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Title: An Essay on Criticism
Author: Oldmixon, John
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "An Essay on Criticism" ***

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  THE AUGUSTAN REPRINT SOCIETY


  JOHN OLDMIXON

  AN ESSAY
  ON CRITICISM

  (1728)


  _INTRODUCTION_
  BY
  R. J. MADDEN, C.S.B.


  PUBLICATION NUMBER 107-8
  WILLIAM ANDREWS CLARK MEMORIAL LIBRARY
  UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES
  1964



INTRODUCTION


John Oldmixon's _Essay on Criticism_, like his _Reflections on Dr.
Swift's Letter to the Earl of Oxford, about the English Tongue_,[1]
provides evidence to support Dr. Johnson's description of its author as
a "scribbler for a party," and indicates that Oldmixon must have been
devoted to gathering examples of what appeared to him to be the good and
bad in literature.

The story of the appearance of the _Essay on Criticism_ in 1728 should
begin in 1724, when Oldmixon published in one volume his _Critical
History of England, Ecclesiastical and Civil_. Dr. Zachary Grey's
criticism of this book was answered by Oldmixon in 1725 in _A Review of
Dr. Zachary Grey's Defence of our Ancient and Modern Historians_. In
1726 a two-volume edition of the _Critical History of England_ appeared
with the 1725 edition of the _Review of Dr. Zachary Grey's Defence_
appended to the first volume. In the preface to the second volume of the
_Critical History_ Oldmixon referred to the _Essay on Criticism_,
stating that it was ready for the press, but that since it would have
made the second volume too large, it would be published at a later date.
The _Essay_, he stated, was to prepare the public for his translation of
Abbe Bouhours' _La Manière De Bien Penser_. It was not, however, until
1728 that the _Essay_ reached the public. Besides appearing separately,
it was appended, in place of the now removed answer to Dr. Grey, to the
"third" edition of the _Critical History_.[2] There is no reference to
the addition of the _Essay_ in the preface to the first volume, but its
appearance and addition is referred to in the preface to the second
volume.

Oldmixon seems to have had more than one purpose for writing the
_Essay_; one of them is made quite clear in the second paragraph:

     I shall not, in this _Essay_, enter into the philosophical Part
     of Criticism which _Corneille_ complains of, and that
     _Aristotle_ and his Commentators have treated of Poetry, rather
     as _Philosophers_ than Poets. I shall not attempt to give
     Reasons why Thoughts are _sublime_, _noble_, _delicate_,
     _agreeable_, and the like, but content my self with producing
     Examples of every Kind of right Thinking, and leave it to
     Authors of more Capacity and Leisure, to treat the Matter _à
     Fond_, and teach us to imitate our selves what we admire in
     others.

The remarks concerning the English need for guidance in "right thinking"
are obviously intended to prepare a public for Oldmixon's translation of
Bouhours' _La Manière De Bien Penser_. Following the method of Bouhours,
who was in turn following Longinus, Oldmixon gives examples from English
literature of the various divisions of "right thinking" and, also like
Bouhours, he includes specimens of failures in this art. The bad
examples he presents provide ample evidence that the Essay was also
serving a Whig polemical purpose, for they are drawn from such writers
as Clarendon, Pope and, in particular, Laurence Echard. The tone and
nature of Oldmixon's remarks on Echard, whose History he had already
criticized at length in the second volume of the _Critical History_, can
be seen in this explanation of his general treatment of that author:

     I must sincerely acknowledge, that it was not for Want of Will,
     that I did not mention what is beautiful in our Historian, but
     for Want of Opportunity.

Oldmixon's remarks on Pope's _Homer_ are sometimes laudatory, but more
often patronizing; the criticism of Pope's _Essay on Criticism_ is quite
pointed:

     I dare not say any Thing of the last _Essay on Criticism_ in
     Verse, but that if any more curious Reader has discovered in it
     something new, which is not in Dryden's _Prefaces_,
     _Dedications_, and his _Essay on Dramatick Poetry_, not to
     mention the _French_ Criticks, I should be very glad to have
     the Benefit of the Discovery.

The rift between Pope and Oldmixon can perhaps be dated from the
publication by the latter in 1714 of the "Receipt to make a cuckold"
with great apologies for its indecency. Oldmixon continued to tempt
satiric fate in the ensuing years, and one wonders if, when seeking a
substitute for the _Dunciad_ in the "last" _Miscellany_ of 1728, Pope
may not have remembered Oldmixon's announcement in 1726 of his intention
to publish an _Essay on Criticism_ which was to be written after the
manner of Bouhours. It is not impossible that this was one of many
influences acting upon Pope to organize the "high flights of poetry" he
had been collecting over the years for a Scriblerian project. Oldmixon
appears, with Gildon and Dennis, among the porpoises in Chapter VI of
_Peri Bathous_, and the presentation of some of the material in the
_Bathous_, although more directly indebted to Longinus, does bring
Oldmixon's _Essay_ to mind.

It would seem that Oldmixon felt that more than the porpoises referred
to him, for in his translation and adaptation of Bouhours' _La Manière
De Bien Penser_, which he published under the title of _The Arts of
Logic and Rhetorick_ later in 1728, the references to Pope are much
harsher, and Swift also comes under more pointed attack. _Gulliver's
Travels_, _A Tale of A Tub_ (already censured by Oldmixon in his
_Reflections on Dr. Swift's Letter_), the _Essay on Criticism_, _Windsor
Forest_ and the _Homer_ are the objects of bitter criticism. In the
concluding pages of _The Arts of Logic and Rhetorick_ Oldmixon wrote:

     This delicate Author [Pope] has written a _rhiming Essay on
     Criticism_, and made himself merry with his Brethren in a
     notable Treatise call'd the _Art of Sinking_, to which he and
     his Partner S----t, have contributed, more than all the rest of
     their contemporary writers, if _Trifling_ and _Grimace_ are not
     in the high Parts of Writing.... What a Precipice is it from
     Locke's Human Understanding to Swift's Lilliput and
     Profundity!... there might have been Hopes of rising again; but
     we sink now like Ships laden with Lead, and must despair of
     ever recovering the Height from which we have fallen.[3]

As we move from Oldmixon's _Essay on Criticism_ to Pope's _Peri Bathous_
and on to _The Arts of Logic and Rhetorick_, we perhaps hear the
stretching of the spring on a trap, that snapped in the 1735 edition of
the _Dunciad_, in which Oldmixon replaced Dennis as the "Senior" diver
"Who but to sink the deeper, rose the higher."[4]

The _Essay on Criticism_ is, however, more than an example of the
inter-relation of literature and politics in the eighteenth century; and
it is more than a step on the way to its author's immortalizing in
lead. It presents, albeit not very imaginatively, a statement of many
of the literary theories and attitudes of the Augustan period. However
brief and incomplete, the remarks about the language of poetry and upon
the effects of certain literary passages are of interest as imperfect
exercises in a type of practical criticism. The material used by
Oldmixon and the literary references he makes indicate, as do many of
his other writings, that, although he was a "scribbler for a party," he
was a man of some literary sense, taste and intelligence.

                                                 Robert Madden, C.S.B.
                                                 St. Michael's College
                                                 University of Toronto


NOTES TO THE INTRODUCTION

1. The _Reflections on Dr. Swift's Letter_ was reprinted with an
introduction by Louis Landa by the Augustan Reprint Society, no. 15
(1948).

2. The issue which appeared separately is the same as that which was
appended to the first volume of the _Critical History_, save for the
price, 1s. 6d, printed on the title page.

3. John Oldmixon, _The Arts of Logic and Rhetorick_ (London, 1728), pp.
416-17.

4. Cf. _Dunciad_ A, II, ll. 271-78, and _Dunciad_ B, II, ll. 283-90, in
James Sutherland, ed., _The Dunciad_ in _The Poems of Alexander Pope_,
Vol. V, 2nd ed. (London, 1953). Oldmixon was less prominent in the 1728
edition (Dunciad A, II, ll. 199-202); when he was elevated to a higher
level of dullness he was succeeded in his original place by Leonard
Welstead (Dunciad B, II, ll. 207-10).



  AN
  ESSAY
  ON
  _CRITICISM_

  As it regards

  Design, Thought, and Expression,

  In PROSE and VERSE.

  _By the AUTHOR of the Critical History of_ ENGLAND.

  [Illustration]

  _LONDON:_
  Printed for J. PEMBERTON, at the _Golden-Buck_ in _Fleet-Street_.
  MDCCXXVIII.

  1_s._ 6_d._



  [Illustration]


  AN
  ESSAY
  ON
  CRITICISM;

  As it regards

  _Design, Thought, and Expression,
  in Prose and Verse._


I am very far from any Conceit of my own Ability, to treat of so nice a
Subject as this, in a Manner worthy of it; but having frequently
observed what Errors have been committed by both Writers and Readers for
want of a right Judgement, I could not help collecting some loose Hints
I had by me, and putting them into a little Form, to shew rather what I
would do than what I can do; and to excite some happier Genius, to give
us better Lights than we have hitherto been led by, which is said with
great Sincerity, and without the least Mixture of Vanity or
Affectation.

I shall not, in this _Essay_, enter into the philosophical Part of
Criticism which _Corneille_ complains of, and that _Aristotle_ and his
Commentators have treated of Poetry, rather as _Philosophers_ than
_Poets_. I shall not attempt to give Reasons why Thoughts are _sublime_,
_noble_, _delicate_, _agreeable_, and the like, but content my self with
producing Examples of every Kind of right Thinking, and leave it to
Authors of more Capacity and Leisure, to treat the Matter a _Fond_, and
teach us to imitate our selves what we admire in others.

_Aristotle_, _Horace_, _Bossu_, _Boileau_, _Dacier_, and several other
Criticks, have directed us right in the Rules of Epick and Dramatick
Poetry, and _Rapin_ has done the same as to _History_, and other Parts
of polite Learning. Several Attempts have been made in _England_ to
instruct us, as well as the _French_ have been instructed; but far from
striking out any new Lights, our _Essays_ are infinitely short of the
Criticisms of our Neighbours. They teach us nothing which is not to be
found there, and give us what they take thence curtailed and imperfect.
'Tis true, they have drest up their Rules in Verse, and have succeeded
in it very well. There is something so just and beautiful in my Lord
_Roscommon_'s Essay and Translation of _Horace_'s _Ars Poetica_, as
excels any Thing in _French_ within the like Compass. I have read the
late Duke of _Buckingham_'s Essay very often, but I don't think it such
a perfect Piece as _Dryden_ represents it, in his long and tedious
Dedication to that noble Lord before the _Æneis_. There are many Things
very well thought in it, and they do not seem to be much the better for
the Poetry; which is so prosaick, that if the Rhimes were pared away, it
would be reduced to downright Prose. Indeed _Horace_'s Epistle to the
_Piso's_ is not much more poetick; and I do not think, that the modern
Criticks, like the Oracles of Old, give the greater Sanction to their
Rules, for that they are put into Rhime.

I dare not say any Thing of the last _Essay_ on _Criticism_ in Verse,
but that if any more curious Reader has discovered in it something new,
which is not in _Dryden_'s _Prefaces_, _Dedications_, and his _Essay_ on
_Dramatick Poetry_, not to mention the _French_ Criticks, I should be
very glad to have the Benefit of the Discovery.

I was strangely surprised to meet with such a Passage, as what follows,
in the Writings of so good an Author as Sir _Robert Howard_. _Preface_
to Duke of _Lerma_: "In the Difference of Tragedy and Comedy, there can
be no Determination but by the _Taste_; and whoever would endeavour to
like or dislike by the Rules of others, he will be as unsuccessful as if
he should try to be perswaded into a Power of believing, not what he
must, but what others direct him to believe."

Thus are _Aristotle_, _Horace_, and all that have commented on them;
thus are _Boileau_, the Lord _Roscommon_, the Duke of _Bucks_, and all
the modern Criticks, confounded with a Word or two, and the Rules of
Writing rendered useless and ridiculous.

The Rules laid down by those great Criticks are not to be valu'd,
because they are given by _Aristotle_, _Horace_, &c. but because they
are in Nature and in Truth. _Homer_, _Sophocles_, and _Euripides_, wrote
before _Aristotle_, and the Observations he made upon their Poems, were
to shew us how they succeeded by a happy Imitation of Nature, and
without such Imitation there can be no Poetry; but according to Sir
_Robert Howard_'s Assertion, that only which a Man likes is good; and if
you are pleas'd with seeing or hearing any Thing unnatural or even
monstruous,

    _A Woman's Head joyn'd to a Fishes Tail;_

it is preferable to what is just and true, to the _Venus_ of _Medicis_,
or the most perfect _Madonna_ in _Italy_. Thus a wrong Taste is as good
as a right one, and the Smell of a Pole-cat to be preferr'd to that of a
_Civet_, if a Man's Nose is so irregular. After this Rate, there never
was a Poet who could write up to the _Frenchman_'s Ladder-dance, or
_Rich_'s Harlequin; and whereas Sir _Robert_ says, we may as well
believe, because others do, as judge, because _Aristotle_, _Horace_, &c.
do, there is no Agreement in the Proposition, or it is not rightly
stated; for we do not judge so because _Aristotle_ and _Horace_ did so
judge; but because it is in Nature and in Truth, and they first shew'd
us the Way to find it out.

Criticism is so far from being well understood by us _Englishmen_, that
it is generally mistaken to be an Effect of Envy, Jealousy, and Spleen;
an invidious Desire to find Faults only to discredit the Author, and
build a Reputation on the Ruin of his.

One has great Reason to think so, when the Critick looks only on one
Side; when he hunts after little Slips and Negligences, and will not, or
cannot see, what is beautiful and praise-worthy. If an historical or
poetical Performance can no sooner acquire Applause, than he falls upon
it without Mercy, neglects every Thing commendable in it, and skims off
the Filth that rises on the Top of it; one may be sure his Jealousy is
piqu'd, and he is alarm'd for fear every Encrease of Honour to another
should be a Diminution of his own Glory; such Sort of Criticism is
easily learnt. A Wen or Mole in the Face is sooner perceiv'd than the
Harmony of Features, and the fine Proportion of Beauty; or, as _Dryden_
says,

    _Errours like Straws upon the Surface flow,
    He who would search for Pearls must dive below._

This Thought is borrow'd from the Lord _Bacon_; who, speaking of Notions
and Inferences what may be applied to Families, says, _Time is like a
River in which Metals and solid Substances sink, while Chaff and Straw
swim on the Surface_. Such borrowing as _Dryden_'s is highly
commendable; he has paid back what he borrowed with Interest, and it can
by no Means deserve the Scandal of _Plagiarism_. I cannot doubt, but Mr.
_Addison_ in the sublime Thought, where he represents the Duke of
_Marlborough_ in the Heat of the War:

    _Rides in the Whirlwind, and directs the Storm;_

did nor forget these two Lines of _Boileau_ to the King:

    _Serene himself the stormy War he guides,
    And o'er the Battle like a God presides._

I shall all along, through this Discourse, take the Liberty to pass from
one Subject to another as the Hint offers, without any Method, according
to the Freedom of _Essays_. Mr. _Dryden_ excuses this Freedom, by the
Example of _Horace_'s Epistle to the _Piso's_, which is immethodical and
I must excuse my self by Mr. _Dryden_'s--

The Taste and Appetite of these straw Criticks, may justly be compar'd
to Ravens and Crows, who neglecting clean Food, are always searching
after Carrion.

_Horace_'s Rule is very well worth observing, when we are about to give
Judgement on a Poem or History, where the _Will_ is not concern'd:

    Ubi plura nitent in Carmine non ego paucis
    Offendor maculis, quas aut incuria fudit,
    Aut humana parum cavit natura.

    _When in a Poem most are shining Thoughts,
    I'm not offended if I find some Fau'ts;
    Such as are Slips of Negligence, or where
    The Poet may through humane Frailty erre._

As it is much easier to discern Blemishes than Beauties, so is it to
censure than to commend, as the Duke of _Buckingham_ tells us:

    _Yet whatsoe'er is by vain Criticks thought,
    Praising is harder much than finding Fau't:
    In homely Pieces ev'n the_ Dutch _excel,_
    Italians _only can draw Beauty well_.

Such Criticks need not be in Pain, if a Poem or History makes its Way in
the World a little; if it is not good, it will lose Ground of it self
faster than it got it. If imperfect Pieces have gain'd Credit, and kept
it for some Time, it was not for what was bad in them, but what, if not
really good, was at least agreeable. _Dryden_'s Translation of _Virgil_
was generally liked for the Diction and Versification, though it was
dislik'd on Account of Equality and Truth; and to have made a _Critick_
upon it, as _Milbourn_ did, without doing justice to his Numbers and
Language, shew'd the Spirit of the Man was more engaged in it than his
Judgement. All Criticisms on _Dryden_'s Language and Numbers are in
Defiance of _Horace_'s Rule above-mention'd, because there is no Body
but knows that it was impossible for _Dryden_ to make an ill Verse, or
to want an apt and musical Word, if he took the least Care about it. I
could very easily mark out a thousand Slips and Negligences of that Kind
in his _Virgil_; yet for all that, there are more good Verses in that
Translation than in any other, if Mr. _Pope_'s _Homer_ is not to be
excepted.

It has been often said by very good Judges, that _Cato_ was no proper
Subject for a Dramatick Poem: That the Character of a Cynick
Philosopher, is very inconsistent with the Hurry and Tumult of Action
and Passion, which are the Soul of Tragedy. That the ingenious Author
miscarried in the Plan of his Work, but supported it by the Dignity, the
Purity, the Beauty, and the Justness of the Sentiments and the Diction.

This was so much the Opinion of Mr. _Maynwaring_, who was generally
allow'd to be the best Critick of our Time, that he was against bringing
the Play upon the Stage, and it lay by unfinish'd many Years. Mr.
_Maynwaring_ highly approv'd of the Sentiments and the Diction, but did
not fall in with the Design. That it was play'd at last was owing to Mr.
_Hughes_, who wrote the _Siege of Damascus_, a Tragedy. He had read the
Four Acts, which were finished, and rightly thought it would be of
Service to the Publick, to have it represented at the latter End of
Queen _Ann_'s Reign, when the old _English_ Spirit of Liberty was as
likely to be lost as it had ever been since the Conquest. He endeavour'd
to bring Mr. _Addison_ into his Opinion, which he did so far as to
procure his Consent, that it should be acted if Mr. _Hughes_ would write
the last Act, and he offer'd him the Scenary for his Assistance,
excusing his not finishing it himself on Account of some other
Avocations. He prest Mr. _Hughes_ to do it so earnestly, that he was
prevail'd upon and set about it. But a Week after, seeing Mr. _Addison_
again with an Intention to communicate to him what he had thought of it,
he was agreeably surpris'd at his producing some Papers, where near half
of the Act was written by the Author himself, who took Fire at the Hint
that it would be serviceable, and upon a second Reflection went thorough
with the Fifth Act: Not that he was diffident of Mr. _Hughes_'s Ability,
but knowing that no Man could have so perfect a Notion of his Design as
himself, who had been so long and so carefully thinking of it. I was
told this by Mr. _Hughes_, and I tell it to shew that it was not for the
_Love_ Scenes, that Mr. _Addison_ consented to have his Tragedy acted,
but to support the old _Roman_ and _English_ Publick Spirit, which was
then so near being suppressed by Faction and Bigotry. The most cunning
of their Leaders were sensible of it, and therefore very dexterously
stole away the Merit of the Poem, by applauding the Poet, and
patronizing the Action and Actors. It is therefore obvious, that a
severe Critick may find a Colour for his Severity, with Respect to the
_Design_ of the Play, but that will not hinder its captivating every one
that sees or reads it. The Graces and Excellencies, both of Thought and
Expression, do much more deserve our Admiration and Applause, than the
Deficiency in the Fable deserves Censure. However, as to _Dryden_'s
_Virgil_ and _Cato_, ask those that admire the one or the other what it
is that pleases them? And I doubt it will be found to be the very
Places, which should have most displeased, where _Dryden_ offended most
against the Character of Epick Poetry by imitating _Ovid_'s Softness,
and an eternal _Jeu des Mots_, _Playing upon Words_, and where _Cato_
suspends the Action and Passion of the Scene to teach the Audience,
Philosophy and Morality.

It is common for the most discreet and delicate Authors to take Care of
themselves, when they are treating of any of the Sciences. You will
always find the Divine, the Lawyer, the Mathematician, the Astrologer,
the Chymist, the Mechanick, _&c._ reserving to themselves the Merit of
their particular Sciences when they are discoursing of the Arts in
general. A merry Instance of this in the _Astrologer_ is mention'd by
the very learned _Gregory_ out of _Albumazer_, who asserted, that all
Religions were govern'd by the Planets; the _Mahometan_ by _Venus_, the
_Jewish_ by _Saturn_, and the _Christian_ by the _Sun_: Nay, he adds,
that one _Guido Bonatus_ a _Gymnosophist_ affirms in his Parallells,
that _Christ himself was an Astrologer, and made use of Elections_. The
_Spectator_, with all his Modesty, has discover'd something of this
Self-love in that of the Sciences, and could not help giving into this
Infirmity. Every one knows what a fine Talent he had for Writing, and
particularly how beautiful his Imagination was, and how polite his
Language. Himself was not a Stranger to it; and we therefore read in the
_Spectator_, Nº 291; _I might further observe, that there is not a_
Greek _or_ Latin _Critick, who has not shewn, even in the Stile of his
Criticisms, that he was Master of all the Elegance and Delicacy of his
native Language_. Here does this excellent Author forbid any one's Claim
to the Character of a Critick, who is not like himself Master of the
Delicacy and Elegance of his native Tongue; though I am apt to believe,
that as a Man may be a very good Judge of Painting without being
himself a Painter, so he may make very good Criticisms in Poetry and
Eloquence, without being a Poet or an Orator. What would have become of
our famous Critick _Rymer_, whom Mr. _Dryden_ has so much commended, and
so much abused, if his Criticisms must not pass, on Account of his not
being Master of the Elegance and Delicacy of our Language, as it does
not appear he was by his Translation of OVID's Epistle from _Penelope_
to _Ulysses_.

    _Here skulk'd_ Ulysses.
    _Your Sword how_ Dolon _no nor_ Rhesus _'scap'd,
    Banter'd the One, this taken as he napp'd.
    Whatever Skippers hither come ashore,
    For thee I ask and ask them o'er and o'er.
    Perhaps to her your dowdy Wife define
    Who cares no more, so that her Cupboard shine:
    Who revel in your House without Controul,
    And eat and waste your Means our Blood and Soul._

The _Bantring_ and _Napping_, the _Skipper_, the _Dowdy Wife_, the
_Cupboard_, the _Means_, and the _Blood_ and _Soul_, agree admirably
with the Royal Characters of King _Ulysses_ and Queen _Penelope_, and
the courtly Manner of _Ovid_. _Radcliff_'s Letter, from the Skipper's
Wife of _Newcastle_ to her Husband at _St. Catherine_'s, can hardly have
more of the Burlesque in it.

The Truth is, Mr. _Addison_, in the above Quotation, has a Fling upon
the Author of the Critick upon his _Cato_. _A few general Rules
extracted out of the_ French _Authors, with a certain Cant of Words,
have sometimes set up an illiterate heavy Writer, for a most judicious
and formidable Critick._ I know no Instance wherein that Gentleman loses
his Temper so much as in this. There were but three Authors in our Time
who were _Criticks_ by Profession, _Rymer_, _Dennis_, and _Gildon_.
_Rymer_ is own'd by himself to be a masterly Critick: He himself knew
Mr. _Dennis_ did not want Learning; and as to Fire, he has perhaps
rather too much of it, than too little. I can't help thinking, that the
Ode he writ on _Dryden_'s Translation of the 3d Book of the _Georgicks_,
in _Tonson_'s Fourth Miscellany, deserv'd a kinder Word than illiterate
or heavy.

                 STANZA II.

      _Sometimes of humble rural Things
    My Muse, which keeps great_ Maro _still in sight,
      In middle Air with varied Numbers sings;
        And sometimes her sonorous Flight
          To Heaven sublimely wings.
    But first takes Time with Majesty to rise
        Then, without Pride, divinely great
        She mounts her native Skies;
        And Goddess-like retains her State
          When down again she flies._

The Passage, taken out of the _Spectator_, could not relate to _Gildon_,
because of the _French_ Cant, which he did not affect, nor understand.
It is plain therefore, it must refer to the Critick upon _Cato_; which
shews us, that as conscious as the most modest Man may be of his own
Insufficiency; yet, when it is in Dispute, he cannot always preserve his
Insensibility. _Cato_ is a very good _Dramatick_ Poem, and so was the
_Cid_; yet the best _Critick_ that ever was written in _French_, was
that upon the _Cid_, as _La Bruyere_ observes.

In another of the _Spectators_, we meet with something which proves to
us, that a Man may have as much Modesty as Mr. _Addison_; and yet be
very jealous of losing any Part of the Glory which is due to him. Every
one knows, that though he was a Master of Eloquence, he never attempted
to speak in Parliament, but it was with some Confusion; and what he
said, did not answer the Expectation which had been raised by the
Character of his Writings. Himself takes notice of this, not as an
Infirmity, but as the Effect of Caution and Art. _Spectator_, Nº 231,
Cicero tells us, that he never liked an Orator, _who did not appear in
some little Confusion at the Beginning of his Speech; and confesses,
that he himself never entered upon an Oration without Trembling and
Concern. It is indeed a Kind of Deference which is due to a great
Assembly. The bravest Man often appears timorous upon these Occasions,
as we may observe that there is generally no Creature more impudent than
a Coward._ I hope I shall not be thought invidious, or to endeavour to
lessen the Veneration, which all, who love polite Learning, owe to the
Memory of the _Spectator_; yet I could not but take notice, how sensible
the most Discreet are in Point of Rivalship in Fame. What else can one
think of the _Spectator_'s Saying in the Dedication of the Eighth
Volume: _I need not tell you, that the free and disengaged Behaviour of
a fine Gentleman, makes as many aukward_ Beaux, _as the Easiness of your
Favourite_ Waller _hath made insipid Poets._ Though the _fine Gentleman_
may be applied to Mr. _Waller_, and the _aukward Beaux_ to the insipid
Poets; yet the Comparison cannot hold, without doing an Injury to Mr.
_Waller_'s Merit. The _Beaux_ may be aukward, by imitating what you call
a _fine Gentleman_, who is generally distinguish'd by some Affectation;
but no Poet can be insipid by imitating Mr. _Waller_'s Easiness, if he
has any Portion of his Wit and Gallantry. The _Spectator_'s Manner was
not very different from Mr. _Waller_'s, as to Easiness; and I have as
often heard it wished, that there was more Fire in his own Poetry, as
that there was more in Mr. _Waller_'s. Two of the politest Authors in
_Europe_, of the last Age, St. _Evremont_ and _La Fontaine_, had such an
Esteem for Mr. _Waller_, that it is strange he meets with no better
Quarter at Home. Those two famous _French_ Wits us'd to call him another
_Anacreon_; and the Criticks have not yet complained, that ever
_Anacreon_ taught any Poet to be insipid. Mr. _Addison_ is so far from
thinking that _Waller_ had any such Infection about him, that he wishes
he had lived to have sung in Praise of King _William_, the sublimest
Subject that ever was offered to a Muse, by how much the Deliverer of
Nations from Slavery is a more godlike Character, than to have subjected
and enslaved them, as did _Alexander_ and _Cæsar_.

    _The Courtly_ Waller _next commands my Lays,
    Muse, tune thy Verse with Art to_ Waller_'s Praise.
    While tender Airs, and lovely Dames inspire
    Soft melting Thoughts, and propagate Desire;
    So long shall_ Waller_'s Strains our Passion move,
    And_ Sacharissa_'s Beauties kindle Love.
    Thy Verse, harmonious Bard, and flatt'ring Song,
    Can make the Vanquish'd great, the Coward strong:
    Thy Verse can shew ev'n_ Cromwell_'s Innocence,
    And complement the Storms that bore him hence.
    Oh! had thy Muse not come an Age too soon,
    But seen great_ Nassau _on the_ British _Throne,
    How had his Triumphs glitter'd in thy Page,
    And warm'd thee to a more exalted Rage.
    What Scenes of Death,_ &c.

So little Danger is there of learning to be insipid by imitating
_Waller_, that he is praised by the Editor of St. _Evremond_'s Works,
for the Elevation of his Genius, Mr. _Edmond Waller; s'est generallement
fait admirer par l'Elevation de son Esprit_.

I do not in this _Essay_ aim at any Thing more, than, as I have said
before, to put several critical Hints, which I had collected, together,
and not to form a regular Discourse, but take them as they come in my
way.

If the _Spectator_, by the Passage above-mentioned, insinuates that a
Man must be able to perform himself in an Art, to be a good Judge of the
Performances of others; consequently, that I ought to be a masterly
Historian, to make Remarks on Mr. _Echard_'s History, he divests me at
once of the Right I pretend to in the following Treatise. Let us
therefore enquire into the Reason of this Reflection.

_Horace_, whom no _English_ Author could understand better than the
_Spectator_, as appears by his admirable Translation, teaches us
otherwise,

    _Munus & Officium, nil scribens ipse, docebo._
    Yet without writing, I may teach to write.
                                                            [_Rosc._

_Dacier_'s Notes upon _Hippocrates_, as I have been informed by my
worthy Friend Dr. _Allen_, are much better than any others, though made
by Men of the _Faculty_, which _Dacier_ did not profess. Monsieur
_Corneille_, the greatest Genius in _France_ for Tragedy, wrote
_Examens_ of his Pieces, which, like _Dryden_'s Prefaces, were adapted
to the several Tragedies, and very often clashed with one another, as
the Subject required: but because he would prevent as much as possible
any Attack of Criticism, he declares in one of his Discourses, _That the
Knowledge which is acquired by Study and Speculation, is of little or no
Use without Experience_. Thus an Author must produce a Tragedy himself,
before he presumes to criticise on another's. If it be the same Thing
in History too, I began at the wrong End, and should have written three
or four Folio Histories, before I had presum'd to make Remarks on
Archdeacon _Echard_'s, this would bear very hard upon me, and I must beg
Leave to enquire a little whether the Case be really so or not.

Monsieur _Dacier_ is so far from being of _Corneille_'s Opinion, that he
thinks a Man who never did write a Tragedy, may criticise on another's
Poem the better for that he never wrote himself. _Nay, I do not know_,
says he in his Preface to _Aristotle_, _whether he who has written
Dramatick poems, is so proper to explain the Rules of the Art, as he,
who never wrote any: For it would be a Miracle if the former were not
seduced by Self-love; whereas the latter is disinterested, and the more
likely to be an impartial Judge._ Again, _if it was necessary to be a
good poet to make Criticisms on Poetry, we should never have had any
Critick at all; for I do not know one Critick upon Poetry, that was
himself a Poet._ By this one would think, that he did not look upon
_Rapin_ as a Critick in Poetry, for he wrote a Poem on _Gardening_.
_Menage_ makes as little of him as _Dacier_; yet _Dryden_ says, were all
the Writings of other Criticks lost, _Rapin_'s Works alone would be
sufficient to teach us the whole Art of Criticism. We all know
_Aristotle_ and _Horace_ wrote upon Epick Poetry and Tragedy, yet
neither of them ever wrote a Tragedy or Epick Poem; and perhaps neither
of them would have succeeded if he had. _Rymer_ made one poor Attempt
that Way in his _Edgar_: But, as if it had been written only to prove
that a Man may judge well of an Art, without being a Performer, like an
ill-built Ship, it sunk in the very launching, and seem'd to be written
only to be damned.

The _Guardian_ seconds the _Spectator_, and forbids any one to
criticise, that cannot write to Perfection. _If I find by his own Manner
of Writing, that he is heavy and tasteless, I throw aside his Criticisms
with a secret Indignation, to see a Man without Genius or Politeness,
dictating to the World on Subjects which I find are above his Reach._
Thus Mr. _Rymer_, the best Critick we had till then, and all his Rules,
are void and of no Effect; He has cancelled them with a Dash of his Pen.
If a Man must not only have Politeness, but a Genius, what will become
of _Aristotle_ and _Longinus_, _Bossu_ and _Dacier_? They were all
polite Writers, but have not discover'd that they had Genius. I ever had
as little Opinion of heavy tasteless Criticks as the _Spectator_ or
_Guardian_, yet I never could endure an arbitrary Judgement; for, what
else is _tasteless_ and _heavy_ without Proof? But then, that Proof
could not be produced without the _Criticisms_, which, let them be ever
so poor, are often more easily despis'd than answer'd.

I was always convinced by Example, that a Critick may have a just Taste,
without being a Poet; and that the Indignation the _Guardian_ speaks of,
is never provoked, unless a weak Place is hit upon: As, in the low
Phrase, _A galled Horse winces when you touch the Sore_. In three or
four Lines, we have _tasteless_, _heavy_, _dogmatical_, _stupid_ Macer
_and_ Mundungus all of the poor Criticks. Had they been really such
stupid Creatures, they could not have given such Offence. Hard Words
shew Anger more than Indignation, and we are apt to conjecture, that the
Poets would not be so angry with the Criticks, if they were not afraid
of them. The Concern of the former is wonderfully generous; they are not
in Pain for what the Criticks say of their Errours and Failings, but for
the Heaviness and Stupidity of their Criticisms. Thus in the lowest
Life, we shall often hear one angry Woman cry out of another, _I do not
matter what she said of me, but to see the Impudence of the Slut_.
_Macer_ and _Mundungus_ are taken from Mr. _Congreve_'s Epistle to Sir
_Richard Temple_;

    _So_ Macer _and_ Mundungus _school the Times,
    And write in rugged Verse the softer Rules of Rhimes_.

If the _Guardian_ had the Critick upon _Cato_ in his Thoughts, when he
quoted those Verses, which I suppose he had, why does he mention rhiming
Criticisms? That Author wrote his Rules and Remarks always in Prose, so
did _Rymer_; what then do they all mean by _rugged Verse_? The Lord
_Roscommon_'s Poetry is Harmony it self. The last Essay upon Criticism
in Verse was not then written. There remains only the late Duke of
_Buckingham_'s Poetical Essay, of Note enough to be remembered by Mr.
_Congreve_: That could not be named, without offending _good Breeding_,
a Term very often made use of by two elegant Authors; who, I much
question, had never the Education of a Dancing-Master. However, Poetry
and Criticism are perfect Levellers, and no Man can plead Privilege in
the Court of _Parnassus_; what then is the Meaning of the next Lines
after _Mundungus_?

    _Well do they play the careful Critick's Part,
    Instructing doubly by their matchless Art:
    Rules for good Verse they first with Pains indite,
    Then shew us what are bad by what they write._

The _Guardian_ and _Spectator_ would not do the Poets the Honour to name
them; but we know who are the Criticks which are _thrown aside_ by them;
for no Body but Mr. _D----_ and Mr. _G----_ made Remarks upon their
Writings, and both of them did. I do not say with that Politeness and
Elegance, which the _Spectator_ and _Guardian_ have laid down, as the
sole Characteristicks of good Talk and Judgement; though one may almost
as well say, that a Man cannot have good Sense and Wit, without good
Cloaths and a genteel Air. I must needs own, that I think most of their
Criticisms very just, though had they been still juster than they are, I
would not nave been the Author of them, without taking Notice of
Beauties, as well as finding of Faults, there being much more Room for
the former than the latter.

It is very plain, the _Spectator_ highly stomached the Remarks which
were made on his Writings, and is not very candid in his Reasoning, to
render his Opponents contemptible, which was the surest Way of disarming
them. _These Criticks fall upon a Play, not because it is ill written,
but because it takes_: This is not the whole Truth. It is not because it
_takes_, but because it takes for those very Things which should have
damned it _Durfey_'s _Boarding-School_, and his _Marriage-Hater
match'd_, took with a Vengeance, though the two greatest Pieces of Wit
in them, were _Miss's Bread and Butter_, and _Mynheer's Muff_.
_Settle_'s Tragedies took for the Noise, the Show, and the Rhime. No
Play, that was not supported by poetical or political Party, which most
_taking_ Plays have been, ever took more than _Settle_'s _Heir of
Morocco_, in which there is not one good Thought or Expression. Again,
_several of these Criticks have laid it down as a Maxim, that whatever
Dramatick Poem has a long Run, must of Necessity be good for nothing_,
which is a Misrepresentation. The _Orphan_, _Venice Preserv'd_,
_Tamerlane_, _&c._ had _long Runs_, and _run_ still; yet no Critick has
dared to say they did not deserve it: But whoever will owe his
Reputation to _taking_ only, must be contented to roll with _Settle_,
_Durfey_, and many other Poets, that _took_ in their Turn. Could any
thing be more monstrous, than to determine the Merit of _Nixon's
Prophecy_, and the _Spectator_, by the Run of the Papers. The former, a
Maggot given to the Rabble, bore more Editions in Ten Weeks, than the
latter has done in Ten Years.

I would not be understood in this, or any thing else, to endeavour to
lessen the Opinion the People have generally and justly of the
_Spectator_'s Perfections: I verily believe, there is no Production of
the Mind, ancient or modern, where are to be found more Wit, Politeness,
fine Raillery, good Sense, Learning, and Eloquence; but what I have
said, is to shew, that great Wits as well as little have their Passions,
their Piques and Prejudices, when the least Blemish is discovered in
their Glory. In the same _Spectator_, we have another Hint, that no Body
ought to criticise on that Author's Writings, unless he could write as
elegantly as himself, which effectually cuts off all _Criticism_. These
_professed Criticks cannot put ten Words together with Elegance, or
common Propriety_. What an arbitrary Way of arguing is this? These
Criticks are Smatterers; _They vilify only the Productions that gain
Applause; the Blemishes they descry are imaginary; their Arguments are
far fetched; Their Works are like those of the Sophists, they are
thought deep, because unintelligible; they instruct the People in
Absurdities_. Would the _Spectator_ allow this positive Air in any other
Writer? How does it appear that one Word of all this is true? _Ipse
dixit._ That must satisfy, though he is in this Case too much a Party,
to be a Judge. _These_ Criticks _are led themselves into Absurdities, by
not considering, That there is sometimes a greater Judgement shewn in
deviating from the Rules of Art, than adhering to them_. The Word
_sometimes_ here would make every right Argument wrong, and every Truth
Falsehood, because _sometimes_ there may be an Exception to a general
Rule. Why, does he not tell us, wherein himself, or any one else shewed
his Judgement in deviating from the Rules of Art? The _Critical
Smatterers_ do not charge him in those Places where Judgement was shewn
in such deviating, but where the Want of Judgement appeared in it. I
shall have occasion to touch this Subject a little elsewhere; though I
hope what I have said here, is enough to prove that just _Criticisms_
are not the Productions of Ignorance and Envy, as the _Spectator_
intimates; but that they are, on the contrary, useful and necessary to
be a Check on the greatest Genius's, who want the Rein much more than
the Spur; and what, in a few Years, would become of all good Writing, if
those great Genius's could impose their very Blemishes on the World for
the most shining Beauties?

The _Spectator_ gives us another Mark, by which we may discover a
Critick, who has neither Taste nor Learning, and that is, _He seldom
ventures to praise any Passage in an Author, which has not been before
received and applauded by the Publick_. If this Remark had been
infallible and universal, it must have deprived the _Spectator_ himself
of the two greatest Beauties in all his Quotations out of _Milton_ which
are in every one's Mouth. The One in the sublime Kind in the Speech to
the _Sun_.

    _Oh then, that with surpassing Glory crown'd,
    Look'st from thy sole Dominion like the God
    Of this new World._--

The Other in the tender Kind. _Adam_ to _Eve_.

    _Her Hand soft touching whisper'd thus, Awake
    My Fairest, my espous'd, my best belov'd,
    Heavens last, best Gift, my ever new Delight;
    Awake._

which had before been a thousand Times repeated as the Perfection of
_English_ Poetry, in their several Kinds. And the Author, who shall have
occasion to quote them as such after the _Spectator_, will not discover
his Want of Taste or Learning by it. Very just is his Observation, _A
true Critick ought to dwell rather upon Excellencies than Imperfections,
&c._ But as this has Relation chiefly to those Compositions which
require Genius, Judgement and Eloquence; and consequently, cannot relate
to Mr. _Echard_'s History of _England_, we shall now say no more of it.

That I may not be guilty of the Fault I blame in others, the neglecting
of Beauties, and falling unmercifully upon the Blemishes of Authors. I
must sincerely acknowledge, that it was not for Want of Will, that I did
not mention what is beautiful in our Historian, but for Want of
Opportunity. What Part of his Performance should I have applauded! Is it
the _Design_! The Author does not himself pretend, that it is regular,
if by _Design_ in _History_, we are to understand the _Plan_ as in
_Poetry_: He will not deny, but that his Method is too much diversified,
and too confused; sometimes it is _General History_, sometimes _Annals_,
sometimes a _Diary_, sometimes _Biography_; all which he seems to think
he has sufficiently provided against, by dividing the whole Work into
_Sections_, and putting Pales between his Paragraphs. This Confusion
will be easily pardoned by his Readers, there being hardly one in a
Thousand that knows the Difference between _Biography_ and _History_, or
between an _Annalist_ and an _Historian_; or who does not take _Buck_'s
_Richard_ III, or _Cambden_'s Queen _Elizabeth_, to be as much of the
historical Kind, as _Samuel Daniel_'s History of _England_, which is the
only _English_ History that has the least Appearance of Uniformity and
Regularity of Design.

_Ne Sutor ultra Crepidam_, is in nothing a more necessary Maxim, than in
the Productions of the Mind. It is not because a Man can write a Sonnet,
an Elegy, nay, an Ode, or a Dramatick Poem, that therefore he can
succeed in Epick; though we in _England_ are apt to confound all Sorts
of Poetry and Poets, and to think that there is but one and the same
Genius necessary for all of them. Thus it is, that you often hear the
Question in Company, which is the best Poet, _Virgil_ or _Horace_,
_Milton_ or _Waller_, _Dryden_ or _Wycherley_, _Congreve_ or _Row_. It
is the same Thing in History: If a Man is able to abridge a Dictionary,
to collect and compile Memoirs; in a Word, if he can put a Tale
together, he is immediately an Historian, though Story-telling and
History are as different as a _Madrigal_ and a Pindarick _Ode_.

History is designed to instruct Mankind by Example, to shew what Men
were by what they did, and from particular Instances to form general
Lessons in all the various Stations of Life; and our Historian has so
far a just Conception of its Dignity and Use, that he speaks of his own
Performance as if he had formed a regular noble Design, with a regular
and noble View, and executed it with equal Beauty and Perfection. Very
great Talents are requisite to succeed in it, especially that of
Judgement, to relate only what is worth relating, and to make proper
Reflections upon Events for the Instruction of the Reader. _Nothing is
more necessary for an Historian_, says _Pere Rapin_, _than Judgement:
Nothing requires so much Sense, so much Reason, so much Wit, so much
Wisdom, and other good Qualities, as History, to succeed in writing it;
and above all,_ Un Heureux Naturel, _a happy Genius, which endowed with
all these Qualifications, will not do without,_ Un Grand Commerce du
Monde, _a great Knowledge of the World_. _Pere Bouhours_, whom Mr.
_Addison_ thought the most judicious and penetrating of all the _French_
Criticks, has an admirable Remark on the Reflections of Historians, in
his _Maniere de bien penser_. The _Historian ought to shine most in his
Reflections: Nothing is so irregular as to reflect falsely on Events
that are true_. He mentions a pleasant Instance of a _French_ Priest,
who said in a Sermon, _The Heart of Man being of a triangular Figure,
and the World of a round one; It is plain, that all worldly Greatness
cannot fill the Heart of Man_. We have been told a thousand Times, that
the _Presbyterians_ had a Quarrel with King _Charles_ the First, and
that those who had a Quarrel with him, took him and cut off his Head.
The Fact is true as to the Quarrel, but nothing can be more false, than
that the _Presbyterians_ beheaded him. The Fact is true, that the Act of
Toleration put a Stop to the Persecuting of Dissenters; but the
Reflection from it, _That the Church was in Danger_, is false. If I
would rifle the _Grand Rebellion_, and Mr. _Echard_'s History, I might
have the Honour of being Author of a Folio too, by taking from them
Examples of this Kind; and I cannot but think, if the Archdeacon had
duely weighed the Difficulties inseparable from his Undertaking, the
indispensable Duty of Sincerity and Truth, and the great Talents
necessary for an Historian, he would have transferred the Work to
another, not a Dealer in Records only, from whom one can expect nothing
but the naked Facts without Form or Order, without Ornament, or even
cloathing; very proper for Evidence in Tryals at Law, but too rude and
unpolished for the Beauty and Elegance of History: Yet I am satisfied,
there is not one Man in a Thousand in _England_, but thinks there are
no Writers so fit to make Historians as your Record Keepers and Library
Keepers, who are just as necessary in such Work as Masons and Carpenters
are in Architecture, and no more in Comparison with the Architect, than
the _Axe_ or the _Chissel_ are in Comparison with them. _An excellent
Historian_, says Mons. _Pellisson_, Pref. to _Sar._ _ought to have a
general Knowledge of the World and of Affairs, and a subtle and
penetrating Wit, to distinguish the true Causes of humane Actions, from
the Pretexts and Colours which are given them_. Thus our Historian
should have distinguish'd Archbishop _Laud_'s natural Pride and
Severity, from that Piety and Zeal which are the _Pretexts and Colours_
that are given them. He should also have distinguish'd the Pique and
Partiality in the Grand Rebellion from Truth and Sincerity, which are
the Pretexts and Colours. Again,

_Tacitus_, said he, wrote _Sine studio Partium & Ira_; if the same may
be said of the two Historians in Question, I have done them much Wrong.
The late Earl of _Shaftsbury_, in his Letter of _Enthusiasm_, has this
Expression: _We have few modern Writers, who, like_ Xenophon _or_
Cicero, _can write their own Commentaries, and the raw Memoir Writings,
and uninformed Pieces of modern Statesmen full of their own interested
and private Views, will, in another Age, be of little Service to support
their Memory or Name, since already the World begins to sicken with
them_.

It is somewhat strange, that Mr. _Echard_ should not be so well
acquainted with the Weakness of the vulgar Humour in _England_, as a
Foreigner; who was so sensible of the Peoples Fondness to hear Stories,
that he excuses those of a better Taste amongst them, who cannot relish
such as relate to Ghosts, Devils, Prophecies, and the like, with which
the Archdeacon's History abounds. The Author of the _Paris Journal des
Sçavans_, speaking of _English_ History Writers, and their bringing in
Prophecies and strange Stories, says, _Granting it to be true, it is not
so much to be attributed to their Want of Skill, as to their Compliance
with the Humour of the People, that attend too much to Prophecies, and
are too much affected with Tales_; which Humour our Historian has rather
indulged than discountenanced, and it must surely be for Want of
Judgement, after the indulging them in it, had been so much exploded.
The _French_ Historian _Maimbourg_ participates of the same Character,
and his Zeal for the Church, could not procure him a better one abroad,
than what was given him in _Italy_, that he was among Historians, what
_Momus_ is among the Gods, _only to tell Tales_; with which the Vulgar
are as well contented, as with Relations that are truly historical. But
we should be as cautious of reading such Histories, as _Menage_ tells us
he was of reading _Morreri_'s, for Fear we should remember them.
_Collier_ knew better than _Menage_, and therefore translated
_Morreri_'s three Folio's into _English_, as a rich Store for the
Memories of his Countrymen.

Having so little Reason to commend the Historian for his _Design_, I
should make him amends in the Sentiments, if there was the least Room
for it. It is true, in History, if the Facts are fairly related, the
Sentiments must be brought along with them, and the Author is not
accountable for them as in Poetry: But if the Sentiments do not
correspond with the Facts; if Meekness and Holiness are seated to give
Judgement in the _High Commission_ and _Star Chamber_ Courts; if Piety
is mounted on Horseback with the Lord High Treasurer's Staff in her
Hand; if the most noble Characters are ascribed to Persons engaged in
the most unjustifiable Actions, we may depend upon it, these Persons,
either did not think, or did not act as they are represented, and
consequently that the History is false and vicious: The Historians
Reflections upon Events are entirely his own, and we shall see in the
following Pages, how wise and how weighty they are: But as they bear all
on one Side, like an ill ballasted Ship, it is much, if in the Course of
a few Years, it does not overset the History.

There is no greater Vice in Historians, than poor and common
Reflections. The Poverty of the Archdeacon's appears in the _After Wit_,
which makes a good Part of them; and the _Vulgarisms_, which will be
further explain'd as Occasions often.

Indeed we do not enough acquaint ourselves in _England_, with what
Father _Bouhours_ calls the _Manner of Right Thinking_, in his Treatise
before mentioned; which _Fontenelle_ recommends as one of the most
agreeable and useful Books in the _French_ Tongue: We have nothing like
it in _English_, or in any other Language antient or modern, Wit and
Humour, Wit and good Sense, Wit and Wisdom, Wit and Reason, Wit and
Craft; nay, Wit and Philosophy, are with us almost the same things. How
often have I heard it said, there is a great Deal of Wit in _Homer_, a
great Deal of Humour in _Virgil_. We take all Thoughts in the Gross; the
Sublime, the Grand, the Noble, the Pretty, the Agreeable, the Fine, the
Delicate, are all alike witty with us; and the Vulgar are ignorant of
all other Distinction, but that of a _Jest_ and a _Bull_. Sir _Samuel
Garth_, who was extreamly fond of Father _Bouhours_'s Treatise, did
often wish that it was translated, and the Examples the _French_ Critick
takes from _Greek_, _Latin_, _Italian_, _Spanish_ and _French_ Authors,
not to be turned into _English_, but _English_ Examples to be put
instead of them. I am satisfied nothing would be of more Advantage
towards the Refinement of our Manner, both of Thinking and Writing. I
know the Undertaking would be very difficult, and the greatest Part of
the Difficulty be to preserve the Spirit and Turn of Thought in the
_English_ Examples, to make it answer Father _Bouhours_'s Remarks. Who
is there, that does not take a sublime Thought, a noble Thought, a grand
Thought, to be synonymous Terms, though they differ from one another,
almost as much as from the Agreeable and the Delicate. I am my self
afraid to attempt any Thing like Examples of Kinds, and probably my
Conceptions of them may be wrong; what they are I shall offer them to
the Reader, with the Caution and Submission which becomes me in a Matter
so intricate and nice.

The first Example of the _Sublime_ is so well known, that if there was
any other so good in any other Author, I should not have made use of it.
It is in the 7th Chapter of _Longinus_. We will not borrow it from
_Boileau_, because we are forbidden by the _Spectator_ to make Use of a
Quotation which has been made Use of before. Dr. _Gregory_, in the
Preface to his Works, printed about sixty Years ago, at what Time
_Boileau_ had not thought of translating _Longinus_, writes thus:
Dionysius Longinus, _one that knew what belonged to Expression_; having
first of all cast a Scorn upon his _Homer_. The Translator does not
dwell much upon this, _says_ Τῶν Ιουδαιων θεσμοθέτης
_that the Law-givers of the Jews_, Ὀυχ ὁ τυχὼν ἀνὴρ, _no
ordinary Man, was in the Right when he brought in his God_,
saying, Γενέσθω φῶς, καὶ ἐγενετο

    _Let there be Light,
    And there was Light._

But least it may be said, the _Spectator_ has entered a Caveat against
my using any Quotation, which he or any one else had used, I shall add
another Instance of the Sublime taken out of the same divine Book the
Bible, that has not been blown upon:

    _He spake,
    And it was:
    He commanded,
    And it stood firm._

The whole _Psalm_ xxxiiid is full of the _Sublime_:

    _By the Word of the Lord were the Mountains made,
    And all the Host of them by the Breath of his Mouth._

What in all profane Learning comes up to the _Sublime_ in the xxxviiith
Chapter of _Job_, where the Almighty is introduced speaking to him out
of the Whirlwind:

    _Gird up thy Loins like a Man, for I will demand of thee.
    Where wast thou when I laid the Foundations of the Earth?
    Declare, If thou hast Understanding.
    Who laid the Measures thereof?
    Who hath stretched the Line upon it?
    Whereupon are the Foundations thereof fastened?_ or,
    _Who laid the Corner Stone?
    When the Morning Stars sang, and the Sons of God shouted for Joy!_

Happily imitated by _Milton_.

            --------_Up he rode,
    Follow'd with Acclamations, and the Sound
    Symphonious of ten thousand Harps, that tuned
    Angelick Harmonies, the Earth, the Air
    Resounding. Thou rememberest; for thou heardest
    The Heavens, and all the Constellations ring:
    The Planets in their Stations listening stood,
    While the bright Pomp ascended jubilant.
    Open ye everlasting Gates: They sung,
    Open ye Heavens, your living Doors; Let in
    The great Creator from his Work returned
    Magnificent, his Six Days Work, a World._

Of the sublime Kind is the Ode in the _Spectator_, Nº 465; being a
Paraphrase on that of the _Psalmist_. _The Heavens declare_:

    _The spacious Firmament on high,
    With all the blue Ethereal Sky;
    And spangled Heavens, a shining Frame,
    Their great Original proclaim._

Some very scrupulous Persons may be apt to object against the third Line
as an Anteclimax, the _spangled Heavens_ having much more Lustre than
_shining Frame_. The following _Stanza_ is extreamly sublime:

    _What tho' in solemn Silence all
    Move round the dark terrestrial Ball;
    What tho', nor real Voice, nor Sound
    Amid their radiant Orbs be found,
    In Reason's Ear they all rejoice,
    And utter forth a glorious Voice;
    For ever singing as they shine,
    The Hand that made me is divine._

I cannot omit here some Lines of Mr. _Waller_'s upon the Holy
Scriptures, where there is more of the Sublime than in all other Books
whatsoever.

    _The_ Græcian _Muse has all their gods surviv'd,
    Nor_ Jove _at us, nor_ Phœbus _is arriv'd;
    Frail Deities, which first the Poets made,
    And then invok'd to give their Fancies Aid.
    Yet, if they still divert us with their Rage,
    What may be hop'd for in a better Age,
    When not from_ Helicon_'s imagin'd Spring,
    But sacred Writ we borrow what we sing?
    This with the Fabrick of the World begun
    Elder than Light, and shall out-last the Sun._

There are not ten finer Verses together in Mr. _Waller_'s Poems, yet he
wrote them when he was above fourscore Years old.

Are not these two Verses of a Manuscript Poem in the sublime Kind? the
young Author, a Lad at _Eaton_ School, wrote it on the Birth of his
Royal Highness the Duke of _Cumberland_:

    _Gods how he springs like Whirlwinds charg'd with Fire,
    He lays War waste, and Makes the World retire._

And these Verses out of _Tamerlane_:

    _The dreadful Business of the War is over,
    And Slaughter, that from yester Morn till Even,
    With Gyant Steps past striding o'er the Field
    Besmear'd, and horrid with the Blood of Nations,
    Now weary sits among the mangled Heaps,
    And slumbers o'er her Prey._

I cou'd easily fill many Volumes of Quotations out of the Antients and
Moderns, in all the Kinds of Thinking; but as I am doubtful of the
Success of my Attempt, so the Fewer I insert, the Less I shall offend.

The _French_ perhaps have been a little too scrupulous and exact in
dividing the _Noble_ and the _Grand_ in the Manner of Thinking. However,
as to the Noble, let us see whether this Passage borrow'd of Scripture
by _Milton_, will not serve for an Instance:

    _All Night he will pursue, but his Approach,
    Darkness defends between till Morning Watch,
    Then thro' the fiery Pillar and the Cloud,
    God looking forth will trouble all his Host,
    And craze their Chariot Wheels; when, by Command,_
    Moses _once more, his potent Rod erects
    Over the Sea: The Sea his Rod obeys
    On their embattled Ranks, the Waves return,
    And overwhelm their War._

There would be no End of it, if one should go about to enumerate such
Instances as these out of _Milton_. His Poem of _Paradise lost_ is so
full of them, that almost out of one Book one might collect as many such
noble Passages, as out of all the _Æneis_; and I would add the _Ilias_
too, if I understood _Greek_ half so well as the Translator.

Among the many Sketches of the glorious Character of King _William_ in
that of _Tamerlane_, Mr. _Row_ has this, which I take to be a very noble
Image:

    _No Lust of Rule, the common Vice of Kings;
    No furious Zeal inspir'd by hot-brain'd Priests:
    Ill hid beneath Religions specious Name,
    E'er drew his temp'rate Courage to the Field.
    But to redress an injur'd Peoples Wrongs,
    To save the weak One from the strong Oppressour
    Is all his End of War; and when he draws
    The Sword to punish, like relenting Heav'n,
    He seems unwilling to deface Mankind._

The Opposition in the following Passage, carries with it its own
Application:

      --------_As oft regardless
    Of plighted Faith, with most unkingly Baseness
    Without a War proclaim'd, or Cause pretended,
    He has t'ane Advantage of their absent Arms
    To waste with Sword and Fire their fruitful Fields,
    Like some accursed Fiend, who 'scap'd from Hell,
    Poisons the balmy Air thro' which he flies,
    He blasts the bearded Corn, and loaded Branches,
    The lab'ring Hind's best Hopes, and marks his Way with Ruin._

Is there not something noble in what Mr. _Waller_ says to the Duke of
_Monmouth_, at his Return from suppressing a Rebellion in _Scotland_:

    _But seeing Envy like the Sun does beat,
    With scorching Rays, on all that's high and great,
    This, ill requited_ Monmouth, _is the Bough
    The Muses send to shade thy conqu'ring Brow;
    Lampoons like Squibs may make a present Blaze,
    But Time and Thunder pay Respect to Bays._

I hope I may make Use of Part of Mr. _Addison_'s Translation of the
_Justum & Tenacem_ of _Horace_. The Translator having done me the Honour
to render it in _English_ at my Request:

    _The Man resolv'd and steady to his Trust,
    Inflexible to Ill, and obstinately just;
    May the rude Rabble's Insolence despise
    Their senseless Clamours, and tumultuous Cries.
      The Tyrant's Fierceness he beguiles.
    And the stern Brow, and the harsh Voice defies,
      And with superiour Greatness smiles._

Again,

    _Should the whole Frame of Nature round him break
      In Ruin and Confusion hurl'd,
    He unconcern'd would hear the mighty Crack,
      And stand secure amidst a falling World._

          Si fractus illabatur Orbis,
          Impavidum ferient Ruinæ.

Is not this noble Thought the Original of that which ends the noted
_Siloloquy_ of _Cato_:

    _The Soul secure in his Resistance smiles
    At the drawn Dagger, and defies its Point:
    The Stars shall fade away, the Sun himself
    Grow dim with Age, and Nature sink in Years?
    But thou shalt flourish in immortal Youth,
    Unhurt amidst the War of Elements,
    The Wrecks of Matter, and the Crush of Worlds._

The two Verses quoted out of _Horace_:

    Si fractus, _&c._

are not so well imitated by the Gentleman that turned _Cato_'s
_Siloloquy_ into _Latin_, as to defy a Comparison;

    Orbesque fractis ingerentur orbibus
    Illæsa tu sedebis extra fragmina

But not to be always running back to the Antients, let us have Recourse
to the Moderns, particularly _Quillet_, and we shall find something in
this Kind of Thinking. _Tons. Callip._ p. 72.

    _As far as thou may'st Nature's Depths explore
    Still inexhaustible, thou find'st the Store;
    Thee let the Order she observes suffice,
    What Laws controul our Earth, and what the Skies.
    Mark how a thousand starry Orbs on high
    Around the Void with equal Motion fly;
    Mark how the huge Machine one Order keeps,
    And how the Sun th' Etherial Champian sweeps.
    Both Earth and Air with genial Heat he warms,
    Gives ev'ry Grace, and every Beauty forms;
    Whether around the lazy Globe he rolls.
    Or Earth is whirl'd about him on her Poles;
    God is the Mover, God the living Soul,
    That made, that acts, that animates the Whole.
    Hence with thy Atoms, Epicurus; hence:
    Was all this wond'rous Frame the Sport of Chance!
    Of Solids, they, 'tis true, the Matter make,
    Can Matter from itself its Figure take!
    Can the bright Order in the World we see,
    The blind Effect of wanton Fortune be!
    Did jumbling Atoms form the various Kind
    Of Beings, or did one Almighty Mind?
    Guess what you will, you must at last resort
    To a first Cause, and not to Chance's Sport.
    This Cause is God--------_

I must not omit this _Noble_ Thought of _Milton_'s:

    _Then crown'd, again their golden Harps, they took
    Harps ever tun'd, that glitt'ring by their Side
    Like Quivers hung, and with Preamble sweet
    Of charming Symphony, they introduce
    The sacred Song, and waken Raptures high:
    No one exempt, no Voice but well cou'd joyn
    Melodious Part, such Concord is in Heav'n._

Having mention'd so many noble Thoughts in Verse, I shall conclude this
Article, with a very plain but very noble one in Prose, the Saying of
_Leonidas_ to _Xerxes_: _If you had not been too powerful and too happy,
you might have been an honest Man._

Tho' it is a very hard Matter to distinguish the _Grand_ from the
_Noble_ in the Manner of Thinking, yet we shall endeavour it by the
following Examples; and sure nothing can be more _Grand_, than the
Saying of _Alexander the Great_, to the Greatest of his Captains
_Parmenio_, _Darius_, King of _Persia_, having offer'd the _Macedonian_
Monarch half _Asia_ in Marriage with his Daughter _Statira_. _As for
me_, says _Parmenio_, _if I were_ Alexander, _I would accept of these
Offers_: _And so would I_, reply'd that Prince, _If I were_ Parmenio.
But why should we be always dealing in _Heroicks_, and running back into
Antiquity to borrow Example from the Conquerors of the World. Why may
not we propose one in the lowest Life, which will at the same Time
prove, that the Excellencies of both Thought and Expression are in
Nature, and not in the Rules of Art only. A Sergeant of the Guards,
_What a terrible Fall is this, from_ Alexander the Great, _to a Sergeant
of the Guards!_ who was in the last Attack upon the Castle of _Namur_ in
King _William_'s War, after he had fir'd his Grenades at the Enemy
behind the Palisadoes, leapt over them, and had been slaughter'd, had
not a _French_ Officer prevented it. The Sergeant being a Prisoner in
the Castle was sent for by the Governour Count _Guiscard_, and the
Mareschal _de Boufflers_. The Latter demanding how he durst attempt to
leap the Palisadoes with the Enemy behind them, when he could hardly
have done it had there been none? _Perhaps, Sir, I might not,_ reply'd
the brave _English_ Soldier, _but there is nothing too difficult for me
to come at my Enemy._ A Saying worthy of _Alexander_ or _Cæsar_, of
_Marlborough_ or _Eugene_.

I have seen something like these Verses of Mr. _Waller_'s, quoted as in
the grand Way of Thinking:

    _Great_ Maro _could no greater Tempest feign,
    When the loud Winds usurping on the Main,
    For angry_ Juno _labour'd to destroy
    The hated Relicks of confounded_ Troy.

But the Image, as grand as it is, does not seem to be so noble as the
Instances before-mentioned; there is too much Terrour in it to
participate of that Kind of Thought, which is not confident with what is
terrible.

I cannot help thinking there is something _Grand_ in this _Epitaph_:

    _Underneath this Marble Hearse,
    Lies the Subject of all Verse;_
    Sidney_'s Sister,_ Pembroke_'s Mother,
    Death 'ere thou hast kill'd another,
    Fair and learn'd, and good as she,
    Time shall throw a Dart at thee._

To descend to the lower Kinds, we meet with what Father _Bouhours_ calls
_Pensées Jolliées_ pretty Thoughts; and we have of that Kind too in
_English_, perhaps to a greater Degree of Excellence, than is to be
found in any other Language; especially those Verses in the
_Spectator_, which are said there to be Originals, as indeed they are,
and inimitable. I question whether a Poet might not as easily imitate
_Milton_ or _Butler_. There are ten _Stanza_'s, and they all of a like
pretty, and natural Turn with the

                IIId STANZA.

    _The Fountain that wont to run sweetly along,
    And dance to soft Murmurs the Pebbles among;
    Thou know'st little Cupid, if_ Phœbe _was there,
    'Twere Pleasure to look at, 'twere Musick to hear:
    But now she is absent I walk by its Side,
    And still as it murmurs do nothing but chide;
    Must you be so chearful, while I go in Pain,
    Peace there with your Bubbling, and hear me complain._

How the _French_ may compare with us, as to this _pretty_ Manner, let us
see by a Comparison. _Menage_ says, that this _Triolet_, as he calls it,
a Sort of low Poetry where one or two Verses are repeated three Times,
was the King of _Triolet_'s, and written by the famous Mons. _Ranchin_:

    Le premier Jour de May
    Fut le plus Heureux de ma Vie,
    Le beau Design que je formay
    Le premier Jour de May.

    _The first Day of the Month of_ May
    _Was the Happiest of my Life,
    Ah the fair Design I form'd
    The first Day if the Month of_ May.
    _Then saw you, then I lov'd,
    If you like this fair Design,
    The first Day of the Month of_ May
    _Was the Happiest of my Life._

Now let us see what an _English_ Poet has said on the First of _May_;
and tho' there is in it hardly any Thing but Words, and those Words
rustick to Affectation; yet they are _Prettiness_ itself compared to
Mons. _Ranchin_'s Guardian, Nº 124:

                          I.

    _Oh the charming Month of_ May,
    _Oh the charming Month of_ May,
    _When the Breezes fan the_ Treeses,
    _Full of Blossoms fresh and gay._

                         II.

    _Oh what Joys our Prospects yield!
    Charming Joys our Prospects yield!
    In a new Livery,_ &c.

                        III.

    _Oh how fresh the Morning Air!
    Charming fresh the Morning Air!_ &c.

Tho' there is little Meaning here, yet the Dancing of the Words and the
Sprightliness of the Images, make it a prettier Lyrick than our
_Italian_ Opera's can produce.

According to my Conception nothing can be prettier than this Thought of
_Buchanan_.

    Ilia mihi semper presenti dura _Neæra_;
      Me, quoties absum, semper abesse dolet;
    Non desiderio, nostro non mœret Amore,
      Sed se non nostro posse Dolore frui.

    _Cruel, when I am present, she appears;
    As often as I'm absent she's in Tears:
    Not that_ Neæra _wishes my Return,
    To see me love her, but to see me mourn._

These Verses of Mr. _Waller_ are, methinks, as pretty as they are
gallant:

    Phillis, _why should we delay
    Pleasures shorter than the Day!
    Cou'd we, which we never can,
    Stretch our Lives beyond their Span;
    Beauty like a Shadow flies,
    And our Youth before us dies.
    Or would Youth and Beauty stay,
    Love hath Wings, and will away.
    Love hath swifter Wings than Time,_ &c.

Notice has been taken of the Prettiness of these Verses in _Dryden_'s
Fable of the _Cock_ and the _Fox_.

The _Cock_ speaks to his Wife Dame _Partlet_:

    ------------_See my Dear
    How lavish Nature hath adorn'd the Year;
    How the pale Primrose and the Violet spring,
    And Birds essay their Throats, disus'd to sing:
    All these are ours, and I with Pleasure see
    Man strutting on two Legs, and aping me._

Madam _Dacier_ takes Notice of a very pretty Circumstance in _Sappho_'s
Hymn to _Venus_, translated into _Latin_ by _Catullus_, and into
_English_ by Mr. _Philips_.

    _Thou once didst leave Almighty_ Jove,
    _And all the golden Roofs above:
    The Carre thy wanton Sparrows drew,
    Hov'ring in Air, they lightly flew.
    As to my Bow'r, they wing'd their Way
    I saw their quiv'ring Pinions play:
    The Birds dismist, while you remain,
    Bore back their empty Carre again._

The Circumstance that renders it so pretty, according to the _Critical
Lady_, is _Venus_'s dismissing her Sparrows and her Carre, and shewing
she did not intend to make _Sappho_ a Court-Visit, but to dwell with her
some Time. There's another Ode of _Sappho_, which is preserved in
_Longinus_, and translated by _Boileau_. It is in the sublime Kind, and
shews the Violence of Love.

    _From Vein to Vein I feel a subtle Flame,
    When e'er I see thee, run thro' all my Frame:
    And as the Transport seizes on my Mind,
    I'm dumb, and neither Tongue nor Voice can find.
    A Mist of Pleasure o'er my Eyes is spread,
    I hear no more, and am to Reason dead;
    Pale, breathless, speechless, I expiring lie,
    I burn, I freeze, I tremble, and I die._

In the _Spectator_, Nº 388. is a Paraphrase on the second Chapter of
_Solomon_'s Song.

               STANZA IV.

      _I faint, I dye, my lab'ring Breast
    Is with the mighty Weight of Love opprest.
      I feel the Fire possess my Heart,
      And Pain convey'd to ev'ry Part:
      Thro' all my Veins the Passion flyes,
        My feeble Soul forsakes its Place;
      A trembling Faintness seals my Eyes,
        And Paleness dwells upon my Face._

To descend again to the lower Kinds of Thinking, I shall conclude the
Pretty with these Verses of Mr. _Prior_'s on the Squirrel in the Cage:

    _Mov'd in the Orb, pleas'd with the Chimes,
    The foolish Creature thinks he climbs.
    Bus here or there, turn Wood or Wire
    He never gets two Inches higher.
    So fares it with those merry Blades,
    That frisk it under Pindus Shades.
    In noble Songs, and lofty Odes,
    They tread on Stars, and talk with gods;
    Still dancing in an airy Round,
    Still pleas'd with their own Verses Sound;
    Brought back how fast soe'er they go,
    Always aspiring, always low._

Agreeable Thoughts may be also reckon'd among the Natural, the Soft, and
the Tender; all which in the general Acceptation, are also taken for
Wit. This Speech of _Eve_'s to _Adam_ in the _Paradice Lost_, has an
Agreeableness which cannot be match'd in the most Tender of our Lyrick
or Elegiac Poets:

    _With thee conversing, I forget all Time,
    All Seasons and their Change, all please alike:
    Sweet is the Breath of Morn, her Rising sweet
    With Charm of earliest Birds, pleasant the Sun
    When first on this delightful Land he spreads
    His orient Beams, on Herb, Tree, Fruit and Flow'r,
    Glistring with Dew: Fragrant the fertile Earth
    After soft Show'rs, and sweet the Coming on
    Of grateful Evening mild: Then silent Night
    With this her solemn Bird, and this fair Moon,
    And these the Gems of Heaven, her starry Train.
    But neither Breath of Morn, when she ascends
    With Charm of earliest Birds; nor rising Sun
    On this delightful Land, nor Herb, Fruit, Flow'r,
    Glistring with Dew, nor Fragrance after Showers,
    Nor grateful Evening mild, nor silent Night
    With this her solemn Bird; nor walk by Moon,
    Or glittering Star Light, without thee is sweet._

To speak poetically one would think every Verse was turn'd and polish'd
by the _Loves_ and the _Graces_. Indeed all the Conversation between the
first Bridegroom and his Bride, in this Poem, is exquisitely agreeable
and tender, except the very Incident of the Fall.

I take the Verses in _Waller_, address'd to _Amoret_, to be of the
agreeable Kind:

    _Fair, that you may truly know
    What you unto_ Thyrsis _owe;
    I will tell you how I do_
    Sacharissa _love, and you_.

    _Joy salutes me, when I set
    My blest Eyes on_ Amoret;
    _But with Wonder I am strook;
    While I on the Other look_.

    _If sweet_ Amoret _complains,
    I have Sense of all her Pains:
    But for_ Sacharissa _I
    Do not only grieve, but die._ &c.

I could give many Instances of agreeable Thoughts but of _Dryden_'s
Fables, especially that of _Cymon_ and _Iphigenia_, which had been taken
notice of long enough before the _Spectator_ was thought of; and I do
not think it fair, that he should engross all the _Beaux Endroits_,
because he printed them first. The Rusticity of _Cymon_, and even his
Stupidity, has something in it very agreeable in the Image, which is the
pure Nature that we meet with there:

    _It happen'd on a Summer's Holy-day,
    That to the Greenwood Shade he took his Way;
    His Quarter-Staff, which he cou'd ne'er forsake,
    Hung half before, and half behind his Back;
    He trudg'd along unknowing what he sought,
    And whistled as he went for Want of Thought._

There is not a more natural Picture in Language than this. Of the same
Kind is that of _Iphigenia_ sleeping by the Fountain: The very Numbers
express the Wantonness of the Wind so livelily, that we feel the Air,
and are fanned by it while we read them, which I think has had the good
Luck to escape Observation:

    _Her Bosom to the View was only bare;
    The fanning Wind upon her Bosom blows;_                     }
    _To meet the fanning Wind her Bosom rose;_                  }
    _The fanning Wind, and purling Streams continue her Repose._}

Mr. _Dryden_ was 68 Years old when he wrote this Fable, which I have
always taken for a Master-piece, with Respect to natural Thoughts, which
are always agreeable, and harmonious Numbers. The Reader will perceive,
that I do not forbear quoting fine Passages, because they are in the
_Spectator_. I cannot allow of his Forestalling the Market; and besides,
I take his Example to be preferable to his Precept. Himself does not
stick to quote even from himself; as,

    Nº 91. Sidley _has that prevailing gentle Art_, &c.

And again,

    Nº [400.] Sidley _has that prevailing gentle Art_, &c.

    _Guard_ 110. Motto----Non ego paucis,
                 Offendor maculis.

    _Spec._ 291. Motto----Non ego paucis,
                 Offendor maculis.

This however I will declare in my own Behalf, that I have quoted nothing
from him which he has quoted from _Milton_ or _Dryden_, but what I had
before collected my self as remarkable Passages in their several Kinds
of Thinking.

What follows, taken out of Mr. _Charles Hopkins_'s Verses to the Earl of
_Dorset_, is of the agreeable Kind:

    _As Nature does in new-born Infants frame
    With their first Speech their careful_ Forstrer_'s Name,
    Whose needful Hands their daily Food provide,
    And by whose Aid they have their Wants supply'd:
    You are, my Lord, the Poet's earliest Theme,
    And the first Word he speaks is_ Dorset_'s Name._

Were not the next Verses written on a Tomb Stone, they wou'd be very
_agreeable_. They are _Ben Johnson_'s:

    _Underneath this Stone doth lie
    As much Virtue as cou'd die:
    Which when alive did Vigour give
    To as much Beauty as cou'd live._

Is not this Picture of _Venus_ in _Palamon_ and _Arcite_ of the same
Kind:

    _The Goddess self some noble Hand had wrought,
    Smiling she seem'd, and full of pleasing Thought,
    From Ocean, as she first began to rise,
    And smooth'd the ruffled Waves, and clear'd the Skies.
    She trod the Brine, all bare below the Breast,
    And the green Waves, but ill conceal'd the Rest:
    A Lute she held, and on her Head was seen
    A Wreath of Roses red, and Myrtles green:
    Her Turtles fan'd the buxom Air above,
    And by his Mother stood an Infant Love
    With Wings display'd.--------_

These Verses out of _Dryden_'s St. _Cecilia_'s Ode are very agreeable:

    _Softly sweet in_ Lydian _Measures
    Soon he sooth'd his Soul to Pleasures,
    War, he sung, is Toil and Trouble,
    Honour but an empty Bubble.
    Never ending, still beginning,
    Fighting still, and still destroying;
    If the World is worth thy Winning,
    Think, Oh think, it worth enjoying._

But as the finest Meats are most apt to surfeit, so too many agreeable
Thoughts together may flatten upon the Palate: And I shall only add an
Instance in Prose, taken out of Mr. _Waller_'s Letter to the Lady _Lucy
Sydney_, on the Marriage of her Sister the Lady _Dorothy_, who was his
_Sacharissa_.

     _May my Lady_ Dorothy, _if we may yet call her so, suffer as
     much, and have the like Passion for this young Lord, whom she
     has preferred to the Rest of Mankind, as others have had for
     her; and may this Love before the Year goes about, make her
     taste of the first Curse impos'd upon Woman-kind, the Pains of
     becoming a Mother. May the First-born be none of her own Sex;
     and may she that always affected Silence and Retiredness, have
     the House fill'd with the Noise and Number of her Children. May
     she, at last, arrive at that great Curse much declin'd by fair
     Ladies, Old Age_, &c.

Under the Character of Father _Bouhours_'s fine Thoughts may be put
these Verses of Mr. _Waller_'s, alluding to his gallant Poems upon
_Sacharissa_, and the Story of _Phœbus_ and _Daphne_.

    _Yet what he sang in his immortal Strain,
    Tho' unsuccessful, was not sung in Vain:
    All but the Nymph that should redress his Wrong
    Attend his Passion, and approve his Song;
    Like_ Phœbus, _thus acquiring unsought Praise,
    He caught at Love, and fill'd his Arms with Bays._

Much of the same Kind is this of the Lord _Landsdown_'s on the same
Subject:

    _Thy Beauty,_ Sidney, _like_ Achilles _Sword,
    Resistless stands upon as sure Record;
    The foremost Herce, and the brightest Dame
    Both sung alike shall have their Fate the same._

This Part of Mr. _Prior_'s Prologue spoken before the late Queen, is in
the fine Way of Thinking:

    _Let the young_ Austrian _then her Terrours bear,
    Great as he is, her Delegate in War.
    Let him in Thunder speak to both his_ Spains,
    _That in these dreadful Isles a Woman reigns:
    Whilst the bright Queen does on her Subjects show'r,
    The gentle Blessings of her softer Pow'r,
    Gives sacred Morals to a vicious Age,
    To Temples Zeal, and Manners to the Stage;
    Bids the chaste Muse without a Blush appear,
    And Wit be that, which Heaven and she may hear._

Of what Kind shall we take this Image in _Spencer_ to be:

    _His haughty Helmet, horrid all with Gold,
    Both glorious Brightness and great Terrour bred;
    For all the Crest a Dragon did enfold
    With greedy Paws, and over all did spread
    His golden Wings; his dreadful hideous Head,
    Close couched on the Bever, seem'd to throw,
    From flaming Mouth, bright Sparkles fiery red_, &c.

This of _Cowley_ is finely thought:

    _Now all the wide extended Sky,
    And all th' harmonious Worlds on high,
    And_ Virgil_'s sacred Work shall dye._

And this of _Waller_ to Queen _Henrietta Maria_:

    _A brave Romance who would exactly frame,
    First brings his Knight from some immortal Dame,
    And then a Weapon and a flaming Shield,
    Bright as his Mother's Eyes, he makes him wield.
    None might the Mother of_ Achilles _be,
    But the fair Pearl and Glory of the Sea.
    The Man to whom Great_ Maro _gives such Fame,
    From the high Bed of heavenly_ Venus _came.
    And our next_ Charles, _whom all the Stars design
    Like Wonders to accomplish, springs from thine._

And this to _Zelinda_:

    _Fairest Piece of well form'd Earth,
    Urge not thus your haughty Birth;
    The Pow'r, which you have o'er us, lies,
    Not in your Race, but in your Eyes._

And these Verses of Mr. _Addison_ to the Lord _Hallifax_:

    _Oh Liberty, thou Goddess heav'nly bright!
    Profuse of Bliss, and Pregnant with Delight;
    Eternal Pleasures in thy Presence reign,
    And smiling plenty leads thy wanton Train.
    Eas'd of her Load, Subjection grows more light,
    And Poverty looks chearful in thy Sight:
    Thou mak'st the gloomy Face of Nature gay,
    Giv'st Beauty to the Sun, and Pleasure to the Day._

These four Verses, Part of the late Duke of _Buckingham_'s Poem upon
_Hobbes_, contain, as I conceive, a fine Thought:

    _But such the Frailty is of humane Kind,
    Men toil for Fame, which no Man lives to find;
    Long rip'ning under Ground this_ China _lies;
    Fame bears no Fruit, till the vain Planter dies._

But the next Verses contain a false Thought, if I have a Right
Conception of it:

    _And Nature tir'd with his unusual Length
    Of Life, which put her to her utmost Strength;
    So vast a Soul, unable to supply,
    To save herself, was forc'd to let him die._

Whatever it is we understand by Nature, we can have no such Idea of it,
as to imagine Mr. _Hobbes_ cou'd have been too hard for it.

These Verses of Mr. _Waller_, on _Westminster-Abbey_ escaping a Fire,
are finely imagined:

    _So Snow on_ Ætna _does unmelted lie,
    Whence rolling Flames, and scatter'd Cinders flie:
    The distant Country in the Ruin shares,
    What falls from Heaven the burning Mountain spares._

Tho' some of these _fine_ Thoughts are very nearly allied to the Noble,
yet one may easily perceive, that there is not so much Dignity, tho'
there may be as much Beauty in the One as in the Other. Thus also, as to
delicate and agreeable Thoughts, they are as nearly related; but a Thing
may be agreeable which is not delicate, tho' it cannot be delicate, but
it must be agreeable: An agreeable Thought expresses it self entirely; a
delicate One leaves something to the Readers Imagination which is very
flattering.

As in this beauteous old Verse of _Chaucer_'s, preserv'd in _Dryden_'s,
_Palamon_ and _Arcite_:

    _Uprose the Sun, and uprose_ Emily.

Had _Chaucer_ said, _Up rose the Sun_, and then _up rose Emily_ brighter
than the Sun, _Emily_ and the Reader would have been entertain'd with
only a common Complement; but now the Reader fills up the Thought
himself, and imagines that the Sun rose to prepare the Way for something
brighter than himself: _Up rose_ Emily.

Mr. _Dryden_, in another place,

    _Now Day appears, and with the Day the King,_

imitates _Chaucer_, but the Delicacy is lost, for there is nothing more
to be understood by it, as there is in this Couplet of his to the
Dutchess of _Ormond_ upon her going to _Ireland_ before the late Duke,

    _As_ Ormond_'s Harbinger, to you they run,
    For_ Venus _is the Promise of the Sun._

There the Reader fills up the Comparison himself, and consequently
cannot but be pleas'd, as we are apt to be, with every thing which we do
our selves.

The Delicacy of Thought is recommended to us by the _Spectator_, in this
beautiful Passage out of _Milton_, where after the most dismal Prospect
of Death, which the Heart of Man was ever terrify'd with, _Adam_ is
presented with one of the gayest Scenes with which it ever was
delighted.

    ------------_When from the Tents, behold
    A Beavy of fair Women richly gay,
    In Jems and wanton Dress. To the Harp they sang
    Soft amorous Ditties, and in Dance came on.
    The Men, tho' Grave, ey'd them, and let their Eyes
    Rove without Rein, 'till in the amorous Net
    First caught they lik'd, and each his liking chose.
    And now of Love they treat, till the Evening Star
    Love's Harbinger appear'd; then all in Heat
    They light the Nuptial Torch, and bid invoke_
    Hymen: _Then first to Marriage Rights invok'd.
    With Feast and Musick, all the Tents resound;
    Such happy Interview, and fair Event
    Of Love and Youth not lost: Songs, Garlands, Flowers,
    And charming Symphonies attach the Heart
    Of_ Adam.--------

The Reader takes in the Infection all along in Reading as _Adam_ does in
seeing, and imagines at the End of the Description the Pleasure of
_Adam_'s Imagination.

Is there not Delicacy in these Verses of Mr. _Wallers_ upon a Lady's
_Girdle_, which leave the Reader much more to be imagin'd than is
exprest.

    _No Monarch but would give his Crown,
    His Arms might do what this has done.
    My Joy, my Grief, my Hope, my Love,
    Did all within this Circle move;
    A narrow Compass, and yet there
    Dwells all that's good, and all that's fair.
    Give me but what this Ribbon bound,
    Take all the Rest the Sun goes round._

Father _Bouhours_, in his _Maniere de bien penser_, besides these
several Kinds of Thoughts, has the _true_, the _beautiful_, the _soft_,
the _natural_, the _simple_, the _gay_, and many more, which has spun
the Subject so very fine, that it will not endure handling but by very
tender Fingers.

True Thoughts and false Thoughts are often confounded, especially, if
there's any Point, Glittering or Glaring in the Latter. Something like
distinguishing the one from the other is attempted in the _Guardian_,
Nº 110. But I cannot help thinking that it does not deserve the
Recommendation with which it is introduced in that Paper. We are told,
the Remarks are very curious and just, and must of Consequence conclude,
the Applause which the Author sinks, because 'twas in favour of himself,
was so too. A very pretty Way of returning a Compliment which he could
not accept of without Offence to his Modesty; but, I humbly conceive,
the Remarks are not very curious, if they are just; the same having been
made a Hundred times before the publishing of them in the critical
Letter; and whoever would be at the Trouble of taking _Dryden_ and
_Lee_'s Tragedies to pieces, would find enough of the like Curiosities.

The first is, _Lee_ makes one of his Persons a _Cartesian_ Philosopher,
2 or 3000 Years before _Descartes_ was born: Why did not the Critick
remember this too in the same Tragedy _Oedipus_?

    --------_As oft I have at_ Athens _seen,
    The Stage arise, and the big Clouds descend._

Several Hundred Years before there was such a Thing heard of as a Stage
at _Athens_.

The next Thing this Critick takes notice of, is _Dryden_'s making
_Cleomenes_ a _Copernican_ 2000 Years before _Copernicus_'s Time. The
Rest of the Criticisms turn upon the Improbability that Don _Sebastian_
King of _Portugal_ understood Latin, tho' he never prayed to God in any
other Language; or that the Emperor of _Barbary_ had ever heard of the
Names of _Bacchus_, _Cupid_, _Castor_, and _Pollux_, or the Mufti of
_Archimedes_, tho' we are credibly informed, that most of the Greek and
Roman Learning was translated into _Arabick_; and it is well known that
the _Arabians_ were the greatest Encouragers of Arts and Sciences for
three or four Centuries, when they were buried all over Christendom
under the Rubbish of Monkery and Barbarism; and the Revivers of Learning
were obliged to them for their Translations and Comments, which were
turned into _Latin_ out of _Arabick_. I have not only read of a
Translation of _Aristotle_ with Comments by _Aben Rois_, and of _Euclid_
by _Nassir Eddyn_, with Notes, but of an _Arabick Ovid_, where the Fable
is the Foundation of the Work, and several other Classicks in the
_Arabick_ Tongue. How easy would it be to fill up such Critical Epistles
as that in the _Guardian_ with as just and curious Remarks out of the
best Epick Poets! How has _Chaucer_ confounded the Sacred _Scripture_
History with Pagan Fables:

    _There by the Fount_ Narcissus _pin'd alone:
    There_ Sampson _was, and wiser_ Solomon:
    Medea'_s Charms were there._
                                               Dryden _from_ Chauc.

_Ariosto_ does the same in the xxxii Book of _Orlando Furioso_:

    Joshua_'s Day seemed shorter than the same,
    Shorter did seem the false_ Amphytrion_'s Night._
                                                         Harrington.

The same does _Tasso_, _Canto_ iv of his _Jierusamme_:

    _There where_ Cileno_'s foul and loathsome Rout;
    The_ Sphinges, Centaurs; _there where_ Gorgon_'s fell,
    There howling_ Scilla_'s, yawling round about:
    There Serpents hiss, there seven mouth'd_ Hydra_'s yell,_
    Chimera _there spues Fire and Brimstone out,
    And_ Polyphemus _blind suporteth Hell._
                                                            Fairfax.

All understood of the Hell, which is the Punishment of the Damned,
according to the Christian Theology, and here confounded with the fabled
Empire of _Pluto_. _Spencer_ too mixes Scripture History with the Fable:
_Canto_ ix.

    _The Years of_ Nestor _nothing were to his,
    Ne yet_ Methusalem, _tho' longest liv'd;
    For he remembred both their Infancies._

Nay _Milton_ himself adorns the _Pandæmonium_ with Dorick Pillars, while
_Adam_ and _Eve_ lived in the _Bowers_ of Paradise before Man had a
House to put his Head in:

    --------_Pilasters round
    Were set, and Dorick Pillars overlaid
    With golden Architrave._

He also borrows the Rivers of the Hell of the Heathens for his Christian
Poem:

    _Abhorred_ Styx, _the Flood of deadly Hate,
    Sad_ Acheron _of Sorrow, black and deep,_
    Cocytus _nam'd, of Lamentation loud
    Heard on her rueful Stream. Fierce_ Phlegeton,
    _Whose Waves of torrent Fire inflame with Rage.
    Far off from these a flow and silent Stream_
    Lethe _the River of Oblivion rolls;_

Which

    Medusa _with_ Gorgonian _Terror guards._

It has been hinted elsewhere, that 'tis ungenerous to criticise on
_Dryden_'s Conduct and Sentiments, which 'tis plain he varied at
Pleasure, and wrote like a great Original, whose Example was to be a
Rule to others, and himself to take Rules from none; but it is not true,
as we read in the above-cited _Guardian_, _That his very Faults have
more Beauty in them, than the most elaborate Compositions of many more
correct Writers_: For I will repeat some few Lines that are monstrous,
and then let the Reader judge how they can be beautiful.

    _'Tis false, she is not ill, nor can she be;
    She must be chaste, because she's lov'd by me.

    --------I'll squeeze thee like a Bladder,
    Or make thee groan thy self away in Air.

    She who dares love, and for that Love dares die,
    And knowing this, dares yet love on, am I.

    Good Heaven thy Book of Fate before me lay,
    But to tear out the Journal of this Day.

    But take what Friends, what Armies thou canst bring,
    What Worlds, and when you are united All,
    Then I will thunder in your Ears; she shall.

    --------Fight, love, despair;
    And I can do all this, because I dare.

    What are ten thousand Subjects, such as they?
    If I am scorn'd, I'll take my self away.

    Thou shalt not wish her thine, thou shalt not dare
    To be so impudent as to dispair.

    There's not a Star of thine dares stay with thee,
    I'll whistle thy tame Fortune after me._

I cannot repeat any more of it: These are Mr. _Dryden_'s Faults, in
which, according to the _Guardian_, there are more Beauties than in the
most elaborate Pieces of more correct Writers. I confess it grieves me
to mention such Enormities as these are: For no Man can do more justice
to Mr. _Dryden_'s fruitful Imagination, and harmonious Versification
than my self: But it does not therefore follow, that even Errour in him
is more beautiful than Regularity in others.

It I had more Room, and more Leisure, I should have endeavour'd to
explain the Difference between the several Ways of Thinking. Some of
them I have attempted, and I hope it may stir up a greater Genius, to do
in _English_ as Pere _Bouhours_ has done in _French_, which would
introduce a beautiful and just Manner both in Thought and Expression. It
would then be known why it is that Archbishop _Tillotson_ and Bishop
_Sprat_ are both esteem'd Masters of the _English_ Language; why Sir
_William Temple_, and Sir _Roger L'Estrange_, the _Tatler_, and the
_Spectator_, are generally spoken of as fine Writers; though their
Manner is as different as their Faces. Every Thing that pleases in
Writing is with us, as I have already hinted, resolved into Wit, whether
it be in the Thought or the Expression. _Nay some_, says the
_Spectator_, _carry the Notion of Wit so far, as to ascribe it to Puns
and Quibbles, and even to external Mimickry, and to look upon a Man as
an ingenious Person that can resemble the Tone, Gesture, or Face of
another_. With such admirable Judges as these, Sir _Isaac Newton_'s
Discourse of _Fluxions_ is very witty, as the Machine called the
_Orrery_ was said to be very _wittily_ contrived. With these _Estcourt_,
_Penkethman_, and even _Norris_ are Wits, as the _Spaniards_ take the
_Apes_ to be, and that they won't speak because they would not work. I
have known two or three Actors who got into Vogue by Grimace only, and
acting Parts that had neither Wit nor Sense in them.

Every one of the Kinds of right Thinking has its opposite, as every
Virtue has its Vice; and the Sublime especially is apt to be mistaken in
the Pomp and Puffiness of Description. Of this Kind is that Passage,
where Mr. _Eachard_ describes the Sea-Fight between the _English_ and
the _Dutch_, in the Time of the _Rump_.

"The Battle grew so fierce and so furious, that there were scarce any
Thing to be seen but Masts _overturn'd_ into the Sea, _Splinters_ flying
on all Sides, _Sails_ rent and torn in Pieces, Cables and _Cordage_ cut
in sunder: _How it terrifies one!_ In one Place a _Vessel_ boarded, and
in a Moment the Men chaced off or blown up with the Decks into the Air.
_Four or Five Hundred Men would not have made a Figure dreadful enough
unless the Wooden Decks had gone along with them._ And in another was
seen a Ship swallow'd up by the Waves with several Hundreds of Men, and
the Sea turn'd red with Human Gore, and cover'd with dead Bodies, and
floating Parts of scatter'd Ships. _What's the Reason that we freeze in
the midst of so much_ Fire? _This is what the_ French _call the Cold and
the Puerile Stile._ Again; All which instead of dismaying the
Combatants, serv'd only to excite their Rage, and enflame them to a more
cruel and implacable Slaughter; and the continual Outcries of miserable
wounded Wretches render'd them but the more bloody minded, and rouz'd
them to a more cruel and remorseless Revenge. The rising Coasts on both
Sides the Channel were violently shaken with the resounding Thunders of
the roaring Guns, and those engag'd seem'd to be involv'd in the Wreck
of Nature."

This Fight was over against the Island of _Portland_, and I really
believe the pronouncing of these Words, _roaring Guns_, _resounding
Thunders_, _rising Coasts_, _Wreck of Nature_, among the Rocks under the
Light-houses, would have as good an Effect with the Help of Eccho, as a
Broadside at Sea, which the Historian assures us at the same Time shook
the Hills of _England_ and _France_. Whence comes it that we read all
this without the least Emotion, where there is so much Affectation to
move? Are we not so stun'd with the Sound that the Sense is lost in it,
and we are no more concern'd than at the Sight of a Storm in a
Half-penny Picture? _Dryden_ lets us a little into this Secret in his
_Preface_ to _Troil._ and _Cress._ He is speaking of the puffy Style,
_the common Practice of those Writers, who not being able to infuse a
natural Passion into the Mind, have made it their Business to ply the
Ears, and to stun their Judges by the Noise_. A better Judge than Mr.
_Dryden_ has directed us in this Matter.

    _The Words, which in Magnificence abound,
    Grow tedious oft, and lose themselves in Sound._
                                                               Rosc.

This Way of Writing is much more easy than that which is truly great and
sublime, as in Liquors, 'tis easier to give them Ferment and Froth, than
Spirit and Purity. _There are more Authors_, says _Dryden_, who can make
a _pompous Description, than who can write with an equal and natural
Stile_. He adds, that _Shakespear_ himself did not distinguish _the
blown puffy Stile from true Sublimity_; which could not wholly be
attributed to the Time, because we meet with the true Sublimity very
often in _Spencer_ and _Fairfax_, who were both Contemporaries with
_Shakespear_, and _Spencer_ much the elder. Two Lines of Sir _John
Denham_'s, on a like Subject with that of _Echard_, fills one with
Horrour and Amazement.

    _Tost by a Whirlwind of tempestuous Fire,
    A Thousand Wretches in the Air expire._

Mr. _Addison_ observes after _Pere Bouhours_, That _it is impossible for
any Thought to be beautiful, which is not just, and has not its
Foundation in the Nature of Things: That the Basis of all Wit is Truth,
and that no Thought can be valuable, of which good Sense is not the
Ground-work_. Therefore when Mr. _Echard_ writes his _Oxcellency_ for
his _Excellency_, speaking of the Parliament's General the Earl of
_Essex_, the _Tyrannical_ Parliament for the _Triennial_ Parliament, the
New _Noddle_ for the _New Model_ with respect to the Army, and the like,
we are not to be imposed upon by him, and to take it upon his bare Word
for Wit. Neither is there any Wit at all in his burlesquing such Phrases
as these; _Presence of God_, _Seeking the Lord_, _Call of God_, _Jesus
Christ_, &c. Which he also would impose upon us for Witicisms.

His Descriptions are not all so lofty and sounding as that of the
_Sea-Fight_, particularly when he paints _Oliver Cromwel_, without his
Breeches, running away from the Cavaliers in his _Drawers_ only, and
then turning back upon them and beating them. Of this Kind is the
incomparable Picture of the Aldermen _Gloucester_: Their _Visages were
pale, lean, and ugly; their Cloaths strange and unusual; their Voices
pert, shrill, and fearless_; Ambassadors _from the godly City of
Gloucester_. His Similes are not more elevated, especially that where he
compares the _Silent_ and _Victorious_ General Monk to a Cat, and
General _Lambert to a Mouse_. He watched him as a Cat watches a Mouse, a
singular Proof of his Perfection in Eloquence, which naturally leads us
to _Expression_, and I doubt not the Historian thinks a finer Historical
Stile than his own is not to be met with.

As in Thoughts so in Expression, we in _England_ are apt to confound all
the various Kinds under the general Terms of good Language, and a fine
Stile. The Sublime, the Natural, the Didactick, the Narrative, the
Tragick, the Comick, the Polite, the Affected, are seldom rightly
distinguish'd, and the latter very often mistaken for the Polite. The
Admirers of Mr. _Echard_'s History do, doubtless, take what follows to
have as much of the Sublime in it as the _English_ Tongue is capable of.
It introduces the glorious Reign of King _Charles_ II.

_Having gone through a stormy and tempestuous Season of various Misery,
we arrive at a sudden Brightness and Splendour, a most unexpected Order,
and glorious Calm and Sunshine. The Splendour and Brightness harder to
be born than the preceeding Clouds and Darkness._ What is Stormy and
Tempestuous? what Brightness, Sunshine, and Splendour? What Clouds and
Darkness? but other Words for the same Things, and instead of
Amplification comes under the Denomination of another Figure very common
in such puffy Rhetorick, call'd _Tautology_, which I am afraid the
Historian and his Admirers mistake for the Sublime, there being but very
few that can distinguish Sound from Sense, or Wind from Spirit. _Let a
Discourse be never so fine_, says _Rapin_, _it loses its worth when 'tis
out of its Place, and appears affected_. Affectation in Stile has the
same Effect with ordinary Judges as Affectation in Air has with Women
and Fops. It passes upon them for Politeness; and Delicacy, tho' there
is nothing more vicious in Language. I might fill a Volume with Examples
of this Vice, taken out of the Earl of _Clarendon_, and the Archdeacon's
Histories, but as I had never troubled my self about them, had there
been nothing in them but Want of Method, and an affected Stile, I shall
content my self with two or three Observations only, which are
sufficient to convince all those that can judge right; and as for
others, I have not Leisure nor Words enough to attempt it.

He says the Sight of the _Gloucester_ Aldermen at once _gave Mirth to
the most severe Countenances, and Sadness to the most cheerful Hearts_.
What Idea can one have of these _Cavaliers_, as he expresses himself,
but that of some Idiots whom we have seen to laugh and cry in a Breath.
He has two Expressions about Mines, which are very extraordinary, both
as he is a _Naturalist_ and as he is an _Orator_: The one is the
_Brass-Mine_ in _Cumberland_, the only _Brass-Mine_ that ever was, or
ever will be in the World. A _Copper-Mine_ might have been found out
there, and a Mine of _Lapis calaminaris_, which put together, would
produce _Brass_ enough, if there were Ore enough. Where he speaks of the
Cleanliness of his Writing, he intimates, that he is one of those who
_dive into the rich Mines of Nature_. What can one imagine about diving
better than that of a Duck and a Dog in a Pond, or Boys in the _Bath_?
To dive into a Mine, methinks, is like running a Man's Head into a
Rock. If he had said he had been digging in the rich Mines of Nature,
one might have expected some Mettal to have come of it, of one Sort or
another. When the Parliament, that brought in King _Charles_ II, met the
first Time, Mr. _Echard_ says, _We are now arrived at the_ VAST _Day_,
which I humbly conceive to be beyond Conception, and a strange Specimen
of the Author's Talent in Elocution. He had a mind to make this Day
something _prodigious_ and _uncommon_, and therefore swells it up with
an Epithet which bursts in the Operation. VAST might have been proper,
if he had been speaking of the Ton of _Heidelbergh_, or Admiral
_Russel_'s Punch Bowl at _Lisbon_: But under what Figure will he put Day
for the Word VAST to become it well? Doctor _Littleton_ in his
Dictionary makes VAST to be _huge_, _burly_, _wide_, _broad_, _large_,
and what is much less for the Archdeacon's Purpose, _misshapen_,
_ill-favoured_, _desolate_, _insatiable_, _outragious_; put Day to ever
a one of them, and see how the Coat fits. Mr. _Bailey_ in his very good
Dictionary is contented with two or three Interpretations only, as a
_huge Day_, a _spacious Day_. _Ludlow_, I believe, would have followed
_Littleton_, and then for VAST would have understood _desolate Day_,
_ill-shapen Day_, _insatiable Day_; so dangerous is it for People to
meddle with Words which they do not understand. Of all the Blunders in
Expression which are to be avoided, there was the best Provision made
against this that could be, if a Man had had the least Acquaintance with
the politer Authors, Monsieur St. _Evremont_ having written a
Dissertation on this very Word VAST, and whoever reads it, will pity a
Writer who could fall into so gross an Errour, if there were no Malice
in what he had written. I suppose that almost all Mr. _Echard_'s Readers
have taken this VAST in the Sense he intended for _Important_, and if he
had said this _Mountainous Day_, it would have done as well: They would
have expected a Birth from the Mountain, and the Arch-Deacon's History
is a Labour of the same Kind.

As we in _England_ are apt to confound Sentiments and Expressions, so we
do the same by Talents, and think if a Man can make a _School-Book_ or
two, he can write a History. _Jeremiah Collier_ wrote a _short View of
the Stage_, which sold wonderfully, and immediately the Booksellers
hir'd him to write Three Histories in Folio: And I question not but,
because Sir _Isaac Newton_ has outdone all Philosophers in his Treatise
of _Fluxions_, they would employ him in _Heroick_ Poetry, if he were
young enough, and would be employ'd by them. There was a _Pertness_ in
_Collier_'s Stile, which was mistaken for Vivacity, and tho' there
cannot be any Thing more affected, yet it recommends his _Essays_,
_Views_, &c. as somewhat in the Perfection of our Language. I wonder Dr.
_Felton_ should forget him, when he mentions Sir _Roger L'Estrange_, Mr.
_Trap_, and other masterly Writers. You cannot name _Collier_'s _Views_,
_Essays_, &c. in Company, but some body or other immediately cries out,
_Ay! that's Fine._ Wonderful fine, as will be seen presently.

In his Essays he has this Expression, _A Man may act an Excellency for
the Satisfaction if Significancy_, which has the same Effect in Prose,
as it is observ'd of some good Verses, that the _Smoothness_ or
_Roughness_ of the Numbers are an Image of the Roughness or Smoothness
of the Thing. You can hardly pronounce these Words without a prim Look,
and screwing up your Mouth with the Affectation of a Girl at a
_Boarding-School_. Would one imagine that this was said by the same
Author in another place; _Nothing is more nauseous than to be affected_:
And yet see further, _Don't let Miss suffer her Heels to get too much
into her Head_, not to say any Thing about the _Attitude_, which would
be very extraordinary in a Picture. Again, _Seeing and Hearing are the
most creditable Senses; the Brain has an unpromising Aspect_, which
cannot be known without Dissection. What Idea does this leave upon the
Mind? or this, _A PRINCE made but a lame Figure in Comparison with our
APOSTLE._ One would think _Collier_ had Prince _Prettiman_ and the
_Spanish_ Fryer in his Head when he wrote it. He is so fond of this
Conceit, that he endeavours to prove, in his Essay on Theft, and
elsewhere, that our Saviour's Disciples were Men of Quality, well-born,
and well-bred, and if they did fish at any time, 'twas only for their
Pleasure. As the _Barber_ of _Northampton_ told _Estcourt_, He was a
Doctor by Profession, and shav'd only for his Diversion. But _Collier_
seems to have less Regard for his Brotherhood in the last Centuries,
when he informs us that by Queen _Elizabeth_'s Injunctions a Clergyman
could not marry till he had made his Complaint against Celibacy before
two Justices of the Peace, and gain'd their Consent, and the _good Will
of the Master or Mistress where the Damsel serv'd_, by which he gives us
to understand, that soon after the Reformation the Priests Wives were
all _Abigail_'s.

_Collier_'s Dialogues serve two principal Ends, the one to carry on an
Argument the more freely and loosely; and the other, which is not the
least, to give himself a fat Figure in his own Picture, for he himself
is the Man who has always the best of the Dispute.

    _Well, I can't stand the Force of your Argument:
    You are smart, you have brought your self well off._

Thus he conquers his _Alphius_, and compels him _to own, That the
Priests are an independant State_; and thus Boys build Houses of Cards
to blow them down when they have done. What a Parcel of Flowers and
Graces might one pick up in his Writings, if it was more _a propos_,
such as _Slender Difficulty_, _Lean Temper_, _touchy Point_, _Cheek by
Joule_, _to con over_, _to be Uppish_, _Intents and Purposes_, _to
glitter upon the Senses_, _Enrichments_, _renverse_, _Deconcert_,
_bigger Entertainment of the Soul_, _don't_, _on't_, _can't_, _won't_,
_'tis_, _it's_, _at's_, and the frequent Use of Proverbs.

    _Where there's Life there's Hope.
    One Swallow makes no Summer_, &c.

The Use of Proverbs is so far from giving Disgust in common
Conversation, especially in the Country, that 'tis look'd upon to be Wit
as well as Mimickry, Buffoonry, Pun, Quibble, _&c._ and you would be
star'd at if you should object against either of them as the effect of
Ignorance or Folly. The _Spectator_ takes Notice that Puns made a
considerable Figure on the Banks of _Cam_, and Proverbs must needs do no
less on the Banks of _Isis_, when so great a Scholar as _Edward Llwyd_
set the Example, two in one Paragraph.

    Rome _was not built in a Day.
    Better late than never._

_On laisse aux Discours du Peuple les manieres de s'appliquer en
Proverbes._ 'Tis for the Vulgar only to express themselves by Proverbs.
But what are Proverbs, _&c._ to _Collier_'s huddling of Metaphors, a
Vice in Eloquence which is hardly taken Notice of in _English_ Writings;
_To be always pouring in Oil, is the Way to overset the Flame and
extinguish the Lamp: If you lay a Country constantly under Water, you
must spoil the Soil._ Here Fire and Water most lovingly agree together
to do the same Business. _To overset a Flame_ is a fine Way of speaking,
and as easily to be conceiv'd, as to overset a Cockboat or a _Wherry_.
Again, _I fancy we shall sift the Gentleman to the Bran, and make him
run the Gauntlet before he gets clear._ The _Bran_ Gentleman having run
the Gauntlet, we will add one Instance more, and have done with his
Metaphors; _They will glean up the best Thoughts, they will draw of the
Spirit of the Argument when the Mine has been work'd by such Hands._ The
_Gleaner_, the Chymist, and the Miner, are at once at work for him in
the same short Sentence. If the Writer or Reader's Head can be clear
under such Operations, it will be a Wonder. The _Spectator_ has a Remark
on this Subject, equally pleasant and judicious: _Thus I have known a
Heroe compar'd to a_ Thunder-bolt, _a_ Lion, _and the_ Sea, all _and
each of them proper Metaphors for Impetuosity, Courage, and Force; but
by bad Management it hath so happen'd, that the_ Thunder-bolt _hath
overflow'd the Banks, the_ Lion _has been darted through the Skie, and
the Billows have roll'd not of the_ Lybian _Desart_; neither of which is
so bad as _Collier_'s burning and drowning the same Thing at the same
Time.

The _Declamatory_ Stile, another great Vice in Eloquence, is the
Characteristick of these _Essays_; tho' I question not but it is thought
to be the very Cream of the Discourse. If 'tis excuseable any where it
is in Country Pulpits, where, if a Parcel of Words are well put
together, we should not be too scrupulous about the Sense. _Then
Commerce must give way to Religion, Baptism sway the Indenture, and the
Gospel govern the_ Exchange. Are not the Gospel, Baptism, and Religion,
the Exchange, Indenture, and Commerce, the same Things in the
_Contrast_. I am far from affecting a foreign Word when we have as good
a one of our own, much less when we have a better; and _Attitude_ and
_Contrast_ may be supplied by _Posture_ and _Opposition_, if the Reader
pleases; out the former was used for Decorum sake, the idea being too
gross when in an _English_ Dress. The Author is again declaiming: _It
may be the Failing of Drunkenness is imperceptible in the single
Instance, 'twill rise in the Sum_; _To go always a little out of the Way
makes a strange Mistake upon the progress_; _A Grain will grew to a
Burthen by Addition_; _To be always dipping an Estate, is the Way to
turn Beggar_; _A Drop that's perpetually pelting Will make a Stone give
way._ How new, how eloquent is all this, and that which comes after! He
is preaching to the Booksellers about selling _Arian Books_, _Sceptical
Books_, _Books of Divorce_, _Impotence_, &c. _Whatever they think on't,_
Atheism _and_ Lewdness _is the most fatal Mortality_;--_The Plague of
the Heart the most frightful Distemper_--_Infection is safer lodged in
the Veins, than in the Will_--_A Man had much better be poyson'd in his
Blood, than in his Principle._ The Stream is the same still, but as a
Boar pisses it comes by Spirts. Again, _Are we never to do any Thing
without a Majority_; _If we are govern'd by Numbers, we shall live
strangely_; _If you go to Poll, Sense and Conscience will lose it in
most Cases._ Of all the Modern Criticks, who have given us Rules, Dr.
_Felton_ upon the _Classicks_ is the Author, who seems to have stood
most upon his own Legs: Others have learnt much of the _French_, and
have been much blam'd for it by those who have and have not read their
Books. _Rymer_ confesses the _French_ began the _Art_ of _Criticism_
among the Moderns: _They fell not to it in earnest_, says he, in his
Preface to _Rapin_, _till the_ Royal Academy _was founded,_ and
_Cardinal_ Richelieu _encourag'd and rally'd all the scatter'd Wits
under his Banner: Then_ Malherbe _reform'd their ancient licentious
Poetry._ _Malherbe_ died Seven Years before the _Royal Academy_ was
thought of; however he did begin the Reformation of the _French_ Poetry,
and was happily follow'd by _Voiture_, _Sarazin_, _Maynard_, _Godeau_,
&c. The _Academy_ have indeed assum'd to themselves the sole Glory of
refining the _French_ Tongue, tho' they can by no means engross the
Merit of it. _Malherbe_ began it before they had a Being, and several
eminent _French_ Authors have written since, who were not of the
_Academy_, as St. _Evremont_, _Menage_, _&c._ But there's something
pleasant in the Complements that are paid to it, and the _Antiquaries_
have found out just such another Society in _Rome_, under the Patronage
of _Augustus_, to refine the _Roman_ Language, which, by the way, had
been refined before by _Terence_, _Lucretius_, _Cicero_, _Hortensius_,
and their Contemporaries, at the latter End of the Republick. The
Learned Antiquaries go so far as to name the _Roman Academicians_,

    _Mecænas_,
    _Pollio_,
    _Plotius_, _Valgius_,
    The Two _Messala's_,
    The Two _Bibulus's_,
    _Piso_, the Father,
    _Servius_, _Fulvius_,
    _Tibullus_,
    _Horace_.

_Ovid_ perhaps was left out because he was in Exile at _Tomos_; but why
could they not have put in _Livy_, _Propertius_, &c. They have given
this Academy, the Temple and Library of _Apollo_, to meet and study in,
and it is pretended, that _Horace_'s Epistle to the _Piso's_ was written
by Direction of the Academy, and if there had ever been such an Academy
at all, one might the sooner have given Credit to it. The _French_
Academy set an Example to other learned and ingenious Men, to make
themselves Masters of their own Language, and the Encouragement they met
with from _Lewis_ XIV produced an Age of Poets, Orators, and Criticks.
The latter have done more towards explaining the _Classicks_ than had
been done before from the _Augustan_ Age to their own. They threw
Pedantry and Jargon out of their Writings, and render'd them as polite
as judicious. Such are the Criticisms of _Rapin_, _Bossu_, _Segrais_,
_Boileau_, _Bouhours_, and _Dacier_, who are all read with like Profit
and Pleasure; and this is the Reason of the frequent Use of them, and
not an Affectation of foreign Phrases, and technical Cant, as is
insinuated by such as never read, or never understood them, and by such
too as have not only both read and understood them, but have learnt of
them all the Reading they have, and yet make use of no other Names than
_Quintillian_, _Longinus_, _Donatus_, _Eustathius_, and the Ancients.
This is very common, and I could easily prove it upon those who have
charg'd others with Ignorance and Illiterature. The Reading _French_
Authors is inconceivably beneficial to such as do not understand _Latin_
so well as Mr. _Dryden_, and _Greek_ so well as Mr. _Pope_: They will
learn as much of the _Greek_ History from _Ablancourt_'s _Thucydides_,
and of the _Latin_ from _Du Ryer_'s _Livy_, as they could from the
Originals. And as to the Poets, they had better read Madam _Dacier_'s
_Homer_, and _Segrais_'s _Virgil_, which they do understand, than the
Original _Homer_ and _Virgil_ which they do not. My Lord _Roscommon_
owns of the _French_,

    _The choicest Books that_ Rome _or_ Greece _have known,
    Their excellent Translators made their own._

And tho' in all Translations the Spirit and Beauty of the Original must
in a great measure be lost by Transfusion, yet in History especially you
are sure to have the Method, the Facts, and the Politicks, tho' you have
not the Strength and Ellegance of the Style. _Dryden_ tells the late
Duke of _Bucks_, in the Dedication to his _Virgil_; _Impartially
Speaking, the_ French _are as much better Criticks, as they are worse
Poets._ The Latter is incontestable; and not to mention _Milton_, who is
above all Parallel. They have nothing of _Epick_ Poetry so good as our
King _Arthur_; neither are their _Corneille_ and _Racine_ a Match for
our _Shakespear_ and _Otway_. They have no Body to name against
_Wycherley_, _Etherege_, _Shadwel_, _Congreve_, _Vanburgh_, _Steel_.
_Moliere_, the best of their Comick Poets, could write _Scapius_,
_Dandins_, _Sganarelles_, and all Kinds of Farce perfectly well; but for
Wit and Humour, Repartee, Polite Conversation, for what the Criticks
call the _Vis Comica_, you must have recourse to the _English_ Comedies,
if you would know what it is. A _French Marquis_, as _Moliere_ shew'd
him upon his Stage, would only make a very good Taylor upon ours. They
have no _Hopkins_ for Elegy, no _Philips_ for Pastoral: _Scarron_ will
hardly serve for a _Ralpho_ to our _Hudibras_. In the _Ode_, I think,
_Malherbe_ is at least equal to _Cowley_, and _Voiture_ and _Sarazin_
are not behind our _Suckling_ and _Waller_, in the gallant Way: Nor is
our _Prior_ behind their _La Fontaine_ for Taletelling. On the other
Hand, I am afraid we must allow, that we have no Translation in
_English_ equal to _Seagrais_'s _Virgil_ for Intelligence of the
Original, and a correct as well as harmonious Diction, especially if the
Character given of it by _Ruæus_ is just. Did we look into other
Sciences, we should find our selves more than a Match for them; What
Names have they to set against our _Newton_ and _Halley_ in the
Mathematicks, and our _Sydenham_ and _Willis_ in _Physick_. They have
no _Bacon_, no _Boyle_ in Philosophy. In History indeed they have a
_Varillas_ and a _Maimbourg_ for our _Nelson_ and _Brady_, and doubtless
the Royal Historiographers will, in the History of _Lewis_ XIV, come up
to the _Grand Rebellion_, and Mr. _Echard_'s History for Impartiality
and Truth. If I were a _Frenchman_ I should make a Start here, and cry
out, What is their _Tureune_ and their _Conde_ to our _Marlborough_, and
their Great _Monarch_, who took Pleasure in Slaughter and Devastation,
to our Glorious King _George_, whose only Care and Delight is to
maintain Liberty and Peace.

Dr. _Felton_ declares we began to refine our Language much sooner than
the _French_, and that the Writers in Queen _Elizabeth_'s Reign are far
preferable to _Shakespear_, _Fletcher_, _Waller_, _Suckling_, _May_,
_Sands_, and all the Writers from the _Gunpowder_ Plot to the
Restoration. He will not be advis'd by the best Critick in Poetry, as he
represents him. Mr. _Dryden_, who speaking of _Beaumont_ and _Fletcher_,
writes thus; _I am apt to believe the_ English _Language in them arrived
to its Perfection_: They wrote between the Beginning of King _James_ I
and the Reign of King _Charles_ II, a Period in which Dr. _Felton_ makes
the _English_ Language to have declin'd; though, if I were permitted to
give Judgement, I should continue the Improvement of our Tongue till the
Time of the _Spectator_, and the Translation of _Homer_, where, I think,
it is in the greatest Purity and Elegance, and that one of the first
deplorable Signs of its Declension was even the Discourse upon the
_Classicks_. _Dryden_ himself continues the good Taste till the Opening
of the Long Parliament 1640, when, if you'l believe him, the Muses were
struck dead at a Blow, abandon'd to a barbarous Race of Men, Enemies of
all good Learning, such as _Selden_, _Whitlock_, _Bathurst_, _Wilkins_,
and the immortal _Milton_. This Passage should have been transplanted
into the two famous Histories of those Times, publish'd since King
_William_'s Death, particularly that of the _Grand Rebellion_, which Dr.
_Felton_ protests is the most impartial one that ever was written; but
it is very well it does not stand in need of his Certificate, for there
would have been great Exception taken against his Authority. As good a
Word as the Doctor gives Mr. _Dryden_ as a _Critick_, _Dryden_ out-does
him in his own Panegyrick.

    _Let_ Dryden _with new Rules our Stage refine,
    And his great Models form by this Design._

This Piece of Modesty in Verse is excelled by another in Prose; _Our
present Poets,_ himself the Top of them, _have far surpast all the
antient and modern Writers of other Countries._

Thus has he put himself above _Homer_, _Sophocles_, _Virgil_, _Horace_,
_Corneille_, _Racine_, _Boileau_, &c. Notwithstanding we were so happy
in Mr. _Dryden_'s Criticisms, Doctor _Felton_ is of Opinion the Art is
not brought enough to Perfection among us; and therefore earnestly
sollicites Sir _Richard Steel_ to write Comments upon _Homer_ and
_Virgil_, as Mr. _Addison_ has done upon _Milton_. I am satisfied Sir
_Richard Steel_ did not keep his Countenance if ever that Passage of the
Doctor's came in his Way. I will not say the same of Mr. _Trap_, who,
they tell me, is a Poet by his Place, or a _made_ Poet, better by half
than one born so; but if Doctor _Felton_ had foreseen that the ingenious
Gentleman would have came off as He did with _Virgil_, and in what a sad
Place Doctor _Swift_ would find his Translation, I believe he would have
postpon'd the Encomium, _What a polite Critick may do if he pleases_,
says the Doctor, _and in how different an Aspect_ Criticism _appears,
when formed by Men of Parts and Fire, we may see in Mr._ Trap; and the
Encomium continues for a Page or two: But the aforesaid Translation
having cut the Matter short, I will repeat no more of it.

_Cowley_ was in as great Vogue 60 or seventy Years ago, as any Composer
or Translater of our Time has been, and Doctor _Felton_ without knowing
that his Character is worn, informs us, that his _Davideis_ is as good
an Epick Poem as the _Ilias_, that his Lyricks are as good as _Pindar_'s
or _Horace_'s, that he wrote Elegies as well as _Tibullus_, Epistles as
well as _Ovid_, Pastorals as well as _Theocritus_; and that his _Cutter
of Colmanstreet_ is as good a Comedy as the _Adelphi of Terence_. The
Doctor's own Words are; _He rivalled the_ Greek _and_ Latin _Poets in
every Thing but Tragedy._ His saying so is the more remarkable, for that
he had seen the Preface to _Dryden_'s Fables, wherein that incomparable
Critick, as he terms him, says _Cowley_ is sunk in his Reputation, and
the late Duke of _Bucks_ in his Essay acknowledges as much:

    Cowley _might boast to have perform'd his Part,
    Had he with Nature joyn'd the Rules of Art:
    But ill Expression gives sometimes Allay
    To noble Thoughts------------
    Tho' All appears in Heat and Fury done,
    The Language still must soft and easy run._

Doctor _Felton_ in Praise of Criticism tells us, with equal Elegance and
Perspicuity, _If the Rules had not been given, we had not been troubled
with_ many fewer _Writers:_ And in the Pursuit of his own excellent
Work, he declares, _He has tempered the_ Briskness _of Thought with the
Sedateness of Judgement._ The _French_ have their _Pensees Brusques_,
but the Doctor could not fall so low as that. _Brusque_ signifying
_blunt_, _rash_, and the like. This _Briskness_ is, I suppose, more
agreeable to the Conception of a certain Bookseller, who being written
to by a certain Squire for a _brisk History_, sent him by the next
Carrier that of _Don Quixot_. This was thirty Years ago, before we were
so well furnished with _brisk Histories_ as we have been since.

I take _brisk_ in our Tongue to be to _lively_, as _pert_ is to _witty_:
But I cannot depend on my own Judgement; the Translator of _Homer_
having used _Briskness_ in the same Sense as Doctor _Felton_ uses it:
_Heaven and Earth became engaged in the Subject, by which it rises to a
great Importance, and is hastened forward into the briskest Scenes of
Action._ If that Author could bear the least Objection to any Thing that
belongs to him, I would ask the Reader whether he does not fancy there
is some Affectation in the Expression. But let that pass; if we are
rightly informed, the Word _Brisk_ is in the _Teutonick Friesch_, which
is in plain English _Frisk_, and then for the Gods and Demi-gods to
frisk up and down the Field of Action, or the Doctor to frisk up and
down his Closet is very indecorous. The Duke of _Buckingham_ in the
_Rehearsal_ seems to take _Brisk_ in the latter Sense, as when Thunder
and Lightning act their Parts on the Stage. The former says, I am the
_bold Thunder_, the latter the _brisk Lightning I_. And not at all to
derogate from the Character of Lightning, which has been so serviceable
to all Sorts of Poetry and Poets, I cannot help confirming my Opinion
by a very common Simile, and saying _As brisk as bottled Ale_.

Among all the Refiners of our Tongue, 'tis the vulgar Notion, that Sir
_Roger L'Estrange_ was most eminent. True it is, Doctor _Felton_ owns he
was good for nothing but _Banter_ and _Railing_; for that is what we in
_England_ generally mean by Raillery. Tho' _Smith_ and _Johnson_ in the
_Rehearsal_ are not the most lively Characters; yet their Dialogue with
_Bayes_ is what the _French_ call _Raillery_. We in _England_ do mean
very often the Dialogue of _Billinsgate_, where it is common enough to
hear one Fish-Woman cry to another, _No more of your Raillery_, which is
there the worst Sort of Railling; and for that and Banter the Doctor
assures us _L'Estrange_ was most proper. The same say I, and that he
understood no more of true Eloquence than he did of _Greek_, out of
which the Booksellers hired him to translate _Josephus_, and he did it
from the _French_ Translation. The Philosopher _Seneca_'s Works he
pretended to translate from the _Latin_, and I wish Mr. _Trap_ would
translate the following Phrases in his _Seneca_'s _Morals_ back into
that Tongue again, _One good Turn is the shoeing Horn to another._ _He
does me Good in spite of my Teeth._ _After a Matter of eight Years_; and
this into _Greek_ for _Esop_'s Fables, The _Moon was in a heavy
Twitter_: Yet I'm satisfied these fine Sayings are some of those that
gained him the Reputation of being a polite Writer of _English_: I have
heard that about the Moon very much commended, which shews that we are
not sufficiently sensible how mean Words debase a Thought. _There's
nothing_, says _Boileau_, _which debases a Discourse more than mean
Words. A mean Thought exprest in noble Terms, is generally better than
the most noble Thoughts exprest in mean Terms._ I know no greater
Instance of the ill Effect of mean Terms, than what we find in two
Verses of Mr. _Montague_'s Epistle to the Lord _Dorset_ on King
_William_'s Victory at the _Boyne_. 'Tis in the greatest Heat of that
glorious Action, and in the Middle of the _Sublime_, which is not
wanting in that Poem.

    _Stop, stop, brave Prince! What does your Muse, Sir, faint!
    Proceed, pursue his Conquest. Faith I can't._

Mr. _Philips_'s Poems, the _splendid Shilling_ and _Cyder_, are full of
Instances where mean Thoughts are raised by noble Expressions, and they
are wonderfully pleasing; as in _Cyder_; this of the _Pear-Tree_.

    _What tho' the Pear Tree rival not the Worth
    Of_ Ariconian _Products, yet her Freight
    Is not contemn'd, and her wide branching Arms
    Best screen thy Mansion from the fervent Dog,
    Adverse to Life. The wintry Hurricanes
    In vain employ their Roar; her Trunk unmov'd,
    Breaks the strong Onset, and controuls their Rage;
    Chiefly the_ Bosbury, _whose large Increase,
    Annual in sumptuous Banquets, claims Applause.
    Thrice acceptable_ Bevrage! _could but Art
    Subdue the floating_ Lee, Pomona_'s self
    Would dread thy Praise, and shun the dubious Strife.
    Be it thy Choice, when Summer Heats annoy,
    To sit beneath her leavy Canopy,
    Quaffing rich Liquids, Oh! how sweet t'enjoy
    At once her Fruits, and hospitable Shade._

I have never met with any Author who so happily imitated the manner and
stile of _Milton_ as _Philips_ has done, and there seems to be hardly
any other Difference than that of the Subjects they wrote of.

What I have quoted out of _L'Estrange_ is nothing to the Delicacy of a
modern Writer of Plays, who without Wit, Language, Learning, or Manners,
wrote three or four Farces, which took as much as _Pradon_'s in
_France_; but the _English_ have not recollected themselves so soon as
the _French_ did; for _Pradon_ out-liv'd the Vogue he was in, and became
a greater Jest than ever he had made. What think ye of our Poet's
Delicacy and Wit, who in a gallant Letter to his Mistress, tells her,
_He's gall'd with riding, Love is forging Darts in his Belly; he's a Dog
in a Doublet_, &c. There's a deal of graver Nonsense with it, but it
being mostly _Blasphemy_, I dare not repeat it. This Author had his
Portion of temporary Fame. _Ogilvy_ had his Day, and _Dryden_ says:

    _Fame, like a little Mistress of the Town,
    Is gain'd with Ease; but then she's lost as soon._

However, as long as the Credit lasts, these temporary Authors bear the
Port of the greatest Genius, are clapt and star'd at, as those Merchants
who are driving in their Coaches to Bankrupcy, have generally the best
Equipage. What are become of the _Marots_, the _Ronsards_, the
_Scuderies_ of our neighbour Nation, yet these Writers were infinitely
superiour to what most of our taking Authors have been. Could any Body
have thought that Sir _Richard Baker_'s Chronicle would ever have past
from the Justice's Hall Window to the Butler's Cellar, or that
_Cowley_'s _Mistress_ would have lost all her Charms in thirty Years
Time, and become a Cast-Off for City Prentices and Lawyers Clerks, to
say nothing of _Orinda_, _Flatman_, &c. Yet these Writers were Originals
which raises their Merit much above all Sorts of Translators, and it
ought to be a Lesson to all Poets and Historians, whether first Hand or
second Hand, to pay the World for their Applause with Modesty, which is
the surest Way to keep it in a good Humour; _Since 'tis Posterity only_,
says _Boileau_, _which sets a Value upon all Writings, you must not, as
admirable as you take a modern Author to be, presently put him upon a
Level with those Writers who have been admired for so many Ages, because
one cannot be sure his Works will pass with Glory to the next. Indeed
without going far for Examples, How many Authors have we seen admired in
our Age, whose Glory is vanished in a very few Years. How were_
Balzac_'s Works admired thirty Tears ago?_ So much that Cardinal
_Richelieu_ at the same Time that he was meditating the universal
Monarchy for the Crown of _France_, wrote in Vindication of them. The
Bishop of _Rochester_ did the same for _Cowley_; but neither the
Cardinal nor the Bishop could defend them from the Fate of all Temporary
Authors. Neither _Cowley_ nor _Balzac_ are now any more mentioned in
_France_ or _England_. And the main Reason why they lost their Credit
was for want of duly considering what their particular Talents were
adapted to; for that they had both very great Talents is universally
acknowledged, _Mons. de_ Balzac _a passe toute sa vie a ecrire des
lettres, dont il n'a jamais pu attraper le veritable Charectere._ Balzac
_spent all his Time in writing Letters, but could never hit the true
Character._ _Cowley_ applied himself to Poetry, and never enough knew
the Power and Harmony of Numbers. He had a great deal too much Wit to
charm his Mistress with his Passion. Very few of us are let into this
Secret. We cannot believe that a Poet can have too much Wit, and indeed
the Offence given that Way is not very common. The last Duke of _Bucks_
rightly instructs us:

    _Another Fault which often does befall,_   }
    _Is when the Wit of some great Poet shall_ }
    _So overflow, as to be none at all._       }

Again,

    _That silly Thing we call sheer Wit avoid_.

This probably was a Rebuke to the Author of the _Plain-Dealer_ and
_Country-Wife_, who has transgressed in this kind as much as any Body,
and was the best able to do it. The Author of the _Relapse_ is not
entirely free from this Censure, nor the Authors of _Love for Love_, and
the _Funeral_. But it will not be more surprising than it is true, that
_Peter Motteux_ declared he had taken a great deal of pains with a
Character in a Farce of his, to bring it within the Duke of
_Buckingham_'s Rule in those Places where he told me he had given it too
much Wit. Mr. _Walsh_, one of the greatest Criticks of our Nation,
observes, that the Softness, Tenderness, and Violence of Passion, are
wanting in Mr. _Cowley_'s Love Verses, insomuch that he _could hardly
fancy he was in Love when he wrote them_. _Pref._ to _Lett._ Yet there
were Variety and Learning enough in them, and more Wit than in all our
witty Poets since the Restoration, excepting those above-mentioned. Mr.
_Wycherly_, who wrote as good Comedies as any in the _English_, or any
other Tongue, did not value himself so much upon them as on a Folio of
as bad Verses as any. _Creech_ having had Success in _Lucretius_, was
put upon translating _Horace_, and it is said by _Dryden_, that he might
lose so much of his Reputation, as to prevent Rivalship. Nay, _Butler_,
tho' he knew the Follies of Mankind so perfectly well, did not perceive
that there is no greater Folly than to undertake what one is not fit
for, and was persuaded to let _Hudibras_ translate _Ovid_. On this Rock
many Authors have split, who would have succeeded had they consulted
their Talents, and taken the right Course: but it is a general Maxim
with us in _England_, Verses are Verses. He that can write one Thing,
can write another, and till our Taste is so refined, that we can
distinguish the Good and the Bad in the various Kinds of Thinking,
Writers will not be at the Pains to consult their Talents, but content
themselves with pleasing their own Fancy, or that of the Publick, by
which Means, like Flies, they make a buzzing for a Day or two, and are
forgotten for ever. The _Spectator_ very judiciously animadverts on this
Weakness: _Our general Taste in_ England _is for Epigram, Turns of Wit,
and forced Conceits, which have no manner of Influence, either for the
bettering or enlarging the Mind of him who reads them, and have been
carefully avoided by the greatest Writers, both among the Antients and
Moderns._ He adds after Mr. _Dryden_, _The Taste of most of our_ English
_Poets is extreamly_ Gothick, _which I have endeavoured to banish in
several of my Speculations_.

Another remarkable Observation of Dr. _Felton_'s is, that the _best
Performers are the best Judges_. He has only _Horace_ against him of the
Antients, and _Dacier_ of the Moderns, as is already observed in this
Essay. I believe no Body will deny, but Mr. _Walsh_ before-mentioned was
one of our best Judges of Regularity and Wit, yet hardly any Body will
say he was one of our best Performers. There's nothing more common with
small Genius's and small Judges, than to demand of all Criticks _to
write themselves_ before they criticise upon others Writings. They would
stare if it should be said, that _Dursey_ knew no more of Poetry than he
did of Philosophy, nor of _English_ than of _Hebrew_; though it is very
true, if it be understood of the Art of Poetry, and the Beauty of
Language; yet, that he was a Performer, is I doubt not well known to the
Doctor, and well approved of. To teach us good Language by Example, Dr.
_Felton_ expresses himself thus elegantly and unaffectedly. _When I
wrote these Sheets, my Lord_ Landsdown_'s Poems lay dispersed up and
down in the Miscellanies; but some kind Hand_, as for Instance the
Bookseller, upon a very laudable Motive, _hath assembled those scattered
Stars, and added another Lyre to the Constellation_; which, though it is
meant, to do singular Honour to those Poems, must have an ill Effect in
astronomical Observations; it makes thirteen to the Dozen in the twelve
Houses, and must cause as much Confusion, as two Signs of the Harp in a
short Lane. The Modesty of the following Passage adds as much to its
Merit as to the Truth of it: _If I offered any Thing which is not
commonly observed, I hope it will not be interpreted any Singularity,
but such as may render your Lordship more eminent and distinguished in
the World_; and having taught his noble Pupil what he should imitate, he
gives him warning what he should avoid, and that is the Reading any
Thing written by a _Presbyterian_: _What crude indigested Volumes! How
many tedious Sheets without Argument or Consistency, are the Writings of
some of the_ Dissenters! whom does he mean, such as _Bates_, _Manton_,
_How_, _Pool_, _Clarkson_, _Alsop_, &c. He and some other good
Church-Criticks make _Presbyterianism_ to be a Sort of _Hellebore_, if
you do but snuff it up in your Nose you run mad immediately. Thence it
is, that the _Presbyterians_ are termed _Fanatici_, by the learned and
sober Writers of our two famous Universities. Is it expected, that every
Orthodox Doctor should know as much as Bishop _Stillingfleet_, or write
as well as Archbishop _Tillotson_? Where is the Reason or Justice of
censuring a Body of Men for the Enthusiasm and Ignorance of a few? Would
this Doctor suffer the Tables to be turn'd, and a Judgement to be made
of the Writings of good Church-men, by the Argument and Consistency of
the Works, with which the learned World are obliged by those of the
Country Clergy, whose Pieces can crawl to the Press, whether in Prose or
Verse, Meditations or Hymns. I do verily believe he did not think of Dr.
_Bates_, when he fell thus furiously on Dissenters, or had ever seen any
of his Writings, which are as polite as the Politest of our Age; the
Sentiments as pious, as great, as noble, and as just, according to the
Subject, and the Language as pure and as harmonious. What can be more
so, than this Passage of his _Harmony of the divine Attributes_,
speaking of the Fall of _Adam_: _Prodigious Pride! He was scarce out of
the State of Nothing, no sooner created but he aspired to be as God; not
content with his Image, he would rob God of his Eternity to live without
End; of his Sovereignty to command without Dependance; of his Wisdom to
know all Things without Reserve. Infinite Insolence! that Man the Son of
Earth, forgetful of his Original, should usurp the Prerogatives, which
are essential to the Deity, and set himself up a real Idol, was a
Strain of the same Arrogancy which corrupted the Angels._ This is what
Dr. _Felton_ calls _Presbyterian Crudity_. It is strange, but it is
true, that there is a Narrowness of Soul, and a Conceit in some of our
Ecclesiasticks founded on the Establishment which we do not meet with in
others; nay, not in those who pretend to Supremacy and Infallibility.
Father _Bouhours_, though as zealous a Jesuit as any in _France_, yet
had so just a Notion of every one's Merit in polite Learning, that he
freely owns the Refinement of the _French_ Tongue, and the _French_
Manners was owing to those of the reformed Religion, even to
_Presbyterians_. _Nous devons aux dernieres Heresies une partie de
l'Embellissement de notre Langue, & de la politesse de notre Siecle._

And another _French_ Bigot tells us; _One of their Historians has
observed, that the pretended Reformers began to speak well and write
well, and were the First that shewed their Way to others_. They were all
of them _Presbyterians_:

      --------Parvos femando libellos
    Sucratis populumq; rudem amorcando parolis.

Our _Staunch_ Criticks will not allow, that a _Presbyterian_ ever had or
could have any Wit or any Eloquence, though it was only to make an ill
Use of it. No, no Body must be well-born or well-bred, that is without
the Pale. No Man must be brave, nor Woman beautiful. The Men are all
painted with cropt Hair, and the Women with Forehead-Cloaths, unless
they assent and consent. No Wit, no Language, no Honour, nor any Thing
that's good, is to be had any more than Matrimony without a Licence.
_Vide Grand Rebellion_, and Mr. _Echard_'s _History of England_.

I am so very well entertain'd with _Dryden_'s _Virgil_, that I am glad
to meet with any Excuse for his Translation; and would allow Dr.
_Felton_'s, that _the Faults are to be ascribed partly to some Defects
of our Language_; if the Doctor himself, a few Lines before, had not
said of the same Language, _that it is capable of all the Beauty,
Strength, and Significancy of the_ Greek _and_ Latin. The Faults which
have been generally found with _Dryden_ as to _Virgil_, have been his
mistaking or altering the Sense of the Original, and turning the _Epick_
Stile into _Elegiack_. I doubt not but the _English_ Tongue has
Expression for _English_ Sentiments, let them be ever so great and
sublime; but I may very well doubt whether it has Diction equal to the
Strength and Dignity of the _Ilias_, without the Helps _Milton_ made use
of, as compounding of Words and reviving some old Teutonicks, which
would look very uncouthly among the Softnesses and Gingles of our fine
Writers of late.

I wish the Doctor had explain'd how he would have us to understand him,
when he informs us, that to translate well is more difficult than to
write well; by which he intimates, that to form a Fable for a great and
important Action, to mark the Characters with suitable Sentiments, to
conduct the One and maintain the Other with Art and Elevation
diversify'd with proper Episodes; through such a Work as the _Ilias_, is
so far from being the principal Part of an _Epick_ Poem that it is no
Part at all; for with all this the Translator has nothing to do. The
Labour and Merit of it, according to Dr. _Felton_, consist in the
Language and Verses, in finding Words to express the Action and
Sentiments, and to adorn those Words with Numbers and Harmony. This is
all that is necessary in a Translation; and being also but some Parts of
the Original, it cannot be more difficult to do a Part than to do the
Whole. Can one suppose, that to write such a History as Mr. _Echard_'s
from printed Books, written Books, from the Hearsay and Report of Men,
Women and Children, is more difficult than to contrive and write such a
One as the _Cassandra_ of _Calprenade_? or in plain _English_, that to
invent and tell a Story, is much easier than the bare telling it only?
It needs no Reflection. If the Version of _Homer_ had been born when he
wrote, he must of Consequence have preferr'd it to the _Ilias_, which
would have cost the Translator's Modesty, as much as Sir _Richard
Steele_'s to be put upon a Comment on _Homer_ and _Virgil_. My Lord
_Roscommon_ has explain'd this Matter to us sufficiently:

    _Though Composition is the nobler Part,
    Yet good Translation is no easy Art._

Monsieur _Maucroix_, who translated _Cicero_ into _French_, writes thus
of translating to Monsieur _Boileau_: _You have told me more than once,
that Translation is not the Way to Immortality_; and he excuses his
meddling with it, on Account of his Want of Application and Knowledge:
As to Immortality it is to be question'd, whether that was the main
Thing our Translators had in View. It will not be deny'd, but that
_Dryden_'s Bookseller put him upon translating _Virgil_, by the
Temptation of so much a Line. And other Undertakers pay well enough to
make a mortal Life a little comfortable, it is not much Matter whether
the Work be immortal or not. _Ogilby_ however is sure of Immortality;
for though his Translations are as dead as his Carcass, yet he will be
remember'd in good Satyr for the Badness of them. _My Author_, says
Monsieur _Maucroix_, _is learned for me, the Topicks are all digested,
the Inventing and Disposing are none of my Business; I have nothing to
do but to utter my self_. Which Utterance is much more difficult, as Dr.
_Felton_ will have it, than to study, to digest, to invent, to dispose,
and to utter too. I do not suppose, that a Man ever applied himself to
Translation, if he felt in himself any of the heavenly Fire which
animates a great Genius, or was ambitious of Fame by the Merit of an
Epick Poem. It must be own'd, that Judgement is requisite in Translation
as well as Composition, not only to preserve the Spirit of the Original,
but also to make Choice of such a One as the Translator may be best able
to manage. Mr. _Charles Hopkins_ was Master of this Secret; and instead
of attempting _Homer_ or _Virgil_, he contented himself with _Ovid_, and
succeeded to Admiration. _Hopkins_ knew, that the Manners and Sentiments
in _Ovid_ were natural and universal, which must please in all Ages;
whereas, but a very few can relish the Quarrels and Battles, which are
the main Subject of the _Ilias_. The Learned have explained to us, for
what it is that our Adoration is due to _Homer_: For the Unity and
Greatness of his Fable, the Variety and Dignity of his Characters, and
his sublime Thought and Expression; I dare not say Diction and
Sentiments, because the _Spectator_ has disgraced the Use of technical
Terms, by calling it Cant; and supposing, that those who use them, do it
to disguise their Ignorance, and shew their Vanity in critical Phrase.

I should be glad to know, which it is of all _Homer_'s before-mention'd
Excellencies, that has so delighted the Ladies, and the Gentlemen who
judge like Ladies; or whether ever a One of those Excellencies has been
at all distinguished from the Other; or whether there is any
Possibility of expressing the Sublime of the _Greek_ Tongue in our
Language. As to the Sentiments, which are a principal Part of Epick
Poetry, they may be translated; we very probably think much after the
same Manner the _Greeks_ did, though we do not speak so. The Passions
are the same in all humane Nature; and probably the Expression of them,
by so great a Master of our Tongue as the Translator of _Homer_, may
gain as much as it may lose by the Translation. But the Mischief of it
is, these Sentiments are that Part of the _Ilias_ which the Criticks
have made most bold with:

    _For who, without a Qualm, hath ever look'd
    On holy Garbage, though by_ Homer _cook'd?
    Whose railing Heroes, and whose wounded gods,
    Make some suspect he snores as well as nods.
    But I offend_--------
                                                             Roscom.

_Dormitat Homerus_; that _Homer_ sometimes sleeps, was said before by
_Horace_. The _Spectator_ informs us, that _Homer_ is censured by the
Criticks, for his Defect as to the Sentiments in several Parts of the
_Ilias_ and _Odysses_. However, it is most certain, that the Translation
of _Homer_ must have pleased Ladies and Gentlemen by these very
Sentiments, or by the Translator's beautiful Diction and Versification.
But then all the great Parts of Epick Poetry are lost to them,
especially those that depend on the Dignity and Strength of Expression,
which will not be pretended to be entirely preserved in the _English_
Version.

Reading _Dacier_ a few Days since, I was extreamly surprised at a
Criticism of his on a Translation of _Homer_, by a much greater Critick
than himself, even _Horace_ his Master, who has thus translated the
Beginning of the _Odyssey_:

    Dic mihi, Musa, virum, captæ post tempora Trojæ,
    Qui mores Hominum Multorum vidit & Urbes.

    _Muse, sing the Man, who after_ Troy _was taken
    The Manners of many Men and Cities saw._

I have aimed to be literal here, the better to explain _Dacier_'s
Remarks. _There are considerable Faults in this Translation_, says
Monsieur _Dacier_, _he has forgotten the Epithet πολυτροπον,
which marks_ Ulysses_'s Character; he neglects the Circumstance
that makes us most concern'd for him, ὅς μαλα πλάγχθη, who
wandered a long Time, he says in a loose Way, after the Taking of_ Troy;
_whereas, it is in_ Homer _after having ruined_ Troy. Now, if _Horace_,
who had studied and admired _Homer_ so much, as to make him a Pattern
for all future Writers of _Heroick_ Poems, could mistake three Times in
translating two Lines, what a Discouragement must it have been to those
who knew how he had succeeded in attempting it? 'Tis true, no Poet will
ever undertake a Translation with more Advantage than the last
Translator of _Homer_ had; for besides Eight or Ten Versions in _Latin_,
_Italian_, _French_, &c. there are Three or Four in _English_; a Prose
Translation by Madam _Dacier_, and a Cart-load of Comments in all
Languages. I am satisfy'd so good a Versifyer as the Translator of the
_Ilias_ might with those Helps, have made a very good Translation,
without understanding any more _Greek_ than my self; and nothing in the
World could have been more easy, than out of one Commentator to have
corrected another, and to have alter'd and amended the Reading in the
Name of any of the Criticks, from _Eustathius_ down to _Dacier_. I do
not boast of being Master of _Greek_ enough to read _Homer_ with so much
Pleasure in the Original as I could do in a good Version, and it is much
to be question'd, whether every one that can read him in the Original do
understand what they read: Several Ladies and Gentlemen have subscribed
for _Chaucer_ of the _Christ-Church_ Edition, but I doubt very much
whether they understand him or not, and whether a great many, who can
read _Greek_, do really know what they read. One of the greatest Masters
of the _Greek Tongue_, in our Time, has often question'd whether there
were Twenty Men in _England_ who understood the Strength, Beauty, and
Elegance of that Language, tho' there are a Thousand that pretend to it.
He represented it as a Study for a Man's Life, and I am confirm'd in
this Judgement by what _Menage_ tells us of himself, and others upon
this Subject. 'Tis well known _Menage_ wrote several Things in _Greek_,
particularly some Odes in Imitation of _Anacreon_, which are not thought
inferiour to the _Teian_ Poet's; _J'ay toujours fait beaucoup de cas de
ceux qui savent le grec_, &c. _He always highly valued those that
understood_ Greek. He does not mean to construe and parse it as Boys do
at School, which is the most of what we find in those who pretend to be
Masters of it. _Without this Language_, continues he, _a Man can't be
said to be more than half Learned: Monsieur_ Cotelier, _Monsieur de_
Treville, _and Monsieur_ Bigot, _are the only Men in_ France, _who can
read the_ Greek _Fathers in the Original._ I suppose the Fathers are not
so difficult as _Homer_ with respect to the Tongue at least; for the
Language of Poetry is peculiar to it, a made Language compounded and
metaphorical. If it be so, the Translation of the _Ilias_, from the
_Greek_ of _Homer_, must shew the Translator to be a greater Master of
the _Greek_ Language than all the Learned Men in _France_ except Three,
and all the Learned Men in _England_ except about Twenty. For my own
Part, I confess, I make bold with all Kinds of Versions to help me out
in Originals, and am not asham'd to do as _Menage_ did; _I own I do not
understand_ Pindar _enough_, says he, _to take Pleasure in him_. I have
heard _Pindar_ quoted a Hundred Times by Persons who were very far from
being so modest as _Menage_, and fully satisfy'd themselves that they
understood him as well as the _Græcians_, to whom he read his _Odes_,
tho' I suspected the contrary. _Menage_, again; _I never read a_ Greek
_Author without having before read the Translation_.

I do not insinuate any thing to depreciate the Translator of _Homer_'s
excellent Performance, which, as I have observ'd, has the Merit of the
most pure and harmonious Diction and Versification; but to hint a little
of the Confusion of our Taste, and the Irregularity of our Judgement,
which like Things for Beauties which they have not, and not for those
which they have. Thus the Version of _Homer_ is lik'd as a Translation
of the best _Epick_ Poem that ever was written, and not for the Softness
and Sweetness of the Elegy, which are every where to be met with, as
where the God _Apollo_ appears in the Shape of _Agenor_:

    _Flies from the furious Chief in this Disguise,
    The furious Chief still follows as he flies._

This is what the _French_ call _Jeu des Mots_, playing upon Words, and
what _Dryden_'s _Virgil_ is full of, tho' he knew as well as any Body
that it was a Fault: _The Turn of Thoughts, and Words_, says he, _is the
chief Talent of the_ French; _but the_ Epick _Poem is too stately to
receive such little Ornaments_, which would have been in Perfection in a
Version of _Ovid_, and very little agrees with _Waller_ in his Epistle
to my Lord _Roscommon_;

    _Well sounding Verses are the Charm we use,
    Heroick Thoughts, and Virtue to infuse:
    Things of deep Sense, we may in Prose unfold,
    But they move more, in lofty Numbers told:
    By the loud Trumpet, which our Courage aids,
    We learn that Sound, as well as Sense, perswades._

In these Things our Taste is strangely confin'd: provided the Verses run
smoothly, and the Language is soft and harmonious, we think it is fine:
Let the Subject be a _Boreas_, or a _Zephyr_: Nay, I do not question but
the Couplet I quoted out of the _English_ _Homer_ is reckon'd one of the
finest of the Version by Ladies, and Gentleman who judge like Ladies,
and who are the Nine in Ten of all Readers of Poetry. I confess, I am
much more pleas'd with the following Verses, as rough and rumbling as
they are, because they participate of the Roughness of the Thing which
is imag'd to us,

    _Jumping high o'er the Shrubs of the rough Ground,
    Rattle the clattering Cars, and the shockt Axles bound._

When such assimilating the Sound to the Sense is not affected 'tis very
agreeable; but when there is any Force or Affectation in it, 'tis
puerile and distasteful.

The following Description of the Poetical Fire, which several Poets were
enflam'd with, seems to be somewhat deficient, and to want farther
Explanation; especially where the Translator tells us, MILTON's Fire _is
like a Furnace, but_ Shakespear_'s like a Fire from Heaven_: VIRGIL's
like a _Kenning-Glass_, and _Lucan_'s and _Statius_'s like _Lightning_.
The _Kenning-Glass_ should have given me no Manner of Disturbance: But
why is _Milton_'s _Celestial Fire_ compar'd to that which destroy'd the
_Three Children_; the Fire of a Furnace is boisterous and voracious,
consuming whatever is within its Reach. _Milton_'s Fire, like that of
the Sun, warms and enlivens; and if ever any was fetch'd from Heaven,
'twas that, which shines with so much radiant Brightness throughout his
whole Poem. I was the more shockt with this Misrepresentation of
_Milton_'s Fire, for that there's something burlesque in the very
Expression, a _Furnace_, and one can't help being jealous that this
Passage of _Hudibras_ might give the Hint for it.

    Talgol, _who had long possest
    Enflamed Rage in glowing Breast,
    Which now began to rage, and burn as
    Implacably as Flame in Furnace._

Tho' I am very far from taking _Dryden_ to be a perfect Master of
Criticism, yet I do not think his Deficiency proceeded from Want of
Judgement so much as from Inconsistency and Vanity, and an Opinion that
he was Tyrant of _Parnassus_, and might govern by Will and Pleasure
instead of Law and Reason. I have observed elsewhere that he adapts his
Prefaces to the Circumstances of every Play and Poem, and very often
contradicts in one what he had said in another: Nay, in his Essay on
_Dramatick Poetry_, the Contradiction is within a few Lines of the
Assertion, as thus; _There is no Theater in the World has any Thing so
absurd as the_ English Tragi-Comedy, which he confirms by this Verse;

    _Atq; ursem & Pugiles media inter Carmina poscunt_.

And a little after; _I cannot but conclude, to the Honour of our Nation,
that we have invented, encreased, and perfected, a more pleasant Way of
Writing than was ever known to the Antients or Moderns of any Nation,
which is_ Tragi-Comedy. _One of the most monstrous Inventions_, says the
_Spectator_, _that ever enter'd into the Poet's Thought. An Author might
as well think of weaving the Adventures of_ Æneas _and_ Hudibras _into
one Poem, as of writing such a motley Piece of Mirth and Sorrow_.
Whatever others thought of Mr. _Dryden_'s Criticisms, he did himself
full Justice, and seem'd to despise all other Criticks at the same Time
that he laid himself most open to them. _These little Criticks do not
well consider what the Work of the Poet is, and what the Graces of a
Poem; the Story is the least Part of either._ Pref. to _Moch-Astrol._
Against him is every Critick, ancient and modern, from _Aristotle_ to
_Rimer_, and more than all of them against him is his own self. In
another Place he writes thus; _The Fable is without doubt the chief Part
of a Tragedy, because it contains the Action, and the Action contains
the Happiness or Misery, which is the End of Tragedy. Without the Fable
the Poet, who had otherwise good Manners, Sentiments, and Diction, would
no more have made a regular Poem, than a Painter would have made a good
Picture that had mingled Blue, Yellow, Red, and other Colours confusedly
together._ I do not mention these Things to lessen Mr. _Dryden_'s great
Character as a Poet; but to shew how well Dr. _Felton_ could judge of
it, when he recommended him to us as a Critick. Against Mr. _Dryden_, as
to the _Story_, _is Rapin_, who he assures us would _be alone
sufficient, were all other Criticks lost, to teach a-new the Rules of
Writing_. Against his _Rapin_ we find the Translator of _Homer_ in an
extraordinary Manner in his Notes on the Fifth _Iliad_. I hope it did
not arise from any Resentment for that Jesuit's reflecting on those
Poets who seem to place the Essence of Poetry in fine Language, and
smooth Verse, to which he ascribes its present Decay. _As if the Art
consisted only in Purity and Exactness of Language: This indeed pleased
well, and was much to the Advantage of Women that had a Mind to be
tampering in Writing Verse: They found it their Concern to give Vogue to
this Kind of Writing, of which they were as capable as the most Part of
Men: For all the Secret was no more than to make some little easy
Verses, in which they were content if they cou'd dress some soft
passionate Thoughts_, &c. The most of our modern Poets being interested
in this Affair, I shall say no more of it.

I have hinted more than once, that such Poets, and their Admirers,
almost always mistake Affectation for Beauty, and I wonder the
Translator of _Homer_ should give them the least Countenance by his
Example; for I am very much deceiv'd if there is a more affected Period
in the _English_ Tongue than what follows: _Nothing is more lively_ and
Picturesque _than the_ Attitude _of_ Patroclus _is describ'd in; The_
Pathetick _of his Speech is finely_ contrasted _by the_ Fierte _of_
Achilles. Again, _There's something inexpressibly_ riant _in the_
Compartments of _Achilles_'s Shield. In the _Spectator_, Nº 297. you
read thus: _The last Fault which I shall take notice of in Stile, is the
frequent Use of_ technical _Words or Terms of Art_. The bringing in more
_French_ Words to soften and enervate our Stile is of very ill
Consequence. The Translator, besides _Riant_, has also _Traits_,
_ensanguin'd_, &c. I doubt, the Last is hardly a Word in any other
Language, and does not at all enrich our own. _Dryden_, in an Epistle to
the Earl of _Orrery_, has this Remark upon it: _I wish we might at
length leave to borrow Words of another Nation, which is now a
Wontonness in us, not a Necessity: But so long as some affect to speak,
there will not be wanting others, who will have the Boldness to write
them_.

If I might make Use of the Word _Contrast_, nothing can be more so than
Affectation and Simplicity; and the Translator seems, either not to have
a just Notion of the Latter, or to have a very ill Opinion of it: For
without distinguishing between Simplicity and Negligence, he affirms,
_That Simplicity is a Word of Disguise for a shameful unpoetical Neglect
of Expression_, he makes no Exception in this general Charge. And thus
one of the greatest Beauties of both Thought and Expression is rendered
one of the greatest Deformities. Father _Bouhours_ asserts, that
_Simplicity contributes the most of any Thing to make a Stile perfect_;
and again, _The Holy Scripture, the Stile of which is, at the same Time,
so_ simple _and so_ sublime.

Mr. _Addison_ has treated of the noble Force of Simplicity as it relates
to Thought; and in the following Verses, if I am not mistaken, the
Simplicity of Expression as well as Thought is noble:

    _So chear'd he his fair Spouse, and she was chear'd;
    But silently a gentle Tear let fall
    From either Eye, and wip'd them with her Hair.
    Two other precious Drops, that ready stood
    Each in their chrystal Sluice, he 'ere they fell
    Kist, as the gracious Signs of sweet Remorse,
    And pious Awe, that fear'd to have offended._

It is certain, Simplicity, as well as other Virtues in Speech, has its
Vice, and that is Meanness which falls naturally into Burlesque, as this
Line:

    _Then he will talk--good gods! How he will talk._

Which the _Spectator_ speaks of as inexpressibly beautiful for its
Simplicity, though I think one can hardly repeat it with a grave Tone;
and when I have heard it pronounced on the Stage in a burlesque Way, as
it is in _The Plot and No Plot_; it has never fail'd of a hearty Laugh
and Clap. _Spectator_, Nº 39. _There is a Simplicity in the Words,
which out-shines the utmost Pride of Expression_; and he attributes it
to the Break, _good gods_! He also informs us, that the Thought is at
once _natural_, _soft_, _passionate_, and _simple_. It would have been
well for us, if the learned Critick had told us in what this Thought is
_simple_, in what _passionate_, in what _soft_, and in what _natural_,
there being so few Words to express it; and I cannot help thinking, that
it is but one fond Rant of an amorous Woman. True it is, Simplicity is
not of it self very wordy, but methinks the Break, _good gods!_ has more
of the _Passionate_ in it, than of the _Simple_ or the _Soft_; and may
be as well used in Anger as in Love, as well in a Fright as in a
Transport. It would have gone a good Way in explaining the different
Kinds of Thought, if the judicious Author had distinguished them in this
Line; for there are not so many Kinds in one Verse in all Father
_Bouhour_'s _Maniere de bien penser_. I would not be mistaken here, nor
be charged with Ostentation, in setting up my Judgement in Opposition to
the _Spectator_'s; from whose Writings and Lessons, I have learned more
than from all other Authors. I only offer it as an Instance, that the
Best of our Criticks do not seem to have gone to the Bottom of this
Subject. It never enter'd into the Heads of Writers and Readers in
General, that Thought was any Thing but Thought, or Stile any Thing but
Stile, or that there were any other Terms or Distinctions for them, but
the Good and the Bad, as is already hinted; nor were they at all
sensible of my Lord _Roscommon_'s Meaning in these Verses:

    _Whose incoherent Stile, like sick Men's Dreams,
    Varies all Shapes, and mixes all Extreams._

The same may be said of Thought.

I want very much to be informed, whether there is a perfect Agreement of
Thought in these several Quotations out of _Homer_, or how they must be
understood so as not to contradict one another. The first Couplet is
against _Wine_:

    _Inflaming Wine, pernicious to Mankind,
    Unnerves the Limbs, and dulls the noble Mind._

The next Couplet is for Wine:

    _With_ Thracian _Wines recruit thy honour'd Guests,
    For happy Counsels flow from sober Feasts._

What follows taken out of the _Notes_ upon _Homer_ is against Wine.
_What_ Hector _says against Wine in the two first Verses has a great
Deal of Truth in it: It is a vulgar Mistake to imagine the Use of Wine,
either raises the Spirits or encreases Strength._

The next Words are for Wine:

    _Then with a plenteous Draught refresh his Soul,
    And draw new Spirits from the generous Bowl._

Again for Wine:

    _For Strength consists in Spirits and in Blood,
    And those are ow'd to generous Wine and Food._

And the Translator's Observation, that the moderate Use of Wine does not
raise the Spirits, is not the truer, because it is said by _Hector_, the
Son of _Priam_. Father _Sirmond_, a sober reverend as well as learned
Priest says quite another Thing:

    Si bene commemini causæ sint quinque bibendi,
    Hospitis Adventus, præsens Sitis, atque futura,
    Et Vini bonitas, & quælibet altera Causa.

    _If all be true_, &c.

Whoever reads an Author with Exactness cannot fail of meeting with
several Passages, where Self-love, Humour, Party, or Complexion, are
uppermost. Thus a good Catholick will never have a good Word for a
Heretick, nor a _Puritan_ for a _Papist_. Dr. _Ch----_ will never speak
well of Punch, nor Dr. _Mand----_ of Watergruel. He who writes well is
jealous of him who judges well, and he who judges well envies him who
writes well. The _Swifts_ turn every Thing into Grimace, the _Whistons_
into Mathematicks, and whatever touches an Author's own Taste, he is
always recommending to his Reader.

We all remember how the Duke of _Malborough_ was treated by the blessed
Peace-makers for beating their Friends the _French_. _Delight in War_
was a Mark set upon him in a most solemn Manner, and a memorable
Instance of our Wisdom and Gratitude. There is a Paraphrase upon it in
the Version of _Homer_; and when the Application is made will turn the
_Epick_ into Satyr.

    _Curs'd is the Man, and void of Law and Right,
    Unworthy Property, unworthy Light;
    Unfit for publick Rule or private Care,
    That Wretch, that Monster who delights in War;
    Whose Lust is Murder, and whose horrid Joy
    To tear his Country_, &c.

To _tear_ a Country is very much in Heroicks. The Image of _Discord_ has
good Lines in it; but methinks they would not have been the Worse, if
they had been heated a little in _Milton_'s Furnace:

    _Discord, dire Sister of the slaughtering Pow'r,
    Small at her Birth,_ but rising ev'ry Hour;
    _While scarce the Skies her horrid Head can bound,
    She stalks on Earth, and_ shapes _the World around:
    The Nations bleed, where e'er her Steps she turns,
    The Groan still deepens, and the Combat burns._

I refer to the Judgement of the Reader, whether the following Image of
Discord taken from a modern burlesque Poem, has not more of the Epick in
it:

    Non tulit invisæ speciem Discordia Pacis,
    Ilicet horrentes ad fibila concitat hydros,
    Ulcisci jubet Ira nefas. Spumantia felle
    Ora tument, micat ex oculis ardentibus Ignis.

    _Discord enrag'd at the Approach of Peace
    Made her Snakes hiss, and urg'd to dire Revenge.
    Her foaming Mouth of horrid Poison full,
    From her red Eyes she darted Flakes of Fire._

The new invented Words made use of by the Translator of _Homer_ are well
enough chosen, and well warranted by the Practice of the greatest Poets,
such as _Moveless_, _Instarr'd_, _Inurn'd_, _Conglobe_, _Deathful_,
_Fountful_, _Lengthful_:

    _But if you write of Things abstruse and new,
    Words of your own inventing may be us'd._
                                                             Roscom.

I have mention'd some of the Helps which were prepared for the
Translator of the _Ilias_. But Dr. _Felton_ informs us, Dr. _Busby_
would not allow of Notes; a very curious Remark That. It is not
impossible, but Dr. _Busby_ himself might have read and taught _Homer_
50 Years as a _Grammarian_, without understanding him as a Poet. A
Portion of that Genius which inspir'd the Author is requisite for the
Reader to see all the Beauties that are in a Poem. I believe the Lord
_Roscommon_'s Judgement will be preferred to that of both those Doctors:

    _Search every Comment that your Care can find,
    Some here, some there, may hit the Poet's Mind._

If the Translator of _Homer_ search'd every Comment, his Labour was more
than _Herculean_. I own my self extreamly edify'd by what he says of
Antiquaries; applying a Saying of my Lord _Bacon_'s to them: _In General
they write for Ostentation not for Instruction, and their Works are
perpetual Repetitions._ The Reason is plain, they have no Fund of their
own, they must therefore borrow from those that have. It is necessary
there should be such Men, but the Dryness and Barrenness of their
Studies are inconsistent with a lively Fancy and a good Taste; and I
know not which of the Antiquaries deserve most to be rever'd by us,
those that would restore lost Words, Letters, and Points, or those that
would recover lost Fable or History. To know exactly where _Brute_ built
his _Palace Royal_, where _Bladud_ set up his _Laboratory_ would be
something; as also to prove, that _Cassibelan_ liv'd where my Lord
_Essex_ now does at _Cashiobury_; or that _Constantine the Great_ was a
_Yorkshire_ Man; which Things have been attempted, would be as much to
the Glory of the Students in Antiquity, as to find out a lost _Comma_,
or restore a Letter to a Word that was robb'd of it 1500 Years ago. But
as for our Monkish Antiquaries, and the Monastick Learning, it seems to
be reserv'd for the Improvement of those, whose Minds, like barren
Soils, will never bear without dunging. They are always turning up the
Ruins of old Convents, and hope like the Cock to find a Jewel in the
Dunghill. They dig for holy Water-Pots and Crucifixes, as greedily as
the modern _Romans_ dig for Medals, Images, and Urns. To know whether
such an Abbey was founded in the Papacy of Pope _Joan_ or Pope
_Boniface_, in what Dormitory such a Monk slept, and in what
Penitentiary such a Nun was disciplined, must needs be very edifying.
But most of all the Deciding of historical Debates by old Charters,
which, with a little curious Examination, will be found to be forged
ones. Many of this Kind are printed by _Dugdale_, as I shall have
Occasion to remark elsewhere. If these Antiquaries could fix the same
Authority on _Monkish_ Writings, as we are told of _Homer_'s, that the
Claims of two Cities to certain Limits, were determined by what he said
of them in his _Ilias_, it would be worth every one's while to read the
Monks instead of the Classicks; And I doubt not Dr. _Felton_ would have
succeeded better if he had given us Instruction in the Monkish Learning,
than he has done in the _Classical_. But since their Writings prove
nothing but their Ignorance and Superstition, I believe Men of Taste and
Genius will be so generous as to leave such hidden Treasures to enrich
those, whose Invention and Judgement lie under the Calamity of the most
extream Poverty. There is nothing but Labour and Patience requisite to
acquire a Mastery in these Studies, whether the Matter collected be good
or bad, 'tis the same Thing if it be Old, if it be _Teutonick_ or
_Runick_, _Danish_ or _Saxon_, that's sufficient. A Man who has any
Warmth in his Imagination, and any Delicacy in his Taste, cannot be
always raking in the Rubbish of barbarous Ages, and groping in _Gothick_
Darkness. A good Proof of the small Talent necessary for this Work is,
that there hardly ever was an Author among these Monkish Antiquaries,
but his Language was as barbarous as his Subject. Such Sort of
Scholarship is, I own, very serviceable to those that know how to make a
good Use of others Labours; but the Merit of the Scholar consists
rather in the Goodness of his Eyes, and the Strength of his Head, than
in the Fineness of his Genius, or the Regularity of his Judgement. I am
apt to think the Translator of _Homer_ had not the Admirers of these
Antiquities in his Thoughts, but refer'd to the Criticks and
Commentators on the _Greek_ and _Roman_ Authors: For he says, in another
Place, _To talk of the Genius of an Ancient, as_ Macrobius _did, is at
once the cheapest Way of shewing our own Taste, and the shortest Way of
criticising the Wit of others_. This must be only meant of those whom
Mr. _Dryden_ calls _Dutch_ Commentators, of those that do by the
Classicks, as Correctors of the Press do by their Copies, and instead of
applying themselves to the Sense stick close to the Letters, and look
out for _Dele's_ and _Addenda's_. This they call correcting and
restoring the Text; and it is much to be fear'd, that by this restoring
and correcting of the Commentators, and the Mistakes, Blunders and
Negligences of the Copiers, we have few or no Books of the Antients in
their original Purity and Perfection. However, there is Perfection
enough left in the Classical Writings to prove, That what the Translator
of _Homer_ says, does not relate to the Classicks themselves, but to
those that make an ill Use of them, and under their Name and Authority
insult the Moderns. The Lord _Bacon_ says somewhere, that what we call
the Antiquity was the Youth of the World, and that we are properly the
Antients as the Inhabitants of an older World, and having made infinite
Improvements in all the most useful Parts of Learning.

I dare not say, there is a Quibble in the Expression of so illustrious a
Writer, but I must always take the Authors that wrote 1500 or 2000 Years
ago to be the Antients; and one may very well Question, whether there
was not as much useful Learning lost in twelve or thirteen Centuries of
Barbarism and Ignorance, as has been discover'd, or rather recovered in
two or three of the last Ages.

The Antiquaries the Translator speaks of would do Wonders, if they would
make it out that the Letter sent to the King of _Edessa_, and the
Passage in _Josephus_'s Book XVIII, relating to our Saviour, are
genuine, with several other Particularities, which are much insisted
upon by Ecclesiastical Writers. The _Spectator_ has told us something
too of Antiquity, which wants the Confirmation of the Antiquaries, and
that is a Quotation out of a Manuscript in the _Vatican_ Library, where
_Longinus_ is made to say, Paul _of_ Tarsus, _the Patron of an Opinion
not fully proved, must be reckon'd among the best_ Græcian _Orators_.
This must be a downright Forgery: _Longinus_ surely knew the _Greek_
Tongue too well, to cry up the Eloquence of a Writer in it, who, as St.
_Jerome_ says, did not understand _Grammar_, and mentions the Places
where he err'd, _Propter Imperitiam Artis Grammaticæ_. See _Gregory_ on
the _Septuagint_. It were to be wished, that the Ecclesiastical Writers,
even of the earliest Centuries, had suffer'd nothing to escape them that
was improbable, if not incredible. 'Tis also much wanted to have further
Proof of the Ceasing of Oracles at the Nativity of our Saviour, and that
_Virgil_ prophesy'd of it in his fourth Eclogue. We should be still more
oblig'd to them, if they would prove, that the _Sibyl_'s Verses are a
Prophecy of the same Thing, which Things are generally asserted in the
Writings of the Ecclesiasticks. As to Oracles _Lucian_ tells us, Answers
were given in his Time, that of the Emperor _Commodus_ 160 Years after,
_Juvenal_ makes their Ceasing to be only 100 Years after:

    --------Delphis Oracula cessant.

_Theodoret_ writes, that _Julian_ the Apostate received an Answer from
_Apollo_ at _Delphos_, 300 Years after the Birth of our Saviour. All
which may be seen in Bishop _Potter_'s _Greek_ Antiquities, a most
excellent Book; and if we had more such Antiquaries as that learned
Prelate's and Mr. _Basil Kennet_'s who wrote the Antiquities of _Rome_,
we might at the same Time improve ourselves both in antient and polite
Learning. These being, I think the two most valuable Pieces of the Kind
in any Language. As the middle Way is safest in all Things, so as to the
Antients to run them down as _Perrault_ has done, or cry them up as
_Boileau_ is perhaps equally dangerous, and out of the Medium. Whatever
Advantages we have had of the Antients, probably they had the same of
those that preceeded them. This we know, that the _Latins_ borrow'd as
much from the _Greeks_ as we have borrow'd from them; and it would be no
difficult Matter to prove, that in all the Branches of polite
Literature, the Moderns, particularly the _English_, have excell'd the
Antients in as many as the Antients excelled them.

The Passage of my Lord _Bacon_'s before cited, gave Occasion to Monsieur
_Perrault_, to bring in that noble Author for an Evidence on his Side
against the Antients: But _Boileau_ vindicates him in this Point; and
Father _Bouhours_, as another Instance of his excellent Judgement,
declares he prefers the Lord Chancellor _Bacon_ before the most
celebrated Names of Antiquity. _Rapin_ calls him the greatest _Genius of
England_, and he has not more Glory from his own Countrymen than from
the learned Men in _France_.

I expect no Quarter from the Dealers in monastick Learning, in Heraldry,
and Genealogy, who generally doat upon them even to Frenzy. _Du Val_ in
his Geography informs us, that there is a Nation in _America_, bordering
on the River of the _Amazons_, where old Women go off better than young;
under a Notion, that the Knowledge of the One is preferable to the
Vigour and Beauty of the Other. Thus these Men please themselves more
with the Dryness and Gravity of Antiquity, than with a beautiful
Imagination, and the Charms of Eloquence. I believe their Opinion will
not have many Followers, nor their Example be much imitated. However,
when such an Antiquary as the great _Selden_ appears in the World, the
Instruction it will receive from him, more than makes amends for the
Labour and Time which others lose in hunting after worthless
Manuscripts, forg'd Charters, and monkish Fables. The learned and polite
Dr. _Bathurst_ of _Oxford_, wrote an admirable Poem on the Death of
_Selden_:

    _So fell the sacred_ Sibyl, _when of Old
    Inspir'd with mere than mortal Breast could hold:
    The gazing Multitude stood doubtful by,
    Whether to call it Death or Extasy:
    She silent lies, and now the Nations find
    No Oracles, but i' th' Leaves she left behind._

_Selden etant sans Contredit le plus docte des Anglois moderns._ 'Tis
said by a _Frenchman_ and a _Papist_; but as much as _Selden_ was an
Oracle, and a Glory to our Country, Archbishop _Laud_ his Brethren would
have thrust his learned Head into a Pillory, if they could have come at
him. I don't know whether it was for his History of _Tythes_ or not; but
that would have been hard after he had been so fully answer'd by
Doctors of both Universities; who, however, were not, _Les plus Doctes
des Anglois moderns_. Judicious Antiquaries ever were, and ever will be
in Esteem. Those that meddle with Things solid and useful. None of the
Pretenders to this Sort of Knowledge, are more despicable than such as
deal in old Terms and Phrases, who generally affect a Contempt for those
that are in present Use as weak and effeminate. The Emperor _Augustus_
could not bear these Men, any more than _Punster_'s whom he heartily
despis'd. The Spectator, Nº 470. has with much Pleasantry animadverted
on those Criticks in Readings, and has brought in the _Cotton Library_,
_Aldus_, _Scaliger_, _Scioppius_, _Salmasius_, the elder _Stephens_, and
a Heap of old Manuscripts, to clear up the Difficulties in certain
Lyrick Verses, about _a Shape_, _an Eye_, _Wit_, _Charms_, Corinna _and_
Belvedera.

As scrupulous and as curious as these _Antiquaries_ would be thought to
be, one might fill Volumes with Examples of the most notorious Mistakes
and Blunders in the Writings of the most learned among them; which are
not taken notice of to lessen the Credit they have worthily acquir'd,
but to shew the Infirmity of humane Nature, which will always be
attended with Errours, and never arrive at Perfection as we have
elsewhere observ'd after _Horace_:

    --------_Non ego Paucis_, &c.

But in such Authors, what is good more than atones for what is not so,
and 'tis only where a Writer shews a Defect in Will as well as
Judgement, that he renders himself blame-worthy, especially in History.
Several of these Blunders are collected by _Marville_ in his _Melange_,
&c. 'Tis remark'd of _Pliny_, that in translating _Democritus_, he says,
the Camelion is like a Crocodile, and altogether as big--The
_Crocodalos_ of _Democritus_ is in the _Jonick_ Dialect, a _Lizard_,
which may be about some ten thousand Times less than a Crocodile, and
yet a great many Times bigger than a _Camelion_. _Eutychius_ speaking of
_Eusebius_ of _Cesarea_, sirnamed _Pamphilus_, calls him _Eusebius_,
Bishop of the City of _Phili_. _Quintus Curtius_ mistakes _Arabia Fælix_
for _Arabia Deserta_. He confounds the _Euxine_ with the _Caspian_ Sea,
and makes the Rivers _Tygris_ and _Euphrates_ run through _Media_,
which they never enter'd. Mr. _Simon_, in his critical History, takes
_Suna_ and _Fratela_, two Officers of the _Gothick_ Army, for two
_German_ Ladies. The Life of _Charlemagne_, written by _Acciaioli_,
having been often joyn'd with _Plutarch_'s Lives, was published by
_Vicellius_ as written by _Plutarch_, who liv'd 6 or 700 Years before
_Charlemagne_. _Gerard Vossius_ affirms, that the Society of the
_Sorbonne_ was instituted by _Robert_, Brother of _S. Lewis_ King of
_France_, instead of _Robert_ sirnamed _Sorbonne_ from the Place of his
Nativity. _Pallavicini_ in his History of the Council of _Trent_, says
_Lansac_, the _French_ Ambassador, was Knight of the Order of the Holy
Ghost, which was not instituted till twenty Years after; but what has
particular Relation to us _Englishmen_ is the Charge against _Dodwel_:
_Dodowel dans ses Dissertations sur Saint Cyprien prend la Ville
d'Olympe pour une Olympiade,_ takes the City _Olympus_ for an
_Olympiade_, the Name of the Place where, for the Date of the Year when
it was done, which is Matter of much Humiliation to all such as believe
it impossible for so learned and orthodox a Man to commit so great an
Oversight; and plainly proves to us, that those who write of what past
1000 or 2000 Years ago, are as likely to err, as those who write of what
past three or fourscore Years ago. Whoever has a Curiosity to see more
of the _Blunderings_, which the most learned are charg'd with, such as
the _Port Royal_, _Baronius_, _Vasquez_, _Du Cange_, _Varillas_,
_L'Abbé_, &c. may have full Satisfaction in _Marville_'s _Melange_, _p.
208. & seq._ taken from a Book written by _Boileau_'s Uncle, entituled,
_Colloquium Criticum de Sphalmætis viromum in re literaria illustrium_.
Of what Size would the Book be, if we should examine with the same
Exactness, _Nalson_, _Heylin_, _Wharton_, _Collier_, _Dugdale_, _Brady_,
the _Grand Rebellion_, the _Histories_, _&c._ And collect and publish
the Errours, both of the Will and the Judgement. Nor are these Names by
any Means more illustrious, than those we meet with in the _Colloquium_.

The Translator of _Homer_ has an Excuse for Mr. _Dryden_, which is much
more generous than just: He says, _His Haste in Writing ought not to be
imputed to him as a Fault, but to those who suffer'd so noble a Genius
to lie under the Necessity of it._ Mr. _Dryden_'s Genius did not appear
in any Thing more than his _Versification_; and whether the Criticks
will have it ennobled for that _Versification_ only, is a Question. The
Translator seems to make a good _Genius_ and a good Ear to be the same
Thing. _Dryden_ himself was more sensible of the Difference between
them, and when it was in Debate at _Will_'s Coffee-house, what Character
he would have with Posterity; he said, with a sullen Modesty, _I believe
they will allow me to be a good Versifier_. If we will believe Mr.
_Dryden_, he did not lie under the Necessity of Haste: In several of his
Dedications and Prefaces, he has declared, He never wanted. When he
renounced his Allegiance to King _William_, and disqualified himself for
keeping the Laureat's Place with that of Historiographer, he had a
Pension from the then Lord Chamberlain, the Earl of _Dorset_, which was
an Instance of Generosity that is rarely to be met with in the History
of _Lewis_ XIV, who paid more to Poets and Historians than all the
Princes of _Europe_. His Bounty has been extoll'd, even by those whom
his Bigotry had banish'd, yet he seldom let it extend to any of the
Reformed Religion, let their Merit be ever so great. Mademoiselle _le
Fevre_, afterwards Madam _Dacier_, dedicated a Book to that Prince, and
the Duke _de Montausier_ introduc'd her at Court; but the King would not
accept of the Book, nor admit that his Name should be put before the
Epistle.

The Duke, whose Character had some Bluntness in it, said, _Sir, Is this
the Way to encourage Learning: The Lady deserves well of your Majesty
and the Publick, and if you will not reward her your self, suffer me to
give her 100 Pistoles, I matter not whether I am paid again_: or Words
to that Effect. This Learned Lady was far from being an Enemy to the
Government as _Dryden_ was, and he did not stick to shew it upon all
Occasions, even when he was pension'd by my Lord Chamberlain. The Truth
is, he was like fond Fathers who can see no Faults in their Children;
and as to his hasty Writing, 'tis pretty well known that as easy as his
Verses appear to be, he came hard by them: He thought it a good Day's
Work if he could finish 40 Verses a Day; and some learned _Antiquaries_,
I suppose from a _MSS._ of _Virgil_'s Amanuensis, assure us, that _Maro_
wrote as many, and drawing them off the _Lee_ afterwards, in his
Poetical Limbeck, reduced them to Ten. _Godeau_, Bishop of _Vence_,
us'd to write 2 or 300 Verses a-day. I my self paid a Visit once to a
Verse-maker in an Afternoon, and saw 200 political Verses on his Table,
which he told me he had written since Dinner: By this Dispatch he soon
furnish'd out a _Folio_. _Dryden_ was so far from spying Blemishes in
his Works, that he often took them for Beauties, and particularly what
the _Italians_ call _Concetti_. This noted Rant in the _Conq. Gran._

    _I, alone am King of Me._

is happily imitated by him in his _State of Innocence_:

    _I my self am proud of Me_.

But to criticise on _Dryden_'s Prefaces and Plays is a much greater
Labour than to copy them all over, and equally ungenerous and
impertinent: If any one will compare his _Fall of Man_ with _Milton_'s
Paradise lost, he will quickly perceive to which of them it is that the
_noble Genius_ is to be apply'd; and if it belongs to _Milton_, some
other Epithet should be thought of for _Dryden_.

I have already observ'd, that I did not intend to form a regular
Discourse, and I think I have kept pretty well to my Intention: If the
Reader misses any Thing of Instruction by it, he will find it made up in
Entertainment. The Variety will excuse the Want of Method in a Subject
not so capable of it as where the Matter is certain and well known. I
wish I were able to give Examples of all Father _Bouhour_'s several
Kinds of Thoughts out of _English_ Authors, but Examples are much nicer
Work than Precepts. Every one may agree that a Thing ought to be so
done, but saw that it is so done. Men's Idea's of the same Things, vary
in the Reflection as much as their Views do in Prospect, according to
the Light they appear in. Dr. _Felton_ makes a Trifle of it in one Part
of his Preface, and an insuperable Difficulty in another. _I might, at
once, with the Trouble only of Transcribing, have adorn'd the Work, and
diverted the Reader._ Contrary to this, he says, _If any Body is pleas'd
to try, he will hardly find it practicable to illustrate these Rules by
Examples._ The Quotations, which he had before term'd transcribing
only, are not so easy as he imagin'd to be done with Beauty and
Judgement, was he sure of writing out nothing but what was as much to
the Purpose as if it had been made for it, otherwise he might have
transcrib'd puffy Thoughts for sublime, trifling Thoughts for pretty,
affected Thoughts for agreeable; in short, false Thoughts for fine ones,
and I am afraid that would have been his Misfortune, had he attempted
it. In his Preface he blames _Tully_ for quoting himself, and
_Aristotle_ for being dry; but as he has not gone much beyond the Latter
in his Criticisms, nor the Former in his Eloquence, so I believe their
Reputation will not be much the worse for him, and it had been better if
the Doctor had follow'd the Direction of _Quintillian_, Modesto tamen &
Circumspecto judicio, _&c. People should speak with a great deal of
Modesty and Circumspection of such great Men, for it may happen, as it
very often does, that they condemn what they do not understand._

I am apprehensive enough that this Undertaking will be censur'd as an
Effect of Vanity and Arrogance, and I am well enough acquainted with the
Spirit of the People I have to deal with,

    _Genus irritabile Vatum._

But I please my self with the Reflection, that I have not mingled the
least Spice of Malice in the Composition, as it relates to Criticism,
and am so far from being vain and arrogant, that I frequently and
sincerely declare, my chief Design was to excite some more capable
Writer to do what I knew my self uncapable of; and if any such Person
shall, by exposing my Errours, give the World a true Light, I will not
only gratefully follow it, but rejoyce at it, and take hold or the
Opportunity to have my Share of the Instruction, if it comes from clean
Hands, and is not defil'd with ill Manners and ill Language: Such
tutoring I shall despise, and it being very common for Authors to have
as good an Opinion of themselves as of any Body else, I shall not think
any Name of Authority enough to justify either Insolence or Scurrility.
About 40 Years ago there was a Student at _Oxford_, who acquir'd a good
Hand at a Fiddle; but, falling afterwards into Melancholy, he grew
averse to Musick, and could not be prevail'd upon by his Friends to
touch it: They had but one Way to excite him to it, and that was for
some unskilful Hand to take his Violin and scrape upon it; he would then
immediately snatch it away from him, and, in a Kind of Resentment, give
it the utmost Elegance of Sound and Harmony. I freely own I had this
Man's Example in my Head when I began this Essay, and should the Success
be the same, the End of it is answer'd.

I cannot close this Essay without taking Notice of the Perverseness of
Men, who pretend to Wit and Judgement, towards one another: It appears
mostly in Pretenders, and is very well markt by _Boileau_, in these two
Verses translated by Mr. _Dennis_, and equal to the Original:

    _Thus one Fool lolls his Tongue out at another,
    And shakes his empty Noddle at his Brother._

It was not so when Judgement and Wit were something more than Pretence
only, when they were in the Heighth of Excellence, under the Patronage
of _Augustus_. My Lord _Roscommon_, in his Preface to _Horace_'s Art of
Poetry writes thus: _I am below the Envy of the Criticks, but if I
durst, I would beg them to remember, that_ Horace _ow'd his Favour and
his Fortune to the Character given of him by_ Virgil _and_ Varius;
_that_ Fundanius _and_ Pollio _are still valued by what_ Horace _say of
them, and that in that Golden Age there was a good Understanding among
the Ingenious; and those who were the most esteem'd were the best
natur'd._ _Dryden_ has made the same Observation: _Certainly, the Poets
of_ Ovid_'s Age enjoy'd much Happiness in the Conversation and
Friendship of one another._ _The antient Criticks_, says the
_Spectator_, _are full of the Praises of their Contemporaries. They
discover Beauties which escap'd the Observation of the Vulgar, and very
often find out Reasons for palliating and excusing such Slips and
Oversights, as were committed in the Writings of eminent Authors._ Mr.
_Addison_ has imitated them in his Remarks upon _Milton_'s _Paradice
Lost_; but it must be allowed that the Task was made very easy, and the
Beauties shine so brightly, that there's no taking one's Eye off of
them. It has also been wish'd, that the two or three Slips in Expression
which he quotes out of _Milton_ had been excused, as they might have
been by observing, that if there's a Pun in the _Paradice Lost_, 'tis
the Devil that makes it.

One of the surest Signs, that the Wits of the past and present Age,
_English_ and _French_, are not of the Size of those of the Age of
_Augustus_, is their Jealousies and Broils. The _Spectator_ has this
Remark, Nº 409; _I cannot think, that_ Corneille, Racine, Moliere,
Boileau, La Fontaine, Bruyere, Bossu, _or the_ Dacier_'s, would have
written so well as they did, had they not been Friends and
Contemporaries._ 'Tis said very much in Favour of good Nature, and
therefore is very agreeable: But I Question, whether Emulation, and
sometimes even Resentment, may not produce very good Effects in the
Works of the Ingenious. _Facit Indignatio versus._ _Godeau_, _Vaugelas_,
_Malherbe_, were Men of great Merit; and so were also, _Maynard_, _La
Mothe Le Vayer_, and _Costar_; yet they wrote against one another with
some Acrimony.

'Tis Envy and Spleen, that produce a Set of Writers in _England_, call'd
_Answerers_, whose Modesty may be conceived by some of their Titles,
_The best Answer that ever was._ Part 1st. _The best Answer that ever
was._ Part the 2d. _A better Answer_ than the _best Answer_. The
_Unanswerable Answer_, by _Lesley_ and others. You can't publish a
_Pamphlet_ or _Essay_, but it is immediately snapt at to be answer'd:
Nay, Dr. _Halley_'s Calculation of the Eclipse in a Half-sheet had two
or three _political_ Answers.

The Itch of Answering is so great, that some Authors have taken it in
Dudgeon, not to have been thought worthy of an Answer; and to prevent
such Disgrace a second Time, have written on Purpose that they might
answer themselves. I have heard, that the learned and ingenious
_Robinson Crusoe_ is in the Number of these.

How can it be expected, that Men of Passions, worldly Minds, and Lay-men
should escape this Infection, when the Fathers themselves in the first
Ages of the _Church_, could not help writing against one another, with
as much Sharpness as any modern Writers. St. _Jerom_, in Particular, is
charg'd with this Weakness, in his Writings against _Lactantius_, St.
_Ambrose_, St. _Hilary_, _Didymus_. 'Tis said, that _he spar'd neither
Antients nor Moderns_; no not the inspir'd Elders that translated the
Septuagint: Himself having translated the Bible into _Latin_, and he
seem'd to be as fond of his Works as are other Translators.

Our Neighbours, the _French_, have not been altogether free from this
Humour of _Answering_, or rather writing against one another; as will
appear by the following List of a dozen Authors of a Side; most of them
of the _French_ Academy; and I might name as many more of equal Rank:

    _Balzac_,    }                    {_Pere Goulu_, _Theophile_.
    _Godeau_,    }                    {_Maynard_, _Vavasseur_.
    _Vaugelas_,  }                    {_La Mothe Le Vayer_.
    _Chapelain_, }                    {_Boileau_, _Ligniere_.
    _Ablancourt_,}                    {_Marole_.
    _Menage_,    }   Written against  {_Pere Bouhours_.
    _Costar_,    }         by         {_Girac_.
    _Malherbe_,  }                    {_Costar_.
    _Voiture_,   }                    {_Richelet_.
    _Bossu_,     }                    {_Perrault_.
    _Corneille_, }                    {_Dacier_.
    _Richelet_,  }                    {_Furetiere_.

As the most delicate Praise is that which has the _Face_ of Satyr, so
the most delicate Satyr is that which has the Face of Praise. Of the
latter Kind are the Verses to the honourable _Edward Howard_ on his
_incomparable_ and _incomprehensible_ Play. Those Verses were written by
the Duke of _Buckingham_, the Lord _Dorset_, Mr. _Waller_, and others.
Of the former Kind are several of _Voiture_'s Letters to the Prince of
_Conde_, and _Boileau_'s to the Duke _de Vivonne_ in Imitation of them.
Indeed we must allow, that the _French_ do understand the _Belle
Raillerie_ better than we do, at least for the Generality, there being
some Authors in _English_, that have succeeded in fine Raillery as well
as the _French_. Thus did Archbishop _Tillotson_ treat _Sergeant_ the
_Popish_ Priest: Thus Bishop _Sprat_ handled _Sorbiere_; and Dr.
_Burnet_ of the Charter-house treated one _Warren_ who had attack'd his
_Theory_. If our Answerers could write as they did, they would both
divert and instruct us. But we have already explained what they mean by
Raillery. They know not how to parry like good Fencers, and therefore
knock down like Cudgel Players.

The last Word puts me in Mind of a lower Order of Criticks, which are
rarely heard of within the Sound of _Bow-Bell_; and these are your
_Etymologists_ and your _Orthographists_, who turn to _Rider_ or _Holy
Oak_ for the Derivation of Words, and have the learned _Garretson_ and
other Helps for Spelling: But I know not whether this Essay may travel
far enough into the Country to be of any Use; and besides, I have not
converst enough with those Criticks that deal in Words and Letters only,
to be Master of the Subject, which is generally learn'd by such as make
a Penny of it in Conversation by laying Wagers, the Power and Test of
all rural Argument.

I must own the _Etymologists_ are by much the greater Men of the Two
than the _Orthographists_. I do affirm this, not only because it is
necessary to know the Roots of Languages, but because it is a greater
Mark of Scholarship, and has the Sanction of the most learned
Universities. The profoundest of our own Antiquaries have, in Favour of
the University of _Oxford_, found out an Etymology, that may match with
the famous One of _Diaper Napkin_: From whence comes King _Pepin_.
Bishop _Stillingfleet_ informs us, that the Champions for the Antiquity
of _Oxford_ say, that the old Name is _British_, and it is read
somewhere _Iren_ which should be read _Icen_, and that again _Ychen_,
and that _Rydychen_, and _Rydychen_ in the _British_ Tongue is _Vadum
Boum_ in _Latin_, and that in _English_, _Oxenford_, _Oxford_, and
_Oxon._ Such wonderful Discoveries are made by the venerable
Antiquaries. _Iren_ runs the Gauntlet through three Languages _Irish_,
_Welsh_, and _Latin_, before it drops into _English_, but considering
there is more _Greek_ in the _Welsh_ Tongue than there is _Latin_, it
may make Work for great Scholars, to shew their Scholarship in settling
the Matter as it should be with a Salvo for the Rights of the University
of _Cambridge_.

The Learned in _France_ have an Etymology almost as good as that of
_Oxford_ from _Iren_, which is the Word _Cemetiere_ a Church-yard; They
derive it from the _Latin_ Word _cum_ with, and _mittere_ to put, as
much as to say the dead Bodies are put together in one burying Place.
Thus the Boxes at the _Opera_ are a _Cemetiere_ or Church-yard, because
the Ladies and Gentlemen are put with one another there, and thus by
Virtue of the same Etymology, the Place where People are born and where
they are bury'd are all one, from _Cum_ with, and _Mittere_ to put, as I
have heard, that the same Word serves for Life and Death in one of the
oriental Languages.

As to _Orthography_, the only Passage I have read in a polite Author
concerning it is that of _Boileau_, who taxes _Perrault_ with false
Spelling, by putting an _s_ in one Word, and leaving out an _s_ in
another. By putting an _s_ into the Word _Contemples_, it lost the
Imperative Mood which is _Contemple_; and by leaving out an _s_ in the
Word _Casuiste_, written _Casuite_, it became no Word at all. When Moods
and Tenses, Numbers and Cases, Substantives and Adjectives, suffer by
_Orthography_, the curious Country-man has reason to cry out, otherwise
the Printer may be answerable for the Spelling.

After all that has been said of the _Sublime, &c._ perhaps the Criticks
do make more of Things than is necessary, or in Nature: Tho' Poets
pretend to Inspiration, and cry out, _The god, the god_, they are, in
the Main, but meer Men, and have their Tricks and Quirks to keep up the
Reputation of that Art: Nay, like other Professions, they would have us
believe, that there's Mystery in it too; not, I suppose, as Divines
understand it, but in the vulgar Sense, as it is understood when we say,
the Trade or Mystery of a _Cordwainer_. Some of these Poetical Mysteries
are as follow.

We are told that this Verse of _Homer_'s Third _Iliad_ was said, by
_Alexander the Great_, to be the best in all the Poem:

    _Great in the Wars, and great in Arts of Sway._

Methinks our _Gazette_ Men, and _Courant_ Men, express themselves every
whit as well, when in Honour of a defunct General, whose Activity had
long furnish'd them with Matter for their News-Books, they tell us, He
was great alike in the Camp, and in the Cabinet, which easily runs into
as good a Verse as the other.

    _Great in the Camp, and in the Cabinet._

The next best Verses that ever were, are _Boileaus_; and they were said
to be the best in all his Works, by _La Fontaine_: The Subject is the
_French_ King's setting up Lace-making at _Roan_.

    Et nos voisins frustrez de ces tributs serviles,
    Que paiat a leur Art, le Luxe de nos Villes.

    _No more by foreign Tributes are we griev'd,
    Which, from our Luxury, alien Arts receiv'd._

Why these are better Verses than all other best Verses, is the Mystery
we are speaking of, and like that of the Free-Masons, it cannot be
unfolded but by a Brother; nay, one may suspect of this Mystery what is
justly suspected of that; they do not tell it us, for fear we shou'd
laugh at it.

Of this Kind, doubtless, is the famous Couplet, taken out of Sir _John
Denham_'s _Coopers-Hill_, which _Dryden_ says, are the two best Verses
in the _English_ Tongue:

    _Tho' Deep, yet clear; tho' Gentle, yet not dull;
    Strong without Rage, without o'erflowing full._

He said he would not reveal the Secret why they were the best Verses,
but left it as a Riddle to Posterity. I dare say, there are a Thousand
as good Verses in Mr. _Pope_'s _Homer_, if by good Verses he means
smooth ones, and one would think Three such Monysyllables as _Yet_,
_Not_, _Dull_, all together, was enough to set aside the Claim of that
Line.

Having said so much already of my honest Intention In this _Essay_, I
must, at last, refer it to the Judgement of the Reader, and whatever it
is, shall receive it with Pleasure, when it is given with Candour.

If he approves of what I have said, I cannot but be pleased with having
given some few Hints to another.

If he does not approve of it, 'twill please me still more to receive new
Light my self.

Since this Essay was finish'd, I have seen a Book written by a _French_
Gentleman, which has been receiv'd with much Civility; and as that
Gentleman is commanded to make Remarks on our Manners in _England_, he
will not do us Justice unless he puts the Reception his Book has met
with, among the Instances of our Humanity to Strangers.

I must own I have not learnt a good deal by it, and the Reading of it
has not excited any Impatience in me to read any new _Heroick_ Poem. I
have long despair'd to see another good _Dramatick_, and much more an
_Epick_ Poem in _English_, and cannot hope now to see one in _French_,
which never yet was seen: However, I wish so well to all such generous
Enterprizes, that I think it barbarous to give them the least
Discouragement.

My Objections to this Gentleman's Criticisms are for what he says too
ill of _Milton_'s Poem, and too good of _Clarendon_'s History, which he
highly commends for the fine Characters, tho' he seems not to understand
them, or not to have inform'd himself sufficiently of the Facts on which
they are founded. He assures us the Lord _Clarendon_ has _unravell'd all
the Springs of the Civil Wars_. I pass by the Expression to _unravel a
Spring_, for that probably it sounds better in the _French_ Idiom than
in the _English_: But the Sense of it is not true in Fact. _He has
drawn, at full Length, the pictures of those whose Ambition shook the
Foundation of his Country._ He has drawn them at full Length indeed, but
as _Milton_ drew his shadowy Beings, _Death_, _Sin_, _Chaos_, by the
Extent of his Imagination, and with little Regard to Historical
Likeness, or copying after Nature; his Pictures on the King's Side being
to a Man, all so many Heroes; on that of the Parliament so many
_Scoundrels_; which was impossible to be true: For, besides that it was
not in the Course, so it was not in the Nature of the Thing, that so
many heroical Persons should take Party for Oppression and Superstition,
and so many Blockheads and Poltrons espouse the Cause of Religion and
Liberty.

But I do not wonder that this Critick is so extreamly civil to the
Author of the _History of the Rebellion_. He censures _Milton_ for
drawing the Pictures of _Death_ and the _Devil_ with so much Deformity.
_Satan_, _Sin_, and _Death_, must needs _shock the Readers of a delicate
Taste_. As if it was possible for the Imagination to paint any Thing so
ugly as the Devil is in every One's Conception, and that the more
shocking such Painting is, it was not the more natural, as being the
more conformable to the Idea which every one has conceiv'd of the
Original. 'Tis true, the _Devil_ and _Death_ are not Subjects to touch
the _Delicacy_ of Readers, but are extreamly proper to move Horrour and
Detestation, which are there the Moral of that Divine Poem. If the
Scene of _Paradise_ was opening, the Reader might have expected
something to have touch'd his _Delicacy_; but when he came, as in
_Milton_, to the Gates of Hell _wide open_, he certainly should have
left his Delicacy behind him. _Hans Holben_'s Death's Dance is a merry
Piece, but was no more proper to admit of Delicacy than the Droll Pieces
of _Heemskirk_; and it would not be more extravagant to put Perfumes
among the Ingredients of a _Stink-Pot_, than to put Delicacy in a
Picture of the Devil. One of the most masterly Pieces of the greatest
Matter of the _Lombard_ School, a Carcass on a Butcher's Stall with the
Gutts and Garbage about it, was much admir'd by the _Italians_, whose
Delicacy is exemplary to other Nations; whence one may conclude, that
whatever Subject has Truth and Likeness in it according to Nature, or
our Conception of it, will always please, as an exact: and lively
Imitation. I shall take no more Notice of the Criticisms on _Milton_ in
this Place, nor perhaps in any other; but I can never read the Remarks
of the Criticks on the _Paradise Lost_, without calling to Mind the
Boast of King _Alphonso_, who criticising on the Form of the _Creation_,
said, _If he had been consulted in it, it should have been more
perfect._


_FINIS._

[Illustration]



TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES


The following printer's errors have been corrected:

  Page ii. "What" changed to "Want" (not for Want of Will)
           "Maniere" changed to "Manière" (La Manière De Bien Penser)

  Page 2.  "they they" changed to "they" ("for that they are put into
                Rhime")

  Page 3.  "Aristtotle" changed to "Aristotle" (given by _Aristotle_,
                _Horace_, &c.)

  Page 7.  "Spectator" empasized (The _Spectator_, with all his Modesty)
           "parricularly" changed to "particularly" (and particularly
                how beautiful his Imagination was)
           "Spectator" emphasized (read in the _Spectator_, Nº 291)

  Page 8.  "_Catherines_" changed to "_Catherine_'s" (her Husband at
                _St. Catherine_'s)

  Page 12. "Aristtotle" changed to "Aristotle" (We all know _Aristotle_)
           "Aristottle" changed to "Aristotle" (what will become of
                _Aristotle_)

  Page 16. "Spectator" emphasized (The _Spectator_ gives us another)
           "Spectator" emphasized (deprived the _Spectator_ himself)

  Page 22. "Spectator" emphasized (the _Spectator_ has entered a Caveat)
           "geat" changed to "great" (The great Creator from his Work)

  Page 23. "Spectator" emphasized (the Ode in the _Spectator_, Nº 465)
           "Phæbus" changed to "Phœbus" (Phœbus _is arriv'd_)

  Page 28. "Spectator" emphasized (especially those Verses in the
                _Spectator_)

  Page 31. "Jove" emphasized (_Thou once didst leave Almighty_ Jove,)
           "Spectator" emphasized (In the _Spectator_, Nº 388)

  Page 32. "Agreeble" changed to "Agreeable" (Agreeable Thoughts may be
                also reckon'd)

  Page 33. "Spectator" emphasized (before the _Spectator_ was thought)

  Page 34. "Spectator" emphasized (because they are in the _Spectator_)
           "Nº Sidley" changed to "Nº [400.] Sidley" (missing number
                supplied)

  Page 39. "llght" changed to "light" (They light the Nuptial Torch)

  Page 40. "mady" changed to "many" (the _gay_, and many more)

  Page 41. "Cilenos" changed to "Cileno's" (_There where_ Cileno_'s foul
                and loathsome Rout;_)

  Page 42. "_Which_" changed to "Which" (Which / Medusa _with_ Gorgonian
                _Terror_)

  Page 44. "_the_ Spectator" changed to "the _Spectator_" (_Nay some_,
                says the _Spectator_)
           "Stile" changed to "Stile." (the Puerile Stile.)
           "inftead" changed to "instead" (instead of dismaying the
                Combatants)

  Page 48. "mishapen" changed to "misshapen" (Purpose, _misshapen_,
                _ill-favoured_)
           "Interpretions" changed to "Interpretations" (two or three
                Interpretations only)

  Page 53. "_Piso_'s" changed to "_Piso's_" (the _Piso's_ was written by
                Direction of the Academy)
           "aod" changed to "and" (with like Profit and Pleasure)
           "_Ablancourt's Thucydides_" changed to "_Ablancourt_'s
                _Thucydides_"

  Page 54. "_Du Ryer's Livy_" changed to "_Du Ryer_'s _Livy_"
           "_Segrais Virgil_" changed to "_Seagrais_'s _Virgil_"

  Page 56. "_Pindars_" changed to "_Pindar_'s" (as good as _Pindar_'s or
                _Horace_'s)

  Page 58. "Philosoper" changed to "Philosopher" (The Philosopher
                _Seneca_'s Works he pretended)

  Page 59. "_Philip_'s" changed to "_Philips_'s" (Mr. _Philips_'s Poems,
                the _splendid Shilling_ and _Cyder_)
           "Ariconian" emphasized (Of_ Ariconian _Products)
           "Philps" changed to "Philips" (stile of _Milton_ as _Philips_
                has done)

  Page 60. "ourtaking" changed to "our taking" (to what most of our
                taking Authors have been)

  Page 66. "Spectator" emphasized (the _Spectator_ has disgraced the)

  Page 68. "Translator" changed to "Translation" and "Translation"
                changed to "Translator" (undertake a Translation with
                more Advantage than the last Translator)
           "no" changed to "to" (down to _Dacier_)

  Page 69. "tonjours" changed to "toujours" (J'ay toujours fait beaucoup
                de cas)

  Page 73. "Spectator" emphasized (In the _Spectator_, Nº 297. you read
                thus)

  Page 74. "goods" changed to "gods" (the Break, _good gods!_ has more)
           "Spectator" emphasized (Which the _Spectator_ speaks of as
                inexpressibly beautiful)
           "Spectator" emphasized (Laugh and Clap. _Spectator_, Nº 39)
           "_Bouhours_" changed to "_Bouhour_'s" (in one Verse in all
                Father _Bouhour_'s)

  Page 75. "qnælibet" changed to "quælibet" (Et Vini bonitas, & quælibet
                altera Causa.)

  Page 76. "_Whiston_'s" changed to "_Whistons_" (the _Whistons_ into
                Mathematicks)

  Page 83. "suth" changed to "such" (such as the _Port Royal_)
           "Histories" emphasized (_Grand Rebellion_, the _Histories_,
                _&c._)

  Page 87. "hy" changed to "by" (very well markt by _Boileau_)
           "Spectator" emphasized (_The antient Criticks_, says the
                _Spectator_)


The following errors were not corrected, as they likely reflect
Oldmixon's own ignorance of Greek:

  Page 22. "Γενέσθω" should be "Γενηθήτω"

  Page 68. "ὅς μαλα πλάγχθη" should be
                "ὅς μάλα πολλὰ πλάγχθη"





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