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Then sportive HORACE® caught the gen'rous fire; For SATIRE's bow resign’d the sounding lyre : Each arrow polish'd in his hand was seen, And, as it grew more polish'd, grew more keen. His art, conceal'd in study'd negligence, 375 Politely fly, cajold the foes of sense: He seem'd to sport and trifle with the dart, But while he sported, drove it to the heart,
strains majestick Persius wrote,
More ardent eloquence, and boundless rage, Inflame bold JUVENAL’s exalted page, His mighty numbers aw'd corrupted Rome, 385 And swept audacious Greatness to its doom; The headlong torrent thund'ring from on high, Rent the proud rock that lately brav'd the sky.
Tangit, et admissus circum præcordia ludit,
But lo! the fatal Victor of Mankind, Swoln Luxury!-pale Ruin stalks behind !
390 As countless Insects from the north-east
pour, To blast the Spring, and
ravage ev'ry flow'r : So barb'rous Millions spread contagious death : The sick’ning Laurel wither'd at their breath. Deep Superstition's night the skies o’erhung, 395 Beneath whose baleful dews the Poppy sprung. No longer Genius woo'd the Nine to love, But Dulness nodded in the Muse's
grove: Wit, Spirit, Freedom, were the sole offence, Nor aught was held so dangerous as Sense. 400
At length, again fair Science shot her
ray, Dawn'd in the skies, and spoke returning day. Now, SATIRE, triumph o'er thy flying foe, Now load thy quiver, string thy Nacken’d bow! 'Tis done--See, great ERASMUS breaks the spell, And wounds triumphant Folly in her Cell! (In vain the solemn Cowl surrounds her face, Vain all her bigot cant, her sour grimace) With Thame compellid her leaden throne to quit, And own the force of Reason urg'd by Wit. 410
'Twas then plain Donne in honest vengeance rose, His Wit harmonious, tho' his Rhyme was prose: He 'midst an Age of Puns and Pedants wrote With genuine sense, and Roman ftrength of thought.
Yet scarce had SATIRE well relum'd her flame, (With grief the Muse records her Country's shame) Ere Britain saw the foul revolt commence, And treach'rous Wit began her war with Sense. Then rose a shameless mercenary train, Whom latest Time shall view with just disdain: A race fantastick, in whose gaudy line 421 Untutor'd thought, and tinsel beauty Thine ; Wit's shatter'd Mirror lies in fragments bright, Reflects not Nature, but confounds the fight. Dry Morals the Court-Poet blush'd to sing: 425 'Twas all his praise to say, “ the oddest thing.” Proud for a jest obscene, a Patron's nod, To martyr Virtue, or blaspheme his God.
Ill-fated Dryden! who unmov'd can see 429 Th'extremes of wit and meanness join'd in Thee!
Flames that could mount, and gain their kindred
skies, Low-creeping in the putrid fink of vice: A Muse whom Wisdom woo'd, but woo'd in vain, The Pimp of Pow'r, the Prostitute to Gain : 434 Wreaths, that should deck fair Virtue's form alone, To Strumpets, Traitors, Tyrants, vilely thrown: Unrivald Parts, the scorn of honest fame; And Genius rise, a Monument of shame!
More happy France : immortal BOILEAU there Supported Genius with a Sage's care :
440 Him with her love propitious SATIRE blest, And breath'd her airs divine into his breast : Fancy and Sense to form his line conspire, And faultless Judgment guides the purest Fire.
But see, at length, the British Genius smile, 445 And show'r her bounties o'er her favour'd Ille: Behold for Pope she twines the laurel crown, And centers ev'ry Poet's pow'r in one : Each Roman's force adorns his various page ; Gay smiles, collected strength, and manly rage.
Despairing Guilt and Dulness loath the fight, 451