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Dart not on Folly an indignant eye:
Who e'er discharg'd artillery on a fly?
Deride not Vice: absurd the thought and vain,
To bind the tyger in fo weak a chain.
Nay more: when flagrant crimes your laughter move,
The knave exults : to smile is to approve,
The viuse's labour then success shall crown,
When Folly feels her smile, and Vice her frown.
Know next what measures to each theme belong,
And suit your thoughts and numbers to your song:
On wing proportion'd to your quarry rise,
And stoop to earth, or foar among the skies.
Thus when a modish folly you rehearse,
Free the expression, simple be the verse.
In artlefs numbers paint th' ambitious peer
That mounts the box, and shines a charioteer ;
In strains familiar sing the midnight toil
Of camps and senates disciplin'd by Hoyle.
Patriots and chiefs whose deep design invades
And carries off the captive king of -spades!
Leț Satire here in milder vigour shine,
And gayly graceful sport along the line;
Bid courtly Fashion quit her thin pretence,
And smile each affectation into sense.
Not so when Virtue by her guards betray'd,
Spurnd from her throne, implores the Muse's aid;
When crimes, which erst in kindred darkness lay, 295
Rise frontless, and insult the eye of day ;
Indignant Hymen veils his hallow'd fires,
And white-rob'd Chastity with tears retires;
When rank Adultery on the genial bed
Hot from Cocytus rears her baleful head:
When private faith and publick truft are fold,
And traitors barter liberty for gold;
When fell Corruption dark and deep, like Fate,
Saps the foundation of a finking state :
When giant-vice and irreligion rise,
On mountain'd falsehoods to invade the skies :
Then warmer numbers glow thro’ SATIRE's page,
And all her smiles are darken’d into rage :
On eagle-wing she gains Parnassus' height,
Not lofty Epic soars a nobler flight:
Then keener indignation fires her eye;
Then flash her lightnings, and her thunders fly;
Wide and more wide her flaming bolts are hurlid,
Till all her wrath involves the guilty world.
Yet Satire oft' assumes a gentler mien,
And beams on Virtue's friends a look ferene :
She wounds reluctant, pours her balm and joy,
Glad to commend where merit strikes her eye.
But tread with cautious step this dangerous ground,
Beset with faithless precipices round:
Truth be your guide : disdain Ambition's call;
And if you fall with truth, you greatly fall.
'Tis Virtue's native lustre that must shine :
The poet can but set it in his line :
And whò unmov'd with laughter can behold
A fordid pebble meanly grac'd with gold?
Let real merit then adorn your lays,
For shame attends on prostituted praise :
And all your wit, your most distinguish'd art
But makes us grieve, you want an honeft heart.
Nor think the Muse by Satire's law confin'd:
She yields description of the noblest kind,
Inferior art the landskip may design,
And paint the purple evening in the line:
Her daring thought essays a higher plan;
Her hand delineates passion, pictures man.
And great the toil, the latent foul to trace,
To paint the heart, and catch internal grace ;
By turns bid vice or virtue ftrike our eyes,
Now bid a Wolfey or a Cromwell rise ;
Now with a touch more sacred and refin'd,
Call forth a CHESTERFIELD's or LONSDALE's mind.
Here sweet or strong may ev'ry colour flow,
Here let the pencil warm, the canvass glow :
Of light and shade provoke the noble frife,
And wake each striking feature into life.
HRO’ages thus hath Satire keenly thin'd,
The friend to truth, to virtue, and mankind :
Yet the bright flame from virtue ne'er had sprung,
And man was guilty ere the poet fung.
This Muse in filence joy'd each better age,
Till glowing crimes had wak'd her into rage.
Truth saw her honeft spleen with new delight,
And bade her wing her fhafts, and urge their flight.
First on the fons of Greece she prov'd her art,
And Sparta felt the fierce JAMBICK dart ,
To LATIUM next avenging Satire flew:
The flaming faulchion rough Lucilius drew;
With dauntless warmth in Virtue's cause engag'd,
And conscious villains trembled as he rag'd.
Then sportive HORACE d caught the generous fire
For Satire's bow resign'd the founding 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
Politely fly, cajold the foes of fense:
He seem'd to sport and trifle with the dart,
But while he sported, drove it to the heart.
graver strains majestick Persius wrote, Big with a ripe exuberance of thought:
370 Greatly sedate, contemn'd a tyrant's reign, And lash'd corruption with a calm disdain.
Archilocum proprio rabies armavit Iambo. Hor.
Ense velut strieto quoties Lucilius ardens
Infremuit, rubet auditor cui frigida mens eft
Criminibus, tacita fudant precordia culpa. Juv. S. I. d Omne vafer vitium ridenti Flaccus amico
Tangit, & admissus circum præcordia ludit,
Callidus exculo podulum fufpendere Nas. Pers. S. 1.
More ardent eloquence, and boundless "rage
Inflame bold Juvenal's exalted page.
His mighty numbers aw'd corrupted Rome,
And swept audacious greatness to its doom;
The headlong torrent thundering from on high,
Rent the proud rock that lately brav'd the sky.
But lo! the fatal victor of mankind,
Swoln Luxury !-Pale Ruin stalks behind !
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 fick’ning laurel wither'd at their breath.
Deep superstition's night the skies o'erhung,
Beneath whofe baleful dews the poppy sprung.
No longer Genius woo'd the Nine to love,
But Dulness nodded in the Muses'
Wit, spirit, freedom, were the sole offence,
Nor aught was held fo dangerous as sense.
390 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 flacken'd bow!
'Tis done-See, great Erasmus breaks the spell, 395 And wounds triumphant Folly in her cell ! (In vain the folemn cowl furrounds her face, Vain all her bigot cant, her fowr grimace) With thame compellid her leaden throne to quit, And own the force of reafon urg'd by wit.