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[ Also see Allegories Argument Burlesque Caricature Contempt Criticism Epigrams Epitaphs Humor Irony Jeering Jesting Jokes Levity Ridicule Sarcasm Scandal Scorn Slander Sneer Speech Wit ]

A satire should expose nothing but what is corrigible, and should make a due discrimination between those that are and those that are not the proper objects of it.
      - Joseph Addison

Among the writers of antiquity there are none who instruct us more openly in the manners of their respective times in which they lived than those who have employed themselves in satire, under whatever dress it may appear.
      - Joseph Addison

Lampoons and satires, that are written with wit and spirit, are like poisoned darts, which not only inflict a wound, but make it incurable.
      - Joseph Addison

Should a writer single out and point his raillery at particular persons, or satirize the miserable, he might be sure of pleasing a great part of his readers, but must be a very ill man if he could please himself.
      - Joseph Addison

Simonides, a poet famous in his generation, is, I think, author of the oldest satire that is now extant, and, as some say, of the first that was ever written.
      - Joseph Addison

He that hath a satirical vein, as he maketh others afraid of his wit, so he had need be afraid of others' memory.
      - Francis Bacon

Her caustic manner of speaking of friends as well as foes caused Madame du Deffand to be compared to the physician who said: "My friend fell sick--I attended him; he died--I dissected him."
      - J.A. Bent

Satire often proceeds less from ill nature than a desire to display wit.
      - Lady Marguerite Blessington, Countess of Blessington

By satire kept in awe, shrink from ridicule, though not from law.
      - Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron)

Satire is the disease of art.
      - Sebastien-Roch-Nicolas de Chamfort

Enough of satire; in less harden'd times
  Great was her force, and mighty were her rhymes.
    I've read of men, beyond man's daring brave,
      Who yet have trembled at the strokes she gave;
        Whose souls have felt more terrible alarms
          From her one line, than from a world in arms.
      - Charles Churchill

Satire, whilst envy and ill-humor sway
  The mind of man, must always make her way;
    Nor to a bosom, with discretion fraught,
      Is all her malice worth a single thought.
        The wise have not the will, nor fools the power,
          To stop her headstrong course; within the hour
            Left to herself, she dies; opposing strife
              Gives her fresh vigor, and prolongs her life.
      - Charles Churchill

Though folly, robed in purple, shines,
  Though vice exhausts Peruvian mines,
    Yet shall they tremble and turn pale
      When satire wields her mighty flail.
      - Charles Churchill

To lash the vices of a guilty age.
      - Charles Churchill

When satire flies abroad on falsehood's wing,
  Short is her life, and impotent her sting;
    But when to truth allied, the wound she gives
      Sinks deep, and to remotest ages lives.
      - Charles Churchill

Why should we fear; and what? The laws?
  They all are armed in virtue's cause;
    And aiming at the self-same end,
      Satire is always virtue's friend.
      - Charles Churchill, Ghost (bk. III, l. 943)

Most satirists are indeed a public scourge;
  Their mildest physic is a farrier's purge;
    Their acrid temper turns, as soon as stirr'd,
      The milk of their good purpose all to curd.
        Their zeal begotten, as their works rehearse,
          By lean despair upon an empty purse.
      - William Cowper

When scandal has new-minted an old lie,
  Or tax'd invention for a fresh supply,
    'Tis call'd a satire, and the world appears
      Gathering around it with erected ears;
        A thousand names are toss'd into the crowd,
          Some whisper'd softly, and some twang'd aloud,
            Just as the sapience of an author's brain,
              Suggests it safe or dangerous to be plain.
      - William Cowper

Unless a love of virtue light the flame,
  Satire is, more than those he brands, to blame;
    He hides behind a magisterial air
      He own offences, and strips others' bare.
      - William Cowper, Charity (l. 490)

Undeserved merit is satire.
      - Samuel Sullivan Cox

In general satire, every man perceives
  A slight attack, yet neither fears nor grieves.
      - George Crabbe

You must not think that a satiric style allows of scandalous and brutish words; the better sort abhor scurrility.
      - Wentworth Dillon, 4th Earl of Roscommon

The feathered arrow of satire has oft been wet with the heart's blood of its victims.
      - Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield

Satire among the Romans, but not among the Greeks, was a bitter invective poem.
      - John Dryden

Satire is a kind of poetry in which human vices are reprehended.
      - John Dryden

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