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Like mighty rivers, with resistless force
And sure, the deadliest Foe to Virtue's flame,
Behold yon Wretch, by impious fashion driven, 75
Thus Virtue finks beneath unnumber'd woes,
Hence Satire's power: 'Tis her corrective part,
go She points the arduous height where Glory lies, And teaches mad Ambition to be wise: In the dark bosom wakes the fair defire, Draws good from ill, a brighter flame from fire : Strips black Oppression of her gay disguise,
95 And bids the Hag in native horror rife; Strikes towering Pride and lawless Rapine dead, And plants the wreath on Virtue's awful head.
Nor boasts the Muse a vain imagin’d Power, Though oft she mourns those ills she cannot cure. The Worthy court her, and the Worthless fear; Who Thun 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 the smiles, no more are vain ; 105 Desponding Fops resign the clouded cane : Hush'd at her voice, pert Folly's self is still, And Dulness wonders while the drops her quill. Like the arm'd Bee, with art most subtly true, From poisonous Vice lhe draws a healing dew: 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-linew'd rends th’unequal toils : The stream of Vice impetuous drives along, 115 Too deep for Policy, for Power too strong.
Ev'n fair Religion, Native of the skies,
But with the friends of Vice, the foes of Satire,
Well may they dread the Muse's fatal skill; Well may they tremble when the draws her quill: Her magic quill, that, like Ithuriel's spear,
135 Reveals the cloven hoof, or lengthened ear : Bids Vice and Folly take their natural shapes, Turns Dutchesses to strumpets, Beaux to apes ; Drags the vile Whisperer from his dark abode, Till all the Dæmon 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, When love of Virtue wakes her scorn of Vice : Where Justice calls, 'tis Cruelty to save ;
145 And 'tis the Law's good-nature hangs the Knave,
Who combats Virtue’s foe is Virtue's friend;
155 Though strong th' example, weak the punishment. They least are pain’d, who merit Satire most: Folly the Laureat'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, the only strikes to heal : Though 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 Knaye and Fool are their own Libellers.
DARE nobly then ; But conscious of your truft,
bold : 170 Nor court applause in these degenerate days : The Villain's cenfure is extorted praise.
But chief, be steady in a noble end, And shew Mankind that Truth has yet a friend, 'Tis mean for empty praise of wit to write, 175 As Foplings grin to fhew their teeth are white : To brand a doubtful folly with a smile, Or madly blaze unknown defects, is vile : 'Tis doubly vile, when, but to prove your art, You fix an arrow in a blameless heart.
180 O loft to honour's voice, O doom'd to shame, Thou Fiend accurst, thou Murderer of Fame ! Fell Ravisher, from innocence to tear That name, than liberty, than life more dear! Where shall thy baseness meet its just return, 185 Or what repay thy guilt, but endless scorn ? And know, immortal Truth Tall mock thy toil : Immortal Truth shall bid the shaft recoil : With rage retorted, wing the deadly dart; And empty all its poison in thy heart.
190 With caution next, the dangerous power apply; An eagle's talon alks an eagle's eye : Let Satire then her proper object know, And ere she strike, be sure the strike a foe.