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Against the poets their own arms they turn'd
Sure to hate most the men from whom they
So modern 'pothecaries, taught the art
By doctor's bills to play the doctor's part,
Bold in the practice of mistaken rules,
Preferibe, apply, and call their masters fools.
Some on the leaves of ancient authors prey,
Nor time nor moths e'er spoild so much as
Some dryly plain, without invention's aid,
Write dull receipts how poems may be made.
These leave the sense, their learning to display,
And those explain the meaning quite away.
You then, whose judgment the right course
Know well each ancient's proper character;
His fable, subject, scope in ev'ry page;
Religion, country, genius of his age :
Without all these at once before your eyes
Cavil you may, but never criticife.
Be Homer's works your study and delight,
Read them by day, and meditate by night;
Thence form your judgment, thence your maxims
And trace thë Mufes upward to their spring,
Still with itself compar'd, his text peruse;
And let your comment be the Mantuan muse.
When first young Maro in his boundlels mind
A work t'outlast immortal Rome design'd,
Perhaps he feem'd above the critic's law,
And but from Nature's fountains scorn’d to draw:
'But when t'examine ev'ry port he came,
Nature and Homer were, he found, the fame.
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.
Some beauties yet no precepts can declare,
For there's 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.
If where the rules not far enough extend,
(Since rules were made but to promote their end)
Some lucky licence answer tho the full
Th’ intent propos'd, that licence is a rule.
Thus Pegasus, a nearer way to take,
May boldly deviate from the common track,
From vulgar bounds with brave disorder part,
And snatch a grace beyond the reach of art.
Which, without passing through the judgment,
The heart, and all its end at once attains.
In prospects thus fome objects please our eyes,
Which out of nature's common order rise,
The shapeless rock, or hanging precipice.
Great wits sometimes may gloriously offend,
And rise to faults true critics dare not mend,
But though the ancients thus their rules in-
(As kings dispense with laws themselves have
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,
The critic elle proceeds without remorse,
Seizes your fame, and puts his laws in force.
I know there are, to whofe presumptuous thoughts
Thole freer beauties, evin 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
A prudent chief not always must display
His pow rs in equal ranks and fair array,
But with th' occafion and the place comply.
Conceal his force, nay seem lometimes to Ay.
Those oft are stratagerns which errors seem;
Nor is it Homer nods, but we that dream.
Still green with bays each ancient altar stands,
Above the reach of facrilegious hands;
Secure from flames, from Envy's fierce rage,
Destructive war, and all-involving Age.
See from each clime the Learn'd their incense bring!
Hear, in all tongues confenting paeans ring!
In praise so just let ev'ry voice be join'd
And fill the gen'ral chorus of mankind.
Hail, 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 naines shall sound
And worlds applaud that must not yet be found!
O may fome spark of your celestial fire
The 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,
T'admire superior sense, and doubt their own!
John Sheffield Herzog von Budinghamshire (geb. 1650; geft. 1721.), ist weniger als Dichter merkwürdig, als wegen seiner Lebensumstände und politischen Verbindungen. Die Lobíprůche, welche ihm die besten Schriftfeller reiner Zeit, unter andern Dryden, Addison und Pope ertheilten, waren nicht ganz unparthenisch, und galten mehr feine Liebe ju den Wissenschaften und seinen Eifer für den guten Ge: schmack, als sein, gewiß Tehr mäßiges, dichterisches Talent. Richtiger urtheilt Dr. Warton von ihmi, in seinem Effiry on Pope, Vol. I. p. 201. Sein Esay on Poetry ist indeß zu bes kannt, um hier ganz übergangen zu werden. Er geht darin die verschiednen Dichtungsarten durch, und folgt überall dem Mufter Boileau's, aber in einem sehr entfernten Abs ftande. Die Wendung des ganzen Gedichts ist mehr satirisch als didaktisch, aber bei dem allen nichts weniger als anzie: bend und unterhaltend, sondern vielmehr sehr arm an neuen und treffenden Zügen, und noch dazu sehr mittelmäßig ver: fificirt. ' Warton erklärt die folgende Stelle, besonders den leßtern Theil derselben, wo er über die Form des neuera Trauerspiels (pottet, für das Beste des ganzen Gedichts. Bergl. Durd's Briefe, Ch. I. Br. XVII.
ESSAY ON POETRY.
The Unities of A&tion, Time and Place,
Which, if observ'd, give Plays so great a grace,
Are, tho' but little practis'd, too well known
To be taught here, where we pretend alone
From nicer faults to purge the present Age,
Less obvious errors of the English Stage.
First then, Soliloquies had need be few, Extreamly short, and spoke in passion too.
Rudingham, Our Lovers talking to themselves, for want
Of others, make the Pit their Confident:
Nor is the matter mended yet, if thus
They trust a Friend, only to tell it us,
Th' occafion should as naturally fall,
As when *) Bellario 'confesses all.
Figures of speech, which Poets think so fine,
(Art's needless varnish, to make Nature shine)
Are all but paint upon a beauteous face,
And in Descriptions only claim a place:
But to make Rage declaim, and Grief discourse,
From Lovers in despair fine things to force,
Must needs succeed, for who can chufe but pity
A dying Hero miserably witty?
But oh! the Dialogues, where jest and mock
Is held up, like a rest at Shittle-cock!
Or elle, like bells, eternally they chime;
They figh in Simile, and die in Rhime.
What things are thele who would be Poets
By Nature not inspir’d, nor Learning taught?
Some wit they have, and therefore may deserve
A better course than this by which they starve
But to write Plays! why, 'tis a bold pretence
To judgment, breeding, wit, and eloquence:
Nay more, for they must look within to find
Those secret turns of Nature in the mind.
Without this part, in vain would be the whole,
And but a body all without a soul.
All this united yet but makes a part
Of Dialogue, that great and pow'rful Art,
Now almost lost, which the old Grecians knew,
From whom the Romans fainter copies drew,
Scarce comprehended since but by a few.
Plato and Lucian are the best remains
Of all the wonders which this Art contains:
Yet to ourselves we justice must allow,
Shakspeare and Fletcher are the wonders now.
In Philaster, a play of Beaumont and Fletcher.