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Like mighty rivers, with refiftlefs force
The Paffions rage, obstructed in their course;
Swell to new heights, forbidden paths explore,
And drown those Virtues which they fed before.
And fure, the deadliest Foe to Virtue's flame,
Our worst of Evils, is perverted Shame.
Beneath this load, what abject numbers groan,
Th' entangled Slaves to folly not their own!
Meanly by fashionable fear opprefs'd,
We feek our Virtues in each other's breast;
Blind to ourselves, adopt each foreign Vice,
Another's weakness, interest, or caprice.
Each Fool to low Ambition, poorly great,
That pines in fplendid wretchedness of state,
Tir'd in the treacherous Chace, would nobly yield,
And, but for fhame, like Sylla, quit the field:
The Dæmon Shame paints ftrong the ridicule,
And whifpers close, "The World will call you
Behold yon Wretch, by impious fashion driven,
Believes and trembles, while he fcoffs at Heaven.
By weakness strong, and bold through fear alone,
He dreads the fneer by fhallow Coxcombs thrown;
Dauntless pursues the path Spinoza trod;
To man a Coward, and a Brave to God.
Faith, Justice, Heaven itself now quit their hold,
When to falfe Fame the captiv'd Heart is fold:
Hence, blind to truth, relentless Cato dy'd ;
Nought could fubdue his Virtue, but his Pride.
Hence chafte Lucretia's Innocence betray'd
Fell by that Honour which was meant its aid.
Thus Virtue finks beneath unnumber'd woes,
When Paffions, born her friends, revolt her foes.
Hence Satire's power: 'Tis her corrective part,
To calm the wild disorders of the heart.
She points the arduous height where Glory lies,
And teaches mad Ambition to be wife:
In the dark bofom wakes the fair defire,
Draws good from ill, a brighter flame from fire :
Strips black Oppreffion of her gay disguise,
And bids the Hag in native horror rife;
Strikes towering Pride and lawless Rapine dead,
And plants the wreath on Virtue's awful head.
Nor boasts the Mufe a vain imagin'd Power,
Though oft the mourns thofe ills fhe cannot cure.
The Worthy court her, and the Worthlefs fear;
Who fhun her piercing eye, that eye revere.
Her awful voice the Vain and Vile obey,
And every foe to Wisdom feels her fway.
Smarts, Pedants, as she smiles, no more are vain; 105
Defponding Fops refign the clouded cane:
Hufh'd at her voice, pert Folly's felf is still,
And Dulness wonders while fhe drops her quill.
Like the arm'd Bee, with art most fubtly true,
From poisonous Vice she draws a healing dew:
Weak are the ties that civil arts can find,
To quell the ferment of the tainted mind :
Cunning evades, fecurely wrapt in wiles!
And Force ftrong-finew'd rends th' unequal toils :
The stream of Vice impetuous drives along,
Too deep for Policy, for Power too strong.
Ev'n fair Religion, Native of the skies,
Scorn'd by the Crowd, feeks refuge with the Wise;
The Crowd with laughter fpurns her awful train,
And Mercy courts, and Justice frowns in vain,
But Satire's Shaft can pierce the harden'd breast :
She plays a ruling Paffion on the rest:
Undaunted ftorms the battery of his pride,
And awes the Brave that Earth and Heaven defy'd. '
When fell Corruption, by her vaffals crown'd,
Derides fall'n Juftice proftrate on the ground;
Swift to redress an injur'd People's groan,
Bold Satire shakes the Tyrant on her throne;
Powerful as Death, defies thè fordid train,
And Slaves and Sycophants furround in vain.
But with the friends of Vice, the foes of Satire,
All truth is Spleen; all just reproof, Ill-nature.
Well may they dread the Muse's fatal skill;
Well may they tremble when the draws her quill:
Her magic quill, that, like Ithuriel's spear,
Reveals the cloven hoof, or lengthen'd ear:
Bids Vice and Folly take their natural shapes,
Turns Dutchesses to ftrumpets, Beaux to apes;
Drags the vile Whisperer from his dark abode,
Till all the Dæmon starts up from the toad.
O fordid maxim, form'd to screen the vile,
That true good-nature still must wear a smile!
In frowns array'd her beauties ftronger rife,
When love of Virtue wakes her scorn of Vice:
Where Juftice calls, 'tis Cruelty to fave;
And 'tis the Law's good-nature hangs the Knave,
Who combats Virtue's foe is Virtue's friend;
Then judge of Satire's merit by her end:
To Guilt alone her vengeance stands confin'd,
The object of her love is all Mankind.
Scarce more the friend of Man, the wife must own,
Ev'n Allen's bounteous hand, than Satire's frown:
This to chastise, as That to blefs was giv'n;
Alike the faithful Ministers of Heaven.
Oft in unfeeling hearts the shaft is spent :
Though ftrong th' example, weak the punishment.
They least are pain'd, who merit Satire most :
Folly the Laureat's, Vice was Chartres' boast:
Then where's the wrong, to gibbet high the name
Of Fools and Knaves already dead to shame?
Oft Satire acts the faithful Surgeon's part;
Generous and kind, though painful, is her art:
With caution bold, fhe only strikes to heal :
Though folly raves to break the friendly steel.
Then fure no fault impartial Satire knows,
Kind ev'n in Vengeance, kind to Virtue's foes.
Whofe is the crime, the fcandal too be theirs ;
The Knave and Fool are their own Libellers,
DARE nobly then: But confcious of
As ever warm and bold be ever just : Nor court applaufe in thefe degenerate days: The Villain's cenfure is extorted praise.
But chief, be steady in a noble end,
And fhew Mankind that Truth has yet a friend,
'Tis mean for empty praise of wit to write,
As Foplings grin to shew their teeth are white :
To brand a doubtful folly with a smile,
Or madly blaze unknown defects, is vile :
'Tis doubly vile, when, but to prove your art,
You fix an arrow in a blameless heart.
O loft to honour's voice, O doom'd to shame,
Thou Fiend accurft, thou Murderer of Fame!
Fell Ravisher, from innocence to tear
That name, than liberty, than life more dear!
Where shall thy baseness meet its just return,
Or what repay thy guilt, but endless scorn?
And know, immortal Truth fhall mock thy toil:
Immortal Truth fhall bid the fhaft recoil:
With rage retorted, wing the deadly dart;
And empty all its poison in thy heart.
With caution next, the dangerous power apply;
An eagle's talon asks an eagle's eye:
Let Satire then her proper object know,
And ere she strike, be sure she strike a foe.