The Rape of the Lock and Other Poems

By Alexander Pope; Thomas Marc Parrott | Go to book overview

AN ESSAY ON CRITICISM
'Tis 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.
But as the slightest sketch, if justly trac'd,
Is by ill-colouring but the more disgrac'd,
So by false learning is good sense defac'd:25
Some are bewilder'd in the maze of schools,
And some made coxcombs Nature meant but fools.

-31-

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The Rape of the Lock and Other Poems
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • SELECTIONS FROM POPE 1
  • The Rape of the Lock - AN HEROI-COMICAL POEM 3
  • An Essay on Criticism 31
  • An Essay on Man - TO H. ST. JOHN LORD BOLINGBROKE 54
  • Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot 66
  • Notes 83
  • Appendix 145
  • ANNOUNCEMENTS 158
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