« PreviousContinue »
DARE nobly then : But conscious of your trust, As ever warm and bold, be ever just :
170 Nor court applause in these degen’rate days: The Villain's censure 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 shew 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 lost 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 shall 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 dang’rous pow'r apply; An eagle's talon asks an eagle's eye: Let SATIRE then her proper object know, And ere she strike, be sure she strike a foe.
Nor fondly deem the real fool confest,
195 Because blind Ridicule conceives a jest: Before whose altar Virtue oft hath bled, And oft a destin'd Victim shall be led : Lo, Shaftesb’ry rears her high on Reason's throne, And loads the Slave with honours not her own : 200 Big-swoln with folly, as her smiles provoke, Profaneness spawns, pert Dunces nurse the joke! Come, let us join awhile this tittring crew, And own the Ideot Guide for once is true ; Deride our weak forefathers' musty rule, 205 Who therefore smild, because they saw a Fool; Sublimer logic now adorns our isle, We therefore see a Fool, because we smile. Truth in her gloomy Cave why fondly seek?
she sits in Laughter's dimple cheek : 210 Contemns each surly academic foe, And courts the spruce Freethinker and the Beau. Dadalion arguments but few can trace, But all can read the language of grimace. Hence mighty Ridicule's all-conq’ring hand 215 Shall work Herculean wonders through the Land : Bound in the magic of her cobweb chain, You, mighty WARBURTON, shall rage in vain, In vain the trackless maze of Truth you scan, And lend th' informing Clue to erring Man: 220 No more shall Reason boast her pow'r divine, Her Base eternal shook by Folly's mine! Truth's sacred Fort th’exploded laugh shall win; And Coxcombs vanquish BERKLEY by a grin. But
you, more sage, reject th' inverted rule,' 225 That Truth is e’er explor'd by Ridicule:
On truth, on falsehood let her colours fall,
eye And gives to ev'ry object ev'ry die.
230 Beware the mad Advent'rer: bold and blind She hoists her sail, and drives with ev'ry wind Deaf as the storm to sinking Virtue's groan, Nor heeds a Friend's destruction, or her own. Let clear-ey'd Reason at the helm preside, 235 Bear to the wind, or stem the furious tide; Then Mirth may urge, when Reason can explore, This point the way, that waft us glad to shore.
Tho' distant Times may rise in SATIRE'S page, Yet chief 'tis Her's to draw the present Age: 240 With Wisdom's lustre, Folly's shade contrast, And judge the reigning Manners by the past : Bid Britain's Heroes (awful shades !) arise, And ancient Honour beam on modern Vice : Point back to minds ingenuous, actions fair, 245 Till the Sons blush at what their Fathers were : Ere yet 'twas beggary the great to trust; Ere yet 'twas quite a folly to be just; When low-born Sharpers only dar'd a lie, Or falsify'd a card, or cogg'd the die;
250 Ere Lewdness the stain'd garb of Honour wore, Or Chastity was carted for the Whore; Vice flutter'd in the plumes of freedom dress'd; Or public Spirit was the public jest. Be ever, in a just expression, bold,
255 Yet ne'er degrade fair SATIRE to a Scold : Let no unworthy mien her form debase, But let her smile, and let her frown with grace :
In mirth be temp’rate, temp?rate in her spleen ;
her Grace à -
line with sharp encomiums grac'd : Style Clodius honourable, Bufa chaste.
Dart not on Folly an indignant eye: Whoe'er discharg'd Artillery on a Fly? 270 Deride not Vice: Absurd the thought and vain, To bind the Tiger in so weak a chain. Nay more: when flagrant crimes your laughter move, The Knave exults : to smile is to approve. The Muse's labour then success shall crown, 275 When Folly feels her smile, and Vice her frown.
Know next what Measures to each Theme belong, And suit your thoughts and numbers to your song : On wing proportion’d to your quarry rise, And stoop to earth, or soar among the skies. 280 Thus when a modish folly you rehearse, Free the expression, simple be the verse. In artless numbers paint th' ambitious Peer That mounts the box, and shines a Charioteer: In strains familiar sing the midnight toil 285 Of Camps and Senates disciplin'd by Hoyle ; Patriots and Chiefs, whose deep design invades And carries off the captive King of Spades ! Let SATIRE here in milder vigour shine, And gaily graceful sport along the line ; 290
Bid courtly fashion quit her thin pretence,
Not so when Virtue by her Guards betray’d, Spurn'd from her Throne, implores the Muse’s aid : When crimes, which erst in kindred darkness lay, Rise frontless, and insult the eye
296 Indignant Hymen veils his hallow'd fires, And white-rob’d Chastity with tears retires ; When rank Adultery on the genial bed Hot from Cocytus rears her baleful head : 300 When private Faith and public Trust are sold, And Traitors barter Liberty for Gold : When fell Corruption dark and deep, like fate, Saps the foundation of a sinking State : When Giant-Vice and Irreligion rise,
305 On mountain'd falsehoods to invade the skies : Then warmer numbers glow thro' SATIRE's page, And all her smiles are darken'd into
rage : On eagle-wing she gains Parnassus' height, Not lofty Epic soars a nobler flight:
310 Then keener indignation fires her eye; Then flash her lightnings, and her thunders fly; Wide and more wide her flaming bolts are hurl?d, Till all her wrath involves the guilty World.
Yet SATIRE oft assumes a gentler mien, 315 And beams on Virtue's friends a smile serene : She wounds reluctant; pours her balm with joy; Glad to commend where Worth attracts her eye. But chief, when Virtue, Learning, Arts decline, She joys to see unconquer'd merit shine; 320 Where bursting glorious, with departing ray, True Genius gilds the close of Britain's day: