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Weak are the ties that civil arts can find,
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 Dutchesses to strumpets, Beaux to apes ; Drags the vile Whisp'rer 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,
Oft in unfeeling hearts the shaft is spent : 155 Tho' 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; 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 :
170 Nor court applause in these degen’rate 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. 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! 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 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,
195 Because blind Ridicule conceives a jest: Before whose altar Virtue oft hath bled, And oft a destin'd. Victim shall be led : Lo, Shaftesb’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 tittring crew, And own the Ideot Guide for once is true; Deride our weak forefathers' 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 dimple cheek: 210 Contemns each surly academic foe, And courts the spruce Freethinker and the Beau. Dadalion arguments but few can trace, But all can read the language of grimace. Hence mighty Ridicule’s all-conqʼring hand 215 Shall work Herculean wonders through 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 BERKLEY 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,
Tho' distant Times may rise in SATIRE's page,
255 Yet ne'er degrade fair SATIRE to a Scold : Let no unworthy mien her form debase, But let her smile, and let her frown with grace : .