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Beneath this load what abject numbers groan,
Behold, yon wretch, by impious fashion driv’n, Belieyes and trembles while he scoffs at heav'n. By weakness strong, and bold through fear alone, He dreads the sneer by shallow coxcombs thrown ; Dauntless pursues the path Spinoza trod; To man a coward, and a brave to God,
Faith, Justice, Heav'n itself now quit their hold, When to False Fame the captiv'd heart is sold : Hence blind to truth, relentles Cato dy'd : Nought could subdue his virtue, but his pride. Hence chaste Lucretia's innocence betray'd Fell by that honor which was meant its aid. Thus Virtue sinks beneath unnumber'd woes, When passions born her friends, revolt, her foes.
Hence SATIRE's pow'r: 'tis her corrective part
Nor boasts the Muse a vain imagin’d pow'r, Though oft she mourns those ills she cannot cure. - 100 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: 110 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,
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. 140
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,
Oft on unfeeling hearts the shaft is spent : Though strong th’ example, weak the punishment. They least are pain’d, who merit SATIRE 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?
160 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,
E nobly then: but conscious of your trust,
But chief, be steady in a noble end,
With caution, next, the dang’rous power apply ; An eagle's talon asks an eagle's eye: