Page images


Rules for the conduct of Satire. Justice and truth its

chief and essential property, ver. 169. Prudence
in the application of wit and ridicule, whose pro-
vince is not to explore unknown but to enforce
known truths, ver. 191. Proper subjects of Satire
are the manners of the present times, ver. 239.
Decency of Expression recommended, ver. 255.
The different methods in which folly and vice ought
to be chastised, ver. 269. The variety of style
and manner which these two subjects require, ver.
277. The praise of virtue may be admitted with
propriety, ver. 315. Caution with regard to pa.
negyric, ver. 329. The dignity of true Satire,

ver. 341.


The history of Satire. Roman Satirists, Lucilius,

Horace, Persius, Juvenal, ver. 357, &c. Causes
of decay of literature, particularly of Satire, ver.
389. Revival of Satire, ver. 401. Erasmus one
of its principal restorers, ver. 405 Donne, ver.
411. The abuse of Satire in England during the
licentious reign of Charles II. ver. 415. Dryden,
ver. 429. The true ends of Satire pursued by
Boileau in France, ver. 439. and by Mr. Pope in
England, ver. 445.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

FATE gave the word; the cruel arrow sped, And Pope lies number'd with the mighty dead ! Resign'd he fell; superior to the art That quench'd its rage in Your's and Britain's heart. You mourn; but Britain, lull'd in rest profound, 5 (Unconscious Britain !) slumbers o'er her wound. Exulting Dulness ey'd the setting light, And flapp'd her wing, impatient for the night : Rous’d at the signal, Guilt collects her train, And counts the triumphs of her growing reign : 10 With inextinguishable rage they burn, And snake-hung Envy hisses o'er his urn: Th’envenom’d monsters spit their deadly foam To blast the laurel that surrounds his tomb. But you, O Warburton ! whose


refin'd 15
Can see the greatness of an honest mind;
Can see each virtue and each grace unite,
And taste the raptures of a pure delight;
You visit oft' his awful


And view that bright assemblage treasur'd there; 20
You trace the chain that links his deep design,
And pour new lustre on the glowing line.


Yet deign to hear the efforts of a Muse
Whose eye, not wing, his ardent flight pursues :
Intent from this great archetype to draw
Satire's bright form, and fix her equal law;
Pleas'd if from hence th' unlearn'd may comprehend,
And rev’rence his and Satire's gen’rous end.

In ev'ry breast there burns an active flame,
The love of glory, or the dread of shame: 30
The passion one, tho’ various it appear,
As brighten'd into hope or dimm'd by fear.
The lisping, infant and the hoary sire,
And youth and manhood, feel the heart-born fire: 35
The charms of praise the coy, the modest, woo,
And only fly that glory may pursue :
She, pow'r resistless rules the wise and great,
Bends ev’n reluctant hermits at her feet;
Haunts the proud city and the lowly shade,

alike the sceptre and the spade. 40 Thus Heav'n in pity wakes the friendly flame, To urge mankind on deeds that merit fame : But man, vain man! in folly only wise, Rejects the manna sent him from the skies : With rapture hears corrupted Passion's call, 45 Still proudly prone to mingle with the stall. As each deceitful shadow tempts his view, He for the imag'd substance quits the trae ;

And sways


Eager to catch the visionary prize,
In quest of glory plunges deep in vice ;
Till madly zealous, impotently vain,
He forfeits ev'ry praise he pants to gain.

Thus still imperious Nature plies her part,
And still her dictates work in ev'ry heart.
Each pow'r that sov’reign Nature bids enjoy 55
Man may corrupt, but man can ne'er destroy:
Like mighty rivers, with resistless force
The passions rage, obstructed in their course;
Swell to new heights, forbidden paths explore,
And drown those virtues which they fed before. 60

And sure the deadliest foe to virtue's flame, Or worst of evils, is perverted shame: Beneath this load what abject numbers groan, Th' entangled slaves to folly not their own! Meanly by fashionable fear opprest; We seek our virtues in each other's breast; Blind to ourselves, adopt each foreign vice, Another's weakness, int’rest, or caprice. Each fool to low ambition, poorly great, That pines in splendid wretchedness of state, 70 Tir'd in the treach’rous chase, would nobly yield, And, but for shame, like Sylla, quit the field : The dæmon Shame paints strong the ridicule, And whispers close, “ The world will call you fool.”



[ocr errors]


Behold yon' wretch, by impious fashion driv'n, 75 Believes and trembles while he scoffs at Heav'n. By weakness strong, and bold thro’ 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.

80 Faith, Justice, Heav'n itself, now quit their hold, When to false fame the captiv'd heart is sold : Hence, blind to truth, relentless Cato dy'd ; Nought could subdue his virtue but his pride : Hence chaste Lucretia's innocence betray'd, 85 Fell by that honour 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 To calm the wild disorders of the heart,

90 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 a gay disguise,

95 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.

Nor boasts the Muse a vain imagin’d pow'r, Tho oft she mourns those ills she cannot cure. 100

« PreviousContinue »