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In mirth be temp'rate, temp'rate in her spleen;
The Muse's charms resistless then assail,
Her beauties half conceal'd, the more surprise, 265
Then be your line with sharp encomiums grac'd:
Nay more: when flagrant crimes your laughter move,
When Folly feels her smile, and Vice her frown.
Know next what Measures to each Theme belong,
Thus when a modish folly you rehearse,
Bid courtly fashion quit her thin pretence,
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; 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:
On eagle-wing she gains Parnassus' height,
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 smile serene : She wounds reluctant; pours her balm with joy; Glad to commend where Worth attracts her eye. But chief, when Virtue, Learning, Arts decline, She joys to see unconquer'd merit shine; Where bursting glorious, with departing ray, True Genius gilds the close of Britain's day:
With joy she sees the stream of Roman art
Truth be your guide: disdain Ambition's call; 335
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?
Nor think the Muse by SATIRE's Law confin'd:
And paint the purple ev'ning in the line:
Now with a touch more sacred and refin'd,
Call forth a CHESTERFIELD's or LONSDALE's mind.
And wake each striking feature into life.
THROUGH Ages thus has 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,
Then sportive HORACE caught the gen'rous fire; For SATIRE's bow resign'd the sounding lyre: 376 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:
1 "Archilochum proprio rabies armavit Iambo." Hor.
"Ense velut stricto quoties Lucilius ardens Infremuit, rubet auditor, cui frigida mens est
Criminibus, tacita sudant præcordia culpa." Juv. S. i.
"Omne vafer vitium ridenti Flaccus amico Tangit, et admissus circum præcordia ludit,
Callidus excusso populum suspendere naso."-Pers. S. i.