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Yet wide was spread their fanie in ages past,
And poets once had promis’d they should last.
Some fresh engrav'd appear d of wits renown'd; 35
I look'd again, nor could their trace be found.
Critics I saw, that other names deface,
And fix their own, with labour, in their place:
Their own, like others, soon their place resign'd,
Or disappear’d, and left the first behind.
Nor was the work impair'd by storms alone,
But felt the approaches of too warm a sun ;
For fame, impatient of extremes, decays
Not more by envy than excess of praise.
Yet part no injuries of heav'n could feel,
Like crystal faithful to the graving steel:
The rock's high summit, in the temple's shade,
Nor heat could melt, nor beating storm invade.
There names inscrib’d unnumber'd ages past,
From Time's first birth, with Time itself shall last;
There ever new, nor subject to decays,
51 Spread and grow brighter with the length of days. so Zembla's rocks (the beauteous work of Frost) Rise white in air, and glitter o'er the coast; Pale funs, unfelt, at distance roll away,
55 And on th' impassive ice the lightnings play ; Eternal snows the growing mass supply, Till the bright mountains prop th' incumbent sky; As Atlas fix’d, each hoary pile appears, The gather's winter of a thousard years. On this foundation Fame's high temple stands ; Stupendous pile ! not rear'd hy mortal hands. Whate'er proud Rome or artful Greece beheld, Or elder Babylon, its frame excell'd. Four faces had the dome, and ev'ry face Of various structure, but of equal grace. Four brazen gates, on columns lifted high, Salute the diff'rent quarters of the sky. Here fabled chiefs, in darker ages born, Or worthies old, whom arms or arts adorn, 70 Who cities rais’d, or tam'd a monstrous race, The walls in venerable order grace;
Heroes in animated marble frown,
And legislators seem to think in itone.
Westward, a fumptuous frontispiece appear'd, 75
On Doric pillars of white marble rear’d,
Crown'd with an architrave of antique mould,
And sculpture rising on the roughend gold.
In shaggy spoils here Theseus was beheld,
And Perleus dreadful with Minerva's shield: 80
There great Alcides, stooping with his toil,
Rests on his club, and holds th' Hesperian spoil :
Here Orpheus ings ; trees moving to the found,
Start from their roots, and form a shade around :
Amphion there the loud creating lyre
Strikes, and beholds a sudden Thebes aspire!
Cythæron's echoes answer to his call,
And half the mountain rolls into a wall :
There might you see the length’ning spires ascend,
The domes swell up, the wid’ning arches bend,
The growing tow'rs like exhalations rise,
And the huge columns heave into the skies.
The eastern front was glorious to behold, With di’mond flaming, Barbar gold.
There Ninus shone, who spread the Allyrian fame, 95 And the great founder of the Persian name: There in long robes the royal Magi stand, Grave Zoroafter waves the circling wand; The sage Chaldeans rob’d in white appear'd, And Brackmans, deep in desert woods rever'd. These stop'd the moori, and call'd th' unbody'd shades To midnight banquets in the glimm'ring glades; Made visionary fabrics round them rise, And airy fpečtres fkim before their eyes; Of taillman's and sigils knew the pow'r,
105 And careful watch'd che planetary hour. Superior, and alone, Confucius stood, Who taught that useful science to be good. But on the south, a long majettic race Of Egypt's priests the gilded niches grace, Who measur'd earth, defcrib’d the starry 1pheres, And trac'd the long records of lunar years.
High on his car Sesostris struck my view,
Whom scepter'd slaves in golden harnels drew :
His hand a bow and pointed jav'lin hold; IIS
His giant limbs are arm’d in scales of gold.
Between the statues obelisks were plac'd,
And the learn'd walls with hieroglyphics grac'd.
Of Gothic structure was the northern fide,
O'erwrought with ornaments of barb'rous pride. 120
There huge Colosses rose, with trophies crown'd,
And Runic Characters were grav'd around :
There fat Zamolxis with erected eyes,
And Odin here in mimic trances dies.
There on rude iron columns, smear'd with blood, 123
The horrid forms of Scythian heroes stood,
Druids and bards, (their once loud harps unstrung,)
And youths that dy'd to be by poets sung.
These and a thousand more of doubtful fame,
To whom old fables gave a lasting name,
In ranks adorn'd the temple’s outward face ;
The wall in lustre and effect like glass,
Which o’er each object casting various dyes,
Enlarges fome, and others multiplies:
Nor void of emblem was the mystic wall,
For thus romantic Fame increases all.
The temple shakes, the sounding gates unfold,
Wide vaults appear, and roofs of fretted gold,
Rais’d on a thousand pillars, wreath'd around
With laurel foliage, and with eagles crown'd:
Of bright transparent beryl were the walls,
The frizes gold, and gold the capitals :
As heav'n with stars, the roof with jewels glows,
And ever-lịving lamps depend in rows.
Full in the passage of each fpacious gate, 145
The fage historians in white garments wait;
Gray'd o'er their seats the form of Time was found,
His fcythe revers’d, and both his pinions bound.
Within stood heroes, who, through loud alarms,
In bloody fields pursu'd renown in arms.
150 High on a throne, with trophies charg’d, I view'd The youth that all things but himself subdud:
His feet on sceptres and tiaras trod,
And his horn'd head bely'd the Libyan god.
There Cæsar, grac'd with both Minervas, Mone; 155
Cæsar, the world's great master, and his own ;
Unmov'd, superior itill in ev'ry state,
And scarce detested in his country's fate.
But chief were those who not for empire fought,
But with their toils their peoples' fafety bought; 160
High o'er the rest Epaminondas stood;
Timoleon, glorious in his brother's blood;
Bold Scipio, faviour of the Roman state,
Great in his triumphs, in retirement great ;
And wife Aurelius, in whose well-taught mind
With boundless pow'r unbounded virtue join'd;
His own strict judge, and patron of mankind.
Much suff’ring heroes next their honours claim,
Those of less noisy and less guilty fame,
Fair Virtue's filent train : fupreme of these
Here ever shines the god-like Socrates ;
He whcm ungrateful Athens could expell,
At all times juít, but when he fign'd the shell:
Here his abode the martyr'd Phocion claims,
With Agis, not the last of Spartan names : 175
Unconquer'd Cato fhews the wound he tore,
And Brutus his ill genius meets no more.
But in the centre of the hallow'd choir, Six pompous columns o'er the rest aspire ; Around the shrine itself of Fame they stand, 180 Hold the chief honours, and the fane command. High on the first the mighty Homer ihone, Eternal adamant compos’d his throne; Father of verse! in holy fillets drest, His tilver beard wav'd gently o'er his breast; 185 Though blind, a boidne's in his looks appears; In year's
he seem'd, but not impair'd by years, The wars of Troy were round the pillars seen: Here fierce Tydides wounds the Cyprian queen: Here Hector glorious from Patroclus' fall; 190 Here dragg'd in triumph round the Trojan wall.
Motion and life did ev'ry part inspire ;
Bold was the work, and prov'd the master's fire ;
A strong expression most he seem'd t' affect,
And here and there disclos’d a brave neglect. 195
A golden column next in rank appear’d,
On which a shrine of pureit gold was rear’d;
Finish'd the whole, and labour'd ev'ry part,
With patient touches of unwearied art:
The Mantuan there in fober triumph sate,
Compos’d his posture, and his look fedate ;
On Homer ftill he fix'd a rev'rend eye;
Great without pride, in modest majesty.
In living sculpture on the sides were spread
The Latian wars, and haughty Turnus dead;
Eliza stretch'd upon the fun'ral pyre;
Æneas bending with his aged fire:
Troy flam'd in burning gold, and o'er the throne
Arms and the Man in golden cyphers shone.
Four swans sustain car of silver bright,
With heads advanc'd, and pinions stretch'd for flight :
Here, like some furious prophet, Pindar rode,
And seem'd to labour with th' inspiring god.
Across the harp a careless hand he flings,
Anci boldly finks into the founding strings. 215
The figur'd games of Greece the column grace,
Neptune and Jove survey the rapid race.
The youths hang c’er their chariots as they run ;
The fiery steeds seem starting from the stone;
The champions in distorted postures threat;
And all appear'd irregularly great.
Here happy Horace tun'd the Ausonian lyre
To tweeter founds, and temper'd Pindar's fire ;
Pleas’d with Alcæus' manly rage t'infuse
The fofter spirit of the Sapphic muse.
The polith'd pillar diff'rent sculptures grace,
A work outlasting monumental brass.
Here smiling Loves and Bacchanals appear,
The Julian itar, and great Augustus here:
The doves that round the infant poet spread 230
Myrties and bays, hang hov'ring o'er his head,