Essay On Satire

But of these two, the last succeeded best, As men aim rightest when they shoot in jest.20 Yet, if we may presume to blame our guides, And censure those who censure all besides, In other things they justly are preferr'd.Poets alone found the delightful way, Mysterious morals gently to convey In charming numbers; so that as men grew Pleased with their poems, they grew wiser too.

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In such a satire all would seek a share, And every fool will fancy he is there.

Old story-tellers too must pine and die, To see their antiquated wit laid by; Like her, who miss'd her name in a lampoon, And grieved to find herself decay'd so soon.

As the new earl,[59] with parts deserving praise, 120 And wit enough to laugh at his own ways, Yet loses all soft days and sensual nights, Kind nature checks, and kinder fortune slights; Striving against his quiet all he can, For the fine notion of a busy man.

And what is that at best, but one whose mind Is made to tire himself and all mankind?

Will any dog that has his teeth and stones, Refinedly leave his bitches and his bones, To turn a wheel, and bark to be employ'd, While Venus is by rival dogs enjoy'd?

Yet this fond man, to get a statesman's name, Forfeits his friends, his freedom, and his fame.

Mulgrave had much ado to 'scape the snare, Though learn'd in all those arts that cheat the fair: For after all his vulgar marriage mocks, With beauty dazzled, Numps was in the stocks; Deluded parents dried their weeping eyes, To see him catch his Tartar for his prize; The impatient town waited the wish'd-for change, And cuckolds smiled in hopes of sweet revenge; Till Petworth plot made us with sorrow see, 200 As his estate, his person too was free: Him no soft thoughts, no gratitude could move; To gold he fled from beauty and from love; Yet, failing there, he keeps his freedom still, Forced to live happily against his will: 'Tis not his fault, if too much wealth and power Break not his boasted quiet every hour.

And little Sid,[62] for simile renown'd, Pleasure has always sought but never found: Though all his thoughts on wine and women fall, 210 His are so bad, sure he ne'er thinks at all.

Reaching above our nature does no good; 100 We must fall back to our old flesh and blood; As by our little Machiavel we find That nimblest creature of the busy kind, His limbs are crippled, and his body shakes; Yet his hard mind which all this bustle makes, No pity of its poor companion takes.

What gravity can hold from laughing out, To see him drag his feeble legs about, Like hounds ill-coupled?


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