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Nor think the Mufe by Satire's Law confin'd:
She yields defcription of the nobleft kind.
Inferior art the Landscape may defign,
And paint the purple evening in the line:
Her daring thought effays a higher plan;
Her hand delineates Paffion, 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 strike our eyes,
Now bid a Wolfey or a Cromwell rise;
Now, with a touch more facred and refin'd,
Call forth a Chesterfield's or Lonfdale's mind.
Here fweet or strong may every Colour flow,
Here let the pencil warm, the canvass glow:
Of light and shade provoke the noble strife,
And wake each ftriking feature into life.
Ages thus has Satire keenly fhin'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 Mufe in filence joy'd each better Age, Till glowing crimes had wak'd her into rage. Truth faw her honeft fpleen with new delight, And bade her wing her shafts, and urge their flight. First on the Sons of Greece fhe prov'd her art, And Sparta felt the fierce Iambic dart.
And, as it grew more polish'd, grew more keen.
His art, conceal'd in ftudy'd negligence,
Politely fly, cajol'd the foes of fense:
He feem'd to sport and trifle with the dart,
But, while he sported, drove it to the heart.
To Latium next, avenging Satire flew :
The flaming falchion 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 generous fire; 375
For Satire's bow refign'd the founding lyre:
Each arrow polish'd in his hand was feen,
In graver ftrains majestic Perfius wrote, Big with a ripe exuberance of thought: Greatly fedate, contemn'd a Tyrant's reign, And lafh'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 greatnefs 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 Infects from the north-east pour,
To blaft the Spring, and ravage every flower:
So barbarous Millions spread contagious death:
The fickening Laurel wither'd at their breath.
Deep Superftition's night the skies o'erhung,
Beneath whose baleful dews the Poppy sprung.
No longer Genius woo'd the Nine to love,
But Dulness nodded in the Mufe's grove :
Wit, Spirit, Freedom, were the sole offence,
Nor aught was held so dangerous as Sense.
At length, again fair Science shot her
Dawn'd in the skies, and spoke returning day.
Now, Satire, triumph o'er thy flying foe,
Now load thy quiver, ftring thy flacken'd bow!
'Tis done-See great Erasmus breaks the spell,
And wounds triumphant Folly in her Cell!
(In vain the folemn Cowl surrounds her face,
Vain all her bigot cant, her four grimace)
With fhame compell'd her leaden throne to quit,
And own the force of Reason urg'd by Wit.
'Twas then plain Donne in honest vengeance rose, His Wit harmonious, though his Rhyme was profe: VOL. II. с
He 'midft an Age of Puns and Pedants wrote
With genuine fenfe, and Roman ftrength of thought.
Yet fcarce had Satire well relum'd her flame,
(With grief the Muse records her Country's fhame) 420
Ere Britain faw the foul revolt commence,
And treacherous Wit began her war with Sense.
Then rose a shameless mercenary train,
Whom latest Time fhall view with just disdain:
A race fantastic, in whofe gaudy line
Untutor'd thought and tinfel beauty shine:
Wit's fhatter'd Mirror lies in fragments bright,
Reflects not Nature, but confounds the fight.
Dry Morals the Court-Poet blush'd to fing;
'Twas all his praise to say
"the oddest thing."
Proud for a jeft obfcene, a Patron's nod,
To martyr Virtue, or blaspheme his God.
Ill-fated Dryden! who unmov'd can see
Th' extremes of wit and meannefs join'd in Thee!
Flames that could mount, and gain their kindred fkies,
Low creeping in the putrid fink of vice:
A Mufe whom Wisdom woo'd, but woo'd in vain,
The Pimp of Power, the Prostitute to Gain:
Wreaths, that fhould deck fair Virtue's form alone,
To Strumpets, Traitors, Tyrants, vilely thrown: 440
Unrival'd Parts, the fcorn of honeft fame;
And Genius rife, a Monument of fhame!
More happy France: immortal Boileau there
Supported Genius with a Sage's care:
Him with her love propitious Satire bleft,
And breath'd her airs divine into his breaft :
Fancy and Senfe to form his line conspire,
And faultlefs Judgment guides the pureft Fire.
But fee, at length, the British Genius fmile, And fhower her bounties o'er her favour'd Isle Behold for Pope fhe twines the laurel crown, And centers every Poet's power in one : Each Roman's force adorns his various page; Gay fmiles, collected ftrength, and manly rage. Defpairing Guilt and Dulness loath the fight, As Spectres vanish at approaching light: In this clear Mirror with delight we view Each Image juftly fine, and boldly true: Here Vice, dragg'd forth by Truth's fupreme decree, Beholds and hates her own deformity;
While felf-feen Virtue in the faithful line
With modeft joys furveys her form divine.
But oh, what thoughts, what numbers fhall I find,
But faintly to exprefs the Poet's mind!
Who yonder Stars effulgence can display,
Unless he dip his pencil in the ray?
Who paint a God, unless the God înspire ?
What catch the lightning, but the speed of fire?
So, mighty Pope, to make thy Genius known,
All power is weak, all numbers- but thy own.
Each Mufe for thee with kind contention ftrove,
For thee the Graces left th' Idalian grove;
With watchful fondnefs o'er thy cradle hung,
Attun'd thy voice, and form'd thy infant tongue.
Next, to her Bard majestic Wifdom came;
The bard enraptur'd caught the heavenly flame: