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EPISTLES
SATIRICAL AND PRECEPTIVE.

EPISTLE I.

AN

ESSAY ON SATIRE,

OCCASIONED BY THE DEATH OF MR. POPE.

INSCRIBED TO
THE REV. MR. WARBURTON,

(Late Bishop of Gloucester. ]

BY JOHN BROWN, D.D.

O while along the stream of Time thy Name
Expanded flies, and gathers all its fame;
Say, shall my little barque attendant sail,
Pursue the triumph, and partake the gale?

PARTI. Fate gave the word ; the cruel arrow sped; And Pope lies number'd with the mighty dead ! Resign'd he fell; superior to the dart, That quench'd its rage in Your's and BRITAIN'S

heart : You mourn : But BRITAIN, lull'd in rest profound, (Unconscious Britain !) slumbers o'er her wound. Exulting Dulness ey'd the setting light, And Happ'd her wing, impatient for the night:

Rous'd at the signal, Guilt collects her train,
And counts the triumphs of her growing reign :
With inextinguishable rage they burn,
And snake-hung Envy hisses o’er his urn:
Th’envenom’d monsters spit their deadly foam,
To blast the laurel that surrounds his tomb.

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But You, O WARBURTON! whose eye

refin'd
Can see the greatness of an honest mind;
Can see each virtue and each grace unite,
And taste the raptures of a pure delight;
You visit oft' his awful

page

with care,
And view that bright assemblage treasur'd there;
You trace the chain that links his deep design,
And pour new lustre on the glowing line.
Yet deign to hear the efforts of a Muse,
Whose eye, not wing, his ardent Alight pursues ;
Intent from this great archetype to draw
SATIRE's bright form, and fix her equal law ;
Pleas’d if from hence th' unlearn'd may comprehend,
And rey’rence His and SATIRE's generous end.

In
every

breast there burns an active flame,
The love of glory, or the dread of shame :
The passion One, though various it appear,
As brighten'd into hope, or dimm’d by fear.
The lisping infant, and the hoary sire,
And youth and manhood feel the heart-born fire;
The charms of praise the coy, the modest woo,
And only fly that glory may pursue :

She, power resistless, rules the wise and great; Bends ev’n reluctant hermits at her feet : Haunts the proud city, and the lowly shade, And sways alike the scepter and the spade.

Thus heav’n in pity wakes the friendly fame, To urge mankind on deeds that merit fame : But man, vain man, in folly only wise, Rejects the manna sent him from the skies : With rapture hears corrupted passion's call, Still proudly prone to mingle with the stall. As each deceitful shadow tempts his view, He for the imag'd substance quits the true : Eager to catch the visionary prize, In quest of glory plunges deep in vice ; Till madly zealous, impotently vain, He forfeits every praise he pants to gain.

Thus still imperious Nature plies her part; And still her dictates work in every

heart. Each pow'r that sov’reign Nature bids enjoy, Man may corrupt, but man can ne’er destroy. Like mighty rivers, with resistless force The passion's rage, obstructed in their course; Swell to new heights, forbidden paths explore, And drown those virtues which they fed before.

And sure, the deadliest foe to virtue's flame, Our worst of evils, is perverted shame.

Beneath this load what abject numbers groan,

Th’entangled slaves to folly not their own!
Meanly by fashionable fear opprest,
We seek our virtues in each other's breast;
Blind to ourselves, adopt each foreign vice,
Another's weakness, interest, or caprice.
Each fool to low ambition, poorly great,
That pines in splendid wretchedness of state,
Tir'd in the treach'rous chace, would nobly yield,
And but for shame, like SYLLA, quit the field :
The daemon Shame paints strong the ridicule,
And whispers close, “ the world will call you fool."

Behold, yon wretch, by impious fashion driv’n,
Believes and trembles while he scoffs at heav'n.
By weakness strong, and bold through fear alone,
He dreads the sneer by shallow coxcombs thrown;
Dauntless pursues the path Spinoza trod;
To man a coward, and a brave to God.

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Faith, Justice, Heav'n itself now quit their hold,
When to False Fame the captiv'd heart is sold :
Hence blind to truth, relentles Cato dy'd :
Nought could subdue his virtue, but his pride.
Hence chaste Lucretia's innocence betray'd
Fell by that honor which was meant its aid.
Thus Virtue sinks beneath unnumber'd woes,
When passions born her friends, revolt, her foes.

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