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In mirth be temp’rate, temp’rate in her spleen ;
Dart not on Folly an indignant eye:
Know next what Measures to each Theme belong, And suit your thoughts and numbers to your song : On wing proportion'd to your quarry rise, And stoop to earth, or soar among the skies, 280 Thus when a modish folly you rehearse, Free the expression, simple be the verse. In artless numbers paint th' ambitious Peer That mounts the box, and shines a Charioteer : In strains familiar sing the midnight toil 285 Of Camps and Senates disciplin'd by Hoyle; Patriots and Chiefs, whose deep design invades And carries off the captive King-of Spades ! Let Satire here in milder vigour shine, And gaily graceful sport along the line ; 290
Bid courtly fashion quit her thin pretence,
Not so when Virtue by her Guards betray'd,
305 On mountain'd falsehoods to invade the skies : Then warmer numbers glow thro' SATIRE's page, And all her smiles are darken'd into rage: On eagle-wing she gains Parnassus' height, Not lofty Epic soars a nobler Alight:
310 Then keener indignation fires her eye; Then flash her lightnings, and her thunders fly; Wide and more wide her flaming bolts are hurld, Till all her wrath involves the guilty World.
Yet SATIRE oft assumes a gentler mien, 315 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 ; 320 Where bursting glorious, with departing ray, True Genius gilds the close of Britain's day:
With joy she sees the stream of Roman art
But tread with cautious step this dangerous ground, Beset with faithless precipices round : Truth be your guide: disdain Ambition's call; 335 And if
you fall with Truth, you greatly fall. 'Tis Virtue's native lustre that must shine; 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? 340 Let real Merit then adorn your lays, For shame attends on prostituted praise : And all your wit, your most distinguish'd art, But makes us grieve you want an honest heart.
Nor think the Muse by SATIRE's Law confin'd: She yields description of the noblest kind. 346 Inferior art the Landscape may design, And paint the purple ev’ning in the line: Her daring thought essays a higher plan; Her hand delineates Passion, pictures Man. 350 And great the toil, the latent soul to trace, To paint the heart, and catch internal grace ; By turns bid Vice or Virtue strike our eyes, Now bid a Wolsey, or a Cromwell rise ;
Now with a touch more sacred and refin'd, 355
THROUGH Ages thus haś 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,
365 Till glowing crimes had wak’d her into rage. Truth saw her honest spleen with new delight, And bade her wing her shafts, and urge their flight. First on the Sons of Greece she prov'd her art, And Sparta felt the fierce Iambic dart." 370 To Latium next, avenging SATIRE flew : The flaming faulchion rough Lucilius drew; With dauntless warmth in Virtue's cause engag'd, And conscious Villains trembled as he rag'd.
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 polishd, grew more keen. His art conceal'd in study'd negligence, Politely sly, cajol'd the foes of sense :
!“ Archilochum proprio rabies armavit Iambo.” Hor.