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Unless a love of virtue light the flame,
Satire is, more than those he brands, to blame;
He hides behind a magisterial air
His own offences, and strips others bare;
Affects indeed most humane concern,
That men, if gently tutored, will not learn;
That mulish folly not to be reclaimed
By softer methods, must be made ashamed;
But (I might instance in St. Patrick’s dean)
Too often rails to gratify his spleen.
Most satirists are indeed a public scourge:
Their mildest physic is a farrier's purge;
Their acrid temper turns, as soon as stirred,
The milk of their good purpose all to curd.
Their zeal begotten, as their works rehearse,
By lean despair upon an empty purse,
The wild assassins start into the street,
Prepared to poniard whomsoever they meet.
No skill in swordmanship, bowever just,
Can be secure against a madman's thrust;
And even virtue so unfairly matched,
Although immortal, may be pricked or scratched.
When scandal has new minted an old lie,
Or taxed invention for a fresh supply,
'Tis called a satire, and the world appears
Gathering around it with erected ears:
A thousand names are tossed into the crowd;
Some whispered softly, and some twanged aloud;
Just as the sapience of an author's brain
Suggests it safe or dangerous to be plain.
Strange! how the frequent interjected dash
Quickens a market, and helps off the trash;
The important letters, that include the rest,
Serve as a key to those that are suppressed;
Conjecture gripes the victims in his paw,
The world is charmed, and Scrib escapes the law.
So, when the cold damp shades of night prevail,
Worms may be caught by either head or tail;
Forcibly drawn from many a close recess,
They meet with little pity, no redress;
Plunged in the stream they lodge upon the mud,
Food for the famished rovers of the flood.
All zeal for a reform, that gives offence
To peace and charity, is mere pretence:
A bold remark, but which if well applied,
Would humble many a towering poet's pride.
Perhaps the man was in a sportive fit,
And had no other play-place for his wit;
Perhaps, enchanted with the love of fame,
He sought the jewel in his neighbour's shame;
Perhaps-whatever end he might pursue,
The cause of virtue could not be his view.
At every stroke wit flashes in our eyes;
The turns are quick, the polished points surprise,
But shine with cruel and tremendous charms,
That while they please possess us with alarms:
So have I seen, (and hastened to the sight
On all the wings of holiday delight)
Where stands that monument of ancient power,
Named with emphatic dignity, the tower,
Guns, halberts, swords, and pistols, great and small,
In starry forms disposed upon the wall;
We wonder, as we gazing stand below,
That brass and steel should make so fine a show;
But though we praise the exact designer's skill,
Account them implements of mischief still.
No works shall find acceptance in that day, When all disguises shall be rent away, That square not truly with the scripture plan, Nor spring from love to God, or love to man. As he ordains things sordid in their birth To be resolved into their parent earth; And, though the soul shall seek superior orbs, Whate'er this world produces, it absorbs; So self starts nothing, but what tends apace Home to the goal, where it began the race. Such as our notive is our aim must be, If this be servile, that can ne'er be free: If self employ us, whatsoever is wrought, We glorify that self, not him we ought; Such virtues had need prove their own reward, The judge of all men owes them no regard. True charity, a plant divinely nursed, Fed by the love from which it rose at first, Thrives against hope and in the rụdest scene, Storms but enliven its unfading green; Exuberant is the shadow it supplies, Its fruits on earth, its growth above the skies.
To look at him, who formed us and redeemed,
So glorious now, though once so disesteemed,
To see a God stretch forth his human hand,
To uphold the boundless scenes of his command;
To recollect that in a form like our's,
He bruised beneath his feet the infernal powers,
Captivity led captive, rose to claim
The wreath he won so dearly in our name;
That throned above all height he condescends
To call the few that trust in him his friends;
That in the heaven of heavens, that space he deems
Too scanty for the exertion of his beams,
And shines, as if impatient to bestow
Life and a kingdom upon worms below;
That sight imparts a never-dying flame,
Though feeble in degree, in kind the same.
Like him the soul thus kindled from above
Spreads wide her arms of universal love;
And still enlarged as she receives the grace,
Includes creation in her close embrace.
Behold a Christian ! and without the fires
The founder of that naine alone inspires,