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Now with a touch more sacred and refin'd, 355
Call forth a CHESTERFIELD's or LoNSDALE’s mind.
Here sweet or strong may ev'ry Colour flow :
Here let the pencil warm, the canvas glow:
Of light and shade provoke the noble strife,
And wake each striking feature into life. 360
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, 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 polish'd, grew more keen. His art conceal’d in study'd negligence, Politely sly, cajol'd the foes of sense: 380
NOTES. * “Archilochum proprio rabies armavit Iambo.” Hor.
* “Ense velut stricto quoties Lucilius ardens
Infremuit, rubet auditor, cui frigida mens est
Criminibus, tacita sudant praecordia culpa.” Juv. S. i.
* “Omne vafer vitium ridenti Flaccus amico
Tangit, et admissus circum praecordia ludit,
Callidus excusso populum suspendere naso.”—Pers. S. i.
He seem'd to sport and trifle with the dart,
But while he sported, drove it to the heart.
In graver strains majestic PERSIUs wrote,
Big with a ripe exuberance of thought:
Greatly sedate, contemn’d a Tyrant's reign, 385
And lash'd Corruption with a calm disdain.
More ardent eloquence, and boundless rage,
Inflame bold Juv ENAL’s exalted page,
His mighty numbers aw’d corrupted Rome,
And swept audacious Greatness to its doom; 390
The headlong torrent thund'ring from on high,
Rent the proud rock that lately brav'd the sky.
But lo! the fatal Victor of Mankind
Swoln Lurury !—pale Ruin stalks behind
As countless Insects from the north-east pour, 395
To blast the Spring, and ravage ev'ry flow'r :
So barb'rous Millions spread contagious death:
The sick'ning 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 ERAs MUs breaks the spell,
And wounds triumphant Folly in her cell! 410
(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 urg'd by Wit.
'Twas then plain DoNNE in honest vengeance rose,
His Wit harmonious, tho' his Rhyme was prose:
He midst an age of Puns and Pedants wrote 417
With genuine sense, and Roman strength of thought.
Yet scarce had SATIRE well resum’d her flame,
(With grief the Muse records her Country's shame,)
Ere Britain saw the foul revolt commence, 421
And treach'rous Wit began her war with Sense.
Then rose a shameless mercenary train,
Whom latest Time shall view with just disdain:
A race fantastic, in whose gaudy line 425
Untutor'd thought, and tinsel beauty shine;
Wit's shatter'd Mirror lies in fragments bright,
Reflects not Nature, but confounds the sight.
Dry Morals the Court-Poet blush'd to sing:
‘Twas all his praise to say, “the oddest thing.”
Proud for a jest obscene, a Patron's nod, 431
To martyr Virtue, or blaspheme his God.
Ill-fated DRY DEN' who unmov’d can see
Th’ extremes of wit and meanness join'd in Thee!
Flames that couldmount, and gain their kindred skies,
Low creeping in the putrid sink of vice; 436
A Muse whom Wisdom wood, but woo'd in vain,
The Pimp of Pow'r, the Prostitute to Gain:
Wreaths that should deck fair Virtue's form alone,
To Strumpets, Traitors, Tyrants vilely thrown:
Unrivall'd parts, the scorn of honest fame; 44l
And Genius rise, a Monument of shame !
More happy France: immortal BoILEAU there
Supported Genius with a Sage's care:
Him with her love propitious SATIRE blest, 445
And breath'd her airs divine into his breast:
Fancy and Sense to form his line conspire,
And faultless Judgment guides the purest Fire.
But see at length the British Genius smile,
And show'r her bounties o'er her favour’d Isle : 450
Behold for Pop E she twines the laurel crown,
And centres ev'ry Poet's power in one: -
Each Roman's force adorns his various page,
Gay Smiles, corrected strength, and manly rage.
Despairing Guilt and Dulness loathe the sight, 455
As Spectres vanish at approaching light:
In this clear Mirror with delight we view
Each image justly fine, and boldly true:
Here Vice, dragg'd forth by Truth's supreme decree,
Beholds and hates her own deformity: 460
While self-seen Virtue in the faithful line
With modest joy surveys her form divine.
But oh, what thoughts, what numbers shall I find,
But faintly to express the Poet's mind!
Who yonder Star's effulgence can display, 465
Unless he dip his pencil in the ray ? -
Who paint a God, unless the God inspire?
What catch the Lightning, but the speed of fire?
So, mighty Pop E, to make thy Genius known,
All pow'r is weak, all numbers—but thy own. 470
Each Muse for thee with kind contention strove,
For thee the Graces left th' IDALIAN grove;
With watchful fondness o'er thy cradle hung,
Attun'd thy voice, and form'd thy infant tongue.
Next, to her Bard majestic Wisdom came; 475
The Bard enraptur'd caught the heav'nly flame: