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Condemn'd whole years in absence to deplore,
THE TEMPLE OF FAME.
Written in the Year: 1711.
The hint of the following piece was taken from
Chaucer's House of Fame. The design is in a manner entirely altered, the descriptions and most of the particular thoughts my own; yet I could not suffer it to be printed without this acknowledgement. The reader who would compare this with Chaucer, may begin with his third book of Fame, there being nothing in the first two
books that answers to their title. The poem is introduced in the manner of the Pro
vençal poets, whose works were for the most part visions, or pieces of imagination, and constantly descriptive. From these, Petrarch and Chaucer frequently borrowed the idea of their poems. See the Trionfi of the former, and the Dream, Flower and the Leaf, &c. of the latter. The author of this, therefore, chose the same sort of exordium.
THE TEMPLE OF FAME.
that soft season, when descending showers Call forth the greens, and wake the rising
flowers; When opening buds salute the welcome day, And earth relenting feels the genial ray;
As balmy sleep had charm'd my cares to rest,
I stood, methought, betwixt earth, seas, aud skies;
O'er the wide prospect as I gaz'd around, Sudden I heard a wild promiscuous sound, Like broken thunders that at distance roar, Or billows murmuring on the hollow shore : Then gazing up, a glorious pile beheld, Whose tow'ring summit ambient clouds conceal'd High on a rock of ice the structure lay, Steep its ascent, and slippery was the way: The wondrous rock like Parian marble slione, And seem'd, to distant sight, of solid stone. Inscriptions here of various names I view'd, The greater part by hostile time subdued; Yet wide was spread their fame in ages past, And poets once had promis'd they should last. Some fresh engrav'd appear'd of wits renown'd; I look'd again, nor could their trace be found. Critics I saw, that other name deface, And fix their own, with labour, in their place: Their own, like others, soon their place resign'd, Or disappeard, and left the first behind. Nor was the work impair'd by storms alone, But felt th' 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 heaven' could feel,
So Zembla's rocks (the beauteous work of frost)
Westward, a sumptuous frontispiece appear'd, On Doric pillars of white marble rear'd, Crown'd with an architrave of antique mold, And sculpture rising on the roughen'd gold. In shaggy spoils here Theseus was bebeld, And Perseus dreadful with Minerva's shield: There great Alcides, stooping with his toil, Rests on his club, and holds th' Hesperian spoil: Here Orpheus sings; trees moving to the sound Start from their roots, and form a shade around :
Amphion there the loud creating lyre
The eastern front was glorious to behold,
But on the south, a long majestic race Of Egypt's priests the gilded niches grace, Who measur'd earth, describ'd the starry spheres, And trac'd the long records of lunar years. High on his car Sesostris struck my view, Whom sceptr’d slaves in golden harness drew: His hands a bow and pointed javelia hold; His giant limbs are arin'd in scales of gold. Between the stautes obelisks were plac'd, And the learp'd walls with hieroglyphics grac'd.
Of Gothic structure was the northern side, O'erwrought with ornaments of barbarous pride. There huge Colosses rose, with trophies crown'd, And Runic characters were grav'd around. There sat Zamolxis with erected eyes, And Odin here in mimic trances dies.