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Faith, Justice, Heaven itself now quit their
hold When to false fame the captived heart is sold : Hence, blind to truth, relentless Cato died; 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 power: '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 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 imagined power, Tho' oft she mourn those ills she cannot cure. 100 The worthy court her, and the worthless fear; Who shun 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 she smiles, no more are vain ; Desponding fops resign the clouded cane :
Mais de ses faux amis il craint la raillerie,
Boileau, Ep. iii.
Hush'd at her voice, pert Folly's self is still,
Ver. 110. From poisonous vice, &c.] Alluding to these lines of Mr. Pope :
In the nice bee what art so subtly true
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 natural shapes, Turns duchesses to strumpets, beaux to apes ; Drags the vile whisperer from his dark abode, Till all the demon 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 makes 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 : Then judge of Satire's merit by her end : To Guilt alone her vengeance stands confined, The object of her love is all mankind.
150 Scarce more the friend of Man, the wise must own, Even ALLEN's bounteous hand, than SATIRE's frown: This to chastise, as that to bless, was given; Alike the faithful ministers of Heaven.
Oft in unfeeling hearts the shaft is spent: 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, she only strikes to heal ; Though folly raves to break the friendly steel. Then sure no fault impartial Satire knows, 165 Kind even 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,
But chief, be steady in a noble end,
180 O lost to honour's voice, O doom'd to shame, Thou fiend accursed, 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 dangerous power apply; An eagle's talon asks an eagle's eye: