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Ere lewdness the stain'd garb of honor wore,
Or chastity was carted for the whore ;
Vice flutter'd, in the plumes of freedom drest ;___
Or public spirit was the public jest.
Be ever in a just expression bold,
Yet ne'er degrade fair SATIRE to a scold:
Let no unworthy mien her form debase,
But let her smile, and let her frown with gracego
In mirth be tempʼrate, temp'rate in her spleen;
Nor while she preaches modesty, obscene.
Deep let her wound, not rankle to a sore,
Nor call his Lordship * her Grace a
The Muse's charms resistless then assail,
When rapt in irony's transparent veil:
Her beauties half-conceal'd the more surprize,
And keener lustre sparkles in her eyes.
Then be your line with sharp encomiums grac'de
Style Clodius honorable, Bufa chaste..
Dart not on Folly an indignant eye : Who e'er discharg'd artillery on a fly?
Deride not Vice: absurd the thought and vain,
To bind the tiger in so weak a chain.
Nay more: when flagrant crimes your laughter move,
The knave exults: to smile is to approve.
The Muse's labor then success shall crown,
When Folly feels her smile, and Vice her frown,
Know next what measures to each theme belong, And suit your thoughts and numbers to your song // On wing proportion'd to your quarry rise,
And stoop to earth, or soar among the skies.
Thus when a modish folly you rehearse,
Free the expression, simple be the verse.
In artless numbers paint th' ambitious peer
That mounts the box, and shines a charioteer :
In strains familiar sing the midnight toil
Of camps and senates disciplin'd by Hoyle.
Patriots and chiefs whose deep design invades,
And carries off the captive king of spades! 20
Let SATIRE here in milder vigor shine,
And gayly graceful sport along the line;
Bid courtly Fashion quit her thin pretence,
And smile each affectation into sense.
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;
Indignant Hymen veils his hallow'd fires,
And white-rob'd Chastity with tears retires; 136
When rank Adultery on the genial bed
Hot from Cocytus rears her baleful head:
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,
On mountain'd falsehoods to invade the skies:
Then warmer numbers glow through 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:
Then keener indignation fires her eye;
Then flash her lightnings, and her thunders fly;
Wide and more wide her flaming bolts are hurl'd,
Till all her wrath involves the guilty world.
Yet SATIRE oft assumes a gentler mien,
And.beams on Virtue's friends a look serene:
She wounds reluctant, pours her balm with joy,
Glad to commend where merit strikes her eye.
But tread with cautious step this dangerous ground,
Beset with faithless precipices round:
Truth be your guide; disdain Ambition's call;
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 grac'd with gold?
Let real merit then adorn your lays,
For shame attends on prostituted praise:
And all your wit, your most distinguish'd art
But makes us grieve, you want an honest heart.
Nor think the Muse by SATIRE's law confin'd: She yields description of the noblest kind.
Inferior art the landscape may design,
And paint the purple evening in the line:
Her daring thought essays a higher plan;
Her hand delineates passion, pictures man.
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 refin’d,
Call forth a CHESTERFIELD's or LONSDALE's mind.
Here sweet or strong may every color flow:
Here let the pencil warm, the canvas glow:
Of light and shade provoke the noble strife,
And wake each striking feature into life.
THROUGH ages thus hath SATIRE keenly shin'd,
The friend to truth, to virtue, and mankind:
Yet the bright flame from virtue ne'er had sprung,
And man was guilty ere the poet sung.
This Muse in silence joy'd each better age,
Till glowing crimes had wak'd her into rage.
Truth saw her honest spleen with new delight,
And bade her wing her shafts, and urge their
First on the sons of Greece she prov'd her art,
And Sparta felt the fierce Iambic dart.
To LATIUM next avenging SATIRE flew:
The flaming faulchion rough LuCILIUS drew;
With dauntless warmth in Virtue's cause engag'd,
And conscious villains trembled as he rag'd.
Then sportive HORACE caught the generous fire,
For SATIRE's bow resign'd the sounding lyre:
Each arrow polish'd in his hand was seen,
And as it grew more polish'd, grew more keen.
His art, conceal'd in study'd negligence,
Politely sly, cajol'd 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.
More ardent eloquence, and boundless rage Inflame bold JUVENAL's exalted page. His mighty numbers aw'd corrupted Rome, And swept audacious greatness to its doom; The headlong torrent thundering from on high, Rent the proud rock that lately brav'd the sky.
But lo! the fatal victor of mankind, Swoln Luxury!-Pale Ruin stalks behind!