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His art, conceal'd in studied negligence,
Politely sly, cajoled the foes of sense :
He seem'd to sport and trifle with the dart,
But while he sported, drove it to the heart.

In graver strains majestic PERSIUS wrote,
Big with a ripe exuberance of thought:
Greatly sedate, contemn'd a tyrant's reign,
And lash'd corruption with a calm disdain.

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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!

410

'Tis done!-See, great ERASMUS breaks the spell, And wounds triumphant Folly in her cell! (In vain the solemn cowl surrounds her face, Vain all her bigot cant, her sour grimace,) With shame compell'd her leaden throne to quit, And own the force of reason urged by wit.

'Twas then plain DONNE in honest vengeance

rose,

415

His wit harmonious, though his rhyme was prose:
He 'midst an age of puns and pedants wrote
With genuine sense, and Roman strength of
thought.

Yet scarce had SATIRE well relumed her flame, (With grief the Muse records her country's shame,) Ere Britain saw the foul revolt commence,

425

And treacherous wit began her war with sense.
Then rose a shameless mercenary train,
Whom latest time shall view with just disdain;
A race fantastic, in whose gaudy line
Untutor'd thought, and tinsel beauty shine;
Wit's shatter'd mirror lies in fragments bright,
Reflects not nature, but confounds the sight.
Dry morals the court-poet blush'd to sing:
'Twas all his praise to say, the oddest thing. 430
Proud for a jest obscene, a patron's nod,
To martyr virtue, or blaspheme his God.
Ill-fated DRYDEN! who unmoved can see

Th' extremes of wit and meanness join'd in thee!
Flames that could mount, and gain their kindred

skies,

Low creeping in the putrid sink of vice;

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A Muse whom wisdom woo'd, but woo'd in vain,
The pimp of power, the prostitute to gain;
Wreaths that should deck fair virtue's form alone,
To strumpets, traitors, tyrants, vilely thrown: 440
Unrivall'd parts, the scorn of honest fame,
And Genius rise, a monument of shame!

More happy France: immortal BOILEAU there Supported Genius with a sage's care:

Him with her love propitious SATIRE bless'd 445
And breath'd her airs divine into his breast;
Fancy and sense to form his line conspire,
And faultless judgment guides the purest fire.
But see at length the British Genius smile,
And shower her bounties o'er her favour'd isle :
Behold, for POPE she twines the laurel crown,
And centers every poet's power in one;

Each Roman's force adorns his various page,
Gay smiles, corrected strength, and manly rage.
Despairing Guilt and Dulness loath the sight, 455
As spectres vanish at approaching light :
In this clear mirror with delight we view
Each image justly fine, and boldly true;

Here Vice, dragg'd forth by Truth's supreme de

cree,

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Beholds and hates her own deformity:
While self-seen Virtue in the faithful line
With modest joy surveys her form divine.
But oh, what thoughts, what numbers shall I find,
But faintly to express the poet's mind?

Who yonder star's effulgence can display,
Unless he dip his pencil in the ray?

465

Who paint a God, unless the God inspire?
What catch the lightning, but the speed of fire?
So, mighty POPE, to make thy genius known,
All power is weak, all numbers-but thy own. 470
Each Muse for thee with kind contention strove,
For thee the Graces left th' IDALIAN grove;
With watchful fondness o'er thy cradle hung,
Attuned thy voice, and form'd thy infant tongue.
Next, to her Bard majestic Wisdom came;
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The Bard enraptured caught the heavenly flame;
With taste superior scorn'd the venal tribe,
Whom fear can sway, or guilty Greatness bribe;
At Fancy's call, who rear the wanton sail,
Sport with the stream, and trifle in the gale. 480
Sublimer views thy daring spirit bound;
Thy mighty voyage was creation's round;
Intent new worlds of wisdom to explore,

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And bless mankind with virtue's sacred store;
A nobler joy than wit can give, impart;
And pour a moral transport o'er the heart.
Fantastic wit shoots momentary fires,
And, like a meteor, while we gaze, expires;
Wit kindled by the sulphurous breath of vice,
Like the blue lightning, while it shines, destroys:
But Genius, fired by Truth's eternal ray,

Burns clear and constant, like the source of day;
Like this, its beam prolific and refined,
Feeds, warms, inspirits, and exalts the mind;
Mildly dispels each wintry passion's gloom,
And opens all the virtues into bloom.

This praise, immortal POPE, to thee be given;
Thy genius was indeed a gift from Heaven.

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Hail, bard unequall'd, in whose deathless line Reason and wit with strength collected shine; 500 Where matchless wit but wins the second praise, Lost, nobly lost, in truth's superior blaze.

Did FRIENDSHIP e'er mislead thy wandering Muse? That friendship sure may plead the great excuse! That sacred friendship which inspired thy song, Fair in defect, and amiably wrong.

Error like this even truth can scarce reprove; "Tis almost virtue when it flows from love,

515

Ye deathless names, ye sons of endless praise, By virtue crown'd with never-fading bays! 510 Say, shall an artless Muse, if you inspire, Light her pale lamp at your immortal fire? Or if, O WARBURTON! inspired by You, The daring Muse a nobler path pursue, By You inspired, on trembling pinion soar, The sacred founts of social bliss explore, In her bold numbers chain the tyrant's rage, And bid her country's glory fire her page; If such her fate, do thou, fair Truth, descend, And watchful guard her in an honest end; Kindly severe, instruct her equal line To court no friend, nor own a foe but thine. But if her giddy eye should vainly quit Thy sacred paths, to run the maze of wit; If her apostate heart should e'er incline To offer incense at corruption's shrine;

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Urge, urge thy power, the black attempt confound,
And dash the smoking censer to the ground.
Thus awed to fear, instructed bards may see,
That guilt is doomed to sink in infamy.

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