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Weak are the ties that civil arts can find,
To quell the ferment of the tainted mind:
Cunning evades, securely wrapt in wiles;
And Force strong sinew'd rends th' unequal toils:
The stream of Vice impetuous drives along,
Too deep for Policy, for Pow'r too strong,
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. 120 But SATIRE'S shaft can pierce the harden'd breast: She plays a ruling passion on the rest :
Undaunted storms the batt'ry of his pride,
And awes the Brave that Earth and Heav'n defied.
When fell Corruption, by her vassals crown'd, 125
Derides fall'n Justice prostrate on the ground;
Swift to redress an injur'd People's groan,
Bold SATIRE shakes the Tyrant on her throne;
Pow'rful as Death, defies the sordid train,
And Slaves and Sycophants surround in vain. 130
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 nat`ral shapes,
Turns Dutchesses to strumpets, Beaux to apes;
Drags the vile Whisp'rer from his dark abode,
Till all the Demon 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,
When love of Virtue makes her scorn of Vice:
Where Justice calls, 'tis Cruelty to save;
And 'tis the Law's good-nature hangs the Knave.
Who combats Virtue's foe is Virtue's friend;
Then judge of SATIRE'S merit by her end:
To Guilt alone her vengeance stands confin'd,
The object of her love is all Mankind.
Scarce more the friend of Man, the wise must own,
Ev'n ALLEN's bounteous hand, than SATIRE's frown:
This to chastise, as That to bless, was giv'n;
Alike the faithful Ministers of Heav'n.
Oft in unfeeling hearts the shaft is spent: Tho' strong th' example, weak the punishment. They least are pain'd, who merit Satire most; Folly the Laureat's, Vice was Chartres' boast:Then where's the wrong, to gibbet high the name Of Fools and Knaves already dead to shame? 160 Oft SATIRE acts the faithful Surgeon's part; Gen'rous and kind, tho' 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 ev'n 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, As ever warm and bold, be ever just:
Nor court applause in these degen'rate days:
The Villain's censure is extorted praise.
But chief, be steady in a noble end,
And shew mankind that Truth has yet a friend.
'Tis mean for empty praise of wit to write,
As Foplings grin to shew their teeth are white:
To brand a doubtful folly with a smile,
Or madly blaze unknown defects, is vile:
'Tis doubly vile, when, but to prove your art,
You fix an arrow in a blameless heart.
O lost to honour's voice, O doom'd to shame,
Thou Fiend accurst, thou murderer of Fame!
Fell Ravisher, from Innocence to tear
That name, than liberty, than life more dear!
Where shall thy baseness meet its just return! 185
Or what repay thy guilt, but endless scorn?
And know, immortal Truth shall mock thy toil:
Immortal Truth shall bid the shaft recoil;
With rage retorted, wing the deadly dart;
And empty all its poison in thy heart.
With caution next, the dang'rous pow'r apply;
An eagle's talon asks an eagle's eye:
Let SATIRE then her proper object know,
And ere she strike, be sure she strike a foe.
Nor fondly deem the real fool confest,
Because blind Ridicule conceives a jest:
Before whose altar Virtue oft hath bled,
And oft a destin'd Victim shall be led :
Lo, Shaftesb'ry rears her high on Reason's throne,
And loads the Slave with honours not her own: 200
Big-swoln with folly, as her smiles provoke,
Profaneness spawns, pert Dunces nurse the joke!
Come, let us join awhile this titt'ring crew,
And own the Ideot Guide for once is true;
Deride our weak forefathers' musty rule,
Who therefore smil'd, because they saw a Fool;
Sublimer logic now adorns our isle,
We therefore see a Fool, because we smile.
Truth in her gloomy Cave why fondly seek?
Lo, gay she sits in Laughter's dimple cheek: 210
Contemns each surly academic foe,
And courts the spruce Freethinker and the Beau.
Dadalion arguments but few can trace,
But all can read the language of grimace.
Hence mighty Ridicule's all-conq'ring hand
Shall work Herculean wonders through the Land:
Bound in the magic of her cobweb chain,
You, mighty WARBURTON, shall rage in vain,
In vain the trackless maze of Truth you scan,
And lend th' informing Clue to erring Man :
No more shall Reason boast her pow'r divine,
Her Base eternal shook by Folly's mine!
Truth's sacred Fort th' exploded laugh shall win;
And Coxcombs vanquish BERKLEY by a grin.
But you, more sage, reject th' inverted rule, 225 That Truth is e'er explor'd by Ridicule :
On truth, on falsehood let her colours fall,
She throws a dazzling glare alike on all;
As the gay Prism but mocks the flatter'd eye
And gives to ev'ry object ev'ry die.
Beware the mad Advent'rer: bold and blind
She hoists her sail, and drives with ev'ry 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.
Tho' 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 Honour 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 a card, or cogg'd the die;
Ere Lewdness the stain'd garb of Honour wore,
Or Chastity was carted for the Whore;
Vice flutter'd in the plumes of freedom dress'd;
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 grace :