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SATIRICAL AND PRECEPTIVE.
ESSAY ON SATIRE,
OCCASIONED BY THE DEATH OF MR. POPE.
THE REV. MR. WARBURTON,
BY JOHN BROWN, D.D.
O while along the stream of Time thy Name
FATE gave the word; the cruel arrow sped;
That quench'd its rage in YOUR's and BRITAIN'S
You mourn: But BRITAIN, lull'd in rest profound,
Rous'd at the signal, Guilt collects her train,
But You, O WARBURTON! whose eye refin'd
And view that bright assemblage treasur'd there;
SATIRE'S bright form, and fix her equal law;
In every breast there burns an active flame, The love of glory, or the dread of shame : 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;
She, power resistless, rules the wise and great; Bends ev'n reluctant hermits at her feet: Haunts the proud city, and the lowly shade, And sways alike the scepter and the spade.
Thus heav'n 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, Still proudly prone to mingle with the stall. As each deceitful shadow tempts his view, He for the imag'd substance quits the true : Eager to catch the visionary prize, In quest of glory plunges deep in vice; 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. Each pow'r that sovʼreign Nature bids enjoy, Man may corrupt, but man can ne'er destroy. Like mighty rivers, with resistless force The passion's rage, obstructed in their course; Swell to new heights, forbidden paths explore, And drown those virtues which they fed before.
And sure, the deadliest foe to virtue's flame, Our worst of evils, is perverted shame.
Beneath this load what abject numbers groan,
Behold, yon wretch, by impious fashion driv❜n, Believes and trembles while he scoffs at heav'n. 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.
Faith, Justice, Heav'n itself now quit their hold, When to False Fame the captiv'd heart is sold: Hence blind to truth, relentles Cato dy'd : Nought could subdue his virtue, but his pride. Hence chaste Lucretia's innocence betray'd Fell by that honor which was meant its aid. Thus Virtue sinks beneath unnumber'd woes, When passions born her friends, revolt, her foes.