Thus critics, of less judgment than caprice

But most by numbers judge a poet's song:
And smooth or rough, with them, is right or wrong:
In the bright muse, though thousand charms conspire,
Her voice is all these tuneful fools admire;
Who haunts Parnassus but to please the ear,
Not mend their minds; as some to church repair,
Not for the doctrine, but the music there.

These equal syllables alone require,
Though oft the ear the open vowels tire; Fr. I
While expletives their feeble aid do join;

And ten low words oft creep in one dull line: Fr. I
While they ring round the same unvaried chimes,
With sure returns of still expected rhymes;

Where'er you find "the cooling western breeze,'
In the next line, it "whispers through the trees': Fr. I

If crystal streams "with pleasing murmurs creep':
The reader's threaten'd (not in vain) with "sleep.' Fr. I
Then, at the last and only couplet fraught
With some unmeaning thing they call a thought,

A needless Alexandrine ends the song,
That, like a wounded snake, drags its slow length along. Fr. I
Leave such to tune their own dull rhymes, and know
What's roundly smooth, or languishingly slow;
And praise the easy vigour of a line,
Where Denham's strength, and Waller's sweetness join.

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance. Fr. I

'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence,
The sound must seem an echo to the sense: Fr. I
Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;
But when loud billows lash the sounding shore,
The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar.
When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
The line too labours, and the words move slow:
Not so, when swift Camilla scours the plain,
Flies o'er the unbending corn, and skims along the main.
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