« VorigeDoorgaan »
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. 145 If, where the rules not far enough extend, (Since rules were made but to promote their end)
COMMENTARY. Ver. 141. Some beauties get no Precepts can declare, &c.) Our author, in thefe two general precepts of Audying Na. ture and her Commentators, having considered Poetry as it is, or may be reduced to Rule; left this should be mistaken as sufficient to attain PERFECTION either in writing or judging, he proceeds [from y 140 to 201.] to point up to those sublimer beauties which Rules will never rcach, nor, enable us either to execute or Taste: And which rise fo high above all precept as not even to be described by it; but being entirely the gift of Heaven, Art and Reason have no further concern with them than just to moderate their operations. These Sublimities of Poetry, like the Mysteries of Religion, some of which are above Reason, and some contrary to it, may also be divided into two Yorts, such as are above Rules, and such as are contrary to them.
VER. 146. If where the rules, &c.] The first sort our author describes (from Ý 145 to 158.] and thews, that
NOTES. 146. If, where the funt ifta Precepta, fed boo Tales, &c.] Neque tam fan&ta quicquid eft, Urilitas excogi.
Some lucky Licence answers to the full
COMMENTARY. where a great beauty is in the Poet's view which no stated Rules will direct him how to reach, there, as the parpofe of Rules is only to promdte an end like this, a lucky Licence will supply the want of them : Nor can the Cri. fic fairly object io it, since this Licence, for the reason given above, has the proper force and authority of a Rule,
NOTES. tavit. Non negabo autem venturer. And afterwards fic utile elle plerumque'; ve- the effe&t of that grace upon rum fi eadem illa nobis aliud the true Critic: whom it Juadebit Utilitas, banc, re
penetrates with an equal rali&tis magiftrorum autorita- pidity, going the nearelt tibus, fequemur. Quintil. way to his heart, without lib. ii.
passing thro' his Judgment. x 150.) Tbus Pegasus, By which is not meant that &c.] We have observed it could not stand the test of how the precepts for writ- Judgment; but that being ing and judging are inter. a beauty, uncommon, and wayen throughout the whole above rule, and the Judge work. He first describes ment habituated to deterthe sublime flight of a Poet, mine only by rule, it makes soaring above all vulgar its direct application to the bounds, to snatch a grace ! Heart ; which once gained, directly, which lies beyond foon opens and enlarges the the reach of a cominon ad Judgment, whose concut
From vulgar bounds with brave disorder part,
The shapeless rock, or hanging precipice.
NOTES. rence, it being now fet 2- and all its end at once at. bove forms, is easily' pro- tains. cured. That this is the po- But Poetry doth not attain et's sublime conception ap- all its end, 'till it hath gain pears from the concluding ed the Judgment as well as words:
But tho' the Ancients thus their rules invade, :
I know there arc, to whose presumptuousthoughts Those freer beauties, ev’n in them, seem faults. 170
COMMENTARY have, in cach particular instance, the authority of the dispensing power of the Ancients to plead for his excufe. These rules observed, this licence will be feldom used, and only when compell’d by' need: Which will difarm the Critic, and screen the Poet from his laws.
Ver. 169. I know there are, &] But as fome modern Crities have had the prefumption to say, that this last rule is only justifying one fault by another, our author goes on [from 169 to 180] to vindicate the Ancients; and to fhew that this censure proceeds from frank Ignorance. As where their partial Judgment cannot sec that this licence is sometimes used as necessary to give the inost graceful symmetry and proportion to a perfect whole, from the point and in the light wherein it must be viewed: Or, where their hafty Judgment will nat give them time to discover, that a deviation from rule is for the sake of attaining a great and admirable purpose. These observa.' tions are further uscful as they tend to give modern Cri
Some figures monstrous and mishap'd appear,
COMMENTARY. tics an humbler opinion of their own abilities, and an higher of the Authors they undertake to criticise. On , which account he concludes with a fine stroke of satire, against a common proverb perpetually in the mouths of Critics, quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus; misunderstanding the sense of Horast, and taking quandoque for aliquando :
Those oft are stratagems wbicb errors seem,