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This weigh'd, perfection know; and, known, adore ;
Toil, burn for that; but do not aim at more ;
Above, beneath it, the just limits fix;
And zealously prefer four lines to fix,
Write, and re-write, blot out, and write again,
And for its swiftness ne'er applaud your pen.
Leave to the jockeys that Newmarket praise,
Slow runs the Pegasus that wins the bays.
Much time for immortality to pay,
Is just and wise ; for less is thrown away.
Time only can mature the ' labouring brain ;
Time is the father, and the midwife pain :
The same good sense that makes a man excel,
Still makes him doubt he ne'er has written well.
Downright impossibilities they seek;
What man can be immortal in a week ?
Excuse no fault ; though beautiful, 'twill harm ;
One fault shocks more than twenty beauties charm.
demands correctness ; Addison
And you this commendable hurt have done.
Now writers find, as once Achilles found,
The whole is mortal, if a part's unsound,
He that strikes out, and strikes not out the best,
Pours lustre in, and dignifies the rest:
Give e'er so little, if what's right be there,
We praise for what you burn, and what you spare ;
The part you burn, smells sweet before the shrine,
And is as incense to the
Nor frequent write, though you can do it well ;
Men may too oft, though not too much, excel.
A few good works gain fame; more sink their price;
Mankind are fickle, and hate paying twice :
They granted you writ well, what can they more,
Unless you let them praise for giving o'er?
Do boldly what you do, and let your page
Smile, if it smiles, and if it rages, rage.
So faintly Lucius censures and commends,
That Lucius has no foes, except his friends.
Let fatire less engage you than applause ;
It shews a gen'rous mind to wink at flaws :
Is genius yours? be yours a glorious end,
Be your king's, country's, truth's, religion's friend ;
The public glory by your own beget;
Run nations, run pofterity, in debt.
And fince the fam'd alone make others live,
First have that glory you presume to give.
If satire charms, strike faults, but spare the man:
'Tis dull to be as witty as you can.
Satire recoils whenever charg'd too high ;
Round your own fame the fatal splinters fly.
As the soft plume gives swiftness to the dart,
Good-breeding sends the fatire to the heart.
Painters and surgeons may the structure scani
Genius and morals be with you the man :
Defaults in those alone should give offence !
Who strikes the person, pleads his innocence.
My narrow-minded satire can't extend
To Codrus' form ; I'm not so much his friend :
Himself should publish that (the world agree)
Before his works, or in the pillory.
Let him be black, fair, tall, short, thin, or fat,
Dirty or clean, I find no theme in that.
Is that call'd humour ? It has this pretence,
"Tis neither virtue, breeding, wit, or sense,
Unless you boast the genius of a Swift,
Beware of humour, the dull rogue's last shift.
Can others write like you? Your task give o'er, 'Tis printing what was publish'd long before,
If nought peculiar through your labours run,
They're duplicates, and twenty are but one.
Think frequently, think close, read nature, turn
Mens manners o'er, and half your volumes burn;
To nurse with quick reflection be your strife,
Thoughts born from present objects, warm from life :
When most unsought, such inspirations rise,
Slighted by fools, and cherish'd by the wise :
Expect peculiar fame from these alone;
These make an author, these are all your own.
Life, like their bibles, coolly men turn o'er ;
Hence unexperienc'd children of threescore.
True, all men think of course, as all men dream;
And if they slightly think, 'tis much the same.
Letters admit not of a half-renown;
They give you nothing, or they give a crown.
No work e'er gain'd true fame, or ever can,
But what did honour to the name of man.
Weighty the subject, cogent the discourse,
Clear be the style, the very found of force ;
Easy the conduet, fimple the design,
Striking the moral, and the foul divine :
Let nature art, and judgment wit, exceed;
O'er learning reason reign; o'er that, your Creed:
Thus virtue's feeds, at once, and laurel's, grow ;
Do thus, and rise a Pope, or a Despreau :
And when your genius exquisitely shines,
Live up to the full luftre of your lines :
Parts but expose those men who virtue quit;
A fallen angel is a fallen wit; -
And they plead Lucifer's detefted cause,
Who for bare talents challenge our applause.
you restore just honours to the pen? From able writers rise to worthy men.
« Who's this with nonsense, nonsense would restrain !
“ Who's this (they'cry) so vainly schools the vain ?
« Who damns our trash, with so much trash replete?
“ As, three ells round, huge Cheyne rails at meat?”
Shall I with Bavius then my voice exalt,
And challenge all mankind to find one fault?
With huge Examens overwhelm my page,
And darken reason with dogmatic rage?
As if, one tedious volume writ in rhime,
In prose a duller could excuse the crime:
Sure, next to writing, the most idle thing
Is gravely to harangue on what we sing.
At that tribunal stands the writing tribe,
Which nothing can intimidate or bribe :
Time is the judge ; Time has nor friend nor foe;
False fame must wither, and the true will grow.
Arm’d with this truth, all critics I defy;
For if I fall, by my own pen I die ;
While snarlers strive with proud but fruitless pain,
To wound immortals, or to say the sain.
Sore prest with danger, and in awful dread
Of twenty pamphlets levelld at my head,
Thus have I forg'd a buckler in my brain;
Of recent form, to serve me this campaign:
And safely hope to quit the dreadful field
Delug'd with ink, and sleep behind my shield;
Unless dire Codrus rouses to the fray
In all his might, and damns me for a day.
As turns a flock of geese; and, on the green,
Poke out their foolish necks in awkward spleen,
(Ridiculous in rage !) to biss, not bite,
So war their quills, when fons of dulness write.