When first young Maro, in his boundless mind 132 A work t' outlast immortal Rome design'd, Perhaps he seem'd above the Critic's law, And but from Nature's fountains scorn'd to draw : But when t'examine every part he came, Nature and Homer were, he found, the fame.

135 Convinc'd, amaz’d, he checks the bold design; And rules as strict his labour'd work confine, As if the Stagirite o’erlook'd each line. Learn hence for ancient rules a juft esteem; To copy nature, is to copy them.

149 Some beauties yet no precepts can declare, For there's a happiness as well as care. Music resembles Poetry, in each Are nameless graces which no methods teach, And which a master-hand alone can reach. If, where the rules not far enough extend, (Since rules were made but to promote their end). Some lucky License answer to the full Th'intent propos’d, that License is a rule. Thus Pegasus, a nearer way to take,

150 May boldly deviate from the common track ;

From VARIATIONS. When first young Maro sung of Kings and Wars Ere warning Phæbus touch'd his trembling ears. Ves. 130. Ed. 1. When first great Maro, &c.

Ver. 130.

1er. 136.

Convinc'd, amaz’d, he check’d the bold design";
And did his work to rules as strict confine.
Ver. 145, Ed, 1. And which a master's hand, &c.

1, VOL. I,


From vulgar bounds with brave disorder part,
And snatch a grace beyond the reach of art,
Which, without passing through the judgment, gains
The heart, and all its end at once attains.

In prospects thus, some objects please our eyes,
Which out of nature's common order rife,
The shapeless rock, or hanging precipice.
Great Wits sometimes may gloriously offend,
And rise to faults true Critics dare not mend. 160
But though the Ancients thus their rules invade
(As Kings dispense with laws themselves have made);
Moderns, beware! or, if


must offend Against the precept, ne'er tranfgrefs its end; Let it be feldom, and compellid by need : 165 And have, at least, their precedent to plead. The Critic else proceeds without remorse, Seizes your fame, and puts

his laws in force. I know there are, to whose presumptuous thoughts Those freer beauties, ev’n in them, seem faults. 170 Some figures monstrous and mis-shap'd appear, Consider'd singly, or beheld too near, Which, but proportion'd to their light, or place, Due distance reconciles to form and grace. A prudent chief not always must display His powers in equal ranks, and fair array,

After ver. 158. the first edition reads,

But care in poetry must still be had,
It asks discretion ev’n in running mad;

And though the ancients, &c.
And what are now ver. 159, 160, followed ver. 151.


But with th' occasion and the place comply,
Conceal his force, nay sometimes seem to fly.
Those oft are stratagems which errors seem,
Nor is it Homer nods, but we that dream.

180 Still green

with bays each ancient Altar stands,
Above the reach of sacrilegious hands;
Secure from Flames, from Envy's fiercer rage,
Destructive War, and all-involving Age.
See from each clime the learn’d their incense bring!
Hear, in all tongues consenting Pæans ring!
In praise fo just let every voice be joind,
And fill the general chorus of mankind.
Hail, Bards triumphant! born in happier days;
Immortal heirs of universal praise !

Whose honours with increase of ages grow,
As streams roll down, enlarging as they flow;
Nations unborn your mighty names shall found,
And worlds applaud that must not yet be found !
O may some spark of your celestial fire,

195 The last, the meanest of your sons infpire, (That, on weak wings, from far pursues your flights ; Glows while he reads, but trembles as he writes) To teach vain wits a science little known, To admire superior sense, and doubt their own :



VARIATIONS. Ver. 178. Ed. 1.

Oft hide his force, nay seem sometimes to fly. Ver. 184. Ed. 1. Deftru&tive war, and all-devouring Age. Ver. 186. Ed. 1. Hear, in all tongues applauding Pæans ring! Ver. 197

Ed. 1. That with weak wings, &c.


Of all the causes which conspire to blind
Man's erring judgment, and misguide the mind,
What the weak head with strongest bias rules,
Is Pride, the never-failing vice of fools.
Whatever Nature has in worth deny'd,

She gives in large recruits of needful Pride !
For as in bodies, thus in souls, we find
What wants in blood and spirits, swell’d with wind:
Pride, where Wit fails, steps in to our defence,
And fills

up all the mighty void of sense.
If once right reason drives that cloud away,
Truth breaks upon us with resistless day.
Trust not yourself; but, your defects to know,
Make use of

friend-and every

foe. A little learning is a dangerous thing!

215 Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring : There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again. Fir'd at first sight with what the Muse imparts, In fearless youth we tempt the heights of Arts, While, from the bounded level of our mind, Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind; But more advanc’d, behold with strange surprize New distant scenes of endless science rise !




Ver. 219.

Fir'd with the charms fair Science does impart,

In fearless youth we tempt the heights of Art. Ver. 223. But more advanc'd, survey, &c.

So pleas’d at first the towering Alps we try, 225
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky,
Th’ eternal fnows appear already past,
And the first clouds and mountains seem the last :
But, those attain’d, we tremble to furvey
The growing labours of the lengthen'd way, 230
Th' increasing prospect tires our wandering eyes,
Hills peep o’er hills, and Alps on Alps arise !

A perfect judge will read each work of Wit
With the same spirit that its author writ:
Survey the whole, nor seek slight faults to find

Where nature moves, and rapture warms the mind;
Nor lose, for that malignant dull delight,
The generous pleasure to be charm’d with wit.
But, in such lays as neither ebb nor flow,
Correctly cold, and regularly low,

240 That, shunning faults, one quiet tenour keep; We cannot blame indeed—but we may seep. In wit, as Nature, what affects our hearts Is not th’ exactness of peculiar parts ; 'Tis not a lip, or eye, we beauty call,

245 But the joint force and full result of all. Thus when we view fome well-proportion'd dome, (The world's just wonder, and ev’n thine, O Rome!)



Ver. 225.

So pleas'd at first the towering Alps to try,
Filf'd with ideas of fair Italy,
The traveller beholds with chearful eyes
The lessening vales, and seems to tread the skies.

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