The Grecian wits, who Satire first began,
Were pleasant Pasquins on the life of man;
At mighty villains, who the state oppress'd,
They durst not rail, perhaps; they lash'd, at least,
And turn'd them out of office with a jest.
No fool could peep abroad, but ready stand
The drolls to clap a bauble in his hand.
Wise legislators never yet could draw
A fop within the reach of common law;
For posture, dress, grimace, and affectation,
Though foes to sense, are harmless to the nation.
Our last redress is dint of verse to try,
And Satire is our Court of Chancery.
This way took Horace to reform an age,
Not bad enough to need an author's rage:
But yours, who lived in more degenerate times,
Was forced to fasten deep, and worry crimes.
Yet you, my friend, have temper'd him so well,
You make him smile in spite of all his zeal:
An art peculiar to yourself alone,
To join the virtues of two styles in one.
Oh! were your author's principle received,
Half of the labouring world would be relieved:
For not to wish is not to be deceived.
Revenge would into charity be changed,
Because it costs too dear to be revenged:
It costs our quiet and content of mind,
And when 'tis compass'd leaves a sting behind.
Suppose I had the better end o' the staff,
Why should I help the ill-natured world to laugh?
'Tis all alike to them, who get the day;
They love the spite and mischief of the fray.
No; I have cured myself of that disease;
Nor will I be provoked, but when I please:
But let me half that cure to you restore;
You gave the salve, I laid it to the sore.
Our kind relief against a rainy day,
Beyond a tavern, or a tedious play,
We take your book, and laugh our spleen away.
If all your tribe, too studious of debate,
Would cease false hopes and titles to create,
Led by the rare example you begun,
Clients would fail, and lawyers be undone.