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Yon visit oft his awful page with care,
Hence Satire's power : 'Tis her corrective part, And view that bright assemblage treasurd there; 20 To calm the wild disorders of the heart. 90 You trace the chain that links his deep design, She points the ardnous height were Glory lies, And pour new lustre on the glowing line,
And teaches mad Ambition to be wise : Yet deign to hear the efforts of a Muse,
In the dark bosom wakes the fair desire, Whose eye, not wing, his ardent flight pursues: Draws good from ill, a brighter fame from fire: Intent from this great archetype to draw
Strips black Oppression of her gay disguise, Satire's bright form, and fix her equal law; And bids the hag in native horrour rise ; Pleas'd iffrom hence th’unlearn'd may comprehend, Strikes towering Pride and lawless Rapine dead, And reverence his and Satire's generous end. And plants the wreath on Virtue's awful head.
In every breast there burns an active fame, Noc boasts the Muse a vain imagin'd power, The love of glory, or the dread of shame : 30 | Though oft she mourns those ills she cannot cure. 100 The passion one, though various it appear, The worthy court her, and the worthless fear; As brighten'd into hope, or dimm'd by tear. Who shun her piercing eye, that eye revere. The lisping infant, and the hoary sire,
Her awful voice the vain and vile obey, And youth and manhood feel the heart-born fire : And every foe to Wisdom feels her sway. The charms of praise the coy, the modest woo, Smarts, pedants, as she smiles, no more are vain; And only fly, that Glory may pursue:
Desponding fops resign the clouded cane : She, power resistless, rules the wise and great ; Hush'd at her voice, pert Polly's self is still, Bends ev'n reluctant hermits at her feet;
And Dulness wonders while she drops her quill, Haunts the proud city, and the lowly shade,
Like the arm'd bee, with art most subtly true, And sways alike the sceptre and the spade. 40 Prom poisonous Vice she draws a healing dew : 110 Thus Heaven in pity wakes the friendly flame,
Weak are the ties that civil arts can find, To urge mankind on deeds that merit fame : To quell the ferment of the tainted mind : But man, vain man, in folly only wise,
Cunning evades, securely wrapp'd in wiles ! Rejects the manna sent him from the skies : And Force, strong-sinew'd, rends th’ unequal toils : With rapture hears corrupted Passion's call, The stream of vice impetuous drives along, Still proudly prone to mingle with the stall, Too deep for Policy, for Power ton strong. As each deceitful shadow tempts his view,
Ev'n fair Religion, native of the skies, He for the imag'd substance quits the true; Scorn’d by the crowd, seeks refuge with the wise ; Fager to catch the visionary prize,
The crowd with laughter spurns her awful train, In quest of glory plunges deep in vice; 50 And Mercy courts, and Justice frowns in vain, 120 Till madly zealous, impotently vain,
But Satire's shaft can pierce the harden'd breast : He forfeits every praise he pants to gain.
She plays a ruling passion on the rest : Thus still imperious Nature plies her part;
Undaunted storms the battery of his pride, And still her dictates work in every heart.
And awes the brave, that rarth and Heaven defy'd. Each power that sovereign Nature bids enjoy, When fell Corruption by her vassals crown'd, Man may corrupt, but man can ne'er destroy Derides fall’n Justice prostrate on the ground; Like mighty rivers, with resistless force
Swift to redress an injur'd people's groan, The passions rage, obstructed in their course; Bold Satire shakes the tyrant on her throne; Swell to new heights, forbidden paths explore, Powerful as Death, dehes the sordid train, And drown those virtues which they fed before. 60 And slaves and sycophants surround in vain. 130
And sure, the deadliest foe to Virtue's flame, But with the friends of vice, the foes of satire, Our worst of evils, is perverted Shame.
All truth is spleen; all just reproof, ill-nature, Beneath this load, what abject numbers groan, Well may they dread the Muse's fatal skill; Th' entangled slaves to folly not their own! Well may they tremble when she draws her quill: Meanly by fashionable fear oppress'd,
Her magic quill, that, like Ithuriel's spear, We seek our virtues in each other's breast; Reveals the cloven hoof, or lengthen'd ear: Blind to ourselves, adopt each foreign vice, Bids Vice and Folly take their natural shapes, Another's weakness, interest, or caprice.
Turns dutchesses to strumpets, beaux to apes ; Each fool to low ambition, poorly great,
Drags the vile whisperer from his dark abode, That pines in splendid wretchedness of state, 70 Till all the demon starts up from the toad. 140 Tird in the treacherous chase, would nobly yield, O sordid maxim, forı'd to screen the vile, And, but for shame, like Sylla, quit the field : That true Good-nature still must wear a smile ! The demon Shame paints strong the ridicule, frowns array'd her beauties stronger rise, And whispers close, “ The world will call you fool,” | When love of virtue wakes her scorn of vice :
Behold yon wretch by impious Fashion driven, Where Justice calls, 'tis cruelty to save ; Believes and trembles while he scoffs at Heaven. And 'tis the Law's good-nature hangs the knave, By weakness strong, and bold through fear alone, Who combats Virtue's foe is Virtue's friend; He dreads the sneer by shallow coxcombs thrown; Then judge of Satire's merit by her end : Dauntless pursues the path Spinoza trod;
To guilt alone her vengeance stands confin'd, To man a coward, and a brave to God. 80 The object of her love is all mankind.
150 Faith, Justice, Heaven itself now quit their hold, Scarce more the friend of man, the wise must own, When to false Fame the captive heart is sold : Ev'n Allen's bounteous hand, than Satire's frown: Hence, blind to truth, relentless Cato dy'd; This to chastise, as that to bless was giv'n ; Nought could subdue his virtue, but his pride, Alike the faithful ministers of Heaven, Hence chaste Lucretia's innocence betray'd
Oft in unfeeling hearts the shaft is spent : Fell by that honour which was meant its aid. Though strong th' example, weak the punishment Thus Virtue sinks beneath unnumber'd woes, They least are pain'd, who merit satire most ; When passions, born her friends, revolt her foes, Folly the Laurcat's, vice was Chartres' boast :
Then where's the wrong, to gibbet high the name But you, more sage, reject th' inverted rule,
On truth, on falsehood, let her colours fall,
Beware the mad adventurer: bold and blind Kind ev'n in vengeance, kind to Virtue's foes. She hoists her sail, and drives with every wind; Whose is the crime, the scandal too be theirs ;
Deaf as the storm to sinking Virtue's groan,
Nor heeds a friend's destruction, or her own.
Bear to the wind, or stem the furious tide;
Then Mirth may urge, when Reason can explore,
This point the way, that waft us glad to shore. Dare nobly then : but, conscious of your trust, Though distant times may rise in Satire's page, As eyer warın and bold be ever just :
170 | Yet chief 'tis her's to draw the present age : 210 Nor court applause in these degenerate days: With Wisdom's lustre, Folly's shade contrast; The villain's censure is extorted praise,
And judge the reigning manners by the past : But chief, be steady in a noble end,
Bid Britain's heroes (awful shades!) arise, And shew mankind that Truth has yet a friend, And ancient Honour beam on inodern Vice: "Tis mean for empty praise of wit to write, Point back to minds ingenuous, actions fair, As foplings grin to show their teeth are white ; Till the sons blush at what their fathers were: To brand a doubtful folly with a smile,
Ere yet t'was beggary the great to trust; Or madly blaze unknown defects, is vile :
Ere yet 'twas quite a folly to be just ; "Tis doubly vile, when, but to prove your art, When low-born sharpers only dar'd a lye, You fix an arrow in a blameless heart. 180 | Or falsify'd the card, or cogg'd the dye;
250 O lost to Honour's voice, O doond to shame, Fre Lewdness the stain'd garb of Honour wore, Thou fiend accurst, thou murderer of Fame ! Or Chastity was carted for the whore; Fell ravishcr, froin Innocence to tear
Vice flutter'd in the plumes of Freedom dfess'd; That name, than liberty, than life more dear!
Or public Spirit was tle public jest. Where shall thy baseness ineet its just return, Be ever, in a just expression, bold, Or what repay thy guilt, but endless scorn?
Yet ne'er degrade fair Satire to a scold : And know, immortal Truth shall mock thy tpil :
Let ng unworthy mien her form debase, Immortal Truth shall bid the shaft recoil;
But let her smile, and let her frown with grace: With rage retorted, wing the deadly dart; In mirth be temperate, temperate in her spleen ; And empty all its poison in thy heart. 190 Nor, while she preaches modesty, obscene. 260
With caution next, the dangerous power apply; | Deep let her wound, not rankle to a sore, An eagle's talon asks an eagle's eye :
Nor call his lordship her grace a: Let Satire then her proper object know,
The Muse's cbarms resitless then assail, And ere she strike, be sure she strike a foe. When wrapp'd in Irony's transparent veil : Nor fondly deem the real fool confest,
Her beauties half-conccal'd, the more suiprise, Because blind Ridicule conceives a jest :
And keener lustre sparkles in her eyes. Before whose altar Virtue oft hath bled,
Then be your line with sharp encomiums grac'd: And oft a destin'd victim shall be led :
Style Clodius honourable, Bufa chaste. Lo Shaftesbury rears her high on Reason's throne, Dart not on Folly an inclignant eye: And loads the slave with honours not her own : 200 Who e'er discharg'd artillery on a fly? 270 Big-swoln with folly, as her smiles provoke, Deride not Vice: absurd the thought and rain, Prophaneness spawns, pert dunces nurse the joke! To bind the tiger in so weak a chain. [move, Come, let us join awbile this tittering crew, Nay more; when flagrant crimes your laughter And own the ideot guide for once is true;
The knave exults: to smile, is to approve. Deride our weak forefathers' musty rule,
The Muse's labour then success shall crown, Who therefore smil'd because they saw a fuoi ; When Folly feels her smile, and Vice her frown. Sublimer logic now adorns our isle,
Know next what measures to each theme belong, We therefore see a fool, because we smile.
And suit your thoughts and numbers to your song: Truth in her gloomy cave wiiy fondly seek? On wing proportion’d to your quarry rise, Lo gay she sits in Laughter's dimpled cheek: 210 | And stoop to earth, or soar among the skies. 280 Contemns each surly academic foe,
Thus when a modish folly you rebearse, And courts the spruce freethinker and the beau. Free the expression, simple be the verse. Dædalian arguments but few can trace,
In artless numbers paint th' ambitious pcer, But all can read the language of Grimace.
That mounts the box, and shines a charioteer : Hlence mighty Ridicule's all-conquering hand In strains familiar sing the midnight foil Shall work Herculean wonders through the land: Of camps and senates disciplin'd by Hoyle ; Bound in the magic of her cobweb chain,
Patriots and chiefs, whose deep design invades, You, miglity Warburton, shall rage in vain, And carries off the captive king--of spades ! In vain the trackless maz. of Truth you scan, Let Satire here in milder vigour shine, And lend th’informing clue to erring man : 220 And gayly graceful sport along the line ;
290 No more shall Keason boast her power divine, Bid courtly Passion quit her thin pretence, Her base eternal shook by Folly's mine!
And smile each affectation into sense. Truth's sacrid fort th' exploded laugh shall win; Not so when Virtue, by her guards betray'd, And coxcombs vanguish Berkeley by a grin, Spurn'd from her throne, implores the Muse's aido When crimes, which erst in kindred darkness lay, Yet the bright flame from virtue ne'er had sprung' Rise frontless, and insult the eye of day;
And man was guilty ere the poet sung. Indignant Hymen veils his hallow'd fires,
This Muse in silence joy'd each better age, And white-rob’d Chastity with tears retires; Till glowing críines had wak'd her into rage. When rank Adultery on the genial bed
Truth saw her honest spleen with new delight, Hot from Cocytus rears her baleful bead; 300 | And bade her wing her shafts, and urge their flight. When private Faith and public Trust are sold, First on the sons of Greece she pror'd her art, And traitors barter liberty for gold :
And Sparta felt the fierce lambic dart.
370 When feil Corruption dark and deep, like Fate, To Latium next, avenging Satire few; Saps the foundation of a sinking state:
The Aaming falchion rough Lucilius drew, When Giant-Vice and Irreligion rise,
With dauntless warmth in Virtue's cause engag'd, On mountain's falsehoods to invade the skies : And conscious villainis trembled as he rag'd. Then warmer numbers glow through Satire's page, Then sportive Horace caught the generous fire ; And all her smiles are darken'd into rage :
For Satire's bow resigu'd the sounding lyre; On eagle-wing she gains Parnassus' height, Each arrow polish'd in his hand was seen, Not lofty Epic soars a nobler flight : 310 And, as it grew more polish’d, grew more keen. Then keener indignation tires her eye;
His art, conceal'd in stucy'd negligence, Then fash her lightnings, and her thunders Aly; Politely sly, cajol'd the foes of sense ; 380 Wide and more wide her flaming bolts are hurld, He scend to sport and trifle with the dart, Till all her wrath involves the guilty world. But, while he sported, drove it to the heart. Yet Satire oft assumes a gentler mien,
In graver strains majestic Persius wrote, And beams on Virtue's friends a smile serene ! Big with a ripe exuberance of thought : She wounds reluctant; pours her balm with joy; Greatly sedate, contemn’d a tyrant's reign, Glad to commend where worth attracts her eye. And lash'd Corruption with a calin disdain. But chief, when virtue, learning, arts decline, More ardent eloquence, and boundless rage, She joys to see unconquer'd Merit shine; 320 | Inflam'd bold Juvenal's exalted page. Where bursting glorious, wich departing ray, Ilis mighty numbers aw'd corrupted Rome, True genius giids the close of Britain's day: And swept audacious Greatness to its doom; 390 With joys she sees the stream of Roman art The headlong torrent, thundering from ou high, From Murray's tongue flow purer to the heart : Rent the prond rock that lately brav'd the sky. Bees Yorke to Fame, ere yet to manhood known, But lo! the fatal victor of mankind, And just to every virtue, but his own ;
Swoln Luxury !--pale Ruin stalks behind ! Hears unstain's Cam with generous pride proclaim As countless insects from the north-east pour, A sage's, critic's, and a poet's name :
To blast the Spring, and ravage every flower ;
But tread with cautious step this dangerous No longer Genius woo'd the Nine to love,
At length, again fair Science shot her ray, The poet can but set it in his line :
Dawn'd in the skies, and spoke returning day. And who unmov'd with laughter can behold Now, Satire, triumph o'er thy flying foe, A sordid pebble meanly grac'd with gold ? 340 Now load thy quiver, string thy slacken'd bow! Let real merit then adorn your lays,
"Tis done--See great Erasmus breaks the spell, For shame attends on prostituted praise : "And wounds triumphant Folly in her cell ! 410 And all your wit, your most distingnish'd art, (In vain the solemn cowl surrounds her face, But makes us grieve you want an honest heart. Vain all her bigot cant, her sour grimace)
Nor think the Muse by Satire's laws confin'd: With shame compellid her leaden throne to quit, She yields description of the noblest kind.
And own the force of Reason urg'd by Wit. Inferior art the landscape may design,
'Twas then plain Donne in honest vengeance rose, And paint the purple evening in the line :
His wit harmonious, though bis rhyme was prose: Her daring thought essays a higher plan;
He 'midst an age of puns and pedants wrote Her hand delineates passion, pictures man. 350 | With genuine sense,and Roman strength of thought. And great the toil, the latent soul to trace,
Yet scarce had Satire well relum'd her name, To paint the heart, and catch internal grace ; (With grief the Muse records her country's shame) By turns bid vice or virtue strike our eyes,
Ere Britain saw the foul revolt commence, Now bid a Wolsey or a Cromwell rise ;
And treacherous Wit began her war with Sense. Now, with a touch more sacred and refind, Then rose a shameless mercenary train, Call forth a Chesterfield's or Lonsdale's mind, Whom latest time shall view with just disdain : Here sweet or strong may every colour flow, A race fantastic, in whose gaudy line Here let the pencil warm, the canvas glow : Untutor'd thought and tinsel beauty shine: Of light and shade provoke the noble strife, Wit's shatter'd mirror lies in fragments bright, And wake each striking feature into life, 360 Reflects not Nature, but confounds the sight.
Dry morals the court-poet blush'd to sing;
'Twas all his praise to say " the oddest thing." 430 Through ages thus has Satire keenly shin'd :
Proud for a jest obscene, a patron's nod, The friend to truth, to virtue, and mankind : To martyr Virtue, or blaspheme his Gode
Ill-fated Dryden! who, unmov’d, can see Did friendship e'er mislead thy wandering Muse?
To strumpets, traitors, tyrants, vilely thrown : 440 By virtue crown'd with never-fading bays ! 510
Light her pale lamp at your immortal fire?
The daring Muse a nobler path pursue,
But see, at length, the British genius smile, If such her fate, do thou, fair Truth, descend,
To court no friend, nor own foe but thine.
To offer incense at Corruption's shrine ;
Urge, urge thy power, the black attempt confound,
And dash the smoaking censer to the ground.
ESSAY ON MAN:
TO H. ST. JOHN, LORD BOLINGBROKE,
Having proposed to write some pieces on human
life and manners, such as (to use my lord Bacon's Next, to her bará majestic Wisdom came;
expression) “come home to men business and The bard enraptur'd caught the heavenly Aame :
bosoms," I thought it more satisfactory to begin With taste superior scorn’d the venal tribe, with considering man in the abstract, bis nature, Whom fear can sway, or guilty greatņess bribe ;
and bis state ; since, to prove any moral duty, to At Fancy's call who rear the wanton sail,
enforce any moral precept, or to examine the perSport with the stream, and trifle in the gale: 480 feetion or imperfection of any creature whatsoever, Sublimer views thy daring spirit bound;
it is necessary first to know what condition and reThy mighty voyage was Creation's round; lation it is placed in, and what is the proper end Intent new worlds of wisdom to explore,
and purpose of its being. And bless mankind with Virtue's sacred store :
The science of human nature is, like all other A nobler joy than wit can give, impart;
sciences, reduced to a few clear points: there are And pour a moral transport o'er the heart. not many certain truths in this world. It is thereFantastic wit shoots momentary fires,
fore in the anatomy of the mind as in that of the And, like a meteor, while we gaze, expires :
body; more good will accrue to mankind by atWit, kindled by the sulphurous breath of Vice,
tending to the large, open, and perceptible parts, Like the blue lightning, while it shines, destroys :
than by studying too much such finer nerves and Büt genius, fir'd by Truth's eternal ray,
490 vessels, the conformations and uses of which will Burns clear and constant, like the source of day:
for ever escape our observation. The disputes are Like this its beam, prolific and refin'd,
all upon these last; and I will venture to say, they Feeds, warms, inspirits, and exalts the mind; have less sharpened the wits than the hearts of Mildly dispels each wintery passion's gloom,
men against each other, and have diminished And opens all the virtues into bloom.
the practice, more than 'advanced the theory of This praise, immortal Pope, to thee be given. morality. If I could Matter myself that this Essay Thy genius was indeed a gift from Heaven. has any inerit, it is in steering betwixt the exa Hail, bard unequal'd, in whose deathless line tremes of doctrines seemingly opposite, in passing Reason and wit with strength collected shine; 500 over terms utterly unintelligible, and in forming a Where matchless wit but wins the second praise, temperate yet not inconsistent, and a short, yet Lost, nobly lost, in truth's superior blaze. not imperfect, system of ethics.
This I might have done in prose; but I chose throughout the whole visible world, an universal verse, and even rhyme, for two reasons. The one
order and gradation in the sensual and mental will appear obvious ; that principles, maxims, or faculties is observed, which causes a subordina, precepts so written, both strike the reader more tion of creature to creature, and of all creatures strongly at first, and are more easily retained by
to man. The gradations of sense, instinct, him afterwards: the other may seem odd, but it thought, reflection, reason; that reason alone is true; I found I could express them more shortly countervails all the other faculties, ver. 207. this way than in prose itself; and nothing is more VIII. How much farther this order and suborcertain, than that much of the force as well as dination of living creatures may extend above grace of arguments or instructions depends on and' below us; were any part of which broken, their conciseness. I was unable to treat this part not that part only, but the whole connected of my subject more in detail, without becoming creation must be destroyed, ver. 235. IX. The dry and tedious; or more poetically, without sa- extravagance, madness, and pride of such a decrificing perspicuity to ornament, without wander- sire, yer. 250. X. The consequence of all the ing from the precision, or breaking the chain of
absolute submission due to Providence, both as reasoning: if any man can unite all these without to our present and future state, ver. 281, to the diminution of any of them, I freely confess he will
end, compass a thing above my capacity.
What is now published is only to be considered as a general map of man, marking out no more
EPISTLE I. than the greater parts, their extent, their limits, Awake, my St. John! leave all meaner things and their connection, but leaving the particular to be more fully delineated in the charts which are
To low ambition and the pride of Kings. to follow. Consequently, these Epistles in their
Let us (since life can little more supply progress (if I have health and leisure to make any Than just to look about us, and to die) progress) will be less dry, and more susceptible of Expatiate free o'er all this scene of man; poetical ornament. I am here only opening the
A mighty maze! but not without a plan: fountains, and clearing the passage. To deduce
A wild, where weeds and flowers promiscuous shoot; the rivers, to follow them in their course, and to
Or garden, tempting with forbidden fruit.
Try what the open, what the covert yield;
Of all who blindly creep, or sightless soar;
Eye Nature's walks, shoot Folly as it flies,
And catch the manners living as they rise: IN FOUR EPISTLES, TO H. ST. JOIN, Laugh where we must, be candid where we can; LORD BOLINGBROKE.
But vindicate the ways of God to man.
I. Say first, of God above, or man below,
What can we reason, but from what we know?
From which to reason, or to which refer? 20
Through worlds unnumber'd though the God be Of man in the abstract.-1. That we can judge 'Tis ours to trace him only in our own. [known,
only with regard to our own system, being igno- He, who through vast immensity can pierce, rant of the relations of systems and things, See worlds on worlds compose one universe, ver. 17, &c.
II. That man is not to be decined Observe how system into system runs, imperfect, but a being suited to his place and What other planets circle other suns, rank in the creation, agreeable to the general | What vary'd being peoples every star, order of things, and conformable to ends and May tell why Heaven has made us as we are. relations to him unknown, ver. 35, &c. III. But of this frame the bearings and the ties, That it is partly upon his ignorance of future | The strong connections, nice dependencies, SO events, and partly upon the hope of a future Gradations just, has thy pervading soul state, that all his happiness in the present de- Look'd through? or can a part contain the whole ! pends, ver. 77, &c. IV. The pride of aining at Is the great chain, that draws ail to agree, more knowledge, and pretending to more per- And drawn supports, upheld by God, or thee? fection, the cause of man's errour and misery. II. Presumptuous man! the reason wouldst thou The impiety of putting himself in the place of find, God, and judging of the fitness or unfitness, per- | Why form'd so weak, so little, and so blind? fection or imperfection, justice or injustice, of Pirst, if thou canst, the harder reason guess, his dispensations, ver. 109, &c. V. The ab. Why form'd no weaker, blinder, and no less? surdity of conceiting himself the final cause of Ask of thy mother Earth, why oaks are made the creation, or expecting that perfection in the Taller or weaker than the weeds they shade; 40 inoral world, which is not in the natural, ver. Or ask of yonder argent fields above, 131, &c. VI. The unpeasonableness of his Why Jove's Satellites are less than Jove ? complaints against Providence, while on the
Of systems possible, if 'tis confest, one hand he demands the perfection of the an- That Wisdam infinite must form the best, gels, and on the other the bodily qualifications | Where all must full or not coherent be, of the brutes; though, to possess auy of the And all that rises, rise in due degree; sensitive faculties in a higher degree, would | Then, in the scale of reasoning life, 'tis plain, tendes bim miserable, ver. 173, &C. VII. That There must be, somewhere, such a rank as man: