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Swift to redress an injur'd peoples' groan,
Bold Satire shakes the tyrant on her throne;
Pow'rful as Death, defies the sordid train,
And slaves and sycophants surround in vain. 130
But with the friends of Vice, the foes of Satire,
All truth is spleen, all just reproof ill-nature.
Well may they dread the Muse's fatal skill; 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 nat'ral shapes, Turns duchesses to strumpets, beaus to apes; Drags the vile whisp'rer 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 combat's virtue's foe is virtue's friend; Then judge of Satire's merit by her end : To guilt alone her vengeance stands confin'd; The object of her love is all mankind.
150 Scarce more the friend of man, the wise must own, Ey'n Allen's bounteous hand than Satire's frown:
This to chastise, as that to bless, was giv'n,
Alike the faithful ministers of heav'n.
Oft in unfeeling hearts the shaft is spent; 155
Tho' strong th' example, weak the punishment.
They least are paid 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;
Gen’rous and kind, tho' painful, is her art:
With caution bold, she only strikes to heal,
Tho' Folly raves to break the friendly steel :
Then sure no fault impartial Satire knows, 165
Kind ev'n in vengeance, kind to Virtue's foes.
Whose is the crime the scandal too be theirs :
The Knave and Fool are their own libellers.
DARE nobly then : but, conscious of your trust, As ever warm and bold, be ever just ;
Nor court applause in these degen’rate days:
The villain's censure is extorted praise.
But chief, be steady in a noble end,
And show mankind that truth has yet a friend.
'Tis mean for empty praise of wit to write, 175
As fopplings grin to show 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.
O lost to Honour's voice, O doom'd to shame,
Thou fiend accurs'd, 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.
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,
Because blind Ridicule conceives a jest;
Before whose altar Virtue oft hath bled,
And oft a destin'd victim shall be led:
Lo! Shaftsb’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 titt'ring crew,
And own the idiot guide for once is true;
Deride our weak forefather's musty rule, 205
Who therefore smil'd 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 ?
Lo! gay she sits in Laughter's dimpled cheek, 210
Conteinns each surly academic foe,
And courts the spruce freethinker and the beau.
Dædalian arguments but few can trace,
But all can read the language of grimace.
Hence mighty Ridicule's all-conqu’ring hand 215
Shall work Herculean wonders thro' 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 Berkeley 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,
She throws a dazzling glare alike on all;
As the gay prism but mocks the flatter'd eye,
And gives to ev'ry object ev'ry dye.
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;