« السابقةمتابعة »
therefore it was neceffary to find other enemies with other names, at whose expence he might divert the publick.
In this design there was petulance and malignity enough; but I cannot think it very criminal. An author places himself uncalled before the tribunal of Criticism, and folicits fame at the hazard of disgrace. Dulness or deformity are not culpable in themselves, but
be very justly reproached when they pretend to the honour of wit or the influence of beauty. If bad writers were to pass without reprehenfion, what should restrain them? impune diem consumpfirit ingens Telepbus; and upon bad writers only will censure have much effect. The satire which brought Theobald and
Moore into contempt, dropped impotent from Bentley, like the.javelin of Priam thrown at Neoptolemus.
All truth is valuable, and satirical criticism may be considered as useful when it rectifies error and improves judgement; he that refines the publick taste is a publick benefactor.
The beauties of this poem are well known; its chief fault is the grossness of its images. Pope and Swift had an unnatural delight in ideas physically impure, such as every other tongue utters with unwillingness, and of which every ear shrinks from the mention.
But even this fault, offensive as it is, may be forgiven for the excellence of other paffages; such as the formation and diffolution of Moore, the account of the Traveller, the misfortune of the Florist, and the crouded thoughts and stately numbers which dignify the concluding paragraph.
The alterations which have been made in the Dunciad, not always for the better, require that it should be published, as in this edition, with all its variations.
The Essay on Man was a work of great labour and long confideration, but certainly not the happiest of Pope's performances. The subject is perhaps not very proper for poetry, and the poet was not sufficiently inafter of his subject; metaphysical morality was a new study, he was proud of his acquisitions, and,
fupposing himself master of great secrets, was in haste to teach what he had not learned. Thus he tells us, in the fiaft Epistle, that from the nature of the Supreme Being may be deduced an order of beings such as mankind, because Infinite Excellence can do only what is best. He finds out that all the quesa tion is whether man be in a wrong place. Surely if, according to the poet's Leibnitian reasoning, we may infer that man ought to be, only because he is, we may allow that his place is the right place, because he has it.. Supreme Wisdom is not less infallible in difpofing than in creating. But what is meant by fomewhere and place, and wrong place, it had
been vain to ask Pope, who probably had never asked himself.
Having exalted himself into the chair of wisdom, he tells us much that every man knows, and much that he does not know himself; that we see but little, and that the order of the universe is be. yond our comprehension; an opinion not very uncommon; and that there is a chain of subordinate beings from infnite to nothing, of which himself and his readers are equally ignorant. But he gives us one comfort, which, without his help, he supposes unattainable, the position that though we are fools, yet God
This Effay affords an cgregious inftance of the predominance of genius,