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Rules for the conduct of Satire. Justice and truth its
chief and essential property, ver. 169. Prudence
The history of Satire. Roman Satirists, Lucilius,
Horace, Persius, Juvenal, ver. 357, &c. Causes
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
Yet deign to hear the efforts of a Muse
In ev'ry breast there burns an active flame,
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 ;
Eager to catch the visionary prize,
Thus still imperious Nature plies her part,
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.”
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