ev'ry voice be join'd,
And fill the gen'ral chorus of mankind.
hereHail, Bards triumphant! born in happier days;
Immortal heirs of universal praise!
Whose honours with increase of ages grow,
As streams roll down, enlarging as they flow;
Nations unborn your mighty names shall sound,
And worlds applaud that must not yet be found!
Oh may some spark of your celestial fire,
hereThe last, the meanest of your sons inspire,
(That on weak wings, from far, pursues your flights;
Glows while he reads, but trembles as he writes)
To teach vain Wits a science little known,
hereT'admire superior sense, and doubt their own!
here hereOF 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.
[Page 162] Whatever Nature has in worth deny'd,
She gives in large recruits of needful Pride;
For as in bodies, thus in souls, we find
What wants in blood and spirits, swell'd with wind:
herePride, where Wit fails, steps in to our defence,
And fills up all the mighty Void of sense.
If once right reason 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.
hereA little learning is a dang'rous thing;
hereDrink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
hereThere 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,
[Page 164] While from the bounded level of our mind,
Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind;
But more advanc'd, behold with strange surprize
New distant scenes of endless science rise!
hereSo pleas'd at first the tow'ring Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky,
Th' eternal snows appear already past,
And the first clouds and mountains seem the last:
But, those attain'd, we tremble to survey
The growing labours of the lengthen'd way,
Th' increasing prospect tires our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
here hereA perfect Judge will read each work of Wit
With the same spirit that its author writ:
[Page 165] hereSurvey the WHOLE, nor seek slight faults to find
Where nature moves, and rapture warms the mind;
Nor lose, for that malignant dull delight,
The gen'rous pleasure to be charm'd with wit.
[Page 166] But in such lays as neither ebb, nor flow,
Correctly cold, and regularly low,
That shunning faults, one quiet tenour keep;
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 some well-proportion'd dome,
here(The world's just wonder, and ev'n thine, ORome!)
No single parts unequally surprize,
All comes united to th' admiring eyes;
[Page 167] No monstrous height, or breadth, or length appear;
The Whole at once is bold, and regular.
hereWhoever thinks a faultless piece to see,
Thinks what ne'er was, nor is, nor e'er shall be.
In ev'ry work regard the writer's End,
Since none can compass more than they intend;
[Page 168] And if the means be just, the conduct true,
Applause, in spight of trivial faults, is due.
As men of breeding, sometimes men of wit,
T' avoid great errors, must the less commit:
hereNeglect the rules each verbal Critic lays,
For not to know some trifles, is a praise.
hereMost Critics, fond of some subservient art,
Still make the Whole depend upon a Part:
They talk of principles, but notions prize,
And all to one lov'd Folly sacrifice.
hereOnce on a time, La Mancha's Knight, they say,
A certain Bard encount'ring on the way,
Discours'd in terms as just, with looks as sage,
As e'er could Dennis, of the Grecian stage;
Concluding all were desp'rate sots and fools,
Who durst depart from Aristotle's rules.
Our Author, happy in a judge so nice,
Produc'd his Play, and begg'd the Knight's advice;
[Page 170] Made him observe the subject, and the plot,
The manners, passions, unities; what not?
All which, exact to rule, were brought about,
Were but a Combat in the lists left out.
" What! leave the Combat out?" exclaims the Knight;
Yes, or we must renounce the Stagirite.
" Not so by Heav'n" (he answers in a rage)
" Knights, squires, and steeds, must enter on the stage."
So vast a throng the stage can ne'er contain.
" Then build a new, or act it in a plain."
here hereThus Critics, of less judgment than caprice,
Curious not knowing, not exact but nice,
[Page 171] Form short Ideas; and offend in arts
(As most in manners) by a love to parts.
here hereSome 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.
[Page 172] 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.
hereTrue Wit is Nature to advantage dress'd,
What oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd;
[Page 173] Something, whose truth convinc'd at sight we find,
That gives us back the image of our mind.
As shades more sweetly recommend the light,
So modest plainness sets off sprightly wit.
For works may have more wit than does 'em good,
As bodies perish thro' excess of blood.
hereOthers for Language all their care express,
And value books, as women men, for Dress:
[Page 174] Their praise is still,—the Style is excellent:
The Sense, they humbly take upon content.
Words are like leaves; and where they most abound,
Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.
hereFalse Eloquence, like the prismatic glass,
Its gaudy colours spreads on ev'ry place;
The face of Nature we no more survey,
All glares alike, without distinction gay:
[Page 175] But true Expression, like th' unchanging Sun,
Clears, and improves whate'er it shines upon,
It gilds all objects, but it alters none.
Expression is the dress of thought, and still
Appears more decent, as more suitable;
A vile conceit in pompous words express'd,
Is like a clown in regal purple dress'd:
For diff'rent styles with diff'rent subjects sort,
As several garbs with country, town, and court.
hereSome by old words to fame have made pretence,
Ancients in phrase, meer moderns in their sense;
Such labour'd nothings, in so strange a style,
Amaze th' unlearn'd, and make the learned smile.
[Page 176] hereUnlucky, as Fungoso in the Play,
These sparks with aukward vanity display
What the fine gentleman wore yesterday;
And but so mimic ancient wits at best,
As apes our grandfires, in their doublets drest.
In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold;
Alike fantastic, if too new, or old:
Be not the first by whom the new are try'd,
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.
here hereBut most by Numbers judge a Poet's song;
And smooth or rough, with them, is right or wrong:
[Page 177] In the bright Muse tho' thousand charms conspire,
Her Voice is all these tuneful fools admire;
Who haunt Parnassus but to please their ear,
Not mend their minds; as some to Church repair,
Not for the doctrine, but the music there.
These equal syllables alone require,
hereTho' oft the ear the open vowels tire;
hereWhile expletives their feeble aid do join;
And ten low words oft creep in one dull line:
[Page 178] While they ring round the same unvary'd chimes,
With sure returns of still expected rhymes;
Where-e'er you find "the cooling western breeze,"
In the next line, it "whispers thro' the trees;"
If crystal streams "with pleasing murmurs creep,"
The reader's threaten'd (not in vain) with "sleep:"
Then, at the last and only couplet fraught
With some unmeaning thing they call a thought,
A needless Alexandrine ends the song,
That, like a wounded snake, drags its slow length along.
Leave such to tune their own dull rhymes, and know
What's roundly smooth, or languishingly slow;
And praise the easy vigour of a line,
Where Denham's strength, and Waller's sweetness join.
True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance.
here'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence,
hereThe sound must seem an Echo to the sense:
[Page 179] hereSoft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;
hereBut when loud surges lash the sounding shoar,
The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar:
hereWhen Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
The line too labours, and the words move slow;
hereNot so, when swift Camilla scours the plain,
Flies o'er th' unbending corn, and skims along the main.
[Page 180] hereHear how Timotheus' vary'd lays surprize,
And bid alternate passions fall and rise!
While, at each change, the son of Libyan Jove
Now burns with glory, and then melts with love;
Now his fierce eyes with sparkling fury glow,
Now sighs steal out, and tears begin to flow:
Persians and Greeks like turns of nature found,
And the World's victor stood subdu'd by Sound!
The pow'r of Music all our hearts allow,
And what Timotheus was, is DRYDEN now.
hereAvoid Extremes; and shun the fault of such,
Who still are pleas'd too little or too much.
[Page 181] At ev'ry trifle scorn to take offence,
That always shows great pride, or little sense;
Those heads, as stomachs, are not sure the best,
Which nauseate all, and nothing can digest.
Yet let not each gay Turn thy rapture move;
For fools admire, but men of sense approve:
As things seem large which we thro' mists descry,
Dulness is ever apt to magnify.
hereSome foreign writers, some our own despise;
The Ancients only, or the Moderns prize.
[Page 182] Thus Wit, like Faith, by each man is apply'd
To one small sect, and all are damn'd beside.
Meanly they seek the blessing to confine,
And force that sun but on a part to shine,
Which not alone the southern wit sublimes,
But ripens spirits in cold northern climes;
hereWhich from the first has shone on ages past,
Enlights the present, and shall warm the last;
Tho' each may feel encreases and decays,
And see now clearer and now darker days.
Regard not then if Wit be old or new,
But blame the false, and value still the true.
hereSome ne'er advance a Judgment of their own,
But catch the spreading notion of the Town;
[Page 183] They reason and conclude by precedent,
And own stale nonsense which they ne'er invent.
Some judge of authors names, not works, and then
Nor praise nor blame the writings, but the men.
Of all this servile herd, the worst is he
That in proud dulness joins with Quality.
A constant Critic at the great man's board,
To fetch and carry nonsense for my Lord.
What woful stuff this madrigal would be,
In some starv'd hackney sonneteer, or me?
But let a Lord once own the happy lines,
How the wit brightens! how the style refines!
Before his sacred name flies ev'ry fault,
And each exalted stanza teems with thought!
hereThe Vulgar thus through Imitation err;
As oft the Learn'd by being singular;
[Page 184] So much they scorn the croud, that if the throng
By chance go right, they purposely go wrong:
So Schismatics the plain believers quit,
And are but damn'd for having too much wit.
[Page 185] Some praise at morning what they blame at night;
But always think the last opinion right.
A Muse by these is like a mistress us'd,
This hour she's idoliz'd, the next abus'd;
While their weak heads like towns unfortify'd,
Twixt sense and nonsense daily change their side.
Ask them the cause; they're wiser still, they say;
And still to-morrow's wiser than to-day.
We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow;
Our wiser sons, no doubt, will think us so.
Once School-divines this zealous isle o'er-spread;
Who knew most Sentences, was deepest read;
Faith, Gospel, all, seem'd made to be disputed,
And none had sense enough to be confuted:
here here hereScotists and Thomists, now, in peace remain,
hereAmidst their kindred cobwebs in Duck-lane.
[Page 186] If Faith itself has diff'rent dresses worn,
hereWhat wonder modes in Wit should take their turn?
Oft', leaving what is natural and fit,
The current folly proves the ready wit;
[Page 187] hereAnd authors think their reputation safe,
Which lives as long as fools are pleas'd to laugh.
hereSome valuing those of their own side or mind,
Still make themselves the measure of mankind:
[Page 188] Fondly we think we honour merit then,
When we but praise ourselves in other men.
Parties in Wit attend on those of State,
And public faction doubles private hate.
Pride, Malice, Folly, against Dryden rose,
In various shapes of Parsons, Critics, Beaus;
But sense surviv'd, when merry jests were past;
For rising merit will buoy up at last.
Might he return, and bless once more our eyes,
hereNew Blackmores and new Milbourns must arise:
Nay should great Homer lift his awful head,
Zoilus again would start up from the dead.
Envy will merit, as its shade, pursue;
But like a shadow, proves the substance true;
[Page 189] hereFor envy'd Wit, like Sol eclips'd, makes known
Th' opposing body's grossness, not its own.
When first that sun too pow'rful beams displays,
It draws up vapours which obscure its rays;
But ev'n those clouds at last adorn its way,
Reflect new glories, and augment the day.
hereBe thou the first true merit to befriend;
His praise is lost, who stays 'till all commend.
[Page 190] Short is the date, alas, of modern rhymes,
And 'tis but just to let them live betimes.
No longer now that golden age appears,
When Patriarch-wits surviv'd a thousand years:
Now length of Fame (our second life) is lost,
And bare threescore is all ev'n that can boast;
[Page 191] Our sons their fathers failing language see,
And such as Chaucer is, shall Dryden be.
hereSo when the faithful pencil has design'd
Some bright Idea of the master's mind,
Where a new world leaps out at his command,
And ready Nature waits upon his hand;
When the ripe colours soften and unite,
And sweetly melt into just shade and light;
When mellowing years their full perfection give,
And each bold figure just begins to live,
The treach'rous colours the fair art betray,
And all the bright creation fades away!
Unhappy Wit, like most mistaken things,
Atones not sor that envy which it brings.
[Page 192] In youth alone its empty praise we boast,
But soon the short-liv'd vanity is lost:
Like some fair flow'r the early spring supplies,
That gayly blooms, but ev'n in blooming dies.
What is this Wit, which must our cares employ?
The owner's wife, that other men enjoy;
Then most our trouble still when most admir'd,
And still the more we give, the more requir'd;
Whose fame with pains we guard, but lose with ease,
Sure some to vex, but never all to please;
'Tis what the vicious fear, the virtuous shun,
hereBy fools 'tis hated, and by knaves undone!
If Wit so much from Ign'rance undergo,
Ah let not Learning too commence its foe!
Of old, those met rewards who could excell,
And such were prais'd who but endeavour'd well:
Tho' triumphs were to gen'rals only due,
Crowns were reserv'd to grace the soldiers too.
Now, they who reach Parnassus' lofty crown,
Employ their pains to spurn some others down;
[Page 193] And while self-love each jealous writer rules,
Contending wits become the sport of fools:
But still the worst with most regret commend,
For each ill Author is as bad a Friend.
To what base ends, and by what abject ways,
Are mortals urg'd thro' sacred lust of praise!
Ah ne'er so dire a thirst of glory boast,
Nor in the Critic let the Man be lost.
Good-nature and good-sense must ever join;
To err is human, to forgive, divine.
hereBut if in noble minds some dregs remain
Not yet purg'd off, of spleen and four disdain;
[Page 194] Discharge that rage on more provoking crimes,
Nor fear a dearth in these flagitious times.
No pardon vile Obscenity should find,
Tho' wit and art conspire to move your mind;
But Dulness with Obscenity must prove
As shameful sure as Impotence in love.
In the fat age of pleasure, wealth, and ease,
Sprung the rank weed, and thriv'd with large in­crease:
[Page 195] When love was all an easy Monarch's care;
Seldom at council, never in a war:
Jilts rul'd the state, and statesmen farces writ;
Nay wits had pensions, and young Lords had wit:
The Fair sate panting at a Courtier's play,
And not a Mask went unimprov'd away:
The modest fan was lifted up no more,
And Virgins smil'd at what they blush'd before.
The following licence of a Foreign reign
hereDid all the dregs of bold Socinus drain;
hereThen unbelieving Priests reform'd the nation,
And taught more pleasant methods of salvation;
[Page 196] Where Heav'n's free subjects might their rights dispute,
Lest God himself should seem too absolute:
Pulpits their sacred satire learn'd to spare,
And Vice admir'd to find a flatt'rer there!
Encourag'd thus, Wit's Titans brav'd the skies,
And the press groan'd with licens'd blasphemies.
These monsters, Critics! with your darts engage,
Here point your thunder, and exhaust your rage!
Yet shun their fault, who, scandalously nice,
Will needs mistake an author into vice;
All seems infected that th' infected spy,
As all looks yellow to the jaundic'd eye.
hereLEARN then what MORALS Critics ought to show,
hereFor 'tis but half a Judge's task, to know.
[Page 197] 'Tis not enough, taste, judgment, learning, join;
In all you speak, let truth and candour shine:
That not alone what to your sense is due
All may allow; but seek your friendship too.
Be silent always when you doubt your sense;
And speak, tho' sure, with seeming diffidence:
Some positive, persisting fops we know,
Who, if once wrong, will needs be always so;
[Page 198] But you, with pleasure own your errors past,
And make each day a Critic on the last.
'Tis not enough, your counsel still be true;
Blunt truths more mischief than nice falshoods do;
Men must be taught as if you taught them not,
And things unknown propos'd as things forgot.
Without Good Breeding, truth is disapprov'd;
That only makes superior sense belov'd.
Be niggards of advice on no pretence;
For the worst avarice is that of sense.
With mean complacence ne'er betray your trust,
Nor be so civil as to prove unjust.
[Page 199] Fear not the anger of the wise to raise;
Those best can bear reproof, who merit praise.
here'Twere well might Critics still this freedom take,
But Appius reddens at each word you speak,
hereAnd stares, tremendous, with a threat'ning eye,
Like some fierce Tyrant in old tapestry.
Fear most to tax an Honourable fool,
Whose right it is, uncensur'd to be dull;
Such, without wit, are Poets when they please,
As without learning they can take Degrees.
Leave dang'rous truths to unsuccessful Satires,
And flattery to fulsome Dedicators,
Whom, when they praise, the world believes no more,
Than when they promise to give scribling o'er.
'Tis best sometimes your censure to restrain,
And charitably let the dull be vain:
Your silence there is better than your spite,
For who can rail so long as they can write?
[Page 200] Still humming on, their drouzy course they keep,
And lash'd so long, like tops, are lash'd asleep.
False steps but help them to renew the race,
As, after stumbling, Jades will mend their pace.
What crouds of these, impenitently bold,
In sounds and jingling syllables grown old,
Still run on Poets, in a raging vein,
Ev'n to the dregs and squeezings of the brain,
Strain out the last dull droppings of their sense,
And rhyme with all the rage of Impotence.
Such shameless Bards we have; and yet 'tis true,
There are as mad, abandon'd Critics too.
The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read,
With loads of learned lumber in his head,
With his own tongue still edifies his ears,
And always list'ning to himself appears.
All books he reads, and all he reads assails,
From Dryden's Fables down to Durfey's Tales.
With him, most authors steal their works, or buy;
hereGarth did not write his own Dispensary.
[Page 201] Name a new Play, and he's the Poet's friend,
Nay show'd his faults—but when would Poets mend?
No place so sacred from such fops is barr'd,
hereNor is Paul's church more safe than Paul's church yard:
Nay, fly to Altars; there they'll talk you dead:
For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread.
Distrustful sense with modest caution speaks,
It still looks home, and short excursions makes;
But rattling nonsense in full vollies breaks,
And never shock'd, and never turn'd aside,
hereBursts out, resistless, with a thund'ring tide.
hereBut where's the man, who counsel can bestow,
Still pleas'd to teach, and yet not proud to know?
[Page 202] Unbiass'd, or by favour, or by spite;
Not dully prepossess'd, nor blindly right;
Tho' learn'd, well-bred; and tho' well-bred, sincere;
Modestly bold, and humanly severe:
Who to a friend his faults can freely show,
And gladly praise the merit of a foe?
Blest with a taste exact, yet unconfin'd;
A knowledge both of books and human kind;
[Page 203] Gen'rous converse; a soul exempt from pride;
hereAnd love to praise, with reason on his side?
Such once were Critics; such the happy few,
Athens and Rome in better ages knew.
The mighty Stagirite first left the shore,
hereSpread all his sails, and durst the deeps explore;
He steer'd securely, and discover'd far,
Led by the light of the Maeonian Star.
[Page 204] Poets, a race long unconfin'd, and free,
Still fond and proud of savage liberty,
Receiv'd his laws; and stood convinc'd 'twas fit,
hereWho conquer'd Nature, should preside o'er Wit.
Horace still charms with graceful negligence,
And without method talks us into sense,
Will, like a friend, familiarly convey
The truest notions in the easiest way.
He, who supreme in judgment, as in wit,
Might boldly censure, as he boldly writ,
Yet judg'd with coolness, tho' he sung with fire;
His Precepts teach but what his works inspire.
Our Critics take a contrary extreme,
They judge with fury, but they write with fle'me:
[Page 205] Nor suffers Horace more in wrong Translations
By Wits, than Critics in as wrong Quotations.
hereSee Dionysius Homer's thoughts refine,
And call new beauties forth from ev'ry line!
Fancy and art in gay Petronius please,
The scholar's learning, with the courtier's ease.
In grave Quintilian's copious work, we find
The justest rules, and clearest method join'd:
Thus useful arms in magazines we place,
All rang'd in order, and dispos'd with grace,
But less to please the eye, than arm the hand,
Still fit for use, and ready at command.
Thee, bold Longinus! all the Nine inspire,
And bless their Critic with a Poet's fire.
An ardent Judge, who zealous in his trust,
With warmth gives sentence, yet is always just;
Whose own example strengthens all his laws;
And is himself that great Sublime he draws.
hereThus long succeeding Critics justly reign'd,
Licence repress'd, and useful laws ordain'd.
[Page 206] Learning and Rome alike in empire grew;
And Arts still follow'd where her Eagles flew;
From the same foes, at last, both felt their doom,
And the same age saw Learning fall, and Rome.
With Tyranny, then Superstition join'd,
As that the body, this enslav'd the mind;
Much was believ'd, but little understood,
hereAnd to be dull was constru'd to be good;
A second deluge Learning thus o'er-run,
And the Monks finish'd what the Goths begun.
hereAt length Erasmus, that great injur'd name,
here(The glory of the Priesthood, and the shame!)
Stem'd the wild torrent of a barb'rous age,
And drove those holy Vandals off the stage.
hereBut see! each Muse, in LEO's golden days,
Starts from her trance, and trim's her wither'd bays,
[Page 208] Rome's ancient Genius, o'er its ruins spread,
Shakes off the dust, and rears his rev'rend head.
Then Sculpture and her sister-arts revive;
Stones leap'd to form, and rocks began to live;
With sweeter notes each rising Temple rung;
A Raphael painted, and a Vida sung.
Immortal Vida: on whose honour'd brow
The Poet's bays and Critic's ivy grow:
Cremona now shall ever boast thy name,
hereAs next in place to Mantua, next in fame!
hereBut soon by impious arms from Latium chas'd,
Their ancient bounds the banish'd Muses pass'd;
[Page 209] Thence Arts o'er all the northern world advance,
But Critic-learning flourish'd most in France:
The rules a nation, born to serve, obeys;
And Boileau still in right of Horace sways.
But we, brave Britons, foreign laws despis'd,
And kept unconquer'd, and unciviliz'd;
Fierce for the liberties of wit, and bold,
We still defy'd the Romans, as of old.
Yet some there were, among the sounder few
Of those who less presum'd, and better knew,
Who durst assert the juster ancient cause,
And here restor'd Wit's fundamental laws.
hereSuch was the Muse, whose rules and practice tell,
" Nature's chief Master-piece is writing well."
[Page 210] Such was Roscommon, not more learn'd than good,
With manners gen'rous as his noble blood;
To him the wit of Greece and Rome was known,
And ev'ry author's merit, but his own.
Such late was Walsh—the Muse's judge and friend,
Who justly knew to blame or to commend;
To failings mild, but zealous for desert;
The clearest head, and the sincerest heart.
This humble praise, lamented shade! receive,
This praise at least a grateful Muse may give:
[Page 211] The Muse, whose early voice you taught to sing,
Prescrib'd her heights, and prun'd her tender wing,
(Her guide now lost) no more attempts to rise,
But in low numbers short excursions tries:
Content, if hence th' unlearn'd their wants may view,
The learn'd reflect on what before they knew:
Careless of censure, nor too fond of fame;
Still pleas'd to praise, yet not afraid to blame;
Averse alike to flatter, or offend;
Not free from faults, nor yet too vain to mend.


An Essay]’ The Poem is in one book, but divided into three principals parts or members. The first [to ℣ 201.] gives rules for the Study of the Art of Criticism: the second [from thence to ℣ 560.] exposes the Causes of wrong Judgment; and the third [from thence to the end] prescribes the Morals of the Critic.

In order to a right understanding of this poem, it will be ne­cessary to observe, that tho' it be intitled simply an Essay on Criticism, yet several of the precepts relate equally to the good writing as well as to the true judging of a poem. This is so far from violating the Unity of the Subject, that it rounds and com­pleats it: or from disordering the regularity of the Form, that it produces the highest beauty which can arise out of method, as will appear by the following considerations: 1. It was impossi­ble to give a full and exact idea of the Art of poetical Criticism, without considering, at the same time, the Art of Poetry; so far as Poetry is an Art. These therefore being closely connect­ed in nature, the Author has with much judgment reciprocally [Page 138] interwoven the precepts of both thro' his whole poem. 2. As all the rules of the ancient Critics were taken from Poets who copied nature, this is another reason why every Poet should be a Critic: Therefore, as the subject is poetical Criticism, it is fre­quently addressed to the critical Poet. And 3dly, the Art of Criticism is as necessarily, and much more usefully exercised in writing than in judging.

But Readers have been misled by the modesty of the Title: which only promises an Art of Criticism, in a treatise, and that a compleat one, of the Art both of Criticism and Poetry. This, and the not attending to the considerations offered above, per­haps was what misled a very candid writer, after having given this Piece all the praises on the side of genius and poetry which his true taste could not resuse it, to say, that the observations fol­low one another like those in Horace's Art of Poetry, without that methodical regularity which would have been requisite in a prose writer. Spec. No 235. I do not see how method can hurt any one grace of Poetry; or what prerogative there is in verse to to dispense with regularity. The remark is false in every part of it. Mr. Pope's Essay on Criticism, the Reader will soon see, is a regular piece: And a very learned Critic has lately shewn, that Horace had the same attention to method in his Art of Poetry.

VER. 1. 'Tis hard to say, etc.]’ The Poem opens [from ℣ 1 to 9.] with shewing the use and seasonableness of the subject. Its use, from the greater mischief in wrong Criticism than in ill Poetry, this only tiring that misleading the reader: Its season­ableness, from the growing number of false Critics, which now vastly exceeds that of bad Poets.

VER. 9. 'Tis with our judgments, etc.]’ The author having [Page 139] shewn us the expediency of his subject, the Art of Criticism, next inquires [from ℣ 8 to 15] into the necessary Qualities of a true Critic: And observes first, that JUDGMENT, simply and alone, is not sufficient to constitute this character, because Judg­ment, like the artificial measures of Time, goes different, and yet each relies upon his own. The reason is conclusive; and the similitude extremely just. For Judgment, when alone, is always regulated, or at least much inflenced by custom, fashion, and habit; and never certain and constant but when sounded upon TASTE: which is the same in the Critic, as GENIUS in the Poet: both are derived from Heaven, and like the Sun (the natural measure of Time) always constant and equal.

Nor need we wonder that Judgment alone will not make a Critic in poetry, when we see that it will not make a Poet. And on examination we shall find, that Genius and Taste are but one and the same faculty, differently exerting itself under different names, in the two prosessions of Poet and Critic. For the Art of Poetry consists in selecting, out of all those images which present themselves to the fancy, such of them as are truly poetical: And the Art of Criticism in judiciously discerning, and fully relishing what it finds so selected. 'Tis the same opera­tion of the mind in both cases, and consequently, exerted by the same faculty. All the difference is, that in the Poet this fa­culty is eminently joined with a bright imagination, and exten­sive comprehension, which provide stores for the selection, and can form that selection, by proportioned parts, into a regular whole: In the Critic, with a solid judgment and accurate discern­ment; which penetrate into the causes of an excellence, and can shew that excellence in all its variety of lights. Longinus had taste in an eminent degree; so this, which is indeed common to all true Critics, our Author makes his distinguishing character,

Thee, bold Longinus! all the Nine inspire,
And bless their Critic with a Poet's fire.

[Page 140] VER. 15. Let such teach others, etc.]’ But it is not enough that the Critic hath these natural endowments to entitle him to the exercise of his Art, he ought, as our Author shews us [from ℣ 14 to 19] to give a further test of his qualification, by some acquired talents: And this on two accounts: 1. Because the of­fice of a Critic is an exercise of Authority. 2. Because he being naturally as partial to his Judgment as the Poet is to his Wit, his partiality would have nothing to correct it, as that of the per­son judged hath. Therefore some test is reasonable; and the best and most unexceptionable is his having written well himself, an approved remedy against Critical partiality; and the surest means of so maturing the Judgment, as to reap with glory what Longinus calls the last and most perfect fruits of much study and experience. Η ΓΑΡ ΤΩΝ ΛΟΓΩΝ ΚΡΙΣΙΣ ΠΟΛΛΗΣ ΕΣΤΙ ΠΕΙΡΑΣ ΤΕΛΕΥΤΑΙΟΝ ΕΠΙΓΕΝΝΗΜΑ.

VER. 19. Yet if we look, etc.]’ But having been so free with this fundamental quality of Criticism, Judgment, as to charge it with inconstancy and partiality, and as often warped by custom and affection; that this may not be mistaken, he next explains [from ℣ 18 to 36.) the nature of Judgment, and the accidents [Page 141] occasioning those disorders before objected to it. He owns, that the seeds of Judgment are indeed sown in the minds of most men, but by ill culture, as it springs up, it generally runs wild: either on the one hand, by false knowledge which pedants call Philo­logy; or by false reasoning which Philosophers call School-learn­ing: Or on the other, by false wit which is not regulated by sense; or by false politeness which is solely regulated by the fa­shion. Both these sorts, who have their Judgments thus doubly [Page 142] depraved, the poet observes, are naturally turned to censure and reprehension; only with this difference, that the Dunce always affects to be on the reasoning, and the Fool on the laughing side.—And thus, at the same time, our author proves the truth of his introductory observation, that the number of bad Critics is vastly superior to that of bad Poets.

VER. 36. Some have at first for Wits, etc.]’ The poet having enumerated, in this account of the nature of Judgment and its [Page 143] various depravations, the several sorts of bad Critics, and ranked them into two general Classes; as the first sort, namely the men spoiled by false learning, are but few in comparison of the other, and likewise come less within his main view (which is poetical Criticism) but keep groveling at the bottom amongst words and letters, he thought it here sufficient just to have mentioned them, proposing to do them right elsewhere. But the men spoiled by false taste are innumerable; and These are his proper concern: He therefore, from ℣ 35 to 46. sub-divides them again into the two classes of the volatile and heavy: He describes in few words the quick progress of the One thro' Criticism, from false wit to plain solly, where they end; and the fixed station of the Other between the confines of both; who under the name of Wit­ [...]ings, 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.

[Page 144] VER. 46. But you who seek, etc.]’ Our author having thus far, by way of INTRODUCTION, explained the nature, use, and abuse of Criticism, in a figurative description of the qua­lities and characters of Critics, proceeds now to deliver the pre­cepts of the Art. The first of which, from ℣ 47 to 68. is, that he who sets up for a Critic should previously examine his own strength, and see how far he is qualified for the exercise of his profession. He puts him in a way to make this discovery, in that admirable direction given ℣ 51.‘AND MARK THAT POINT WHERE SENSE AND DULNESS MEET.’ He had shewn above, that Judgment, without Taste or Genius, is equally incapable of making a Critic or a Poet: In whatsoever subject then the Critic's Taste no longer accompanies his Judg­ment, there he may be assured he is going out of his depth. This our author finely calls,

that point where sense and dulness meet.

And immediately adds the REASON of his precept; the Author of Nature having so constituted the mental faculties, that one of them can never excel but at the expence of another.

[Page 145] From this state 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. The consequence shews the necessity of the precept, just as the premisses, from which it is drawn, shew the reasonableness of it.

[Page 146] VER. 68. First follow Nature, etc]’ The Critic observing the directions here given, and finding himself qualified for his office, is shewn next how to exercise it. And as he was to attend to Nature for a Call, so he is first and principally to follow her when called. And here again in this, as in the foregoing pre­cept, the poet [from ℣ 67 to 88.] shews both the fitness and the necessity of it. It's fitness, 1. Because Nature is the source of poetic Art; that Art being only a representation of Nature, who is its great exemplar and original. 2. Because Nature is the end of Art; the design of poetry being to convey the knowledge of [Page 147] Nature in the most agreeable manner. 3. Because Nature is the test of Art, as she is unerring, constant, and still the same. Hence the poet observes, that as Nature is the source, she con­veys life to Art: As she is the end, she conveys force to it, for the force of any thing arises from its being directed to its end: And, as she is the test, she conveys beauty to it, for every thing acquires beauty by its being reduced to its true standard. Such is the sense of those two important lines,

Life, force, and beauty must to all impart,
At once the source, and end, and test of Art.

We now come to the necessity of the Precept. The two great constituent qualities of a Composition, as such, are Art and Wit: But neither of these attains perfection, 'till the first be hid, and the other judiciously restrained; which is only then when Na­ture is exactly followed; for then Art never makes a parade, nor can Wit commit an extravagance. Art, while it adheres to Nature, and has so large a fund in the resources which Nature supplies, disposes every thing with so much ease and simplicity, that we see nothing but those natural images it works with, while itself stands unobserv'd behind: But when Art leaves Na­ture, deluded either by the bold extravagance of Fancy, or the quaint odnesses of Fashion, she is then obliged at every step to come forward, in a painful or pompous ostentation, in order to cover, to soften, or to regulate the shocking disproportion of unnatural images. In the first case, the poet compares Art to the Soul within, informing a beauteous Body; but we general­ly find it, in the last, only like the outward Habit, bolstering up, by the Taylor's skill, the defects of a mis-shapen one.—As to [Page 148] Wit, it might perhaps be imagined that this needed only Judg­ment to govern it: But, as he well observes,

Wit and Judgment often are at strife,
Tho' meant each other's aid, like Man and Wife.

They want therefore some friendly Mediator or Reconciler, which is Nature: And in attending to her, the Judgment will learn where to comply with the charms of Wit, and the Wit how to obey the sage directions of Judgment.

VER. 88. Those Rules of old etc.]’ Having thus, in his first precept, to follow Nature, settled Criticism on its true bottom; he proceeds to shew what assistance may be had from Art. But [Page 149] lest this should be thought to draw the Critic from the founda­tion where he had before fixed him, he previously observes [from ℣ 87 to 92] that those Rules of Art, which he is now about to recommend to his study, were not invented by the Imagina­tion, but discovered in the book of Nature: And that, there­fore, tho' they may seem to restrain Nature by Laws, yet, as they are laws of her own making, the Critic is still properly in the very liberty of Nature. Those Rules the ancient Critics borrowed from the Poets, who received them immediately from Nature,

Just Precepts thus srom great Examples giv'n,
These drew from them what they deriv'd from Heav'n;

and are both therefore to be well studied.

VER. 92. Hear how learn'd Greece, etc.]’ He speaks of the ancient Critics first, and with great judgment, as the previous knowledge of them is necessary for reading the Poets, with that fruit which the intent here proposed requires. But having, in the previous observation, sufficiently explained the nature of ancient Criticism, he enters on the subject [treated of from ℣ 91 to 118] with a sublime description of its End; which was to [Page 150] illustrate the beauties of the best Writers, in order to excite others to an emulation of their excellence. From the admiration which these Ideas raise in him, the poet is naturally brought back to reflect on the degeneracy of modern Criticism: And as the restoring the Art to its original integrity and splendor is the great purpose of his poem, he first takes notice of those, who seem not to understand that Nature is exhaustless, that new mo­dels of good writing may be produced in every age, and con­sequently new rules may be formed from these models in the same manner as the old Critics formed theirs, from the writings of the ancient Poets: but these men wanting art and ability to form these new rules, are content to receive, and file up for use, the old ones of Aristotle, Quintilian, Longinus, Horace, etc. with the same vanity and boldness that Apothecaries practise with their Doctors bills: And thus rashly applying them to new Originals (cases which they did not hit) it was no more in their power than their inclination to imitate the candid practice of the An­cients, when

The gen'rous Critic fann'd the Poet's fire,
And taught the world with reason to admire.

[Page 151] For, as Ignorance, when joined with Humility produces stu­pid admiration, on which account it is so commonly observed to be the mother of Devotion and blind homage; so when joined with Vanity (as it always is in bad Critics) it gives birth to every iniquity of impudent abuse and slander. See an example (for want of a better) in a late worthless and now forgotten thing, called the Life of Socrates. Where the head of the Author (as a man of wit observed, on reading the book) has just made a shift to do the office of a Camera obscura, and represent things in an inverted order; himself above, and Sprat, Rollin, Voltaire, and every other Author of reputation, below.

[Page 152] VER. 118. You then whose judgment etc.]’ He comes next to the ancient Poets, the other and more intimate commentators of Nature. And shews [from ℣ 117 to 141.] that the study of These must indispensably follow that of the ancient Critics, as they furnish us with what the Critics, who only give us general rules, cannot supply: while the study of a great original Poet, in

His Fable, Subject, scope in ev'ry page;
Religion, Country, genius of his Age;

will help us to those particular rules, which only can conduct us [Page 153] safely through every considerable work we undertake to exa­mine; and, without which, we may cavil indeed, as the poet truly observes, but can never criticize. We might as well sup­pose that Vitruvius's book alone would make a perfect Judge of Architecture, without the knowledge of some great master-piece of science, such as the Rotonda at Rome, or the Temple of Mi­nerva at Athens; as that Aristotle's should make a perfect Judge of wit, without the study of Homer and Virgil. These there­fore he principally recommends to complete the Critic in his Art. But as the latter of these Poets has, by superficial judges, been considered rather as a copyer of Homer, than an original, our Author obviates that common error, and shews it to have arisen (as often error does) from a truth, viz. that Homer and Nature were the same; and how that the ambitious young Poet, though he scorned to stoop at any thing short of Nature, when he came to understand this great truth, had the prudence to contemplate Nature in the place where she was seen to most ad­vantage, collected in all her charms in the clear mirror of Ho­mer. Hence it would follow, that, though Virgil studied Na­ture, [Page 154] yet the vulgar reader would believe him to be a copier of Homer; and though he copied Homer, yet the judicious reader would see him to be an imitator of Nature: the finest praise which any one, who came after Homer, could receive.

[Page 155] VER. 141. Some beauties yet no Precepts can declare, etc.]’ Our Author, in these two general precepts for studying Nature and her Commentators, having considered Poetry as it is, or may be reduced to Rule; lest this should be mistaken as sufficient to attain PERFECTION either in writing or judging, he proceeds [from ℣ 140 to 201.] to point up to those sublimer beauties which Rules will never reach, that is, enable us either to exe­cute or taste: and which rise so high above all precept as not even to be described by it; but being entirely the gift of Heaven, Art and Reason have no further share in their production than just to moderate their operations. These Sublimities of Poetry, like the Mysteries of Religion (some of which are above Rea­son, and some contrary to it) may be divided into two sorts, such as are above Rules, and such as are contrary to them.

VER. 146. If, where the rules etc.]’ The first sort our author [Page 156] describes [from ℣ 145 to 158.] and shews, that where a great beauty is in the Poet's view which no stated Rules will direct him how to reach, there, as the purpose of rules is only to pro­mote an end like this, a lucky Licence will supply the want of them: nor can the Critic fairly object to it, since this Li­cence, for the reason given above, has the proper sorce and au­thority of a Rule.

[Page 157] VER. 159. Great Wits sometimes may gloriously offend, etc.]’ He describes next the second sort, the beauties against rule. And even here, as he observes [from ℣ 158 to 169] the of­fense is so glorious, and the fault so sublime, that the true Critic will not dare either to censure or reform them. Yet still the Poet is never to abandon himself to his Imagination: the rules our author lays down for his conduct in this respect, are these: 1. That though he transgress the letter of some one particular precept, yet that he still adhere to the end or spirit of them all; which end is the creation of one uniform perfect Whole. And 2. That he have, in each instance, the authority of the dispens­ing power of the Ancients to plead for him. These rules observ­ed, this licence will be seldom used, and only when he is com­pelled by need: which will disarm the Critic, and screen the trans­gressor from his laws.

[Page 158] VER. 169. I know there are, etc.]’ But as some modern Critics have had the presumption to say, that this last rule is only justi­fying one fault by another, our author goes on [from ℣ 168 to 181] to vindicate the Ancients; and to shew that this cen­sure proceeds from rank Ignorance. As where their partial Judgment cannot see that this licence is sometimes necessary for the symmetry and proportion of a perfect whole, from the point, and in the light wherein it must be viewed: or, where their hasty Judgment will not give them time to discover, that a deviation from rule is for the sake of attaining some great and admirable purpose.—These observations are further useful as they tend to give modern Critics an humbler opinion of their own abilities, and an higher of the Authors they undertake to criticize. On which account He concludes with a fine reproof of that common proverb perpetually in the mouths of Critics, quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus; misunderstanding the sense of Horace, and taking quandoque for aliquando:

Those oft are stratagems which errors seem,
Nor is it Homer nods, but we that dream.

[Page 159] VER. 181. Still green with bays, etc.]’ But now fired with the name of Homer, and transported with the contemplation of those beauties which a cold Critic can neither see nor conceive, the Poet [from ℣ 180 to 201.] breaks into a rapturous exclama­tion on the rare felicity of those few Ancients who have risen superior over time and accidents: And, as it were disdaining any longer to reason with his Critics, offers this to them as the surest confutation of their censures. Then with the humility of a supplicant at the shrine of Immortals, and the Sublimity of a Poet participating of their fire, he turns again to these ancient worthies, and apostrophises their Manes:

Hail, Bards triumphant! etc.

[Page 160] VER. 200. T' admire superior sense, and doubt their own.]’ This line concludes the first division of the Poem; in which we [Page 161] see the subject of the first and second part, and likewise the con­nexion they have with one another. It serves likewise to in­troduce the second. The effect of studying the Ancients, as hi­therto recommended, would be the admiration of their superior sense; which, if it will not of itself dispose Moderns to a diffi­dence of their own (one of the great uses, as well as natural fruits of that study) the poet, to help forward their modesty, in his second part shews them (in a regular deduction of the causes and effects of wrong Judgment) their own image and amiable turn of mind.

VER. 201. Of all the Causes, etc.]’ Having, in the first part, delivered Rules for perfecting the Art of Criticism, the second is employ'd in explaining the Impediments to it. The order of the two parts is judicious. For the causes of wrong Judgment be­ing Pride, superficial Learning, a bounded Capacity, and Partia­lity; Those to whom this part is principally addressed, would not readily be brought either to see the malignity of the causes, or to own themselves concerned in the effects, had not the Author previously both enlightened and convicted them, by the fore­going observations, on the vastness of Art, and narrowness of Wit; the extensive study of human Nature and Antiquity; and the Characters of ancient Poetry and Criticism; the natural reme­dies to the four epidemic disorders he is now endeavouring to redress.

Ibid. Of all the causes, etc.]’ The first cause of wrong Judg­ment is PRIDE. He judiciously begins with it, [from ℣ 200 to 215] as on other accounts, so on this, that it is the very thing which gives modern Criticism its character; whose com­plexion is abuse and censure. He calls it the vice of Fools; by whom are not meant those to whom Nature has given no Judg­ment (for he is here speaking of what misleads the Judgment) but those in whom education and study has made no improve­ment; as appears from the happy similitude of an ill-nourish'd [Page 162] body; where the same words which express the cause, expres. likewise the nature of pride:

For as in bodies, thus in souls, we find,
What wants in blood and spirits, swell'd with wind.

'Tis the business of reason, he tells us, to dispel the cloud which pride throws over the mind: But the mischief is, that the rays of reason, diverted by self-love, sometimes gild this cloud, instead of dissipating it. So that the Judgment, by false lights reflected back upon itself, is still apt to be a little dazzled, and to mis­take its object. He therefore advises to call in still more helps:

Trust not yourself; but your defects to know,
Make use of ev'ry Friend—and ev'ry Foe.

Both the beginning and conclusion of this precept are remarkable. The question is of the means to subdue Pride: He directs the Critic to begin with a distrust of himself; and this is Modesty, the first mortification of Pride: And then to seek the assistance of others, and make use even of an Enemy; and this is Humility, the last mortification of Pride: For when a man can once bring himself to submit to profit by an enemy, he has either already quite subdued his Vanity, or is in a fair way of so doing.

[Page 163] VER. 215. A little learning, etc.]’ We must here remark the Poet's skill in his disposition of the causes obstructing true Judg­ment. Each general cause which is laid down first, has its own particular cause in that which follows. Thus, the second cause of wrong Judgment, SUPERFICIAL LEARNING, is what gives birth to that critical Pride, which he mentioned first.

VER. 216. Drink deep, etc.]’ Nature and Learning are the pole stars of all true Criticism: But Pride hinders the sight of Nature; and a smattering of letters takes away all sense of the want of Learning. To avoid this ridiculous situation, the poet [from ℣ 214 to 233] advises, either to drink deep, or not to taste at all; for the least sip is enough to make a bad Critic, while even a moderate draught can never make a good one. And yet the labours and difficulties of drinking deep are so great that a young author, ‘"Fir'd with ideas of fair Italy,"’ and am­bitious to snatch a palm from Rome, engages in an undertak­ing as arduous almost as that of Hannibal: Finely illustrated by the similitude of an unexperienced traveller penetrating thro' the Alps.

[Page 164] VER. 233. A perfect Judge, etc.]’ The third cause of wrong Judgment is a NARROW CAPACITY; the natural and certain cause of the foregoing defect, acquiescence in superficial learning. This bounded Capacity the poet shews [from 232 to 384.] be­trays itself two ways; in the matter, and in the manner of the [Page 165] work criticised. In the matter by judging by parts; or by having one favorite part to a neglect of all the rest: In the manner, by confining the regard only to conceit, or language, or numbers. This is our Poet's order; and we shall follow him as it leads us; only just observing one great beauty which runs thro' this part of the poem; it is, that under each of these heads of wrong Judgment, he has intermixed excellent precepts for right. We shall take notice of them as they occur.

He exposes the folly of judging by parts very artfully, not by a direct description of that sort of Critic, but of his opposite, a perfect Judge, etc. Nor is the elegance of this conversion in­ferior to the art of it; for as, in poetic style, one word or figure is still put for another, in order to catch new lights from dif­ferent images, and to reflect them back upon the subject in hand; so, in poetic matter, one person or thing may be advan­tageously employed for another, with the same elegance of re­presentation. It is observable that our Author makes it almost the necessary consequence of judging by parts, to find fault: And this not without much discernment: For the several parts of a compleat Whole, when seen only singly, and known only indepen­dently, [Page 166] must always have the appearance of irregularity; often, of deformity: Because the Poet's design being to create a result­ive beauty from the artful assemblage of several various parts into one natural whole; those parts must be fashioned with re­gard to their mutual relations in the stations they occupy in that whole, from whence, the beauty required is to arise: But that regard will occasion so unreducible a form in each part, when considered singly, as to present a very mis-shapen appearance.

[Page 167] VER. 253. Whoever thinks a faultless piece to see,]’ He shews next [from ℣ 252 to 263] that to fix our censure on single parts tho' they happen to want an exactness consistent enough with their relation to the rest, is even then very unjust: And for these reasons, 1. Because it implies an expectation of a faultless piece, which is a vain imagination: 2. Because no more is to be expected of any work than that it fairly attains its end: But the end may be attained, and yet these trivial faults committed: Therefore, in spight of such faults, the work will merit the praise due to that which attains its end. 3. Because sometimes a great beauty is not to be procured, nor a notorious blemish to be avoided, but by suffering one of these minute and trivial errors. 4. And laftly, because the generous neglect of them is a praise; as it is the indication of a Genius, busied about greater matters.

[Page 168] VER. 263. Most Critics, fond of some subservient art, etc.]’ II. The second way in which a narrow capacity, as it relates to the matter, shews itself, is judging by a favorite Part. The au­thor has placed this [from ℣ 262 to 285] after the other of judging by parts, with great propriety, it being indeed a natural consequence of it. For when men have once left the whole to turn their attention to the separate parts, that regard and reverence due only to a whole is fondly transferred to one or other of its parts. And thus we see that Heroes themselves as well as Heromakers, even Kings as well as Poets and Critics, when they chance never to have had, or long to have lost the idea of that which is the only legitimate object of their office, the care and conservation of the whole, are wont to devote themselves to the service of some favorite part, whether it be love of money, mi­litary glory, despotic power, etc. And all, as our Author says on this occasion,

to one lov'd Folly sacrifice.

[Page 169] This general misconduct much recommends that maxim in good Poetry and Politics, to give a principal attention to the whole; a maxim which our author has elswhere shewn to be equally true likewise in Morals and Religion; as being founded in the order of things: For, if we examine, we shall find it arise from this imbecillity of our nature, that the mind must always have some­thing to rest upon, to which the passions and affections may be interestingly directed. Nature prompts us to seek it in the most worthy object; and common sense points out to a Whole or System: But Ignorance, and the false lights of the Passions, confound and dazzle us; we stop short, and before we get to a Whole, take up with some Part; which from thence becomes our Fa­vourite.

[Page 170] VER. 285.

Thus Critics of less judgment than caprice,
Curious not knowing, not exact but nice,
Form short Ideas, etc.]

2. He concludes his observations on those two sorts of judges by parts, with this general reflexion.—The curious not knowing are the first sort, who judge by parts, and with a microscopic sight (as he says elsewhere) examine bit by bit: The not exact but nice, are the second, who judge by a favourite part, and talk of a whole to cover their sondness for a part; as Philosophers do of principles, in order to obtrude their notions or opinions for them. [Page 171] But the fate common to both is, to be governed by caprice and not by Judgment, and consequently, to form short ideas, or to have ideas short of truth: Tho' the latter sort, thro' a fondness to their favorite part, imagine that they comprehend the whole in epitome: As the famous Hero of La Mancha, mentioned just before, used to maintain, that Knight Errantry comprised with­in itself the quintessence of all Science, civil and military.

VER. 289. Some to Conceit alone, etc.]’ We come now to that second sort of bounded capacity, which betrays itself in the man­ner of the work criticised. And this our Author prosecutes from ℣ 288 to 384. These are again subdivided into divers classes.

Ibid. Some to Conceit alone, etc.]’ The first from ℣ 288 to 305.] are those who confine their attention solely to Conceit or Wit. And here again the Critic by parts, offends doubly in the manner, just as he did in the matter: For he not only confines his atten­tion [Page 172] to a part, when it should be extended to the whole; but he likewise judges salsely of that part. And this, like the other, is unavoidable, as the parts in the manner, bear the same close relation to the whole, that the parts in the matter do; to which whole the ideas of this Critic have never yet extended. Hence it is, that our author, speaking here of those who confine their attention solely to Conceit or Wit, describes the two species of true and false Wit; because they not only mistake a wrong dis­position of true Wit for a right, but likewise false Wit for true: He describes false Wit first, from ℣ 288 to 297.

Some to Conceit alone, etc.

Where the reader may observe our Author's skill in representing, in a description of salse Wit, the false disposition of the true, as the Critic by parts is apt to fall into both these errors.

He next describes true Wit, from 296 to 305.

True Wit is Nature to advantage dress'd, etc.

And here again the reader may observe the same beauty, not on­ly an explanation of true Wit, but likewise of the right disposition of it; which the poet illustrates, as he did the wrong, by ideas taken from the art of Painting.

[Page 173] VER. 305. Others for Language, etc.]’ He proceeds secondly to those narrow-minded Critics, whose whole concern turns upon Language, and shews [from ℣ 304 to 337.] that this qua­lity, where it holds the principal place, deserves no commenda­tion; 1. Because it excludes qualities more essential. And when the abounding Verbiage has excluded the sense, the writer has nothing to do but to gild over the defect, by giving his words all the false colouring in his power.

2. He shews, that the Critic who busies himself with this quality alone, is altogether unable to make a right Judgment of it; because true Expression is only the dress of Thought; and so must be perpetually varied according to the subject, and man­ner [Page 174] of thinking. But those who never concern themselves with the Sense, can form no judgment of the correspondence between that and the Language:

Expression is the dress of thought, and still
Appears more decent as more suitable, etc.

Now as these Critics are ignorant of this correspondence, their whole judgment in Language is reduced to the examination of single words; of which, such as are to his taste, are so only in proportion as they smack of Antiquity: On which our author has therefore bestowed a little raillery; concluding with a short and proper direction concerning the use of words, so far as re­gards their novelty and ancientry.

[Page 176] VER. 337. But most by Numbers judge, etc.]’ The last sort are those [from ℣ 336 to 384.] whose ears are attached only to the Harmony of a poem. Of which they judge as ignorantly and as perversely as the other sort did of Eloquence; and for the very same reason. He first describes that false Harmony with which they are so much captivated; and shews, that it is wretchedly flat and unvaried: For

Smooth or rough with them is right or wrong.

He then describes the true. 1. As it is in itself, constant; with a happy mixture of strength and sweetness, in contradiction to the roughness and flatness of false Harmony: And 2. as it is [Page 177] varied, in compliance to the subject, where the sound becomes an who to the sense, so far as is consistent with the preservation 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, slowness, and rapidity. The first use of this correspondence of the sound to the sense, is to aid the fancy in acquiring a perfecter and more lively image of the thing represented. A second and nobler, is to calm and sub­due the turbulent and selfish passions, and to raise and warm the beneficent: Which he illustrates in the famous adventure of Timotheus and Alexander: where, in referring to Mr. Dryden's Ode on that subject, he turns it to a high compliment on that great poet.

[Page 180] VER. 384. Avoid Extremes, etc.]’ Our Author is now come to the last cause of wrong judgment, PARTIALITY; the pa­rent of the immediately preceding cause, a bounded capacity: Nothing so much narrowing and contracting the mind as pre­judices entertained for or against things or persons. This, therefore, as the main root of all the foregoing, he prosecutes at large from ℣ 383 to 473.

First, to ℣ 394. he previously exposes that capricious turn of mind, which, by running men into Extremes, either of praise or dispraise, lays the foundation of an habitual partiality. He cautions therefore both against one and the other; and shews that excess of Praise is the mark of a bad taste; and excess of Cen­sure, of a bad digestion.

[Page 181] VER. 394. Some foreign writers, etc.]’ Having explained the disposition of mind which produces an habitual partiality, be preceeds to expose this partiality in all the shapes in which it ap­peats both amongst the unlearned and the learned.

I. In the unlearned, it is seen, first, In an unreasonable fond­ness for, or aversion to our own or foreign, to ancient or modern writers. And as it is the mob of unlearned readers he is here speaking of, he exposes their solly in a very apposite similitude:

Thus Wit, like Faith, by each Man is apply'd
To one small sect, and all are damn'd beside.

But he shews [from ℣ 397 to 408] that these Critics have as wrong a notion of Reason as those Bigots have of God: For that Genius is not confined to times or climates; but, as the common gist of Nature, is extended throughout all ages and countries: That indeed this intellectual light, like the material light of the Sun itself, may not shine at all times, in every place, with equal splendor; but be sometimes clouded with popular ig­norance; and sometimes again eclipsed by the discountenance of Princes; yet it shall still recover itself; and, by breaking thro' the strongest of these impediments, manifest the eternity of its nature.

[Page 182] VER. 408. Some ne'er advance a Judgment of their own]’ A second instance of unlearned partiality, he shews [from ℣ 407 to 424.] is mens going always along with the cry, as having no fixed or well grounded principles whereon to raise any judgment of their own. A third is reverence for names; of which sort, as he well observes, the worst and vilest are the idolizers of names of quality; whom therefore he stigmatizes as they deserve. Our [Page 183] author's temper as well as judgment is here very observable, in throwing this species of partiality amongst the unlearned Critics: His affection for letters would not suffer him to conceive, that any learned Critic could ever fall to so low a prostitution.

VER. 424.—

The Vulgar thus—
As oft the Learn'd—]

II. He comes, in the second place [from ℣ 423 to 452] to consider the instances of partiality in the learned. 1. The first is Singula­rity. For, as want of principles, in the unlearned, necessitates them to rest on the general judgment as always right; so adhe­rence to false principles (that is, to notions of their own) mis­leads the learned into the other extreme, of supposing the gene­ral [Page 184] judgment always wrong. And as, before, the Poet com­pared those to Bigots, who made true faith to consist in believ­ing after others; so he compares these to Schismaticks, who make it to consist in believing as no one ever believed before. Which folly he marks with a lively stroke of humour in the turn of the thought:

So Schismatics the plain believers quit,
And are but damn'd for having too much Wit.

2. The second is Novelty. And as this proceeds sometimes from fondness, sometimes from vanity; he compares the one to the passion for a mistress; and the other, to the pride of being in fa­shion: But the excuse common to both is, the daily improvement of their Judgment.

Ask them the cause, they're wiser still they say.

Now as this is a plausible pretence for their inconstancy; and our author has himself afterwards laid down the like thought, in a precept for a remedy against obstinacy and pride, where he says, ℣ 570.

But you with pleasure own your errors past,
And make each day a critic on the last,

he has been careful, by the turn of the expression in this place, to shew the difference. For Time, considered only as duration, vitiates as frequently as it improves: Therefore to expect wis­dom as the necessary attendant of length of years, unrelated to long experience, is vain and delusive. This he illustrates by a remarkable example; where we see Time, instead of becoming wiser, destroying good letters, to substitute school divinity in their place.—The genius of which kind of learning; the character of its professors; and the sate, which, sooner or later, always at­tends whatsoever is wrong or false, the poet sums up in those four lines;

Faith, Gospel, all seem'd made to be disputed, etc.

[Page 185] And in conclusion, he observes, that perhaps this mischief, from love of novelty, might not be so great, did it not, with the Critic, infect Writers likewise; who, when they find their rea­ders disposed to take ready Wit on the standard of current Folly, never trouble themselves to make better payment.

[Page 187] VER. 452. Some valuing those of their own side or mind, etc.]’ 3. The third and last instance of partiality in the learned, is Party and Faction. Which is consider'd from ℣ 451 to 474. where he shews how men of this turn deceive themselves when they load a writer of their own side with commendation. They fancy they are paying tribute to merit, when they are only sa­crificing to self-love. But this is not the worst. He further shews, that this party spirit has often very ill effects on Science [Page 188] itself; while, in support of Faction, it labours to depress some rising Genius, that was, perhaps, raised by nature, to enlighten his age and country. By which he would insinuate, that all the base and viler passions seek refuge, and find support in party madness.

[Page 189] VER. 474. Be thou the first, etc.]’ The poet having now gone thro' the last cause of wrong Judgment, and root of all the rest, PARTIALITY; and ended it with the highest instances of it, in party-rage and envy; this affords him an opportunity [from ℣ 473 to 560.] of closing his second division in the most graceful manner, by concluding from the premisses, and calling upon the TRUE CRITIC to be careful of his charge, which is the protec­tion and support of Wit. For, the defence of it from malevo­lent censure is its true protection; and the illustration of its beauties, its true support.

He first shews, the Critic ought to do this service without delay: And on these motives. 1. Out of regard to himself: For there is some merit in giving the world notice of an excellence; but none at all in pointing, like an Idiot, to that which has been long in the admiration of men. 2. Out of regard to the Poem: For the short duration of modern works requires they should begin [Page 190] to enjoy their existence early. He compares the life of modern Wit, and of the ancient, which survives in an universal language, to the difference between the Patriarchal age and our own: And observes, that while the ancient writings live for ever, as it were in brass and marble, the modern are but like Paintings, which, of how masterly a hand soever, have no sooner gained their requisite perfection by the incorporating, softening, and ripening of their tints, which they do in a very few years, but they begin to fade and die away. 3. Lastly, our author shews, that the Critic ought to do this service out of regard to the Poet; when he considers the slender dowry the Muse brings along with her: In youth 'tis only a short lived vanity; and in maturer years an accession of care and labour, in proportion to the weight of Re­putation to be sustained, and of the increase of Envy to be oppo­sed: And concludes his reasoning therefore on this head, with that pathetic and insinuating address to the Critic, from 508 to 524.

Ah! let not learning, etc.

[Page 193] VER 527. But if in noble minds some dregs remain, etc.]’ So far as to what ought to be the true Critic's principal study and employment. But if the four critical humour must needs have vent, he points to its right object; and shews [from ℣ 526 to 556.] how it may be usefully and innocently diverted. This is very observable; for our author makes spleen and disdain the characteristic of the false Critic, and yet here supposes them inherent in the true. But it is done with judgment, and a knowledge of nature. For as bitterness and acerbity in un­ripe fruits of the best kind are the foundation and capacity of that high spirit, race, and flavour which we find in them, when perfectly concocted by the heat and influence of the Sun; and which, without those qualities, would often gain no more by that influence than only a mellow insipidity: so spleen and disdain in the true Critic, improved by long study and experience, ripen into an exactness of Judgment and an elegance of Taste: But, lying in the false Critic remote from [Page 194] the influence of good letters, continue in all their first offensive harshness and astringency. The Poet therefore shews how, af­ter the exaltation of these qualities into their state of perfection, the very Dregs (which, tho' precipitated, may possibly, on some occasions, rise and ferment even in a noble mind) may be use­fully employed in branding OBSCENITY and IMPIETY. Of these he explains the rise and progress, in a beautiful picture of the different genius's of the reigns of Charles II. and William III. the former of which gave course to the most profligate luxury; the latter to a licentious impiety. These are the criminals the poet assigns over to the caustic hand of the Critic, but concludes however, from ℣ 556 to 561. with this necessary admonition, to take care not to be misled into unjust censure; either on the one hand, by a pharisaical niceness, or on the other by a con­sciousness of guilt. And thus the second division of his Essay ends: The judicious conduct of which is worthy our observa­tion. The subject of it are the causes of wrong Judgment: These he derives upwards from cause to cause, till he brings them to their source, an immoral partiality: For as he had, in the first part,

trac'd the Muses upward to their spring,

and shewn them to be derived from Heaven, and the Offspring of virtue; so hath he here pursued this enemy of the Muses, the bad Critic, to his low original, in the arms of his nursing mother Immorality. This order naturally introduces, and at the same time shews the necessity of, the subject of the third and last division, which is, on the Morals of the Critic.

[Page 196] VER. 561. Learn then, etc.]’ We enter now on the third part, the MORALS of the Critic; included in CANDOUR, MO­DESTY, and GOOD-BREEDING. This third and last part is in two divisions. In the first of which [from ℣ 560 to 632.] he inculcates these morals by precept: In the second [from ℣ 631 to the end] by example. His first precept [from ℣ 562 to 567.] recommends CANDOUR, for its use to the Critic, and to the writer criticised.

[Page 197] 2. The second [from ℣ 566 to 573.] recommends MODESTY, which manifests itself by these four signs: 1. Silence where it doubts,

Be silent always when you doubt your sense;

2. A seeming diffidence where it knows,

And speak, tho' sure, with seeming diffidence:

3. A free confession of error where wrong,

But you with pleasure own your errors past,

4. And a constant review and scrutiny even of those opinions which it still thinks right:

And make each day a Critic on the last.

3. The third [from ℣ 572 to 585.] recommends GOOD BREEDING, which will not force truth dogmatically upon men, as ignorant of it, but gently insinuates it into them, as not suf­ficiently attentive to it. But as men of breeding are apt to fall in­to two extremes, he prudently cautions against them. The one is a backwardness in communicating their knowledge, out of a false delicacy, and fear of being thought Pedants: The other, and much more common extreme in men of breeding, is a mean com­placence, which such as are worthy of your advice do not want to make it acceptable; for those can best bear reproof in par­ticular points, who best deserve commendation in general.

[Page 198] VER. 585. 'Twere well might Critics, etc.]’ The poet having thus recommended, in these general rules of Conduct for the Judgment, the three critical Virtues to the heart; shews next [from ℣ 584 to 632.] on what three sort of Writers these Vir­tues, together with the advice conveyed under them, would be thrown away; and, which is worse, be repaid with obloquy and slander. These are the false Critic, the dull Man of Qua­lity, and the bad Poet; each of which incorrigible writers he hath very justly and exactly characterized.

But having drawn the last of them at large, and being always attentive to his main subject, which is, of writing and judging well, he re-assumes the character of the bad Critic (whom he had but touched upon before) to contrast him with the other; and makes the Characteristic common to both, to be a never­ceasing Repetition of their own impertinence.‘The Poet,still runs on in a raging vein, etc. ℣ 607, etc. ‘The Criticwith his own tongue still edifies his ears, ℣ 615, etc.

[Page 201] VER. 631. But where's the man, etc.]’ II. The second division of this last part, which we now come to, is of the Morals of Critics by example. For, having there drawn a picture of the false Critic, at large, he breaks out into an apostrophe, con­taining an exact and finished character of the true, which, at the same time, serves for an easy and proper introduction to this second division. For, having asked [from ℣ 631 to 644.] Where's the [Page 202] man, etc. he answers [from ℣ 643 to 682.] That he was to be found in the happier ages of Greece and Rome; in the persons of Aristotle and Horace, Dionysius and Petronius, Quintilian and Longinus. Whose features he has not only exactly delineated, but contrasted with a peculiar elegance; the profound science and logical method of Aristotle being opposed to the plain common sense of Horace, conveyed in a natural and familiar negligence; the study and refinement of Dionysius, to the gay and courtly ease of Petronius; and the gravity and minuteness of Quintilian, to the vivacity and general topics of Longinus. Nor has the Poet been less careful, in these examples, to point out their eminence in the several critical Virtues he so carefully inculcated in his precepts. Thus in Horace he particularizes his Candour, in Pe­tronius his Good Breeding, in Quintilian his free and copious In­struction, and in Longinus his noble Spirit.

[Page 205] VER. 682. Thus long succeeding Critics, etc.]’ The next pe­riod in which the true Critic (he tells us) appear'd, was at the revival and restoration of letters in the West. This occasions his giving a short history [from ℣ 683 to 710.] of the decline [Page 206] and re-establishment of arts and sciences in Italy. He shews that they both fell under the same enemy, despotic power; and that when both had made some little efforts to restore themselves, they were soon quite overwhelmed by a second deluge of another kind, Superstition; and a calm of Dulness finish'd upon Rome and Letters what the rage of Barbarism had begun:

A second deluge learning thus o'er-run,
And the Monk finish'd what the Goth begun.

When things had been long in this condition, and all recovery now appear'd desperate, it was a CRITIC, our author shews us for the honour of the Art he here teaches, who at length broke the charm of Dulness, dissipated the inchantment, and, like an­other Hercules, drove those cowl'd and hooded serpents from the Hesperian tree of knowledge, which they had so long guarded from human approach.

[Page 207] VER. 694. At length Erasmus, etc.]’ Nothing can be more artful than the application of this example; or more happy than the turn of compliment to this admirable man. To throw glory quite round his illustrious character, he makes it to be (as in fact it really was) by his assistance chiefly, that Leo was ena­bled to restore letters and the fine arts, in his Pontificate.

VER. 698. But see each Muse in Leo's golden days]’ This pre­sents us with the second period in which the true Critic appear'd; of whom he has given us a perfect idea in the single example of Marcus Hieronymus Vida: For his subject being poetical Criti­cism, for the use principally of a critical Poet; his example is an eminent poetical Critic, who had had written of that Art in verse.

[Page 208] VER. 710. But soon by impious arms, etc.]’ This brings us to the third period, after learning had still travelled farther West; when the arms of the Emperor, in the sack of Rome by the duke of Bourbon, had driven it out of Italy, and forced it to pass the Mountains—The Examples he gives in this period, are of Boileau in France, and of the Lord Roscommon and the duke of Buckingham in England: And these were all Poets, as well as Critics in verse. It is true, the last instance is of one who was no eminent poet, the late Mr. Walsh. This small deviation might be well over-looked, was it only for its being a pious office to the memory of his friend: But it may be farther justified as it was an homage paid in particular to the MORALS of the Critic, no­thing being more amiable than the character here drawn of this excellent person. He being our Author's Judge and Censor, as [Page 209] well as Friend, it gives him a graceful opportunity to add himself to the number of the later Critics; and with a character of him­self, sustained by that modesty and dignity which it is so difficult to make consistent, this performance concludes.

I have given a short and plain account of the Essay on Criti­cism, concerning which I have but one thing more to acquaint the reader: That when he considers the Regularity of the plan, the masterly Conduct of each part, the penetration into Nature, and the compass of Learning, so conspicuous throughout, he should at the same time know, it was the work of an Author who had not attained the twentieth year of his age.


VER. 15. Let such teach others]’ Qui scribit artificiose, ab aliis commode scripta facile intelligere poterit. Cic. ad Herenn. lib. 4. De pictore, sculptore, fictore, nisi artifex, judicare non po­test. Pliny. P.

VER. 20. Most have the seeds]’ Omnes tacito quodam sensu, sine ulla arte, aut ratione, quae sint in artibus ac rationibus recta et prava dijudicant. Cic. de Orat. lib. iii. P.

[Page 141] VER. 25. So by false learning]’ Plus sine doctrina prudentia, quam sine prudentia valet doctrina. Quint. P.

VER. 26, 27. Some are bewilder'd, etc.]’ This thought is taken from Lord Rochester, but more decently expressed:

God never made a Coxcomb worth a groat,
We owe that name to industry and arts.

[Page 142] VER. 28. In search of wit these lose their common sense,]’ This observation is extremely just. Search of wit is not only the oc­casion but the efficient cause of loss of common sense. For wit con­sisting in chusing out, and setting together, such ideas from whose likenesses pleasant pictures are made in the fancy; the Judgment, thro' an habitual search of Wit, loses by degrees its fa­culty of seeing the true relations of things; in which consists the exercise of common sense.

VER. 32.

All fools have still an itching to deride,
And fain would be upon the laughing side.]

The sentiment is just. And if Hobbes's account of laughter be true, that it arises from pride, we see the reason of it. The expression too is fine, it alludes to the condition of Idiots and natural-fools who are always on the grin.

[Page 143] VER. 43. Their generation's so equivocal:]’ It is sufficient that a principle of philosophy has been generally received, whether it be true or false, to justify a poet's use of it to set off his wit. But to recommend his argument he should be cautious how he uses any but the true. For falsehood, when it is set too near, will tarnish the truth he would recommend. Besides, the ana­logy between natural and moral truth makes the principles of true Philosophy the fittest for his use. Our Poet has been care­ful in observing this rule.

[Page 144] VER. 51. And mark that point where sense and dullness meet.]’ Besides the peculiar sense 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 obscure; as we are [Page 145] apt to do, tho' that obscurity is a monition that we should leave off; for it arises either thro' our small acquaintance with the subject, or the incomprehensibility of its nature. In which circumstances a genius will always write as heavily as a dunce. An observation well worth the attention of all profound writers.

VER. 56.

Thus in the soul while memory prevails,
The solid pow'r of understanding fails:
Where beams of warm imagination play,
The memory's soft sigures melt away.]

These observations are collected from an intimate knowledge of human nature. The cause of that languor and heaviness in the understanding, which is almost inseparable from a very strong and tenacious memory, seems to be a want of the proper exercise and activity of that power; the understanding being rather passive while the memory is cultivating. As to the other ap­pearance, [Page 146] the decay of memory by the vigorous exercise of Fan­cy, the poet himself seems to have intimated the cause of it in the epithet he has given to the Imagination. For if, according to the Atomic Philosophy, the memory of things be preserved in a chain of ideas, produced by the animal spirits moving in continued trains; the force and rapidity of the Imagination per­petually breaking and dissipating the links of this chain by form­ing new associations, must necessarily weaken and disorder the recollective faculty.

VER. 67. Would all but stoop to what they understand.]’ The ex­pression is delicate, and implies what is very true, that most men think it a degradation of their genius to employ it in cultivating what lies level to their comprehension, but had rather exercise their ambition in subduing what is placed above it.

[Page 149] VER. 88. Those Rules of old, etc.]’ Cicero has, best of any one I know, explained what that is which reduces the wild and scattered parts of human knowledge into arts.Nihil est quod ad artem redigi possit, nisi ille prius, qui illa tenet, quorum artem instituere vult, habeat illam scientiam, ut ex iis rebus, quarum ars nondum sit, artem efficere possit.—Omnia fere, quae sunt conclusa nunc artibus, dispersa et dissipata quondam fuerunt, ut in Musicis, etc. Adhibita est igitur ars quaedam extrinsecus ex alio genere quodam, quod sibi totum PHILOSOPHI assumunt, quae rem dissolutam divul­samque conglutinaret, et ratione quadam constringeret. De Orat. l. i. c. 41, 2.

[Page 150] VER. 98. Just precepts]’ Nec enim artibus editis factum est ut argumenta inveniremus, sed dicta sunt omnia antequam proe­ciperentur; mox ea scriptores observata et collecta ediderunt. Quintil. P.

[Page 151] VER. 112.

Some on the leaves—
Some drily plain.]

The first, the Apes of those Italian Critics, who at the restoration of letters [Page 152] having found the classic writers miserably mangled by the hands of monkish Librarians, very commendably employed their pains and talents in restoring them to their native purity. The second, the plagiaries from the French, who had made some ad­mirable Commentaries on the ancient critics. But that acumen and taste, which separately constitute the distinct value of those two species of foreign Criticism, make no part of the character of these paltry mimics at home, described by our Poet in the following lines,

These leave the sense, their learning to display,
And those explain the meaning quite away.

Which species is the least hurtful, the Poet has enabled us to determine in the lines with which he opens his poem,

But of the two less dang'rous is th'offence
To tire our patience than mislead our sense.

From whence we conclude, that the reverend Mr. Upton was much more innocently employed when he quibbled upon Epicte­tus, than when he commented upon Shakespear.

[Page 154] VER. 130. When first young Maro etc.]’

Virg. Eclog. vi.
Cum canerem reges et proelia, Cynthius aurem

It is a tradition preserved by Servius, that Virgil began with writing a poem of the Alban and Roman affairs; which he found above his years, and descended first to imitate Theocritus on rural subjects, and afterwards to copy Homer in Heroic poetry.


[Page 156] VER. 146. If, where the rules etc.]’ Neque enim rogationibus plebisve scitis sancta sunt ista Praecepta, sed hoc, quicquid est, Uti­litas excogitavit. Non negabo autem sic utile esse plerumque; verum si eadem illa nobis aliud suadebit Utilitas, hanc, relictis magistro­rum autoritatibus, sequemur. Quintil. lib. ii. cap. 13. P.

VER. 150. Thus Pegasus, &c.]’ We have observed how the precepts for writing and judging are interwoven throughout the whole work. He first describes the sublime slight 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 heart, without passing through his Judgment. By which is not meant that it could not stand the test of Judgment; but that, it being 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, soon opens and enlarges the Judgment, whose concurrence (it being now set 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.

[Page 158] VER. 175. A prudent chief etc.]’ [...] [Page 159] [...]Dion. Hal. De struct. orat.

VER. 180. Nor is it Homer nods, but we that dream.]’ Mo­deste, et circumspecto judicio de tantis viris pronunciandum est, ne quod (quod plerisque accidit) damnent quod non intelligunt. Ac si necesse est in alteram errare partem, omnia corum legentibus pla­cere, quam multa displicere maluerim. Quint. P.

VER. 183.

Secure from flames, from envy's fiercer rage,
Destructive war, and all-involving age.]

The Poet here alludes to the four great causes of the ravage amongst ancient writings: The destruction of the Alexandrine and Palatine libraries by fire; the fiercer rage of Zoilus and Maevius and their followers against Wit; the irruption of the Barbarians into the [Page 160] empire; and the long reign of Ignorance and Superstition in the cloisters.

VER. 189. Hail, Bards triumphant!]’ There is a pleasantry in this title, which alludes to the state of warfare that all true Genius must undergo while here upon earth.

VER. 196. The last]’ This word, spoken in his early youth, as it were by chance, seems to have been ominous.

[Page 162] VER. 209.

Pride where Wit fails steps in to our defence,
And fills up all the mighty void of sense.]

A very sensible french wri­ter makes the following remark on this species of pride. ‘"Un homme qui sçait plusieurs Langues, qui entend les Auteurs [Page 163] Grecs et Latins, qui s'eleve même jusqu' à la dignité de SCHO­LIASTE; si cet homme venoit à peser son véritable mérite, il trouveroit souvent qu'il se réduit à avoir eu des yeux et de la mémoire, il se garderoit bien de donner le nom respectable de science à une érudition sans lumiere. Il y a une grande difference entre s'enrichir des mots ou des choses, entre alle­guer des autoritez ou des raisons. Si un homme pouvoit se surprendre à n' avoir que cette sorte de mérite, il en rougi­roit plûtôt que d'en être vain."’

VER. 217. There shallow draughts, etc.]’ The thought was taken from Lord Verulam, who applies it to more serious en­quiries.

[Page 164] VER. 233. A perfect Judge, etc.]’ Diligenter legendum est, ac paene ad scribendi sollicitudinem: Nec per partes modo scrutanda sunt emnia, sed perlectus liber utique ex integro resumendus. Quin▪

[Page 165] VER. 235.

Survey the Whole, nor seek slight faults to find,
Where nature moves, and rapture warms the mind;]

The second line, in apologizing for those faults which the first says should be overlooked, gives the reason of the precept. For when a writer's attention is fixed on a general view of Nature, and his imagination warm'd with the contemplation of great ideas, it can hardly be but that there must be small irregularities in the disposition both of matter and style, because the avoiding these requires a coolness of recollection, which a writer so bu­sied is not master of.

[Page 166] VER. 248. The world's just wonder, and ev'n thine, O Rome!]’ The Pantheon. There is something very Gothic in the taste and judgment of a learned man, who despises this master-piece of Art for those very qualities which deserve our admiration.—‘"Nous esmerveillons comme l'on fait si grand cas de ce Panthe­on, veu que son edifice n'est de si grande industrie comme l'on crie: car chaque petit Masson peut bien concevoir la ma­niere de sa façon tout en un instant car estant la base si mas­sive, et les murailles si espoisses, ne nous a semblé difficile d'y [Page 167] adjouster la voute à claire voye."’ Pierre Belon's Observations, etc. The nature of the Gothic structures apparently led him into this mistake of the Architectonic art in general; that the excellency of it consisted in raising the greatest weight on the least assignable support, so that the edifice should have strength without the appearance of it, in order to excite admiration. But to a judicious eye it would have a contrary effect, the Ap­pearance (as our poet expresses it) of a monstrous height, or breadth, or length. Indeed did the just proportions in regular Architec­ture take off from the grandeur of a building, by all the single parts coming united to the eye, as this learned traveller seems to insinuate, it would be a reasonable objection to those rules on which this Master-piece of Art was constructed. But it is not so. The Poet tells us,

The Whole at once is BOLD and regular.

[Page 168] VER. 261. verbal Critic]’ Is not here used in its common signification, of one who retails the sense of single words; but of one who deals in large cargo's of them without any sense at all.

[Page 169] VER. 267. Once on a time, etc.]’ This tale is so very apposite, that one would naturally take it to be of the Poet's own inven­tion; and so much in the spirit of Cervantes, that one might easily mistake it for one of the chief strokes of that incomparable Satire. But, in truth, it is neither this nor that; but a story taken by our Author from the spurious Don Quixote; which shews how proper an use may be made of General reading, when if there is but one good thing in a book (as in that wretch­ed performance there scarce was more) it may be pick'd out, and employ'd to an excellent purpose.

[Page 170] VER. 285.

Thus Critics of less judgment than caprice,
Curious not knowing, not exact but nice.]

In these two lines the poet finely describes the way in which bad writers are wont to imitate the qualities of good ones. As true Judgment [Page 171] generally draws men out of popular opinions, so he who cannot get from the croud by the assistance of this guide, willingly follows Caprice, which will be sure to lead him into singularities. Again, true Knowledge is the art of treasuring up only that which, from its use in life, is worthy of being lodged in the memory. But Curiosity consists in a vain attention to every thing out of the way, and which, for its uselessness the world least regards. Lastly, Exactness is the just proportion of parts to one another, and their harmony in a whole: But he who has not extent of capacity for the exercise of this quality, contents himself with Nicety, which is a busying one's self about points and syllables.

[Page 172] VER. 297. True Wit is Nature to advantage dress'd, etc.]’ This definition is very exact. Mr. Locke had defined Wit to consist in the assemblage of ideas, and putting those together, with quickness and variety, wherein can be found any resemblance or congruity, whereby to make up pleasant pictures and agreeable visions in the fancy. But that great Philosopher, in separating Wit from [Page 173] Judgment, as he does in this place, has given us (and he could therefore gives us no other) only an account of Wit in general: In which false Wit, tho' not every species of it, is included. A striking Image therefore of Nature is, as Mr. Locke observes, certainly Wit: But this image may strike on several other ac­counts, as well as for its truth and amiableness; and the Philo­sopher has explained the manner how. But it never becomes that Wit which is the ornament of true Poesy, whose end is to represent Nature, but when it dresses that Nature to advantage, and presents her to us in the clearest and most amiable light. And to know when the Fancy has done its office truly, the poet subjoins this admirable Test, viz. When we perceive that it [Page 174] gives us back the image of our mind. When it does that, we may be sure it plays no tricks with us: For this image is the creature of the Judgment; and whenever Wit corresponds with Judgment, we may safely pronounce it to be true.

Naturam intueamur, hanc sequamur: id facillime accipiunt ani­mi quod agnoscunt. Quintil. lib. viii. c. 3.

VER. 311. False eloquence, like the prismatic glass, etc.]’ This simile is beautiful. For the false colouring, given to objects by the prismatic glass, is owing to its untwisting, by its obliquities, those threads of light, which Nature had put together in order to spread over its works an ingenuous and simple candor, that [Page 175] should not hide, but only heighten the native complexion of the objects. And false Eloquence is nothing else but the straining and divaricating the parts of true expression; and then daubing them over with what the Rhetoricians very properly term, CO­LOURS; in lieu of that candid light, now lost, which was reflected from them in their natural state while sincere and en­tire.

VER. 324. Some by old words, etc.]’ Abolita et abrogata reti­nere, insolentiae cujusdam est, et frivolae in parvis jactantiae. Quintil. lib. i. c. 6. P.

Opus est ut verba à vetustate repetita neque crebra sint, neque manifesta, quia nil est adiosius affectatione, nec utique ab ultimis repetita temporibus. Oratio cujus summa virtus est perspicuitas, quam sit vitiosa, si egeat interprete? Ergo ut novorum optima erunt maxime vetera, ita veterum maxime nova. Idem. P.

[Page 176] VER. 328.‘—unlucky as Fungoso etc.]’ See Ben Johnson's Every Man in his Humour. P.

VER. 337. But most by Numbers, etc.]’

Quis populi sermo est? quis enim? nisi carmina molli
Nunc demum numero fiuere, ut per laeve severos
Effundat junctura ungues: scit tendere versum
Non secus ac si oculo rubricam dirigat uno.
Pers. Sat. i.


[Page 177] VER. 345. Tho' oft the ear, etc.]’ Fugiemus crebras vocalium concursiones, quae vastam atque hiantem orationem readunt. Cic. ad Heren. lib. iv. Vide etiam Quintil. lib. ix. c. 4. P.

[Page 178] VER. 364.

'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence;
The sound must seem an Echo to the sense:

The judi­cious introduction of this precept is remarkable. The Poets, and even some of the best of them, have been so fond of the beauty arising from this trivial precept, that, in their prac­tice, [Page 179] they have violated the very End of it, which is the en­crease of harmony; and, so they could but raise an Echo, did not care whose ears they offended by its dissonance. To remedy this abuse therefore, the poet, by the introductory line, would infinuate, that Harmony is always presupposed as observed; tho' it may and ought to be perpetually varied, so as to produce the effect here recommended.

VER. 365. The sound must seem an Echo to the sense,]’ Lord Roscommon says, The sound is still a comment to the sense. They are both well expressed: only this supposes the sense to be assisted by the sound; that, the sound assisted by the sense.

[Page 180] VER. 374. Hear how Timotheus, etc.]’ See Alexander's Feast, or the Power of Music; an Ode by Mr. Dryden. P.

[Page 182] VER. 402. Which from the first etc.]’ Genius is the same in all ages; but its fruits are various; and more or less excellent as they are checked or matured by the influence of Government or Religion upon them. Hence in some parts of Literature the Ancients excell; in others, the modern; just as those accidental circumstances influenced them.

[Page 185] VER. 444. Scotists and Thomists]’ These were two parties amongst the schoolmen, headed by Duns Scotus and Thomas Aquinas, of different opinions, and from that difference deno­minated Realists and Nominalists; they were perpetually disput­ing on the immaculate conception, and on subjects of the like im­portance.

[Page 186] VER. 444. Scotists]’ So denominated from Johannes Duns Scotus. He suffered a miserable reverse of fortune at Oxford in the time of Henry VIII. That grave Antiquary Mr. An­tony Wood sadly laments the deformation, as he calls it, of that University by the King's Commissioners; and even records the blasphemous speeches of one of them in his own Words—We have set DUNCE in Boccardo, with all his blind Glossers, fast nailed up upon posts in all common houses of easement. Upon which our venerable Antiquary thus exclaims: ‘"If so be, the commissioners had such disrespect for that most famous Au­thor J. Duns, who was so much admired by our predecessors, and SO DIFFICULT TO BE UNDERSTOOD, that the Doctors of those times, namely Dr. William Roper, Dr. John Kynton, Dr. William Mowse, etc. professed, that, in twenty eight years study, they could not understand him rightly, What then had they for others of inferior note?"’—What indeed! But then, If so be, that most famous J. Duns was so difficult to be under­stood [Page 187] (for that this is a most classical proof of his great value, who doubts?) I should conceive our good old Antiquary to be a little mistaken. And that the nailing up this Proteus was done by the Commissioners in honour of the most famous Duns: There being no other way of catching the sense of so slippery an Author, who had eluded the pursuit of three of their most renowned Doctors, in full cry after him, for twenty eight years together. And this Boccardo in which he was confined, seemed very proper for the purpose; it being observed, that men are never more serious and thoughtful than in that place. SCRIBL.

Ibid. Thomists,]’ From Thomas Aquinas, a truly great Genius, who was, in those blind ages, the same in Theology that Friar Bacon was in natural Philosophy: less happy than our Coun­tryman in this, that he soon became surrounded with a number of dark Glossers, who never left him till they had extinguished the radiance of that light which had pierced thro' the thickest night of Monkery, the thirteenth century, when the Waldenses were suppressed, and Wicklisse not yet risen.

VER. 445. Duck-lane]’ A place where old and second-hand books were sold formerly, near Smithfield. P.

VER. 450.

And Authors think their reputation safe,
Which lives as long as fools are pleas'd to laugh.]

This is a just and ad­mirable satire on those we call, Authors in fashion; for they are [Page 188] the men who get the laugh on their side. He shews, on how pi­tiful a basis their reputation stands, the changeling disposition of fools to laugh; who are always carried away with the last joke.

VER. 463. Milbourn]’ The Rev. Mr. Luke Milbourn. Den­nis served Mr. Pope in the same office. And indeed the attend­ance of these slaves is necessary to render the triumphs of a great Genius complete. They are of all times, and on all oc­casions. Sir Walter Raleigh had Alexander Ross, Chilling­worth had his Cheynel, and Locke his EDWARDS: Not Fun­goso of Lincoln's-Inn. Mr. Locke's Edwards was a Divine of parts and learning, this Edwards is a critic with neither. Yet [Page 189] (as Mr. Pope says of Luke Milbourn) the fairest of all critics; for having written against the Editor's remarks on Shakespear, be did him justice in printing at the same time his own.

VER 468 For envy'd Wit, like Sol eclips'd, etc.]’ This simi­litude implies a fact too often verified; and of which we need not seek abroad for examples. It is, that frequently those very Authors, who have at first done all they could to obscure and depress a rising genius, have at length, in order to keep themselves [Page 190] in some little credit, been reduced to borrow from him, imitate his manner, and reflect what they could of his splendor. Nor hath the poet been less artful, to insinuate also what is sometimes the cause. A youthful genius, like the Sun rising towards the Meridian, displays too strong and powerful beams for the dirty genius of inferior writers, which occasions their gathering, con­densing, and blackening. But as he descends from the Meridian (the time when the Sun gives its gilding to the surrounding clouds) his rays grow milder, his heat more benign, and then

—ev'n those Clouds at last adorn its way,
Reflect new glories, and augment the day.

[Page 191] VER. 484. So when the faithful pencil, etc.]’ This similitude, in which the poet discovers (as he always does on this subject) real science in the thing spoken of, has still a more peculiar beauty, as at the same time that it confesses the just superiority of antient writings, it insinuates one advantage the modern have above them; which is this, that in these, our intimate acquaint­ance with the occasion of writing, and the manners described, lets us into all those living and striking graces which may be well compared to that perfection of imitation only given by colouring: While the ravage of Time amongst the monuments of former ages, hath left us but the gross substance of ancient wit, so much of the form and matter of body only as may be expressed in brass or marble.

[Page 192] VER. 507.—by Knaves undone!]’ By which the Poet would insinuate, a common but shameful truth, That Men in power, if they got into it by illiberal arts, generally left Wit and Science to starve.

[Page 195] VER. 546. Did all the dregs of bold Socinus drain;]’ The seeds of this religious evil, as well as of the political that encouraged it (for all Revolutions are in themselves evils, tho' brought about thro' necessity, for the removal of greater) were sown in the preceding fat age of pleasure. The mischiefs done, during Cromwell's usurpation, by fanaticism, inflamed by erroneous and absurd notions of the doctrine of grace and satisfaction, made the loyal Latitudinarian divines (as they were called) at the Restoration, go so far into the other extreme of resolving all Christianity into Morality, as to afford an easy introduction to Socinianism: Which in that reign (founded on the principles of Liberty) men had full opportunity of propagating.

VER. 547. The author has omitted two lines which stood here, as containing a National Reflection, which in his stricter judgment he could not but disapprove on any People whatever. P.

[Page 196] VER. 562. For 'tis but half a Judge's task, to know.]’ The Cri­tic acts in two capacities, of Assessor and of Judge: in the first, science alone is sufficient; but the other requires morals like­wise.

[Page 199] VER. 587. And stares, tremendous, etc.]’ This picture was taken to himself by John Dennis, a furious old Critic by profession, who, upon no other provocation, wrote against this Essay and its author, in a manner perfectly lunatic: For, as to the men­tion made of him in ℣ 270. he took it as a Compliment, and said it was treacherously meant to cause him to overlook this Abuse of his Person. P.

[Page 200] VER. 620. Garth did not write, etc.]’ A common slander at that time in prejudice of that deserving author. Our Poet did him this justice, when that slander most prevail'd; and it is now (perhaps the sooner for this very verse) dead and forgot­ten. P.

[Page 202] VER. 632. But where's the man, etc.]’ The Poet, by his man­ner of asking after this Character, and telling us, when he had described it, that such once were Critics, does not encourage us to search for it in modern writers. And indeed the discovery of him, if it could be made, would be but an invidious busi­ness. I will venture no farther than to name the piece of Criti­cism in which these marks may be found. It is intitled, Q. Hor. Fl. Ars Poetica, with an English Commentary and Notes.

[Page 203] VER. 643. with REASON on his side?]’ Not only on his side, but actually exercised in his service. That Critic makes but a mean figure, who, when he has found out the excellencies of his author, contents himself in offering them to the world, with only empty exclamations on their beauties. His office is to ex­plain the nature of those beauties, shew from whence they arise, and what effects they produce; or, in the better and fuller ex­pression of the Poet,

To teach the world with Reason to admire.

[Page 204] VER. 653. Who conquer'd Nature, should preside o'er Wit.]’ By this is not meant physical Nature, but moral. The force of the observation consists in our understanding it in this sense. For the Poet not only uses the word Nature for human nature, throughout this poem; but also, where, in the beginning of it, he lays down the principles of the arts he treats of, he makes the knowledge of human nature the foundation of all Criticism and Poetry. Nor is the observation less true than apposite. For, Aristotle's natural enquiries were superficial, and ill made, tho' extensive: But his logical and moral works are incomparable. In these he has unfolded the human mind, and laid open all the recesses of the heart and understanding; and by his Catego­ries, not only conquered Nature, but kept her in tenfold chains: Not as Dulness kept the Muses, in the Dunciad, to silence them; but as Aristaeus held Proteus in Virgil, to deliver Ora­cles.

[Page 205] VER. 666. See Dyonysius]’ Of Halicarnassus. P.

[Page 207] VER. 695. The glory of the Priesthood and the shame!]’ Our author elsewhere lets us know what he esteems to be the glory of the Priesthood as well as of a Christian in general, where, comparing himself to Erasmus, he says,

In MODERATION placing all my glory,

and consequently, what he esteems to be the shame of it. The whole of this character belong'd most eminently and almost solely to Erasmus: For the other Reformers, such as Luther, Calvin, and their followers, understood so little in what true Christian Liberty consisted, that they carried with them, into the reformed Churches that very spirit of persecution, which had driven them from the church of Rome.

[Page 209] VER. 724. Such was the Muse—]’ Essay on Poetry by the Duke of Buckingham. Our Poet is not the only one of his time [Page 210] who complimented this Essay, and its noble Author. Mr. Dry­den had done it very largely in the Dedication to his translation of the Aeneid; and Dr. Garth in the first Edition of his Dis­pensary says,

The Tyber now no courtly Gallus sees,
But smiling Thames enjoys his Normanbys.

Tho' afterwards omitted, when parties were carried so high in the reign of Queen Anne, as to allow no commendation to an opposite in Politics. The Duke was all his life a steady adhe­rent to the Church of England-Party, yet an enemy to the ex­travagant measures of the Court in the reign of Charles II. On which account after having strongly patronized Mr. Dryden, a coolness succeeded between them on that poet's absolute attach­ment to the Court, which carried him some lengths beyond what the Duke could approve of. This Nobleman's true cha­racter had been very well marked by Mr. Dryden before,

the Muse's friend,
Himself a Muse. In Sanadrin's debate
True to his prince, but not a slave of state.
Abs. and Achit.

Our Author was more happy, he was honour'd very young with his friendship, and it continued till his death in all the circum­stances of a familiar esteem. P.


Between ℣ 25 and 26 were these lines, since omitted by the author:

Many are spoil'd by that pedantic throng,
Who with great pains teach youth to reason wrong.
Tutors, like Virtuoso's, oft inclin'd
By strange transfusion to improve the mind,
Draw off the sense we have, to pour in new;
Which yet, with all their skill, they ne'er could do.


[Page 148] VER. 80.

There are whom Heav'n has blest with store of wit,
Yet want as much again to manage it.

[Page 153] VER. 123. Cavil you may, but never criticize.]’ The author after this verse originally inserted the following, which he has however omitted in all the editions:

Zoilus, had these been known, without a name
Had dy'd, and Perault ne'er been damn'd to fame;
The sense of sound Antiquity had reign'd,
And sacred Homer yet been unprophan'd.
None e'er had thought his comprehensive mind
To modern customs, modern rules confin'd;
Who for all ages writ, and all mankind.


[Page 154] VER. 130.

When first young Maro sung of Kings and Wars,
Ere warning Phoebus touch'd his trembling ears,

[Page 164] VER. 225.

So pleas'd at first the tow'ring Alps to try,
Fill'd with ideas of fair Italy,
The Traveller beholds with chearful eyes
The less'ning vales, and seems to tread the skies.

[Page 186] VER. 447. Between this and ℣ 448.

The rhyming Clowns that gladded Shakespear's age,
No more with crambo entertain the stage.
Who now in Anagrams their Patron praise,
Or sing their Mistress in Acrostic lays?
Ev'n pulpits pleas'd with merry puns of yore;
Now all are banish'd to the Hibernian shore!
Thus leaving what was natural and fit,
The current folly prov'd their ready wit;
And authors thought their reputation safe,
Which liv'd as long as fools were pleas'd to laugh.

[Page 201] VER. 624. Between this and ℣ 625.

In vain you shrug and sweat, and strive to fly;
These know no Manners but of Poetry.
They'll stop a hungry Chaplain in his grace,
To treat of Unities of time and place.

[Page 203] Between ℣ 647 and 648. I found the following lines, since supprest by the author:

That bold Columbus of the realms of wit,
Whose first discov'ry's not exceeded yet.
Led by the light of the Maeonian Star,
He steer'd securely, and discover'd far.
He, when all Nature was subdu'd before,
Like his great Pupil, sigh'd, and long'd for more:
Fancy's wild regions yet unvanquish'd lay,
A boundless empire, and that own'd no sway.
Poets, etc.

[Page 206] Between ℣ 691 and 692. the author omitted these two,

Vain Wits and Critics were no more allow'd,
When none but Saints had licence to be proud.



VER. 346.

While expletives their feeble aid do join,
And ten tow words oft creep in one dull line.]

From Dryden. ‘"He creeps along with ten little words in every line, and helps out his numbers with [for] [to] and [unto] and all the pretty expletives he can find, while the sense is left half tired behind it." Essay on Dram. Poetry.

[Page 179] VER. 366. Soft is the strain, etc.]’ Tum si laeta canunt, etc. Vida Poet. l. iii. ℣ 403.

VER. 368. But when loud surges, etc.]’ Tum longe sale saxa sonant, etc. Vida ib. 388.

VER. 370. When Ajax strives, etc.]’ Atque ideo si quid geritur molimine magno, etc. Vida ib. 417.

VER. 372. Not so, when swift Camilla, etc.]’ At mora si suerit damno, properare jubebo, etc. Vida ib. 420.

[Page 208] VER. 708. As next in place to Mantua,]’ Alluding to Mantua vae miserae nimium vicina Cremonae. Virg.

Written in the Year MDCCXII.



IT will be in vain to deny that I have some regard for this piece, since I dedicate it to You. Yet you may bear me witness, it was intended only to divert a few young Ladies, who have good sense and good hu­mour enough to laugh not only at their sex's little un­guarded follies, but at their own. But as it was com­municated with the air of a Secret, it soon found its way into the world. An imperfect copy having been offer'd to a Bookseller, you had the good-nature for my sake to consent to the publication of one more correct: This I was forc'd to, before I had executed half my de­sign, for the Machinery was entirely wanting to com­pleat it.

The Machinery, Madam, is a term invented by the Critics, to signify that part which the Deities, Angels, or Daemons are made to act in a Poem: For the an­cient Poets are in one respect like many modern Ladies: let an action be never so trivial in itself, they always make it appear of the utmost importance. These Ma­chines I determin'd to raise on a very new and odd foun­dation, the Rosicrucian doctrine of Spirits.

I know how disagreeable it is to make use of hard words before a Lady; but 'tis so much the concern of a Poet to have his works understood, and particularly by your Sex, that you must give me leave to explain two or three difficult terms.

The Rosicrucians are a people I must bring you ac­quainted with. The best account I know of them is in [Page 216] a French book call'd Le Comte de Gabalis, which both in its title and size is so like a Novel, that many of the Fair Sex have read it for one by mistake. According to these Gentlemen, the four Elements are inhabited by Spirits, which they call Sylphs, Gnomes, Nymphs, and Salamanders. The Gnomes or Daemons of Earth de­light in mischief; but the Sylphs, whose habitation is in the Air, are the best-condition'd creatures imagina­ble. For they say, any mortals may enjoy the most in­timate familiarities with these gentle Spirits, upon a con­dition very easy to all true Adepts, an inviolate preser­vation of Chastity.

As to the following Canto's, all the passages of them are as fabulous, as the Vision at the beginning, or the Transformation at the end; (except the loss of your Hair, which I always mention with reverence.) The Human persons are as fictitious as the Airy ones; and the character of Belinda, as it is now manag'd, resem­bles you in nothing but in Beauty.

If this Poem had as many Graces as there are in your Person, or in your Mind, yet I could never hope it should pass thro' the world half so Uncensur'd as You have done. But let its fortune be what it will, mine is happy enough, to have given me this occasion of as­suring you that I am, with the truest esteem,

Your most obedient, Humble Servant, A. POPE.

Plate III. Vol. I. facing p. 217.

Ant.y Walker Del: et Sculpt

This Lock the Muse shall consecrate to Fame,
And midst the Stars inscribe Belinda's Name.
Rape of the Lock.


a Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos;
Sed juvat, hoc precibus me tribuisse tuis.


WHAT dire offence from am'rous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things,
I sing—This verse to CARYL, Muse! is due:
This, ev'n Belinda may vouchsafe to view:
[Page 218] Slight is the subject, but not so the praise,
If She inspire, and He approve my lays.
Say what strange motive, Goddess! could compel
A well-bred Lord t'assault a gentle Belle?
Oh say what stranger cause, yet unexplor'd,
Could make a gentle Belle reject a Lord?
hereIn tasks so bold, can little men engage,
And in soft bosoms dwells such mighty Rage?
hereSol thro' white curtains shot a tim'rous ray,
And ope'd those eyes that must eclipse the day:
[Page 219] Now lap-dogs give themselves the rousing shake,
And sleepless lovers, just at twelve, awake:
Thrice rung the bell, the slipper knock'd the ground
And the press'd watch return'd a silver sound.
hereBelinda still her downy pillow prest,
hereHer guardian SYLPH prolong'd the balmy rest:
'Twas He had summon'd to her silent bed
The morning-dream that hover'd o'er her head,
[Page 220] A Youth more glitt'ring than a Birth-night Beau,
(That ev'n in slumber caus'd her cheek to glow)
Seem'd to her ear his winning lips to lay,
And thus in whispers said, or seem'd to say.
Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish'd care
Of thousand bright Inbabitants of Air!
If e'er one Vision touch thy infant thought,
Of all the Nurse and all the Priest have taught;
Of airy Elves by moonlight shadows seen,
The silver token, and the circled green,
Or virgins visited by Angel-pow'rs,
With golden crowns and wreaths of heav'nly flow'rs;
[Page 221] Hear and believe! thy own importance know,
Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.
Some secret truths, from learned pride conceal'd,
To Maids alone and Children are reveal'd:
What tho' no credit doubting Wits may give?
The Fair and Innocent shall still believe.
Know then, unnumber'd Spirits round thee fly,
The light Militia of the lower sky:
These, tho' unseen, are ever on the wing,
Hang o'er the Box, and hover round the Ring.
Think what an equipage thou hast in Air,
And view with scorn two Pages and a Chair.
hereAs now your own, our beings were of old,
And once inclos'd in Woman's beauteous mould;
Thence, by a soft transition, we repair
From earthly Vehicles to these of air.
Think not, when Woman's transient breath is fled,
That all her vanities at once are dead;
[Page 222] Succeeding vanities she still regards,
hereAnd tho' she plays no more, o'erlooks the cards.
Her joy in gilded Chariots, when alive,
And love of Ombre, after death survive.
For when the Fair in all their pride expire,
To their first Elements their Souls retire:
The Sprites of fiery Termagants in Flame
Mount up, and take a Salamander's name.
Soft yielding minds to Water glide away,
And sip, with Nymphs, their elemental Tea.
The graver Prude sinks downward to a Gnome,
In search of mischief still on Earth to roam.
The light Coquettes in Sylphs aloft repair,
And sport and flutter in the fields of Air.
Know farther yet; whoever fair and chaste
hereRejects mankind, is by some Sylph embrac'd:
For Spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease
Assume what sexes and what shapes they please.
[Page 223] What guards the purity of melting Maids,
In courtly balls, and midnight masquerades,
Safe from the treach'rous friend, the daring spark,
The glance by day, the whisper in the dark,
When kind occasion prompts their warm desires,
When music softens, and when dancing fires?
'Tis but their Sylph, the wise Celestials know,
hereTho' Honour is the word with Men below.
hereSome nymphs there are, too conscious of their face,
For life predestin'd to the Gnomes embrace.
These swell their prospects and exalt their pride,
When offers are disdain'd, and love deny'd:
Then gay Ideas croud the vacant brain,
While Peers, and Dukes, and all their sweeping train,
And Garters, Stars, and Coronets appear,
And in soft sounds, Your Grace salutes their ear.
'Tis these that early taint the female soul,
Instruct the eyes of young Coquettes to roll,
Teach Infant-cheeks a bidden blush to know,
And little hearts to flutter at a Beau.
Oft, when the world imagine women stray,
The Sylphs thro' mystic mazes guide their way,
Thro' all the giddy circle they pursue,
And old impertinence expel by new.
What tender maid but must a victim fall
To one man's treat, but for another's ball?
When Florio speaks what virgin could withstand,
If gentle Damon did not squeeze her hand?
With varying vanities, from ev'ry part,
They shift the moving Toyshop of their heart;
hereWhere wigs with wigs, with sword-knots sword­knots strive,
Beaux banish beaux, and coaches coaches drive.
This erring mortals Levity may call,
Oh blind to truth! the Sylphs contrive it all.
Of these am I, who thy protection claim,
A watchful sprite, and Ariel is my name.
Late, as I rang'd the crystal wilds of air,
hereIn the clear Mirror of thy ruling Star
[Page 225] I saw, alas! some dread event impend,
Ere to the main this morning sun descend,
But heav'n reveals not what, or how, or where:
Warn'd by the Sylph, oh pious maid, beware!
hereThis to disclose is all thy guardian can:
Beware of all, but most beware of Man!
He said; when Shock, who thought she slept too long,
Leap'd up, and wak'd his mistress with his tongue.
'Twas then Belinda, if report say true,
Thy eyes first open'd on a Billet-doux;
Wounds, Charms, and Ardors, were no sooner read,
But all the Vision vanish'd from thy head.
hereAnd now, unveil'd, the Toilet stands display'd,
Each silver Vase in mystic order laid.
[Page 226] First, rob'd in white, the Nymph intent adores,
With head uncover'd, the Cosmetic pow'rs.
A heav'nly Image in the glass appears,
To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears;
hereTh' inferior Priestess, at her altar's side,
Trembling, begins the sacred rites of Pride.
[Page 227] Unnumber'd treasures ope at once, and here
The various off'rings of the world appear;
From each she nicely culls with curious toil,
And decks the Goddess with the glitt'ring spoil.
This casket India's glowing gems unlocks,
And all Arabia breathes from yonder box.
The Tortoise here and Elephant unite,
Transform'd to combs, the speckled, and the white.
Here files of pins extend their shining rows,
Puffs, Powders, Patches, Bibles, Billet-doux.
Now awful Beauty puts on all its arms;
The fair each moment rises in her charms,
Repairs her smiles, awakens ev'ry grace,
And calls forth all the wonders of her face;
Sees by degrees a purer blush arise,
And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes.
hereThe busy Sylphs surround their darling care,
These set the head, and those divide the hair,
Some fold the sleeve, whilst others plait the gown;
And Betty's prais'd for labours not her own.


VER. 11, 12. It was in the first editions,

And dwells such rage in softest bosoms then,
And lodge such daring Souls in little Men?


VER. 13, etc. Stood thus in the first Edition,

Sol thro' white curtains did his beams display,
And ope'd those eyes which brighter shone than they;
Shock just had giv'n himself the rousing shake,
And Nymphs prepar'd their Chocolate to take;
Thrice the wrought slipper knock'd against the ground,
And striking watches the tenth hour resound.



VER. 19. Belinda still, etc.]’ All the verses from hence to the end of this Canto were added afterwards.

VER. 20. Her Guardian Sylph]’ When Mr. Pope had pro­jected to give this Poem its present form, he was obliged to find it with its Machinery. For as the subject of the Epic Poem consists of two parts, the metaphysical and the civil; so this mock epic, which is of the satiric kind, and receives its grace from a ludicrous imitation of the other's pomp and solemnity, was to have the same division of the subject. And, as the civil part is intenti­onally debased by the choice of an insignificant action: so should the metaphysical, by the use of some very extravagant system. A rule, which tho' neither Boileau nor Garth have been careful enough to attend to, our Author's good sense would not suffer him to overlook. And that sort of Machinery which his judg­ment taught him was only fit for his use, his admirable inven­tion supplied. There was but one System in all nature which was to his purpose, the Rosicrucian Philosophy; and this, by the well directed effort of his imagination, he presently seized upon. The fanatic Alchemists, in their search after the great secret, had invented a means altogether proportioned to their end. It was a kind of Theological-Philosophy, made up of almost equal mix­tures of Pagan Platonism, Christian Quietism, and the Jewish Cabbala; a composition enough to fright Reason from human commerce. This general system, he tells us, he took as he found it in a little French tract called, Le Comte de Gabalis. This book is written in Dialogue, and is a delicate and very ingeni­ous [Page 220] piece of raillery of the Abbe Villiers, upon that invisible sect, of which the stories that went about at that time, made a great deal of noise at Paris. But, as in this satirical Dialogue, Mr. P. found several whimsies, of a very high mysterious kind, told of the nature of these elementary beings, which were very unfit to come into the machinery of such a sort of poem, he has with great judgment omitted them; and in their stead, made use of the Legendary stories of Guardian Angels, and the Nursery Tales of the Fairies; which he has artfully accommodated to the rest of the Rosicrucian System. And to this, (unless we will be so uncharitable to believe he intended to give a needless scandal) we must suppose he referred, in these two lines,

If e'er one Vision touch'd thy infant thought,
Of all the nurse, and all the priest have taught.

Thus, by the most beautiful invention imaginable, he has con­trived, that, as in the serious Epic. the popular belief supports the Machinery; so, in his mock Epic, the Machinery should be contrived to dismount philosophic pride and arrogance.

[Page 221] VER. 47. As now your own, etc]’ He here forsakes the Rosi­crucian system; which, in this part, is too extravagant even for Poetry; and gives a beautiful fiction of his own, on the Pla­tonic Theology of the continuance of the passions in another state, when the mind, before its leaving this, has not been purged and purified by philosophy; which furnishes an occasion for much useful satire.

[Page 222] VER. 68. is by some Sylph embrac'd]’ Here again the Author resumes a tenet peculiar to the Rosicrucian system. But the principle, on which it is founded, was by no means fit to be em­ployed in such a sort of poem.

[Page 223] VER. 78. Tho' Honour is the word with Men below.]’ Parody of Homer.

VER. 79. too conscious of their face,]’ i. e. too sensible of their beauty.

[Page 224] VER. 108. In the clear Mirror]’ The Language of the Plato­nists, the writers of the intelligible world of Spirits, etc. P.

[Page 225] VER. 113. This to disclose etc.]’ There is much pleasantry in the conduct of this scene. The Rosicrucian Doctrine was de­livered only to Adepts, with the utmost caution, and under the most solemn seal of secrecy. It is here communicated to a Wo­man, and in that way of conveyance a Woman most delights to make the subject of her conversation, that is to say, her Dreams.

VER. 121. And now, unveil'd, etc.]’ The translation of these verses, containing the description of the toilette, by our Author's friend Dr. Parnelle, deserve for their humour, to be here in­serted. P.

Et nunc dilectum speculum, pro more retectum,
Emicat in mensa, quae splendet pyxide densa:
[Page 226] Tum primum lympha, se purgat candida Nympha,
Jamque sine menda, coelestis imago videnda,
Nuda caput, bellos retinet, regit, implet ocellos.
Haec stupet explorans, ceu cultûs numen adorans.
Inferior claram Pythonissa apparet ad aram,
Fertque tibi caute, dicatque Superbia! laute,
Dona venusta; oris, quae cunctis, plena laboris,
Excerpta explorat, dominamque deamque decorat.
Pyxide devota, se pandit hic India tota,
Et tota ex ista transpirat Arabia cista;
Testudo hic flectit, dum se mea Lesbia pectit;
Atque elephas lente, te pectit Lesbia dente;
Hunc maculis noris, nivei jacet ille coloris.
Hic jacet et munde, mundus muliebris abunde;
Spinula resplendens aeris longo ordine pendens,
Pulvis suavis odore, et epistola suavis amore.
Induit arma ergo Veneris pulcherrima virgo;
Pulchrior in praesens tempus de tempore crescens;
Jam reparat risus, jam surgit gratia visus,
Jam promit cultu, mirac'la latentia vultu;
Pigmina jam miscet, quo plus sua Purpura gliscet,
Et geminans bellis splendet mage fulgor ocellis.
Stant Lemures muti, Nymphae intentique saluti,
Hic figit Zonam, capiti locat ille Coronam,
Haec manicis formam, plicis dat et altera normam;
Et tibi vel Betty, tibi vel nitidissima Letty!
Gloria factorum temere conceditur horum.

VER. 127, et seq. Th' inferior Priestess,]’ There is a small inaccuracy in these lines. He first makes his Heroine the chief Priestess, and then the Goddess herself.

[Page 227] VER. 145. The busy Sylphs etc.]’ Antient Traditions of the Rabbi's relate, that several of the fallen Angels became amorous of Women, and particularize some; among the rest Asael, who lay with Naamah, the wife of Noah, or of Ham; and who continuing impenitent, still presides over the Women's Toilets. Bereshi Rabbi in Genes. vi. 2. P.


VER. 54, 55.

Quae gratia currûm
Armorumque fuit vivis, quae cura nitentes
Pascere equos, eadem sequitur tellure repostos.
Virg. Aen. vi.


[Page 224] VER. 101.

Jam clypeus clypeis, umbone repellitur umbo,
Ense minax ensis, pede pes et cuspide cuspis, etc.


NOT with more glories, in th' etherial plain,
The Sun first rises o'er the purpled main,
Than, issuing forth, the rival of his beams
hereLaunch'd on the bosom of the silver Thames.
Fair Nymphs, and well-drest Youths around her shone,
But ev'ry eye was fix'd on her alone.
On her white breast a sparkling Cross she wore,
Which Jews might kiss, and Infidels adore.
Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose,
Quick as her eyes, and as unfix'd as those:
Favours to none, to all she smiles extends;
Oft she rejects, but never once offends.
Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike,
And, like the sun, they shine on all alike.
[Page 229] Yet graceful ease, and sweetness void of pride
Might hide her faults, if Belles had faults to hide:
If to her share some female errors fall,
Look on her face, and you'll forget 'em all.
This Nymph, to the destruction of mankind,
Nourish'd two Locks, which graceful hung behind
In equal curls, and well conspir'd to deck
With shining ringlets the smooth iv'ry neck.
Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains,
And mighty hearts are held in slender chains.
hereWith hairy springes we the birds betray,
Slight lines of hair surprize the finny prey,
Fair tresses man's imperial race insnare,
hereAnd beauty draws us with a single hair.
Th' advent'rous Baron the bright locks admir'd;
He saw, he wish'd, and to the prize aspir'd.
Resolv'd to win, he meditates the way,
By force to ravish, or by fraud betray;
[Page 230] For when success a Lover's toil attends,
Few ask, if fraud or force attain'd his ends.
For this, ere Phoebus rose, he had implor'd
Propitions heav'n, and ev'ry pow'r ador'd,
But chiefly Love—to Love an Altar built,
Of twelve vast French Romances, neatly gilt.
There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves;
And all the trophies of his former loves;
With tender Billet-doux he lights the pyre,
And breathes three am'rous sighs to raise the fire.
Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes
Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize:
hereThe pow'rs gave ear, and granted half his pray'r,
The rest, the winds dispers'd in empty air.
But now secure the painted vessel glides,
The sun-beams trembling on the floating tides:
While melting music steals upon the sky,
And soften'd sounds along the waters die;
Smooth flow the waves, the Zephyrs gently play,
Belinda smil'd, and all the world was gay.
All but the Sylph—with careful thoughts opprest,
Th' impending woe sat heavy on his breast.
[Page 231] He summons strait his Denizens of air;
The lucid squadrons round the sails repair;
Soft o'er the shrouds aërial whispers breathe,
That seem'd but Zephyrs to the train beneath.
Some to the sun their insect-wings unfold,
Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold;
Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight,
Their fluid bodies half dissolv'd in light.
Loose to the wind their airy garments flew,
Thin glitt'ring textures of the filmy dew,
Dipt in the richest tincture of the skies,
Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes,
While ev'ry beam new transient colours flings,
Colours that change whene'er they wave their wings.
Amid the circle, on the gilded mast,
Superior by the head, was Ariel plac'd;
His purple pinions op'ning to the sun,
He rais'd his azure wand, and thus begun.
Ye Sylphs and Sylphids, to your chief give ear,
Fays, Fairies, Genii, Elves, and Daemons hear!
Ye know the spheres and various tasks assign'd
By laws eternal to th' aërial kind.
Some in the fields of purest Aether play,
And bask and whiten in the blaze of day.
[Page 232] Some guide the course of wand'ring orbs on high,
Or roll the planets thro' the boundless sky.
Some less refin'd, beneath the moon's pale light
Pursue the stars that shoot athwart the night,
Or suck the mists in grosser air below,
Or dip their pinions in the painted bow,
Or brew fierce tempests on the wintry main,
Or o'er the glebe distil the kindly rain.
Others on earth o'er human race preside,
Watch all their ways, and all their actions guide:
Of these the chief the care of Nations own,
hereAnd guard with Arms divine the British Throne.
Our humbler province is to tend the Fair,
Not a less pleasing, tho' less glorious care;
To save the powder from too rude a gale,
Nor let th' imprison'd essences exhale;
To draw fresh colours from the vernal flow'rs;
To steal from rainbows e'er they drop in show'rs
[Page 233] A brighter wash; to curl their waving hairs,
Assist their blushes, and inspire their airs;
Nay oft, in dreams, invention we bestow,
To change a Flounce, or add a Furbelow.
This day, black Omens threat the brightest Fair
That e'er deserv'd a watchful spirit's care;
Some dire disaster, or by force, or slight;
But what, or where, the fates have wrapt in night.
hereWhether the nymph shall break Diana's law,
Or some frail China jar receive a flaw;
Or stain her honour, or her new brocade;
Forget her pray'rs, or miss a masquerade;
Or lose her heart, or necklace, at a ball;
Or whether Heav'n has doom'd that Shock must fall.
Haste then, ye spirits! to your charge repair:
The flutt'ring fan be Zephyretta's care;
The drops to thee, Brillante, we consign;
And, Momentilla, let the watch be thine;
Do thou, Crispissa, tend her fav'rite Lock;
Ariel himself shall be the guard of Shock.
To fifty chosen Sylphs, of special note,
We trust th' important charge, the Petticoat:
hereOft have we known that seven-fold fence to fail,
Tho' stiff with hoops, and arm'd with ribs of whale;
hereForm a strong line about the silver bound,
And guard the wide circumference around.
Whatever spirit, careless of his charge,
His post neglects, or leaves the fair at large,
Shall feel sharp vengeance soon o'ertake his sins,
Be stop'd in vials, or transfix'd with pins;
Or plung'd in lakes of bitter washes lie,
Or wedg'd whole ages in a bodkin's eye:
Gums and Pomatums shall his flight restrain,
While clog'd he beats his silken wings in vain;
Or Alum styptics with contracting pow'r
Shrink his thin essence like a rivel'd flow'r:
Or, as Ixion fix'd, the wretch shall feel
The giddy motion of the whirling Mill,
[Page 235] In fumes of burning Chocolate shall glow,
And tremble at the sea that froths below!
He spoke; the spirits from the sails descend;
Some, orb in orb, around the nymph extend;
Some thrid the mazy ringlets of her hair;
Some hang upon the pendants of her ear;
With beating hearts the dire event they wait,
Anxious, and trembling for the birth of Fate.


VER. 4. Launch'd on the bosom]’ From hence the poem con­tinues, in the first Edition, to ℣ 46.

The rest the winds dispers'd in empty air;

all after, to the end of this Canto, being additional.



VER. 25. With hairy springes]’ In allusion to Anacreon's manner.

VER. 28. with a single hair.]’ In allusion to those lines of Hu­dibras, applied to the same purpose,

And tho' it be a two-soot Trout,
'Tis with a single hair pull'd out.

[Page 230] VER. 45. The pow'rs gave ear,]’ Virg. Aen. xi. P.

[Page 234] VER. 121. about the silver bound]’ In allusion to the shield of Achilles,

Thus the broad shield complete the Artist crown'd,
With his last hand, and pour'd the Ocean round:
In living Silver seem'd the waves to roll,
And beat the Buckler's verge, and bound the whole.

VER. 119. — clypei dominus septemplicis Ajax. Ovid.


VER. 90. And guard with Arms]’ The Poet was too judici­ous to desire this should be understood as a compliment. He intended it for a mere piece of raillery; such as he more openly pursues on another occasion.

Where's now the Star which lighted Charles to rise?
With that which follow'd Julius to the skies.
Angels, that watch'd the Royal Oak so well,
How chanc'd you slept when luckless Sarrel fell?

[Page 233] VER. 105. Whether the nymph etc.]’ The disaster, which makes the subject of this poem, being a trifle, taken seriously; it naturally led the Poet into this fine satire on the female esti­mate of human mischances.


hereCLose by those meads, for ever crown'd with flow'rs,
Where Thames with pride surveys his rising tow'rs,
There stands a structure of majestic frame,
Which from the neighb'ring Hampton takes its name.
Here Britain's statesmen oft the fall foredoom
Of foreign Tyrants, and of Nymphs at home;
Here thou, great ANNA! whom three realms obey,
Dost sometimes counsel take—and sometimes Tea.
Hither the heroes and the nymphs resort,
To taste awhile the pleasures of a Court;
hereIn various talk th' instructive hours they past,
Who gave the ball, or paid the visit last;
[Page 237] One speaks the glory of the British Queen,
And one describes a charming Indian screen;
A third interprets motions, looks, and eyes;
At ev'ry word a reputation dies.
Snuff, or the fan, supply each pause of chat,
With singing, laughing, ogling, and all that.
Mean while, declining from the noon of day,
The sun obliquely shoots his burning ray;
The hungry Judges soon the sentence sign,
And wretches hang that jury-men may dine;
The merchant from th' Exchange returns in peace,
hereAnd the long labours of the Toilet cease.
Belinda now, whom thirst of fame invites,
Burns to encounter two adven'trous Knights,
At Ombre singly to decide their doom;
And swells her breast with conquests yet to come.
Strait the three bands prepare in arms to join,
Each band the number of the sacred nine.
Soon as she spreads her hand, th' aërial guard
Descend, and sit on each important card:
[Page 238] First Ariel perch'd upon a Matadore,
Then each, according to the rank they bore;
For Sylphs, yet mindful of their ancient race,
Are, as when women, wondrous fond of place.
Behold, four Kings in majesty rever'd,
With hoary whiskers and a forky beard;
And four fair Queens whose hands sustain a flow'r,
Th' expressive emblem of their softer pow'r;
Four Knaves in garbs succinct, a trusty band,
Caps on their heads, and halberts in their hand;
And particolour'd troops, a shining train,
Draw forth to combat on the velvet plain.
The skilful Nymph reviews her force with care:
Let Spades be trumps! she said, and trumps they were.
hereNow move to war her sable Matadores,
In snow like leaders of the swarthy Moors.
Spadillio first, unconquerable Lord!
Led off two captive trumps, and swept the board.
As many more Manillio forc'd to yield,
And march'd a victor from the verdant field.
[Page 239] Him Basto follow'd, but his fate more hard
Gain'd but one trump and one Plebeian card.
With his broad sabre next, a chief in years,
The hoary Majesty of Spades appears,
Puts forth one manly leg, to sight reveal'd,
The rest, his many-colour'd robe conceal'd.
The rebel Knave, who dares his prince engage,
Proves the just victim of his royal rage.
Ev'n mighty Pam, that Kings and Queens o'erthrew
And mow'd down armies in the fights of Lu,
Sad chance of war! now destitute of aid,
Falls undistinguish'd by the victor Spade!
Thus far both armies to Belinda yield;
Now to the Baron fate inclines the field.
His warlike Amazon her host invades,
Th' imperial consort of the crown of Spades.
The Club's black Tyrant first her victim dy'd,
Spite of his haughty mien, and barb'rous pride:
What boots the regal circle on his head,
His giant limbs, in state unwieldy spread;
That long behind he trails his pompous robe,
And, of all monarchs, only grasps the globe?
The Baron now his Diamonds pours apace;
Th' embroider'd King who shows but half his face,
[Page 240] And his refulgent Queen, with pow'rs combin'd
Of broken troops an easy conquest find.
Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, in wild disorder seen,
With throngs promiscuous strow the level green.
Thus when dispers'd a routed army runs,
Of Asia's troops, and Afric's sable sons,
With like confusion different nations fly,
Of various habit, and of various dye,
The pierc'd battalions dis-united fall,
In heaps on heaps; one fate o'erwhelms them all.
The Knave of Diamonds tries his wily arts,
And wins (oh shameful chance!) the Queen of Hearts.
At this, the blood the virgin's cheek forsook,
A livid paleness spread's o'er all her look;
She sees, and trembles at th' approaching ill,
Just in the jaws of ruin, and Codille.
And now, (as oft in some distemper'd State)
On one nice Trick depends the gen'ral fate.
An Ace of Hearts steps forth: The King unseen
Lurk'd in her hand, and mourn'd his captive Queen:
He springs to vengeance with an eager pace,
And falls like thunder on the prostrate Ace.
[Page 241] The nymph exulting fills with shouts the sky;
The walls, the woods, and long canals reply.
hereOh thoughtless mortals! ever blind to fate,
Too soon dejected, and too soon elate.
Sudden, these honours shall be snatch'd away,
And curs'd for ever this victorious day.
hereFor lo! the board with cups and spoons is crown'd,
The berries crackle, and the mill turns round;
On shining Altars of Japan they raise
The silver lamp; the fiery spirits blaze:
From silver spouts the grateful liquors glide,
While China's earth receives the smoaking tyde:
At once they gratify their scent and taste,
And frequent cups prolong the rich repaste.
Strait hover round the Fair her airy band;
Some, as she sipp'd, the fuming liquor fann'd,
[Page 242] Some o'er her lap their careful plumes display'd,
Trembling, and conscious of the rich brocade.
Coffee, (which makes the politician wise,
And see thro' all things with his half-shut eyes)
Sent up in vapours to the Baron's brain
New stratagems, the radiant Lock to gain.
Ah cease, rash youth! desist ere 'tis too late,
hereFear the just Gods, and think of Scylla's Fate!
Chang'd to a bird, and sent to flit in air,
She dearly pays for Nisus' injur'd hair!
But when to mischief mortals bend their will,
How soon they find fit instruments of ill?
Just then, Clarissa drew with tempting grace
A two-edg'd weapon from her shining case:
So Ladies in Romance assist their Knight,
Present the spear, and arm him for the fight.
He takes the gift with rev'rence, and extends
The little engine on his finger's ends;
This just behind Belinda's neck he spread,
hereAs o'er the fragrant steams she bends her head.
[Page 243] Swift to the Lock a thousand Sprites repair,
A thousand wings, by turns, blow back the hair;
And thrice they twitch'd the diamond in her ear;
Thrice she look'd back, and thrice the foe drew near.
Just in that instant, anxious Ariel sought
The close recesses of the Virgin's thought;
As on the nosegay in her breast reclin'd,
He watch'd th' Ideas rising in her mind,
Sudden he view'd, in spite of all her art,
An earthly Lover lurking at her heart.
Amaz'd, confus'd, he found his pow'r expir'd,
Resign'd to fate, and with a sigh retir'd.
The Peer now spreads the glitt'ring Forfex wide,
T' inclose the Lock; now joins it, to divide.
Ev'n then, before the fatal engine clos'd,
A wretched Sylph too fondly interpos'd;
[Page 244] Fate urg'd the sheers, and cut the Sylph in twain,
here(But airy substance soon unites again)
The meeting points the sacred hair dissever
From the fair head, for ever, and for ever!
Then flash'd the living lightning from her eyes,
And screams of horror rend th' affrighted skies.
Not louder shrieks to pitying heav'n are cast,
When husbands, or when lapdogs breathe their last;
Or when rich China vessels fall'n from high,
In glitt'ring dust, and painted fragments lie!
Let wreaths of triumph now my temples twine,
(The Victor cry'd) the glorious Prize is mine!
hereWhile fish in streams, or birds delight in air,
Or in a coach and six the the British Fair,
hereAs long as Atalantis shall be read,
Or the small pillow grace a Lady's bed,
[Page 245] While visits shall be paid on solemn days,
When num'rous wax-lights in bright order blaze,
While nymphs take treats, or assignations give,
So long my honour, name, and praise shall live!
What Time would spare, from Steel receives its date,
And monuments, like men, submit to fate!
Steel could the labour of the Gods destroy,
And strike to dust th' imperial tow'rs of Troy;
Steel could the works of mortal pride confound,
And hew triumphal arches to the ground.
hereWhat wonder then, fair nymph! thy hairs should feel,
The conqu'ring force of unresisted steel?


VER. 1. Close by those meads,]’ The first Edition continues from this line to ℣ 24. of this Canto. P.

VER. 11, 12. Originally in the first Edition,

In various talk the chearful hours they past,
Of, who was bit, or who capotted last.


[Page 237] VER. 24. And the long labours of the Toilet cease]’ All that fol­lows of the game at Ombre, was added since the first Edition, till ℣ 105. which connected thus,‘Sudden the board with cups and spoons is crown'd.’ P.

[Page 241] VER. 105. Sudden the board, etc.]’ From hence, the first Edi­tion continues to ℣ 134. P.

[Page 243] VER. 134. In the first Edition it was thus,

As o'er the fragrant stream she bends her head.
First he expands the glitt'ring forfex wide
T' inclose the Lock; then joins it to divide:
The meeting points the sacred hair dissever,
From the fair head, for ever and for ever. ℣ 154.
All that is between was added afterwards.



VER. 47. Now move to war etc.]’ The whole idea of this de­scription of a game at Ombre, is taken from Vida's description of a game at Chess, in his poem intit. Scacchia Ludus.

[Page 242] VER. 122. and think of Scylla's Fate!]’ Vide Ovid Metam. viii. P.

[Page 244] VER. 152. But airy substance]’ See Milton, lib. vi. of Satan cut asunder by the Angel Michael. P.

VER. 165. Atalantis]’ A famous book written about that time by a woman: full of Court, and Party-scandal; and in a loose effeminacy of style and sentiment, which well suited the de­bauched taste of the better Vulgar.


VER. 101.

Nescia mens hominum fati sortisque futurae,
Et servare modum, rebus sublata secundis!
Turno tempus erit, magno cum optaverit emptum
Intactum Pallanta; et cum spolia ista diemque

[Page 244] VER. 163, 170.

Dum juga montis aper, fluvios dum piscis amabit,
Semper honos, nomenque tuum laudesque manebunt.

[Page 245] VER. 177.

Ille quoque eversus mons est, etc.
Quid faciant crines, cum ferro talia cedant?
Catull. de com. Berenices.


hereBUT anxious cares the pensive nymph op­press'd,
And secret passions labour'd in her breast.
Not youthful kings in battle seiz'd alive,
Not scornful virgins who their charms survive,
Not ardent lovers robb'd of all their bliss,
Not ancient ladies when refus'd a kiss,
Not tyrants fierce that unrepenting die,
Not Cynthia when her manteau's pinn'd awry,
E'er felt such rage, resentment, and despair,
As thou, sad Virgin! for thy ravish'd Hair.
hereFor, that sad moment, when the Sylphs withdrew,
And Ariel weeping from Belinda flew,
Umbriel, a dusky, melancholy sprite,
As ever sully'd the fair face of light,
Down to the central earth, his proper scene,
Repair'd to search the gloomy Cave of Spleen.
Swift on his sooty pinions flits the Gnome,
And in a vapour reach'd the dismal dome.
No chearful breeze this sullen region knows,
The dreaded East is all the wind that blows.
Here in a grotto, shelter'd close from air,
And screen'd in shades from day's detested glare,
She sighs for ever on her pensive bed,
Pain at her side, and Megrim at her head.
Two handmaids wait the throne: alike in place,
But diff'ring far in figure and in face.
Here stood Ill-nature like an ancient maid,
Her wrinkled form in black and white array'd;
With store of pray'rs, for mornings, nights, and noons,
Her hand is fill'd; her bosom with lampoons.
There Affectation, with a sickly mien,
Shows in her cheek the roses of eighteen,
Practis'd to lisp, and hang the head aside,
Faints into airs, and languishes with pride,
[Page 248] On the rich quilt sinks with becoming woe,
Wrapt in a gown, for sickness, and for show.
The fair-ones feel such maladies as these,
When each new night-dress gives a new disease.
A constant Vapour o'er the palace flies;
Strange phantoms rising as the mists arise;
hereDreadful, as hermit's dreams in haunted shades,
Or bright, as visions of expiring maids.
Now glaring fiends, and snakes on rolling spires,
Pale spectres, gaping tombs, and purple fires:
Now lakes of liquid gold, Elysian scenes,
And crystal domes, and Angels in machines.
Unnumber'd throngs on ev'ry side are seen,
Of bodies chang'd to various forms by Spleen.
Here living Tea-pots stand, one arm held out,
One bent; the handle this, and that the spout:
hereA Pipkin there, like Homer's Tripod walks;
hereHere sighs a Jar, and there a Goose-pye talks;
[Page 249] Men prove with child, as pow'rful fancy works,
And maids turn'd bottles, call aloud for corks.
Safe past the Gnome thro' this fantastic band,
A branch of healing Spleenwort in his hand.
Then thus address'd the pow'r—Hail wayward Queen!
Who rule the sex to fifty from fifteen:
Parent of vapours and of female wit,
Who give th' hysteric, or poetic fit,
On various tempers act by various ways,
Make some take physic, others scribble plays;
Who cause the proud their visits to delay,
And send the godly in a pet to pray.
A nymph there is, that all thy pow'r disdains,
And thousands more in equal mirth maintains.
But oh! if e'er thy Gnome could spoil a grace,
Or raise a pimple on a beauteous face,
Like Citron-waters matrons cheeks inflame,
Or change complexions at a losing game;
If e'er with airy horns I planted heads,
Or rumpled petticoats, or tumbled beds,
[Page 250] Or caus'd suspicion when no soul was rude,
Or discompos'd the head-dress of a Prude,
Or e'er to costive lap-dog gave disease,
Which not the tears of brightest eyes could ease:
Hear me, and touch Belinda with chagrin,
That single act gives half the world the spleen.
The Goddess with a discontented air
Seems to reject him, tho' she grants his pray'r.
A wond'rous Bag with both her hands she binds,
Like that where once Ulysses held the winds;
There she collects the force of female lungs,
Sighs, sobs, and passions, and the war of tongues.
A Vial next she fills with fainting fears,
Soft sorrows, melting griefs, and flowing tears.
The Gnome rejoicing bears her gifts away,
Spreads his black wings, and slowly mounts to day.
Sunk in Thalestris' arms the nymph he found,
Her eyes dejected and her hair unbound.
Full o'er their heads the swelling bag he rent,
And all the Furies issu'd at the vent.
Belinda burns with more than mortal ire,
And fierce Thalestris fans the rising fire.
O wretched maid! she spread her hands, and cry'd,
(While Hampton's echoes, wretched maid! reply'd)
[Page 251] Was it for this you took such constant care
The bodkin, comb, and essence to prepare?
For this your locks in paper durance bound,
For this with tort'ring irons wreath'd around?
For this with fillets strain'd your tender head,
And bravely bore the double loads of lead?
Gods! shall the ravisher display your hair,
While the Fops envy, and the Ladies stare!
Honour sorbid! at whose unrival'd shrine
Ease, pleasure, virtue, all our sex resign.
Methinks already I your tears survey,
Already hear the horrid things they say,
Already see you a degraded toast,
And all your honour in a whisper lost!
How shall I, then, your helpless fame defend?
'Twill then be infamy to seem your friend!
And shall this prize, th' inestimable prize,
Expos'd thro' crystal to the gazing eyes,
And heighten'd by the diamond's circling rays,
On that rapacious hand for ever blaze?
Sooner shall grass in Hyde-park Circus grow,
And wits take lodgings in the sound of Bow;
[Page 252] Sooner let earth, air, sea, to Chaos fall,
Men, monkeys, lap-dogs, parrots, perish all!
hereShe said; then raging to Sir Plume repairs,
And bids her Beau demand the precious hairs:
(Sir Plume of amber snuff-box justly vain,
And the nice conduct of a clouded cane)
With earnest eyes, and round unthinking face,
He first the snuff-box open'd, then the case,
And thus broke out—"My Lord, why, what the devil?
" Z [...]ds! damn the lock! 'fore Gad, you must be civil!
" Plague on't! 'tis past a jest—nay prithee, pox!
" Give her the hair"—he spoke, and rapp'd his box.
It grieves me much (reply'd the Peer again)
Who speaks so well should ever speak in vain.
hereBut by this Lock, this sacred Lock I swear,
(Which never more shall join its parted hair;
Which never more its honours shall renew,
Clip'd from the lovely head where late it grew)
[Page 253] That while my nostrils draw the vital air,
This hand, which won it, shall for ever wear.
He spoke, and speaking, in proud triumph spread
The long-contended honours of her head.
hereBut Umbriel, hateful Gnome! forbears not so;
He breaks the Vial whence the sorrows flow.
Then see! the nymph in beauteous grief appears,
Her eyes half-languishing, half-drown'd in tears;
On her heav'd bosom hung her drooping head,
Which, with a sigh, she rais'd; and thus she said.
For ever curs'd be this detested day,
Which snatch'd my best, my fav'rite curl away!
Happy! ah ten times happy had I been,
If Hampton-Court these eyes had never seen!
Yet am not I the first mistaken maid.
By love of Courts to num'rous ills betray'd.
Oh had I rather un-admir'd remain'd
In some lone isle, or distant Northern land;
Where the gilt Chariot never marks the way,
Where none learn Ombre, none e'er taste Bohea!
[Page 254] There kept my charms conceal'd from mortal eye,
Like roses, that in deserts bloom and die.
What mov'd my mind with youthful Lords to roam?
O had I stay'd, and said my pray'rs at home!
'Twas this, the morning omens seem'd to tell,
Thrice from my trembling hand the patch-box fell;
The tott'ring China shook without a wind,
Nay Poll sat mute, and Shock was most unkind!
A Sylph too warn'd me of the threats of fate,
In mystic visions, now believ'd too late!
See the poor remnants of these slighted hairs!
My hands shall rend what ev'n thy rapine spares:
These in two sable ringlets taught to break,
Once gave new beauties to the snowy neck;
The sister-lock now sits uncouth, alone,
And in its fellow's fate foresees its own;
Uncurl'd it hangs, the fatal sheers demands,
And tempts once more, thy sacrilegious hands.
Oh hadst thou, cruel! been content to seize
Hairs less in sight, or any hairs but these!


VER. 11. For that sad moment, etc.]’ All the lines from hence to the 94th verse that describe the house of Spleen are not in the first Edition; instead of them followed only these,

While her rack'd Soul repose and peace requires,
The fierce Thalestris fans the rising fires.

And continued at the 94th Verse of this Canto.



VER. 1. Virg. Aen. iv. At regina gravi, etc. P.

[Page 249]VER. 51. Homer's Tripod walks;]’ See Hom. Iliad xviii. of Vulcan's walking Tripods.

VER. 52. and there a Goose-pye talks.]’ Alludes to a real sact, a Lady of distinction imagin'd herself in this condition. P.

[Page 252] VER. 133. But by this Lock,]’ In allusion to Achilles's oath in Homer, Il. i. P.


VER. 41.

Dreadful as hermit's dreams in haunted shades,
Or bright as visions of expiring Maids.]

The poet by this compari­son would insinuate, that the temptations of the mortified re­cluses in the Church of Rome, and the extatic visions of their fe­male saints were as much the effects of hypocondriac disorders, the Spleen, or, what was then the fashionable word, the Vapours, as any of the imaginary transformations he speaks of after­wards.

[Page 252] VER. 121. Sir Plume repairs,]’ Sir George Brown. He was the only one of the Party who took the thing seriously. He was angry, that the Poet should make him talk nothing but non­sense; and, in truth, one could not well blame him.

[Page 253] VER. 141.

But Umbriel, hateful Gnome! forbears not so;
He breaks the Vial whence the sorrows flow.]

These two lines are additional; and assign the cause of the different operation on the Passions of the two Ladies. The poem went on before without that distinction, as without any Machinery to the end of the Canto.



SHE said: the pitying audience melt in tears.
But Fate and Jove had stopp'd the Baron's ears.
In vain Thalestris with reproach assails,
For who can move when fair Belinda fails?
Not half so fix'd the Trojan could remain,
While Anna begg'd and Dido rag'd in vain.
hereThen grave Clarissa graceful wav'd her fan;
Silence ensu'd, and thus the nymph began.
hereSay why are Beauties prais'd and honour'd most,
The wise man's passion, and the vain man's toast?
[Page 256] Why deck'd with all that land and sea afford,
Why Angels call'd, and Angel-like ador'd?
Why round our coaches croud the white-glov'd Beaux,
Why bows the side-box from its inmost rows?
How vain are all these glories, all our pains,
Unless good sense preserve what beauty gains:
That men may say, when we the front-box grace,
Behold the first in virtue as in face!
[Page 257] Oh! if to dance all night, and dress all day,
Charm'd the small-pox, or chas'd old-age away;
Who would not scorn what housewife's cares pro­duce,
Or who would learn one earthly thing of use?
To patch, nay ogle, might become a Saint,
Nor could it sure be such a sin to paint.
But since, alas! frail beauty must decay,
Curl'd or uncurl'd, since Locks will turn to grey;
Since painted, or not painted, all shall fade,
And she who scorns a man, must die a maid;
What then remains but well our pow'r to use,
And keep good-humour still whate'er we lose?
And trust me, dear! good-humour can prevail,
When airs, and flights, and screams, and scolding fail.
Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll;
Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.
hereSo spoke the Dame, but no applause ensu'd;
Belinda frown'd, Thalestris call'd her Prude.
[Page 258] hereTo arms, to arms! the fierce Virago cries,
And swift as lightning to the combat flies.
All side in parties, and begin th' attack;
Fans clap, silks russle, and tough whalebones crack;
Heroes and Heroines shouts confus'dly rise,
And base, and treble voices strike the skies.
No common weapons in their hands are found,
Like Gods they fight, nor dread a mortal wound.
here hereSo when bold Homer makes the Gods engage,
And heav'nly breasts with human passions rage;
'Gainst Pallas, Mars; Latona, Hermes arms;
And all Olympus rings with loud alarms:
Jove's thunder roars, heav'n trembles all around,
Blue Neptune storms, the bellowing deeps resound:
Earth shakes her nodding towr's, the ground gives way,
And the pale ghosts start at the flash of day!
hereTriumphant Umbriel on a sconce's height
Clap'd his glad wings, and sate to view the fight:
[Page 259] Prop'd on their bodkin spears, the Sprites survey
The growing combat, or assist the fray.
While thro' the press enrag'd Thalestris flies,
And scatters death around from both her eyes,
A Beau and Witling perish'd in the throng,
One dy'd in metaphor, and one in song.
" O cruel nymph! a living death I bear,
Cry'd Dapperwit, and sunk beside his chair.
A mournful glance Sir Fopling upwards cast,
here" Those eyes are made so killing—was his last.
hereThus on Maeander's flow'ry margin lies
Th' expiring Swan, and as he sings he dies.
When bold Sir Plume had drawn Clarissa down,
Chloe stepp'd in, and kill'd him with a frown;
She smil'd to see the doughty hero slain,
But, at her smile, the Beau reviv'd again.
hereNow Jove suspends his golden scales in air,
Weighs the Men's wits against the Lady's hair;
The doubtful beam long nods from side to side;
At length the wits mount up, the hairs subside.
See fierce Belinda on the Baron flies,
With more than usual lightning in her eyes:
Nor fear'd the Chief th' unequal fight to try,
Who sought no more than on his foe to die.
But this bold Lord with manly strength endu'd,
She with one finger and a thumb subdu'd:
Just where the breath of life his nostrils drew,
A charge of Snuff the wily virgin threw;
hereThe Gnomes direct, to ev'ry atome just,
The pungent grains of titillating dust.
Sudden, with starting tears each eye o'erflows,
And the high dome re-echoes to his nose.
Now meet thy fate, incens'd Belinda cry'd,
And drew a deadly bodkin from her side.
here(The same, his ancient personage to deck,
Her great great grandsire wore about his neck,
[Page 261] In three seal-rings; which after, melted down,
Form'd a vast buckle for his widow's gown:
Her infant grandame's whistle next it grew,
The bells she jingled, and the whistle blew;
Then in a bodkin grac'd her mother's hairs,
Which long she wore, and now Belinda wears.)
Boast not my fall (he cry'd) insulting foe!
Thou by some other shalt be laid as low.
Nor think, to die dejects my lofty mind:
All that I dread is leaving you behind!
Rather than so, ah let me still survive,
And burn in Cupid's flames,—but burn alive.
Restore the Lock! she cries; and all around
Restore the Lock! the vaulted roofs rebound.
Not fierce Othello in so loud a strain
Roar'd for the handkerchief that caus'd his pain.
But see how oft ambitious aims are cross'd,
And chiefs contend 'till all the prize is lost!
The Lock, obtain'd with guilt, and kept with pain,
In ev'ry place is sought, but sought in vain:
With such a prize no mortal must be blest,
So heav'n decrees! with heav'n who can contest?
Some thought it mounted to the Lunar sphere,
hereSince all things lost on earth are treasur'd there.
There Hero's wits are kept in pond'rous vases,
And Beau's in snuff-boxes and tweezer-cases.
There broken vows, and death-bed alms are found,
And lovers hearts with ends of ribband bound,
The courtier's promises, and sick man's pray'rs,
The smiles of harlots, and the tears of heirs,
Cages for gnats, and chains to yoak a flea,
Dry'd butterflies, and tomes of casuistry.
But trust the Muse—she saw it upward rise,
Tho' mark'd by none but quick, poetic eyes:
(So Rome's great founder to the heav'ns withdrew,
To Proculus alone confess'd in view)
A sudden Star, it shot thro' liquid air,
hereAnd drew behind a radiant trail of hair.
Not Berenice's Locks first rose so bright,
The heav'ns bespangling with dishevel'd light.
[Page 263] hereThe Sylphs behold it kindling as it flies,
And pleas'd pursue its progress thro' the skies.
This the Beau monde shall from the Mall survey,
And hail with music its propitious ray.
This the blest Lover shall for Venus take,
And send up vows from Rosamonda's lake.
hereThis Partridge soon shall view in cloudless skies,
When next he looks thro' Galilaeo's eyes;
And hence th' egregious wizard shall foredoom
The fate of Louis, and the fall of Rome.
Then cease, bright Nymph! to mourn thy ra­vish'd hair,
Which adds new glory to the shining sphere!
Not all the tresses that fair head can boast,
Shall draw such envy as the Lock you lost.
For, after all the murders of your eye,
When, after millions slain, yourself shall die;
[Page 264] When those fair suns shall set, as set they must,
And all those tresses shall be laid in dust,
This Lock, the Muse shall consecrate to fame,
And 'midst the stars inscribe Belinda's name.


VER. 7. Then grave Clarissa, etc.]’ A new Character intro­duced in the subsequent Editions, to open more clearly the MORAL of the Poem, in a parody of the speech of Sarpedon to Glaucus in Homer. P.

[Page 258] VER. 37. To arms, to arms!]’ From hence the first Edition goes on to the Conclusion, except a very few short insertions added, to keep the Machinery in view to the end of the poem. P.

VER. 45. Triumphant Umbriel]’ These four lines added, for the reason before mentioned. P.

[Page 263] VER. 131. The Sylphs behold]’ These two lines added for the same reason to keep in view the Machinery of the Poem. P.


VER. 9. Say why are Beauties, etc.]’

Why boast we, Glaucus! our extended reign,
Where Xanthus' streams enrich the Lycian plain;
Our num'rous herds that range the sruitful field,
And hills where vines their purple harvest yield;
[Page 256] Our foaming bowls with purer nectar crown'd,
Our feasts enhanc'd with music's sprightly sound;
Why on those shores are we with joy survey'd,
Admir'd as heroes, and as Gods obey'd;
Unless great acts superior merit prove,
And vindicate the bounteous pow'rs above?
'Tis ours, the dignity they give, to grace;
The first in valour, as the first in place:
That when with wond'ring eyes our martial bands
Behold our deeds transcending our commands,
Such, they may cry, deserve the sov'reign state,
Whom those that envy, dare not imitate;
Could all our care elude the gloomy grave,
Which claims no less the fearful than the brave.
For lust of fame I should not vainly dare
In fighting fields, nor urge thy soul to war.
But since, alas! ignoble age must come,
Disease, and death's inexorable doom;
The life which others pay, let us bestow,
And give to fame what we to nature owe;
Brave tho' we fall, and honour'd if we live,
Or let us glory gain, or glory give.

[Page 257] VER. 35. So spoke the Dame,]’ It is a verse frequently re­peated in Homer after any speech,

So spoke—and all the Heroes applauded.


[Page 259] VER. 53. Triumphant Umbriel]’ Minerva in like manner, du­ring the Battle of Ulysses with the Suitors in Odyss. perches on a beam of the roof to behold it. P.

VER. 64. Those eyes are made so killing]’ The words of a Song in the Opera of Camilla. P.

VER. 65. Thus on Maeander's flow'ry margin lies]’

Sic ubi fata vocant, udis abjectus in herbis,
Ad vada Maeandri concinit albus olor.
Ov. Ep.


[Page 260] VER. 83. The Gnomes direct,]’ These two lines added for the above reason. P.

VER 89. The same, his ancient personage to deck,]’ In imita­tion of the progress of Agamemnon's sceptre in Homer, Il. ii. P.

[Page 262] VER. 128.

Flammiserumque trahens spatioso limite crinem
Stella micat


VER. 45. So when bold Homer]’ Homer, Il. xx. P.

[Page 260] VER. 71. Now Jove, etc.]’ Vid. Homer Il. viii. and Virg. Aen. xii. P.

[Page 262] VER. 114. Since all things lost]’ Vid. Ariosto. Canto xxxiv. P.

[Page 263] VER. 137. This Partridge soon]’ John Partridge was a ridicu­lous Star-gazer, who in his Almanacks every year never fail'd to predict the downfall of the Pope, and the King of France, then at war with the English. P.


WHAT beck'ning ghost, along the moon­light shade
Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade?
'Tis she!—but why that bleeding bosom gor'd,
Why dimly gleams the visionary sword?
Oh ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell,
Is it, in heav'n, a crime to love too well?
To bear too tender, or too firm a heart,
To act a Lover's or a Roman's part?
Is there no bright reversion in the sky,
For those who greatly think, or bravely die?
Why bade ye else, ye Pow'rs! her soul aspire
Above the vulgar flight of low desire?
[Page 266] Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes;
The glorious fault of Angels and of Gods:
Thence to their images on earth it flows,
And in the breasts of Kings and Heroes glows.
Most souls, 'tis true, but peep out once an age,
Dull sullen pris'ners in the body's cage:
Dim lights of life, that burn a length of years
Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres;
Like Eastern Kings a lazy state they keep,
And close confin'd to their own palace, sleep.
From these perhaps (ere nature bade her die)
Fate snatch'd her early to the pitying sky.
As into air the purer spirits flow,
And sep'rate from their kindred dregs below;
So flew the soul to its congenial place,
Nor left one virtue to redeem her Race.
But thou, false guardian of a charge too good,
Thou, mean deserter of thy brother's blood!
See on these ruby lips the trembling breath,
These cheeks, now fading at the blast of death;
Cold is that breast which warm'd the world before,
And those love-darting eyes must roll no more.
Thus, if Eternal justice rules the ball,
Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall:
[Page 267] On all the line a sudden vengeance waits,
And frequent herses shall besiege your gates.
There passengers shall stand, and pointing say,
(While the long fun'rals blacken all the way)
Lo these were they, whose souls the Furies steel'd,
And curs'd with hearts unknowing how to yield.
Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day!
So perish all, whose breast ne'er learn'd to glow
For others good, or melt at others woe.
What can atone (oh ever-injur'd shade!)
Thy fate unpity'd, and thy rites unpaid?
No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleas'd thy pale ghost, or grac'd thy mournful bier.
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were clos'd,
By foreign hands thy decent limbs compos'd,
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd,
By strangers honour'd, and by strangers mourn'd!
What tho' no friends in sable weeds appear,
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year,
And bear about the mockery of woe
To midnight dances, and the public show?
What tho' no weeping Loves thy ashes grace,
Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face?
[Page 268] What tho' no sacred earth allow thee room,
Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb?
Yet shall thy grave with rising flow'rs be drest,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast:
There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow,
There the first roses of the year shall blow;
While Angels with their silver wings o'ershade
The ground, now sacred by thy reliques made.
So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name,
What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame.
How lov'd, how honour'd once, avails thee not,
To whom related, or by whom begot;
A heap of dust alone remains of thee,
'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be!
Poets themselves must fall, like those they sung,
Deaf the prais'd ear, and mute the tuneful tongue.
Ev'n he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays,
Shall shortly want the gen'rous tear he pays;
Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part,
And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart,
Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er,
The Muse forgot, and thou belov'd no more!


TO wake the soul by tender strokes of art,
To raise the genius, and to mend the heart;
To make mankind, in conscious virtue bold,
Live o'er each scene, and be what they behold:
For this the Tragic Muse first trod the stage,
Commanding tears to stream thro' ev'ry age;
Tyrants no more their savage nature kept,
And foes to virtue wonder'd how they wept.
Our author shuns by vulgar springs to move
The hero's glory, or the virgin's love;
In pitying Love, we but our weakness show,
And wild Ambition well deserves its woe.
[Page 270] Here tears shall flow from a more gen'rous cause,
Such Tears as Patriots shed for dying Laws:
He bids your breasts with ancient ardour rise,
And calls forth Roman drops from British eyes.
Virtue confess'd in human shape he draws,
What Plato thought, and godlike Cato was:
No common object to your sight displays,
hereBut what with pleasure Heav'n itself surveys,
A brave man struggling in the storms of fate,
And greatly falling with a falling state.
While Cato gives his little Senate laws,
What bosom beats not in his Country's cause?
Who sees him act, but envies ev'ry deed?
Who hears him groan, and does not wish to bleed?
Ev'n when proud Caesar 'midst triumphal cars,
The spoils of nations, and the pomp of wars,
Ignobly vain and impotently great,
Show'd Rome her Cato's figure drawn in state;
As her dead Father's rev'rend image past,
The pomp was darken'd, and the day o'ercast;
[Page 271] The Triumph ceas'd, tears gush'd from ev'ry eye;
The World's great Victor pass'd unheeded by;
Her last good man dejected Rome ador'd,
And honour'd Caesar's less than Cato's sword.
hereBritons, attend: be worth like this approv'd,
And show, you have the virtue to be mov'd.
With honest scorn the first fam'd Cato view'd
Rome learning arts from Greece, whom she subdu'd;
Your scene precariously subsists too long
On French translation, and Italian song.
Dare to have sense yourselves; assert the stage,
Be justly warm'd with your own native rage:
Such Plays alone should win a British ear,
hereAs Cato's self had not disdain'd to hear.


VER. 20. But what with pleasure]’ This alludes to a famous passage of Seneca, which Mr. Addison afterwards used as a motto to his play, when it was printed.

[Page 271] VER. 37. Britons, attend]’ Mr. Pope had written it arise, in the spirit of Poetry and Liberty; but Mr. Addison frighten'd at so daring an expression, which, he thought, squinted at rebellion, would have it alter'd, in the spirit of Prose and Politics, to attend.

VER. 46. As Cato self, etc.]’ This alludes to the famous story of his going into the Theatre, and immediately coming out again.

Designed for Mrs. OLDFIELD.

PRodigious this! the Frail-one of our Play
From her own Sex should mercy find to-day!
You might have held the pretty head aside,
Peep'd in your fans, been serious, thus, and cry'd,
The Play may pass—but that strange creature, Shore,
I can't—indeed now—I so hate a whore—
Just as a blockhead rubs his thoughtless skull,
And thanks his stars he was not born a fool;
So from a sister sinner you shall hear,
" How strangely you expose yourself, my dear?"
But let me die, all raillery apart,
Our sex are still forgiving at their heart;
And did not wicked custom so contrive,
We'd be the best, good-natur'd things alive.
There are, 'tis true, who tell another tale,
That virtuous ladies envy while they rail;
Such rage without betrays the fire within;
In some close corner of the soul, they sin;
Still hoarding up, most scandalously nice,
Amidst their virtues a reserve of vice.
The godly dame, who fleshly failings damns,
Scolds with her maid, or with her chaplain crams.
Would you enjoy soft nights and solid dinners?
Faith, gallants, board with saints, and bed with sin­ners.
Well, if our Author in the Wife offends,
He has a Husband that will make amends:
He draws him gentle, tender, and forgiving,
And sure such kind good creatures may be living.
In days of old, they pardon'd breach of vows,
Stern Cato's self was no relentless spouse:
Plu—Plutarch, what's his name, that writes his life?
Tells us, that Cato dearly lov'd his Wife:
Yet if a friend, a night or so, should need her,
He'd recommend her as a special breeder.
To lend a wife, few here would scruple make,
But, pray, which of you all would take her back?
[Page 274] Tho' with the Stoic Chief our stage may ring,
The Stoic Husband was the glorious thing.
The man had courage, was a sage, 'tis true,
And lov'd his country—but what's that to you?
Those strange examples ne'er were made to fit ye
But the kind cuckold might instruct the City:
There, many an honest man may copy Cato,
Who ne'er saw naked sword, or look'd in Plato.
If, after all, you think it a disgrace,
That Edward's Miss thus perks it in your face;
To see a piece of failing flesh and blood,
In all the rest so impudently good;
Faith, let the modest Matrons of the town
Come here in crouds, and stare the strumpet down.

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