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Wide and more wide her flaming bolts are hurld,
Yet SATIRE oft affumes a gentler mien, 315
But tread with cautious step this dangerous ground, Beset with faithless precipices round:
334 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 who unmoy'd with laughter can behold A sordid pebble meanly grac'd with gold?
340 Let real Merit then adorn your lays, For Shame attends on prostituted praise :
And all your wit, your most distinguish'd art,
Nor think the Muse by Satire's Law confin'd:
the toil, the latent soul to trace,
THROUGH Ages thus has Satire keenly shinod,
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 sung. This Muse in silence joy'd each better Age, 365 Till glowing crimes had wak'd her into
rage. Truth saw her honest spleen with new delight, And bade her wing her shafts, and urge their flight. First on the Sons of Greece she prov'd her art, And Sparta félt the fierce IAmbic dart *.
370 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 | caught the gen'rous fire; For Satire's bow resign’d the founding lyre: 376
Juv. S. i.
* « Archilochum proprio rabies armavit Iambo." “ Ense velut stricto quoties Lucilius ardens
Infremuit, rubet auditor cui frigida mens est
Criminibus, tacita sudant præcordia culpa.” † “ Omne vafer vitium ridenti Flaccus amico
Tangit, et admiffus circum præcordia ludit,
Pers. S. i.
Each arrow polish'd in his hand was seen,
graver strains majestic Persius wrote, Big with a ripe exuberance of thought : Greatly sedate, contemn’d a Tyrant's reign, 385 And lash'd Corruption with a calm disdain.
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 ; 390 The headlong torrent thund'ring 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, 395 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 whose baleful dews the Poppy sprung. 400 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.
At length, again fair Science shot her ray, 405 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, And wounds triumphant Folly in her cell! 410 (In vain the folemn Cowl surrounds her face, Vain all her bigot cant, her sour grimace,) With shame compelld her leaden throne to quit, And own the force of Reason urg'd by Wit. 414
'Twas then plain Donne in honest vengeance rose, His Wit harmonious, tho' his Rhyme was profe: He 'midst an age of Puns and Pedants wrote With genuine sense, and Roman strength of thought.
Yet scarce had SATIRE well relum'd her flame, (With grief the Muse records her Country's shame,) Ere Britain faw the foul revolt commence, 421 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 fantastic, in whose gaudy line
425 Untutor'd thought, and tinsel beauty shine ; 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 'Twas all his praise to say, “ the oddest thing." Proud for a jest obscene, a Patron's nod, 431 To martyr Virtue, or blafpheme his God.