AN ESSAY UPON SATIRE.
How dull and how insensible a beast
would lord it o'er the rest ?
Philosophers and poets vainly strove,
In ev'ry age, the lumpish mass to move ;
But those were pedants, when compar'd with these,
Who know not only to instruct, but please. 6
Poets alone found the delightful way
Mysterious morals gently to convey
In charming numbers ; so that as men grew
· Pleas'd with their poems, they grew wiser too.
Satire has always shone among the rest,
And is the boldest way, if not the best,
To tell men freely of their foulest faults,
To laugh at their vain deeds, and vainer thoughts.
lo satire, too, the wise took diff'rent ways, 15
To each deserving its peculiar praise.
Some did all folly with just sharpness blame,
Whilst others laugh'd and scoru'd 'em into shame.
But of these two the last succeeded best,
As men aim rightest when they shoot in jest.
Yet, if we may presume to blame our guides,
And censure those who censure all besides,
In other things they justly are preferr'd ;
In this alone, methinks, the Ancients err'd;