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Now with a touch more sacred and refin'd, 355
THROUGH Ages thus has Satire keenly shin'd, The Friend to Truth, to Virtue, and Mankind : Yet the bright flame from Virtue ne'er had sprung, Į
1 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. Lor Truth saw her honest spleen with new delight, I And bade her wing her shafts, and urge their flight. First on the Sons of Greece she prov'd her art, And Sparta felt 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 sounding lyre: 376 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 sly, cajol'd the foes of sense:
“Archilochum proprio rabies armavit Iambo." Hor. • “Ense velut stricto quoties Lucilius ardens Infremuit, rubet auditor, cui frigida mens est Criminibus, tacita sudant præcordia culpa.” Juv. S. i. 3 « Omne vafer vitium ridenti Flaccus amico Tangit, et admissus circum præcordia ludit, Callidus excusso populum suspendere naso."--Pers. S. i.
He seem'd to sport and trifle with the dart,
In graver strains majestic Persius wrote,
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 Lurury !— 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 sick’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 slacken’d bow! 'Tis done!-See, great ERASMUS breaks the spell, And wounds triumphant Folly in her cell! 410 (In vain the solemn Cowl surrounds her face, Vain all her bigot cant, her sour grimace;)
With shame compellid her leaden throne to quit, :H And own the force of Reason urg'd by Wit. 1
'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 417 With genuine sense, and Roman strength of thought.
, Yet scarce had SATIRE well resum d her flame, (With grief the Muse records her Country's shame,). Ere Britain saw 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 sight. 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 blaspheme his God. 1
Ill-fated DRYDEN! who unmoy'd can see Th' extremes of wit and meanness join'd in Thee! Flames that could mount, and gain their kindred skies, Low creeping in the putrid sink of vice; 436 A Muse whom Wisdom woo'd, but woo'd in vain, The Pimp of Pow'r, the Prostitute to Gain : Wreaths that should deck fair Virtue's form alone, To Strumpets, Traitors, Tyrants vilely thrown: 1 Unrivall'd parts, the scorn of honest fame; 441 And Genius rise, a Monument of shame!is, I
More happy France : immortal BOILEAU there/ Supported Genius with a Sage's care :s pred od
Him with her love propitious Satire blest, 445
But see at length the British Genius smile,
460 While self-seen Virtue in the faithful line With modest joy surveys her form divine. But oh, what thoughts, what numbers shall I find, But faintly to express the Poet's mind! Who yonder Star's effulgence can display, 465 Unless he dip his pencil in the ray? Who paint a God, unless the God inspire? What catch the Lightning, but the speed of fire? So, mighty POPE, to make thy Genius known, All pow'r is weak, all numbers—but thy own. 470 Each Muse for thee with kind contention strove, For thee the Graces left th' IDALIAN grove; With watchful fondness o'er thy cradle hung, Attun'd thy voice, and form'd thy infant tongue. Next, to her Bard majestic Wisdom came; 475 The Bard enraptur'd caught the heav'nly flame :