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His art, conceal'd in studied negligence,
In graver strains majestic PERSIUS wrote,
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!
'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
His wit harmonious, though his rhyme was prose:
Yet scarce had SATIRE well relumed her flame, (With grief the Muse records her country's shame,) Ere Britain saw the foul revolt commence,
And treacherous wit began her war with sense.
Th' extremes of wit and meanness join'd in thee!
Low creeping in the putrid sink of vice;
A Muse whom wisdom woo'd, but woo'd in vain,
More happy France: immortal BOILEAU there Supported Genius with a sage's care:
Him with her love propitious SATIRE bless'd 445
Each Roman's force adorns his various page,
Here Vice, dragg'd forth by Truth's supreme de
Beholds and hates her own deformity:
Who yonder star's effulgence can display,
Who paint a God, unless the God inspire?
And bless mankind with virtue's sacred store;
Burns clear and constant, like the source of day;
This praise, immortal POPE, to thee be given;
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,
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;
Urge, urge thy power, the black attempt confound,