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The Authors: A Satire



Bright Arts, abus'd, like Gems, receive their Flaws;
Physick has Quacks, and Quirks obscure the Laws.
Fables to shade Historic Truths combine,
And the dark Sophist dims the Text Divine.
The Art of Reasoning in Religion's Cause,
By Superstition's Taint a Blindness draws.
The Art of Thinking Free (Man's noblest Aim!)
Turns, in Half-thinking Souls, his equal Shame.
Colours, ill-mingled, coarse, and lifeless grow!
Violins squeak, when Scrapers work the Bow!
Distortion deadens Action's temper'd Fire!
Belab'ring Poetasters thrum the Lyre!
Gesture shuns Strut, and Elocution, Cant!
Passion lies murder'd by unmeaning Rant!
Wit we debase, if Ribaldry we praise,
And Satire fades, when Slander wears the Bays.

YOU, to whose Scrolls a just Neglect is shewn,
Whose Names, tho' printed oft, remain unknown;
I war not with the Weak, if wanting Fame,
The Proud, and Prosp'rous Trifler is my Game.
With usual Wit, unfelt while you assail,
Remark unanswer'd, and unheeded Rail!
Or heeded, know I can your Censure prize,
For a Fool's Praise is Censure from the Wise;
If then my Labour your kind Malice draws,
Censure from you is from the Wise Applause.

YOU, who delineate strong our Lust of Fame,
These mimic Lays your kind Protection claim!
My Frown, like your's, would to Improvement tend,
You but assume the Foe, to act the Friend.
Pleasing, yet wounding, you our Faults rehearse,
Strong are your Thoughts! Inchanting rolls your Verse!
Deep, clear, and sounding! decent, yet sincere;
In Praise impartial, without Spleen severe.

'HOLD, Criticks cry-Erroneous are your Lays,
'Your Field was Satire, your Pursuit is Praise.'
True, you Profound!-I praise, but yet I sneer;
You're dark to Beauties, if to Errors clear!
Know my Lampoon's in Panegyric seen,
For just Applause turns Satire on your Spleen.

SHALL Ignorance and Insult claim my Rage?
Then with the World a gen'ral War I wage!
No-to some Follies Satire scorns to bend,
And Worth (or press'd, or prosp'rous) I commend.

FIRST, let me view what noxious Nonsense reigns,
While yet I loiter on Prosaic Plains;
If Pens impartial active Annals trace,
Others, with secret Hist'ry, Truth deface:
Views and Reviews, and wild Memoirs appear,
And Slander darkens each recorded Year.
Each Prince's Death to Poison they apply,
No Royal Mortals sure by Nature die.
Fav'rites or Kindred artful Deaths create,
A Father, Brother, Son, or Wife is Fate.
In a past Reign was form'd a secret League,
Some Ring, or Letter, now reveals th' Intrigue:
A certain Earl a certain Queen enjoys,
A certain Subject Fair her Peace destroys;
The jealous Queen a vengeful Art assumes,
And scents her Rival's Gloves with dire Perfumes:
Queens, with their Ladies, work unseemly things,
And Boys grow Dukes, when Catamites to Kings.
A lying Monk on Miracles refines,
And Vengeance glares from violated Shrines.

THUS Slander o'er the Dead-One's Fame prevails,
And easy Minds imbibe Romantic Tales:
Thus from feign'd Facts a false Reflection flows,
And by Tradition Superstition grows.

NEXT, Pamphleteers a Trade licentious drive,
Like wrangling Lawyers, they by Discord thrive.
If Hancock proves Cold Water's Virtue clear,
His Rival prints a Treatise on Warm Beer.
If next Inoculation's Art spreads wide,
(An Art, that mitigates Infection's Tide)
Loud Pamphleteers 'gainst Innovation cry,
Let Nature work - 'Tis natural to die.

IF Heav'n-born Wisdom, gazing Nature thro',
Thro' Nature's Optics forms Religion's View,
Priestcraft opposes Demonstration's Aid,
And with dark Myst'ry dignifies her Trade.

IF Ruin rushes o'er a Statesman's Sway,
Scribblers, like Worms, on tainted Grandeur prey
While a poor Felon waits th' impending Stroke,
Voracious Scribes, like hov'ring Ravens, croak.
In their dark Quills a dreary Insult lies,
Th' Offence lives recent, tho' th' Offender dies;
In his last Words they suck his parting Breath,
And gorge on his loath'd Memory after Death.

WRETCHES, like these, no Satire wou'd chastise,
But Follies here to ruthless Insult rise;
Distinguish'd Insult taints a Nation's Fame,
And various Vice deserves a various Shame.

PAMPHLETS I leave-sublime my Fancy grows!
No more she sweeps the humble Vale of Prose.
Now I trace swift the Muse's airy Clime,
The Dance of Numbers, and the Change of Rhime!
In measur'd Rounds Imagination swims,
And the Brain whirls with new, surprizing Whims!
Poets are mad! 'tis granted:-So are you,
Grave Critics, who those Lunatics pursue:
You labour Comments, dry on Clas
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:48 min read
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Richard Savage

Richard Savage was an English poet. He is best known as the subject of Samuel Johnson's Life of Savage, on which is based one of the most elaborate of Johnson's Lives of the English Poets. more…

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