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Ar breas Fancy and a laul
But lee And thow
But, lo! the fatal victor of mankind,
Swoln Luxury !--pale Ruin stalks behind !
As countless insects from the north-east pour, 395
To blast the spring and ravage ev'ry flow'r,
So barb'rous millions spread contagious death,
The fick’ning laurel wither'd at their breath :
Deep Superftition's night the skies o’erhung,
Beneath whose baleful dews the poppy sprung:
No longer Genius woo'd the Nine to love,
But Dulness nodded in the Muse's grove;
Wit, fpirit, freedom, were the sole offence,
Nor aught was held so dangerous as sense.
At length again fair Science shot her ray, 4.05
Dawn'd in the skies, and spoke returning day.
Now, Satire ! triumph o'er thy flying foe,
Now load thy quiver, string thy sacken'd bow.
'Tis doneSee! great Eralmus breaks the spell,
And wounds triumphant Folly in her cell.
(In vain the solemn coul surrounds her face,
Vain all her bigot cant, her lour grimace ;)
With ihame compellid her leaden throne to quit,
And own the force of reason urg‘d by wit.
'Twas then plain Donne in honest vengeance rose ;
His wit harmonious, tho' his rhyme was prose: 416
He, 'midít an age of puns and pedants, wrote
With genuine sense and Roman Itrength of thought.
Yet scarce had Satire well relum'd her flame
(With grief the Muse records her country's thame)
Ere Britain saw the foul revolt commence,
And treach'rous Wit began her war with Sense.
Then rose a shameless mercenary train,
Whom latest time shall view with just disdain :
A race fantastic, in whose gaudy line
Untutor'd thought and tintel beauty shine;
Wit's shatter'd mirror lies in fragments bright,
Reflects not nature, but confounds the fight.
Dry morals the court poet bluih'd to sing ;
'Twas all his praise to say " the oddest thing:' 450
Proud for a jest obscene, a patron's nod,
To martyr Virtue, or blafpheme his God.
Ill-fated Dryden! who unmov'd can see
Th’extremes of wit and meanneís join'd in thee!
Flames that could mount, and gain their kindred skies,
Low creeping in the putrid link of Vice ; 436
A Muse whom Wisdom woo'd, but woo'd in vain;
The pimp of Pow'r, the prostitute to Gain :
Wreaths that should deck fair Virtue's form alone,
To ftrumpets, traitors, tyrants, vilely thrown: 44
Unrivall'd parts, the scorn of honest fame,
And genius rise a monument of shame!
More happy France : immortal Boileau there
Supported Genius with a fage's care ;
Him with a love propitious Satire blest,
And breath'd her airs divine into his brealt:
Fancy and sense to form his line conspire,
And faultless judgment guides the purest fire.
But see, at length the Britilh Genius smile,
And show'r her bounties o'er her favour'd ille : 450
Behold, for Pope she twires the laurel crown,
And centres ev'ry poet's pow'r in one!
Each Roman force adorns his various page,
Gay smiles, collected itrength, and manly rage.
Delpairing Guiit and Dulness loath the light,
is spectres vanith at approaching light:
In this clear mirror with delight we view
Each image justly fine and holdly true :
Here Vice, dragg'd forth by Truth's fupreme decree,
Beholds and hates her own deformity :
While self-seen Virtue in the faithful line
With modest joy surveys her form divine.
But, oh! what thoughts, what numbers, shall I find
But faintly to express the poet's mind?
Who yonder star's effulgence can display, 465
Unless he dip his pencil in the ray?
Who paint a god unless the god inspire?
What catch the lightning but the speed of fire ?
So, mighty Pope! to make thy genius known,
All pow'r is weak, all numbers--but thy own. 470
Each Mule for thee with kind contention itrove,
For thee the Graces left th' Idalian grove,
With watchful fondness o'er thy cradle hung,
Attun'd thy voice, and form’d thy infant tongue.
Next to her bard majestic Wisdom came ; 475
The bard enraptur'd caught the heav'nly flame;
With taste superior (corn’d the venal tribe,
Whom fear can sway, or guilty greatness bribe ;
At Fancy's call who rear the wanton fail,
Sport with the streani, and trifle in the gale:
Sublimer views thy daring fpirit bound;
Thy mighty voyage was creation's round;
Intent new worlds of wisdom to explore,
And bless mankind with Virtue's sacred store;
A nobler joy than wit can give, impart,
And pour a moral transport o'er the heart.
Fantastic wit shoots momentary fires,
And, like a meteor, while we gaze, expires :
Wit kindled by the sulphu'rous breath of Vice,
Like the blue lightning, while it shines destroys;
But Genius, fir'd by Truth's eternal ray, 491
Burns clear and constant, like the source of day:
Like this its beam prolific and refin’d,
Feeds, warms, inspirits, and exalts the mind;
Mildly dispels each wintry passion's gloom, 495
And opens all the virtues into bloom.
This praise, immortal Pope! to thee be giv'n:
Thy genius was indeed a gift from Heav’n.
Hail, Bard unequall'd! in whose deathless line
Reason and wit with strength collected thine;
Where matchless wit but wins the fecond praise,
Loft, nobly loft, in truth's superior blaze.
Did friendship e'er mislead thy wand'ring Muse?
That friend hip sure may plead the great excuse;
That sacred friendship which inspir'd the song, 505
Fair in defect, and arniably wrong.
Error like this e'en truth can scarce reprove;
'Tis almost virtue when it flows from love.
Ye deathlets names! ye fons of endless praise!
By Virtue crown'd with never-fading bays! 510
Say, shall an artless Mule, if you inspire,
Light her pale lamp at your immortal fire?
ESSAY ON SATIRE.
Or if, o Warburton! inspir'd by you,
The daring Mufe a nobler path pursue,
By you inspir'd on trembling pinions foar,
The sacred founts of social bliss explore,
In her bold numbers chain the tyrants rage,
And bid her country's glory fire her page:
If such her fate, do thou, fair Truth! descend,
And watchful guard her in an honest end :
Kindly severe, instruct her equal line
To court no friend, nor own a foe, but thine.
But if her giddy eye should vainly quit
Thy sacred paths, to run the maze of wit;
If her apo!tate heart should e'er incline
To offer incense at Corruption's shrine;
Urge, urge thy pow'r, the black attempt confound,
And dath the smoking cenfer to the ground.
Thus aw'd to fear, instructed bards may see
That guilt is doom'd to sink in infamy.
TO H, ST. JOHN. L. BOLINGBROKE.
THE DESIGN. HAVING proposed to write some piec:s on Human Life and Manners,
such as (touie my Lord Bacon's expresion)" come home lo mens' business and bosons," I thought it more satisfactory to begin with considering Man in the abtract-- his Nature and his State; since, to prove any moral duty, to enforce any moral precept, or toexamine the perfection or imperfection of any creature whatsoever, it is necessary first to know what condition and relation it is placed in, and what is the proper end and purpose of its being.
The science of human nature is, like all other sciences, reduced to a few clear points: there are not many certain truths in this world. It is Therefore in the anatomy of the mind, as in that of the body; more good will accrue to mankind by attending to the large, open, and perceptible parts, than by studyiig too much such finer nerves and veffus, the conformations and uses of which will for ever escape our obfervation. The disputes are all upon these laft; and, I will venture to say, they have less sharpened the wits than the hearts of men against each other, and have dimínithed the practice more than advanced the theory of inorality. If I could fiatter myself that this Effay has any merit, it is in Aeering betwixt the extremes of doctrines seemingly oppofiie, in par. kng over terms utterly unintel.igible, and in forming a temperate, yet not inconsistent, and a thori, yet not imperfect, Syftem of Ethics.
This I might have done in prose; but I chofe verse, and even rhyme, for two reasons. The one will appear obvious; that principles, maxims, or prccepts, fo written, both strike the reader more itrongly at first, and are more easily retained by him afterwards: the other may seem odd, but it is true; I found I could express them more shortly this way than in profe itself; and nothing is more certain than that much of the fo:ce as well as grace of arguments or instructions depends on their concise. ness. I was unable to treat this part of my subject more in detail without becoming dry and tedious, or more poetically, without sacrificing peripicuity to ornament, without wandering from the precision, or breaking the chain of reasoning. If any man can unite all these without diminution of any of them, 1 freely confets he will compass a thing above my capac.iy.
What is now published is only to be considered as a general Map of Man, marking out no more than the greater parts, their extent, their limits, and their connection, but leaving the particular to be more fu.ly delineated in the charts which are to follow; confequently thefe Epitles in their progress (if I have health and leisure to make any progress) will be less diy, and more fufceptible of poetical ornament. I am here only opening the fountains, and clearing ine plage: to deduce the rivers, to follow them in their courie, and to observe their effcels, may be a talk more agreeable.