Alexander pope in his essay on criticism
Unhappy wit, like most mistaken things, Atones not for that envy which it brings.
Some beauties yet, no precepts can declare, For there's a happiness as well as care. Hail, bards triumphant! Alexander Pope This essay by Pope is neoclassical in its premises; in the tradition of Horace and Boileau.
Such was the Muse, whose rules and practice tell "Nature's chief master-piece is writing well.
To err is human to forgive divine alexander pope
As shades more sweetly recommend the light, So modest plainness sets off sprightly wit. For him, a literary critic who is man of common sense, should have a good character, should know classical theory of literature as well as its historical perspective and the religious and ethical values of his time. Still humming on, their drowsy course they keep, And lashed so long, like tops, are lashed asleep. Malden; Blackwell, Some judge of authors' names, not works, and then Nor praise nor blame the writings, but the men. Nature to all things fix'd the limits fit, And wisely curb'd proud man's pretending wit: As on the land while here the ocean gains, In other parts it leaves wide sandy plains; Thus in the soul while memory prevails, The solid pow'r of understanding fails; Where beams of warm imagination play, The memory's soft figures melt away. Pope considers wit as the polished and decorated form of language.
But tho' the ancients thus their rules invade, As kings dispense with laws themselves have made Moderns, beware! In the fat age of pleasure, wealth, and ease, Sprung the rank weed, and thriv'd with large increase: When love was all an easy monarch's care; Seldom at council, never in a war: Jilts ruled the state, and statesmen farces writ; Nay wits had pensions, and young Lords had wit: The fair sat panting at a courtier's play, And not a mask went unimprov'd away: The modest fan was lifted up no more, And virgins smil'd at what they blush'd before.
Part 3 Learn then what morals critics ought to show, For 'tis but half a judge's task, to know.
Now, they who reach Parnassus' lofty crown, Employ their pains to spurn some others down; And while self-love each jealous writer rules, Contending wits become the sport of fools: But still the worst with most regret commend, For each ill author is as bad a friend.
It was in part an attempt on Pope's part to identify and refine his own positions as poet and critic, and his response to an ongoing critical debate which centered on the question of whether poetry should be "natural" or written according to predetermined "artificial" rules inherited from the classical past.
False eloquence, like the prismatic glass, Its gaudy colours spreads on ev'ry place; The face of Nature we no more survey, All glares alike, without distinction gay: But true expression, like th' unchanging sun, Clears, and improves whate'er it shines upon, It gilds all objects, but it alters none.
True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance.
Alexander pope shmoop
First follow NATURE, and your judgment frame By her just standard, which is still the same: Unerring Nature, still divinely bright, One clear, unchang'd, and universal light, Life, force, and beauty, must to all impart, At once the source, and end, and test of art. As shades more sweetly recommend the light, So modest plainness sets off sprightly wit. In that age, Neoclassical Movement which on literature and art was dominant began in western literatures during Renaissance and ends in , but concept of human nature as main idea of art changes radically in the very beginning of 18th century with the impact of rationalism in philosophy and empiricism in psychology Kantarcioglu Some to conceit alone their taste confine, And glitt'ring thoughts struck out at ev'ry line; Pleas'd with a work where nothing's just or fit; One glaring chaos and wild heap of wit. Such was the Muse, whose rules and practice tell "Nature's chief master-piece is writing well. To what base ends, and by what abject ways, Are mortals urg'd through sacred lust of praise! Yet some there were, among the sounder few Of those who less presum'd, and better knew, Who durst assert the juster ancient cause, And here restor'd wit's fundamental laws. Such once were critics; such the happy few, Athens and Rome in better ages knew. Just precepts thus from great examples giv'n, She drew from them what they deriv'd from Heav'n.
These equal syllables alone require, Tho' oft the ear the open vowels tire, While expletives their feeble aid do join, And ten low words oft creep in one dull line, While they ring round the same unvaried chimes, With sure returns of still expected rhymes.
Just precepts thus from great examples giv'n, She drew from them what they deriv'd from Heav'n.
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