Alexander Pope: The Critical Heritage

By John Barnard | Go to book overview

APPENDIX B

'The Ballance of Poets'

1745

From Robert Dodsley's The Museum: or, the Literary and Historical Register, no. xix, 6 December 1745 (1746 ed.), ii. 165-9.

SIR,

M.De Piles is one of the most judicious Authors on the Art of Painting. He has added to his Treatise on that Subject, a very curious Paper, which he calls The Ballance of the Painters. He divides the whole Art of Painting into four Heads; Composition, Design, or Drawing, Colouring, and Expression; under each of which, he assigns the Degree of Perfection which the several Masters have attained. To this End he first settles the Degree of sovereign Perfection, which has never been attain'd, and which is beyond even the Taste of Knowledge of the best Criticks at present; this he rates as the twentieth Degree. The nineteenth Degree is the highest of which the human Mind has any Comprehension, but which has not yet been expressed or executed by the greatest Masters. The eighteenth is that to which the greatest Masters have actually attained; and so downwards according to their comparative Genius and Skill. Monsieur de Piles makes four Columns of his chief Articles or Parts of Painting; and opposite to the Names of the great Masters, writes their several Degrees of Perfection in each Article. The Thought is very ingenious; and had it been executed with Accuracy, and a just Rigour of Taste, would have been of the greatest use to the Lovers of that noble Art. But we can hardly expect that any Man should be exactly right in his Judgment, through such a Multiplicity of the most delicate Ideas.

I have often wished to see a Ballance of this Kind, that might help to settle our comparative Esteem of the greater Poets in the several polite Languages. But as I have never seen nor heard of any such Design, I have here attempted it myself, according to the best Information which

-532-

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Alexander Pope: The Critical Heritage
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • General Editor's Preface v
  • Acknowledgments vi
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations xiv
  • Preface xv
  • I - Introduction 1
  • Note on the Text 39
  • Part I - Contemporary Criticism 41
  • General Reactions 43
  • Pastorals 59
  • An Essay on Criticism 71
  • Messiah, a Sacred Eclogue 87
  • Windsor Forest 89
  • The Rape of the Lock 93
  • Iliad 114
  • A Roman Catholick Version of the First Psalm 139
  • Eloisa to Abelard 140
  • Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady 143
  • Epitaph on John Hewet and Sarah Drew in the Churchyard at Stanton Harcourt 144
  • General Reactions 147
  • Odyssey 164
  • The Dunciad 208
  • The Dunciad Variorum 219
  • General Reactions 236
  • 'Ethick Epistles' (An Abandoned Project) 263
  • Moral Essays Iv: Epistle to Burlington, of Taste 265
  • Moral Essays Iii: to Allen Lord Bathurst, of the Use of Riches 268
  • Imitations of Horace, Satire Ii. I 269
  • An Essay on Man 278
  • Epitaph on Mr. Gay in Westminster Abbey 317
  • Imitations of Horace: Serm. I. II (Sober Advice from Horace) 319
  • An Epistle from Mr. Pope to Dr. Arbuthnot 329
  • Epilogue to the Satires: Dialogue II 331
  • The New Dunciad: As It Was Found in the Year 1741 333
  • The Dunciad in Four Books 342
  • A Final Tribute 346
  • Part II - Later Criticism 351
  • Appendix A 529
  • Appendix B 532
  • Bibliography 537
  • Index 539
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