From “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,
Ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss;
A fool might once himself alone expose,
Now one in verse makes many more in prose.
’Tis with our judgments as our watches, none
Go just alike, yet each believes his own.
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,
And censure freely, who have written well.
Authors are partial to their wit, ’tis true,
But are not critics to their judgment too?