'Dr. Warburton, endeavouring to demonstrate, what Addison could not discover, nor Pope himself, according to the testimony of his intimate friend, Richardson, ever thought of or intended, that this Essay was written with a methodical and systematic regularity, has accompanied the whole with a long and laboured commentary, in which he has tortured many passages to. support this goundless opinion.'Warton, Edition of Pope's Works, 1797, vol. i. p. 174.
There is however very little occasion to speculate on the historical accuracy of Warburton's theory of the Essay on Criticism. The remarks of Johnson himself show conclusively, not only that such a systematic method had as a fact no existence, but also that by the nature of the poem itself, it could not have been thus regularly planned. Cf. Infra, 1. 33, sq.
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