Page images


Hence SATire's pow'r: 'tis her corrective part To calm the wild disorders of the heart. She points the arduous height where glory lies, And teaches mad Ambition to be wise : In the dark bosom wakes the fair desire, Draws good from ill, a brighter flame from fire; Strips black Oppression of her gay disguise, And bids the hag in native horror rise ; Strikes tow'ring pride and lawless rapine dead, And plants the wreath on Virtue's awful head.

[ocr errors]

Nor boasts the Muse a vain imagin'd pow'r, Though oft she mourns those ills she cannot cure. The worthy court her, and the worthless fear Who shun her piercing eye, that eye revere. Her awful voice the vain and vile obey, And every foe to wisdom feels her sway. Smarts, pedants, as she smiles, no more are vain ; Desponding fops resign the clouded cane: Hush'd at her voice, pert folly's self is still, And dulness wonders while she drops her quill. Like the arm’d Bee, with art most subtly true From pois’nous vice she draws a healing dew: 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.
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.
When fell Corruption, by her vassals crown'd,
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.

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,
When love of virtue wakes 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 on unfeeling hearts the shaft is spent : Though strong th' example, weak the punishment. They least are pain’d, who merit Satike 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, 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 degenerate days :
The villain's censure is extorted praise.

[ocr errors]

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 show 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 honor's voice, O doom'd to shame,
Thou fiend accurs'd, 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,
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 power apply ; An eagle's talon asks an eagle's eye :

[ocr errors]

Let SATIRE then her proper object know,
And ere she strike, be sure she strikes 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, Shaftsb’ry rears her high on Reason's throne,
And loads the slave with honors not her own:
Big-swoln with folly, as her smiles provoke,
Profaneness spawns, pert dunces nurse the joke!
Come, let us join awhile this tittering crew,
And own the idiot 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 dimpled cheek :
Contemns each surly academic foe,
And courts the spruce free-thinker and the beau,
Daedalian arguments but few can trace,
But all can read the language of grimace.
Hence mighty Ridicule's all-conqu’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 power divine,
Her base eternal shook by Folly's mine!

« PreviousContinue »