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M.DCC.LXXXII.

LONDON:

PRINTED FOR J. DODSLEY, IN PALL-MALL

1782

EPISTLE

THE FIRST.

B

ARGUMENT

OF THE FIRST EPISTLE.

Introduction.-Defign of the Poem to remove prejudices. which obftruct the cultivation of Epic writing.-Origin of Poetry.—Honors paid to its infancy.-Homer the first Poet remaining.—Difficulty of the question why he had no Succeffor in Greece.-Remark of a celebrated Writer, that as Criticifm flourishes Poetry declines.-Defence of Critics.-Danger of a bigoted acquiefcence in critical Systems-and of a Poet's criticising his own. works.-Advantages of Friendship and Study of the higher Poets..

EPISTLE I.

PERISH

ERISH that critic pride, which oft has hurl'd
Its empty thunders o'er the Epic world;
Which, eager to extend its mimic reign,
Would bind free Fancy in a fervile chain ;

With papal rage the eye of Genius blind,

And bar the gates of Glory on the mind!

Such dark decrees have letter'd Bigots penn'd *,
Yet feiz'd that honor'd name, the Poet's Friend.
But Learning from her page their laws will blot;
Scorn'd be their arrogance! their name forgot!
Th' indignant Bard, abhorring bafe controul,
Seeks the juft Critic of congenial foul.
Say! MASON, Judge and Mafter of the Lyre!
Harmonious Chief of Britain's living Choir,

* Ver. 7. See NOTE I.

B 2

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Say!

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