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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 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 Dutchesses to strumpets, Beaux to apes ; Drags the vile Whisperer 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 fcorn 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;
Oft in unfeeling hearts the shaft is spent : 155
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, the only strikes to heal : Though folly raves to break the friendly steel. Then sure no fault impartial Satire knows, 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,
ARE nobly then : But conscious of your trust, DA 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 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. O loft 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 dangerous power apply; An eagle's talon asks an eagle's eye : Let Satire then her proper object know, And ere the 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 vietiin shall be led : Lo Shaftesbury rears her high on Reason's throne, And loads the Slave with honours not her, own : Big-fwoln with folly, as her smiles provoke, Prophaneness fpawns, pert Dunces nurse the joke! Come, let us join a while this tittering crew, And own the Ideot Guide for once is true; Deride our weak forefathers' mufty rule,
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 every object every dye.
230 Beware the mad Adventurer : bold and blind She hoists her fail, and drives with every 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.
Though distant Times may rise in Satirc's page, Yet chief 'tis her's to draw the present Age: With Wisdom's lustre, Folly's fhade contrast, And judge the reigning Manners by the past : Bid Britain's Heroes (awful Shades !) arife, 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 lye, Or falsify'd the Card, or cogg'd the Dye ; 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 jeft.