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Yet here all eyes, the skilful and unskill’d,
Impress’d with awe, and with amazement fillid,
From the blest features of the god imbibe
Such thoughts as meliorate his mortal tribe. 110
Phidias ! all vouch thy fame, though not in speech -
Thine, the prime glory pagan minds could reach -
Thine, to have form’d, in superstition's hour,
The noblest semblance of celestial power !
Illustrious artist! in thý signal lot
What stains the glory of thy country blot !
Genius of Athens! forrow seals thy lips,
And all thy splendour finks in dark eclipse,
When history shews with a regret benign,
The sins of base ingratitude were thine -
Ingratitude to men, whose skill sublime
Gave thee to triumph o'er the rage of time! :
How, Phidias I was thy heart with anguish stung,
When public malice, by thy pupil's tongue,
Charg’d thee, whose mind was cast in honor's mould, '
With the mean facrilege of pilfer'd gold !
But thee thy Pericles, that noble name
Who rear’d thy talents, and who shares thy fame,
By generous Friendship’s providential care :
Rescu'd from Slander's execrable snare
Vengeance was thine, that vengeance just and grand,
Which fires wrong'd genius with an eager hand
Of national iniquity to foil
Th' oppressive aim, by new and nobler toil,
Till Envy's self with wonder stand aghaft,
Seeing the works that wak’d her rage furpass’d.
So with himself this injur'd artist ftrove,
His far-fam’d Pallas yielded to his Jove;
And grateful Elis, proud new palms to gain,
Boasted, with truth, of Phidias justly vain,
That Athens was eclips’d by her Olympian fane *.
Still dear to fame, though fickleness, thy joy,
Urg’d thee, by turns, to cherish and destroy
The very excellence thy breast supplied,
Child of thy love, and nursling of thy pride,
Even thy foes, O Athens! mourn’d thy fate,
When fierce Lysander thunder'd at thy gate,
And all thy wounded Arts felt War's o’erwhelming
War, whence the worst of human misery springs;
The people’s folly, and the guilt of kings. 150
Thy Pericles, whose talents seem’d to claim
A monarch's empire, with a patriot's name-
He, thy untitled king, whose liberal mind
Genius enrich’d, and discipline refind;
Whose potent voice control'd a people free,
As Heaven's presiding breath commands the sea —
He, who delighted on fine Art to raise
The deathless fabric of his country's praise ;
Taught public wealth to rear ingenious worth,
Exalted Nature, and embellish'd earth -
160 He, by mild virtues to the world endear’d, Whose dying boast Humanity rever'd E’en he, by fits of martial frenzy sway’d, To blood's dire demons a rash offering made;
And, blind to ill his nature must abhor, : ;.
Hurried his nation to that fatal war
Whose lengthen’d horrors on his Athens threw
Disgrace that Death hid kindly from his view,
When at the favage Spartan's foot she lay;
Her shame his pride, her ornaments his prey *. 170
Wherever Liberty, when doom'd to weep
In transient pangs, or fink in death-like sleep,
Loft her quick fpirit, wounded or betray'd,
Her fofter'd Arts with filial grief decay’d.
But short, in Athens, was the baleful course Of envious Tyranny and Spartan force. Her thirty tyrants, with a robber's dread, From the just arm of Trafybulus fled: His patriot virtue burst the fervile yoke, And, bright from brief eclipse, effulgent Freedom
broke; Attendant Arts her satellites appear, And shed new lustre round her Attic sphere.
Has seem’d to perch on proud Perfection's height,
Afraid on disproportion’d wings to rise,
Aw'd and abash’d, weak Emulation dies.
Such fate had Poefy for Homer's Muse,
No Greek with prosperous rivalship pursues.
Sculpture, more fruitful, though she joy’d to claim
For her dear Phidias pure Homeric fame,
Not to one darling felt her pride confin’d,
But to new sons new excellence assign'd*.
Scopas ! in wond'rous harmony 'twas thine
The charms of passion and of grace to join ;
Thy skill express’d new shades of soft desire,
Each varying character of Cupid's fire.
In thy gay figure Bacchus smild to see
His gambols of tumultuary glee.
Thy genius wrought, by different powers inspir’d,
As fondness wilh’d, or dignity requir'd!