Pope's Essay on Criticism

By Frederick M. A. Ryland; Alexander Pope | Go to book overview

AN ESSAY ON CRITICISM.

I.

'T IS hard to say if greater want of skill
Appear in writing or in judging ill;
But of the two less dang'rous is th' offence
To tire our patience than mislead our sense:

Some few in that, but numbers err in this,
5
Ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss;
A fool might once himself alone expose,
Now one in verse makes many more in prose.

'T is with our judgments as our watches, none

Go just alike, yet each believes his own.
10
In Poets as true genius is but rare,
True Taste as seldom is the Critic's share;
Both must alike from Heav'n derive their light,
These born to judge, as well as those to write.
Let such teach others who themselves excel,
15
And censure freely who have written well.
Authors are partial to their wit, 't is true,
But are not Critics to their judgment too?

Yet, if we look more closely, we shall find

Most have the seeds of judgment in their mind:
20
Nature affords at least a glimm'ring light;
The lines, tho' touch'd but faintly, are drawn right:

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Pope's Essay on Criticism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Pope's Essay on Criticism *
  • Preface *
  • Contents *
  • Introduction *
  • Contents of the Essay on Criticism *
  • An Essay on Criticism. *
  • Notes *
  • Appendix I *
  • Appendix II *
  • Blackie's Standard English Classics - With Introductions and Generally with Notes *
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