And dare ye, Profligates, arraign
The ardour of my sprightly strain,
And e'en myself asperse?
And, if his lines are gay and free,
Deem ye the poet's self must be
As wanton as his verse? The sacred bard, to Muses dear,
Himself should pass a chaste career,
And pure his blood should roll:
But let his numbers warmly flow,
And paint in all their native glow
The passions of the soul. His verse should be of power to move
Not only fervent boys with love,
And feed the blazing flame;
But torpid age should feel the strain
Raise every youthful heat again,
And nerve the feeblest frame. No more, ye Rakes, peruse my line:
By minds debauch'd and base as thine
It scarce is understood.
It sings of wine, of woman's charms,
Of love, of all that cheers and warms
The generous and the good. But ye, on whom no fair one smiles,
Whose hours no social board beguiles,
I scorn your blame or praise.
Whom love and favouring woman bless,
Who taste the raptures they express,
Will never blame my lays.