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Intent from this great archetype to draw 25 Satire’s bright form, and fix her equal law; Pleased if from hence th' unlearn'd may compre
hend, And reverence His and Satire's generous end.
In every breast there burns an active flame, The love of glory, or the dread of shame : 30 The passion One, though various it appear, As brighten'd into hope, or dimm'd by fear. The lisping infant, and the hoary sire, And youth and manhood feel the heart-born fire: The charms of praise the coy, the modest, woo, 35 And only fly that glory may pursue: She, power resistless, rules the wise and great; Bends even reluctant hermits at her feet; Haunts the proud city, and the lowly shade, And sways alike the sceptre and the spade. 40
Thus Heaven in pity wakes the friendly flame, To urge mankind on deeds that merit fame : But man, vain man, in folly only wise, Rejects the manna sent him from the skies; With rapture hears corrupted Passion's call, 45 Still proudly prone to mingle with the stall. As each deceitful shadow tempts his view, He for the imaged substance quits the true; Eager to catch the visionary prize, In quest of glory, plunges deep in vice; 50 Till madly zealous, impotently vain, He forfeits every praise he pants to gain.
Thus still imperious Nature plies her part, And still her dictates work in every heart.
that sovereign Nature bids enjoy, 55
And sure, the deadliest foe to virtue's flame,
Behold yon wretch, by impious fashion driven, 75 Believes and trembles while he scoffs at Heaven. By weakness strong, and bold through fear alone, He dreads the sneer by shallow coxcombs thrown; Dauntless pursues the path Spinoza trod; To man a coward, and a brave to God.
Ver. 80. To man a coward, &c.]
Vois tu ce Libertin en public intrépide,
Faith, Justice, Heaven itself now quit their
hold When to false fame the captived heart is sold : Hence, blind to truth, relentless Cato died; Nought could subdue his virtue, but his pride. Hence chaste Lucretia's innocence betray'd 85 Fell by that honour which was meant its aid. Thus Virtue sinks beneath unnumber'd woes, When Passions, born her friends, revolt her foes.
Hence Satire's power: 'tis her corrective part, To calm the wild disorders of the heart.
90 She points the arduous height where Glory lies, And teaches mad Ambition to be wise; In the dark bosom wakes the fair desire, Draws good from ill, a brighter flame from fire; Strips black Oppression of her gay disguise, 95 And bids the hag in native horror rise ; Strikes towering Pride, and lawless Rapine dead, And plants the wreath on Virtue's awful head.
Nor boasts the Muse a vain imagined power, Tho' oft she mourn those ills she cannot cure. 100 The worthy court her, and the worthless fear; Who shun her piercing eye, that eye revere. Her awful voice the vain and vile obey, And every
foe to wisdom feels her sway. Smarts, pedants, as she smiles, no more are vain ; Desponding fops resign the clouded cane :
Mais de ses faux amis il craint la raillerie,
Boileau, Ep. iii.
Hush'd at her voice, pert Folly's self is still,
Ver. 110. From poisonous dice, &c.] Alluding to these lines of Mr. Pope :
In the nice bee what art so subtly true
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 she draws her quill; Her magic quill, that like ITHURIEL's spear, 135 Reveals the cloven hoof, or lengthen'd ear; Bids Vice and Folly take their natural shapes, Turns duchesses to strumpets, beaux to apes ; Drags the vile whisperer from his dark abode, Till all the demon starts up from the toad. 140
O sordid maxim, form’d to screen the vile, That true good-nature still must wear a smile! In frowns array'd her beauties stronger rise, When love of virtue makes her scorn of vice: Where justice calls, 'tis cruelty to save;
145 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 confined, The object of her love is all mankind.
150 Scarce more the friend of Man, the wise must own, Even ALLEN's bounteous hand, than SATIRE's frown: This to chastise, as that to bless, was given; Alike the faithful ministers of Heaven.
Oft in unfeeling hearts the shaft is spent: 155 Though strong 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? 160