Essay criticism pope text
upward to their spring. The final section, which discusses the characteristics of a good critic, concludes with a short history of literary criticism and a catalog of famous critics. Nature to all things fixd the limits fit, And wisely curbd proud mans pretending wit. 170 Some figures monstrous and misshaped appear, Considerd singly, or beheld too near, Which, but proportiond to their light or place, Due distance reconciles to form and grace. I know there are to whose presumptuous thoughts Those freer beauties, evn in them, seem faults. Yet if we look more closely we shall find. An ardent judge, who zealous in his trust, With warmth gives sentence, yet is always just; Whose own example strengthens all his laws; And is himself that great sublime he draws. Horace still charms with graceful negligence, And without methods talks us into sense, Will, like a friend, familiarly convey The truest notions in the easiest way. 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 surprise New, distant scenes. The rules a nation born to serve, obeys, And Boileau still in right of Horace sways.
Readers and writers today can't, of course, share Pope's certainties of taste. Fear most to tax an honourable fool, Whose right it is, uncensur'd, to be dull; Such, without wit, are poets when they please, As without learning they can take degrees. That most men are born with some Taste, but spoiled by false education. If Mvius scribble in Apollo's spite, There are, who judge still worse than he can write. Deployed in his sparkling heroic couplets, the arguments and summaries are alive with wit, verbal agility and good sense. Music resembles poetry; in each Are nameless graces which no methods teach, And which a master-hand alone can reach. Great Wits sometimes may gloriously offend, And rise to faults true Critics dare not mend; From vulgar bounds with brave disorder part, And snatch a grace beyond the reach of Art, 155 Which, without passing thro the judgment, gains The heart, and all its end. Or if you must offend Against the precept, ne'er transgress its end; Let it be seldom, and compell'd by need, And have, at least, their precedent to plead. The vulgar thus through imitation err; As oft the learn'd by being singular; So much they scorn the crowd, that if the throng By chance go right, they purposely go wrong: So Schismatics the plain believers quit, And are but damn'd for having too much.