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Ev'n fair Religion, native of the skies,
Scorn'd by the crowd, seeks refuge with the wise; The crowd with laughter spurns her awful train, And Mercy courts, and Justice frowns in vain.20 But SATIRE's shaft can pierce the harden'd breast; She plays a ruling passion on the rest :
Undaunted mounts the battery of his pride,
And awes the Brave, that earth and heav'n defy'd.
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 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 daemon starts up from the toad.
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,
Oft on unfeeling hearts the shaft is spent: Though strong th' example, weak the punishment. They least are pain'd, who merit SATIRE most; Folly the Laureate's, Vice was Chartres' boast; Then where's the wrong, to gibbet high the name Of fools and knaves already dead to shame ? Oft' SATIRE acts the faithful surgeon's part; Generous and kind, though painful is her art: With caution bold, she only strikes to heal, Tho' folly raves to break the friendly steel. Then sure no fault impartial SATIRE knows, Kind, evʼn in vengeance kind, to Virtue's foes. Whose is the crime, the scandal too be theirs; The knave and fool are their own libellers,
DARE nobly then: but conscious of your trust,
But chief, be steady in a noble end,
That name, than liberty, than life more dear!
With caution, next, the dang'rous power apply; An eagle's talon asks an eagle's eye :
Let SATIRE then her proper object know,
And courts the spruce free-thinker and the beau,
But all can read the language of grimace.
You, mighty WARBURTON, shall rage in vain, 50
Truth's sacred fort th' exploded laugh shall win
But you, more sage, reject th' inverted rule, That Truth is e'er explor'd by ridicule : On truth, on falsehood let her colors fall, She throws a dazzling glare alike on all; As the gay prism but mocks the flatter'd eye, And gives to every object every dye. Beware the mad advent'rer: bold and blind She hoists her sail, and drives with every wind; Deaf as the storm to sinking Virtue's groan, Nor heeds a friend's destruction, or her own. Let clear-ey'd Reason at the helm preside, Bear to the wind, or stem the furious tide; Then mirth may urge, when reason can explore, This point the way, that waft us glad to shore. J
Though distant times may rise in SATIRE'S page, Yet chief 'tis her's to draw the present age: With Wisdom's lustre, Folly's shade contrast, And judge the reigning manners by the past: Bid Britain's Heroes (awful shades!) arise, And ancient honor beam on modern vice: Point back to minds ingenuous, actions fair, Till the sons blush at what their fathers were; Ere yet 'twas beggary the great to trust; Ere yet 'twas quite a folly to be just; When low-born sharpers only dar'd a lie, Or falsify'd the card, or cogg'd the dye :