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Virtue, I grant you, is an empty boast;
But shall the Dignity of Vice be lost ?
Ye Gods ! shall Cibber's Son, without rebuke, 115
Swear like a Lord, or Rich out-whore a Duke?
A Fav'rite's Porter with his Master vie,
Be brib'd as often, and as often lie ?
Shall Ward draw Contracts with a Statesman's skill ?
Or Japhet pocket, like his Grace, a Will?
Is it for Bond, or Peter, (paltry things)
To pay their Debts, or keep their Faith, like Kings?
If Blount dispatch'd himself, he play'd the man,
And so may't thou, illustrious Passeran!
But shall a Printer, weary of his life,

125 Learn, from their Books, to hang himself and Wife?

VER, 113. Virtue, I grant you, is an empty boaft ;] A satirical ambiguity--either that those farve who have it, or that those who boast of it, bave it not : and both together (he insinuates) make up the present state of modern virtue,

Ver. 115. Cibber's Song - Ricb] Two players : look for them in the Dunciad.

VIR. 123. If Blount.] Author of an impious and foolish book called the Oracles of Reason, who being in love with a near kinswoman of his, and rejected, gave himself a stab in the arm, as pretending to kill himself, of the consequence of which he really died.

VER. 124. Poleran!) Author of another book of the same famp, called, A philosophical discourse on death, being a de. fence of suicide. He was a nobleman of Piedmont, banilhed from his country for his impieties, and lived in the utmost misery, yet feared to practise his own precepts... This unhappy man at last died a penitent.

VER. 125. But fall a Printer, etc.] A Fact that happened in London a few years past. The unhappy man left behind him

This, this, my friend, I cannot, mult not bear;
Vice thus abus'd, demands a Nation's care :
This calls the Church to deprecate our Sin,
And hurls the Thunder of the Laws on Gin. 130

Let modeft Foster, if he will, excell
Ten Metropolitans in preaching well ;
A fimple Quaker, or a Quaker's Wife,
Out-do Landaffe in Doctrine,-yea in Life :
Let humble ALLEN, with an aukward Shame, 135
Do good by stealth, and blush to find it Fame.

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a paper justifying his action by the reasonings of some of these authors.

VER. 129. This calls the Church to deprecate our Sin,] Alluding to the forms of prayer, composed in the times of public calamity; where the fault is generally l'aid upon the People.

VER. 130. Gin.] A fpirituous liquor, the exorbitant ufe of which had almost destroyed the lowest rank of the People till it was restrained by an act of Parliament in 1736.

Ver. 134. Landaffe.] A poor Bishoprick in Wales, as poorly supplied. VER.

135.

Let þumble ALLEN with an aukward Sbame,--Do good by stealth, and blush to find it Fame.] We are so absolutely governed by custom, that to act contrary to it, creates even in virtuous men, who are ever modeft, a kind of diffidence, which is the parent of Shame. But when, to this, there is joined a consciousness that, in forsaking custom, you follow truth and reason, the indignation arising from such a conscious virtue, mixing with Shame, produces that amiable aukwardness, in going out of the fashion, which the Poet, here, celebrates :

and blush to find it Fame, i, e. He blushed at the degeneracy of his times, which, at best, gave his goo: vess its due commendation (the thing he never aimed at) instead of following and imitating his example,

Virtue may choose the high or low Degree,
"Tis just alike to Virtue, and to me;
Dwell in a Monk, or light upon a King,
She's still the fame, belov'd, contented thing, 140
Vice is undone, if she forgets her Birth,
And stoops from Angels to the Dregs of Earth :
But 'tis the Fall degrades her to a Whore ;
Let Greatness own her, and she's mean no inore, 145
Her Birth, her Beauty, Crowds and Courts confess,
Chaste Matrons praise her, and grave Bishops bless ;
In golden Chains the willing World the draws,
And hers the Gospel is, and hers the Laws,
Mounts the Tribunal, lifts her scarlet head,
And sees pale Virtue carted in her stead. 150
Lo! at the wheels of her triumphal Car,
Old England's Genius, rough with many a Scar,
Dragg'd in the duft! his arms hang idly round,
His Flag inverted trails along the ground !
Our Youth, all liv'ry'd o'er with foreign Gold, 155
Before her dance : behind her, crawl the Old !

which was the reafon why some acts of it were not done by ftealtb, but more openly.

Ver. 138. 'Tis just alike to Virtue, and to me ;] He gives the reason for it, in the line that presently follows,

She's still the same, belov'd, contented thing. So that the sense of the text is this, “ It is all one to Virtue on “ whom her influence falls, whether on high or low, because “ it still produces the same effect, their content; and it is all one to me, because it still produces the same effect, my love.".

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See thronging Millions to the Pagod ran,
And offer Country, Parent, Wife, or Son!
Hear her black Trumpet thro' the Land proclaim,
That NoT TO BE CORRUPTED IS THE SHAME. 160
In Soldier, Churchman, Patriot, Man in Pow's,
'Tis Av'rice all, Ambition is no more!
See, all our Nobles begging to be Slaves !
See, all our Fools aspiring to be Knaves!
The Wit of Cheats, the Courage of a Whore, 165
Are what ten thousand envy and adore :
All, all look up, with reverential Awe,
At Crimes that 'scape, or triumph o'er the Law:
While Truth, Worth, Wisdom, daily they decry —
“ Nothing is Sacred now but Villainy." 170

Yet may this Verse (if such a Verfe remain)
Show, there was one who held it in disdain.

VERi 165. The Wit of Cheats, the Courage of a Wbore -- Are what ten thousand envy and adore :) And no wonder, for the wit of Cheats being the evasion of Justice, and the Courage of a Wbore the contempt for reputation; these emancipate men from the two tyrannical restraints upon free Spirits, fear of punishment, and dread of shame.

EPILOGUE

TO THE

S A TIRE S.

Written in MDCCXXXVIII.

DIALOGUE II.

FR.

'TI

IS all a Libel-Paxton (Sir) will say

Friend! to morrow 'faith

P. Not yet, my

it may;

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And for that very cause I print to day.
How should I fret to mangle ev'ry line,
In rev'rence to the Sins of Thirty nine !
Vice with such Giant strides comes on amain,
Invention strives to be before in vain ;
Feign what I will, and paint it e'er so strong,
Some rising Genius fills up to my Song.

VER, s. Paxton.) Late sollicitor to the Treasury,

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