Essay On Satire

Essay On Satire-8
Earnely[54] and Aylesbury[55] with all that race Of busy blockheads, shall have here no place; At council set as foils on Danby's[56] score, To make that great false jewel shine the more; Who all that while was thought exceeding wise, Only for taking pains and telling lies.But there's no meddling with such nauseous men; 80 Their very names have tired my lazy pen: 'Tis time to quit their company, and choose Some fitter subject for sharper muse.In this alone methinks the ancients err'd,-- Against the grossest follies they declaim; Hard they pursue, but hunt ignoble game.

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30 'Tis being devout at play, wise at a ball, Or bringing wit and friendship to Whitehall.

But with sharp eyes those nicer faults to find, Which lie obscurely in the wisest mind; That little speck which all the rest does spoil, To wash off that would be a noble toil; Beyond the loose writ libels of this age, Or the forced scenes of our declining stage; Above all censure too, each little wit Will be so glad to see the greater hit; 40 Who, judging better, though concern'd the most, Of such correction, will have cause to boast.

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?

Though satire, nicely writ, with humour stings 140 But those who merit praise in other things; Yet we must needs this one exception make, And break our rules for silly Tropos'[60] sake; Who was too much despised to be accused, And therefore scarce deserves to be abused; Raised only by his mercenary tongue, For railing smoothly, and for reasoning wrong, As boys, on holidays, let loose to play, Lay waggish traps for girls that pass that way; Then shout to see in dirt and deep distress 150 Some silly cit in her flower'd foolish dress: So have I mighty satisfaction found, To see his tinsel reason on the ground: To see the florid fool despised, and know it, By some who scarce have words enough to show it: For sense sits silent, and condemns for weaker The finer, nay sometimes the wittier speaker: But 'tis prodigious so much eloquence Should be acquird by such little sense; For words and wit did anciently agree, 160 And Tully was no fool, though this man be: At bar abusive, on the bench unable, Knave on the woolsack, fop at council-table.

These are the grievances of such fools as would Be rather wise than honest, great than good.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.For Ireland he would go; faith, let him reign; For if some odd, fantastic lord would fain Carry in trunks, and all my drudgery do, 130 I'll not only pay him, but admire him too.But is there any other beast that lives, Who his own harm so wittingly contrives?Jowler lugs him still Through hedges, ditches, and through all that's ill.110 'Twere crime in any man but him alone, To use a body so, though 'tis one's own: Yet this false comfort never gives him o'er, That whilst he creeps his vigorous thoughts can soar; Alas!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?How dull, and how insensible a beast Is man, who yet would lord it o'er the rest!Philosophers and poets vainly strove In every age the lumpish mass to move: But those were pedants, when compared with these, Who know not only to instruct, but please.


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