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Like mighty rivers, with resistless force
obstructed in their course; Swell to new heights, forbidden paths explore, And drown those Virtues which they fed before. 60
And fure, the deadliest Foe to Virtue's flame,
Fool.” Behold yon Wretch, by impious fashion driven, 75 Believes and trembles, while he scoffs at Heaven. By weakness strong, and bold through fear alone, He dreads the fneer by shallow Coxcombs thrown ; Dauntless pursues the path Spinoza trod; To man a Coward, and a Brave to God.
80 Faith, Justice, Heaven itself now quit their hold, When to falfe Fame the captiv'd Heart is fold : Hence, blind to truth, relentless Cato dy'd; Nought could subdue his Virtue, but his Pride. Hence chaste Lucretia's Innocence betray'd Fell by that Honour which was meant its aid.
Thus Virtue sinks beneath unnumber'd woes,
Hence Satire's power: 'Tis her corrective part,
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 Oppresfion of her gay disguise,
95 And bids the Hag in native horror rise; 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 fhun her piercing eye, that eye revere. Her awful voice the Vain and Vile obey, And every foe to Wisdom feels her sway. Smarts, Pedants, aseshe 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 she drops her quill. Like the arm'd Bee, with art most subtly true, From poisonous Vice she 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-sinew'd rends th' unequal toils : The stream of Vice impetuous drives along, 115 Too deep for Policy, for Power too strong.
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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 fkill; Well may they tremble when she draws her quill: Her magic quill, that, like Ithuriel's spear, 135 Reveals the cloven hoof, or lengthen'd ear: Bids Vice and Folly take their natural fhapes, Turns Dutchesses to strumpets, Beaux to apes ; Drags the vile Whisperer from his dark abode, Till all the Dämon 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, 1
Who combats Virtue's foe is Virtue's friend;
Oft in unfeeling hearts the shaft is spent : 155
ARE nobly then : But conscious of your trust,
As ever warm and bold be ever just: 170 Nor court applause in these degenerate 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 thew 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,
With caution next, the dangerous power apply ;