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In artless numbers paint th' ambitious peer
Not so when Virtue by her guards betray'd, Spurn'd from her throne, implores the Muse's aid; When crimes, which erst in kindred darkness lay, Rise frontless, and insult the eye of day,
296 Indignant Hymen veils his hallow'd fires, And white-robed Chastity with tears retires; When rank Adultery on the genial bed Hot from Cocytus rears her baleful head ; 300 When private faith and public trust are sold, And traitors barter liberty for gold ; When fell Corruption, dark and deep, like fate, Saps the foundation of a sinking state; When giant-vice and irreligion rise,
305 On mountain'd falsehoods to invade the skies : Then warmer numbers glow thro' Satire's page, And all her smiles are darken’d into rage : On eagle-wing she gains Parnassus' height, Not lofty Epic soars a nobler flight:
310 Then keener indignation fires her eye; Then flash her lightnings, and her thunders fly ;
Wide and more wide her flaming bolts are hurld, Till all her wrath involves the guilty world.
Yet SATIRE oft assumes a gentler mien, 315 And beams on virtue's friends a smile serene : She wounds reluctant, pours her balm with joy, Glad to commend where worth attracts her eye. But chief, when virtue, learning, arts decline, She joys to see unconquer'd merit shine; 320 Where bursting glorious, with departing ray, True genius gilds the close of Britain's day. With joy she sees the stream of Roman art From MURRAY's tongue flow purer to the heart; Sees YORKE to fame, ere yet to manhood, known, And just to every virtue but his own; 326 Hears unstain'd Cam with generous pride proclaim A Sage's, Critic's, and a Poet's name; Beholds, where WIDCOMBE's happy hills ascend, Each orphan'd art and virtue find a friend; 330 To HAGLEY's honour'd shade directs her view, And culls each flower, to form a wreath for You. But tread with cautious step this dangerous
ground, Beset with faithless precipices round. Truth be your guide; disdain ambition's call; 335 And if you fall with truth, you greatly fall. 'Tis virtue's native lustre that must shine; The poet can but set it in his line: And who unmov'd with laughter can behold A sordid pebble meanly graced with gold? 340 Let real merit then adorn your lays, For shame attends on prostituted praise ;
And all your wit, your most distinguish'd art,
Nor think the Muse by Satire's law confined:
350 And great the toil, the latent soul to trace, To paint the heart, and catch internal grace; By turns bid vice or virtue strike our eyes, Now bid a Wolsey, or a Cromwell rise; Now with a touch more sacred and refined, 355 Call forth a CHESTERFIELD's or LONSDALE's mind. Here sweet or strong may every colour flow; Here let the pencil warm, the canvas glow; Of light and shade provoke the noble strife, And wake each striking feature into life. 360
Through ages thus has Satire keenly shined,
* Archilocum proprio rabies armavit iambo. + Ense velut stricto quoties Lucilius ardens
Infremuit, rubet auditor cui frigida mens est
Criminibus, tacità sudant præcordia culpa.
Tangit, et admissus circum præcordia ludit,
Juv. S. i.
Pers. S. i.
His art, conceald in studied negligence,
In graver strains majestic Persius wrote,
More ardent eloquence, and boundless rage, Inflame bold JUVENAL's exalted page; His mighty numbers awed corrupted Rome, And swept audacious Greatness to its doom; 390 The headlong torrent thundering from on high, Rent the proud rock that lately braved the sky.
But lo! the fatal victor of mankind ! Swoln Luxury!-pale Ruin stalks behind ! As countless insects from the north-east pour, 395 To blast the spring, and ravage every flower, So barbarous millions spread contagious death; The sickening 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!