網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

Back to his bounds their subject fea command, And roll obedient Rivers thro' the Land : These Honours, Peace to happy Britain brings, These are Imperial Works, and worthy Kings,

MORAL

ESSAYS.

E P I S T L E V.

To Mr. ADDISON.

Occasioned by his Dialogues on MEDALS.

E E the wild Waste of all-clerouring years !

How Rome her o:vn find fepulchre appears, With nodding arches, broken temples spread! The very Tombs nuw vanih like their dead !

EPISTLE V.) This was originally written in the year 1715, wlien Mr. Addison intended to publish his book of Medals; it was some time before he was Secretary of State ; but not publithed till Mr. Tickell's Edition of his works ; at which time the verses on Mr. Craggs, which conclude the poem, were added, viz. in 1720.

As the third Epistle treated of the extremes of Avarice and Profufior ; and the fourth took up one particular branch of the latter, namely, the vanity of expence in people of wealth and quality, and was therefore a corollary to the third ; fo This treats of one circumstance of that Vanity, as it appears in the common coilectors of old coins : and is, therefore, a corollary to the fourth,

Imperial wonders rais’d on Nations fpoi'd,

5 Where mix'd with Slaves the groaning Martyr toil'd; Huge Theatres, that now unpeopled Woods, Now drain'd a diftant country of her floods : Fanes, which admiring Gods with pride furvey, Statues of Men, scarce less alive than they ! Some felt the silent firoke of mould'ring age, Some hofiile fury, fome religious rage. Barbarian blindness, Christian zeal confpire, And Papal piety, and Gothic fire. Perhaps, by its own ruins fav'd froin flame,

15 Some bury'd marble half preserves a name ; That Name the learn'd with fierce disputes pursus, And give to Titus old Vefpafian's due.

Ambition figh’d: she found it vain to trok The faithless Column and the crumbling Buft: Huge molcs, whose fhadow ftretch'd from shore to

fhore, Their ruins perish'd, and their place no more !

20

[ocr errors]

VER. 6. Wbere mix'd with haves tbe groaning Martyr toild: The inattentive reader might wonder how this circumstance came to find a place here. But let him compare it with ver. 13, 14, and he will see the Reason,

Barbar an blindness, Cbrifiian zeal conspire,

And Pupol piety, and Gorbic fire. For the Slaves mentioned in the 6h line were of the same nation with the Barbarians in the sgth; and the Cbriftians in the szth, the Succeffors of the Martyrs in the 6th: Providence ordaining that these should ruin what those were so injuriouly employed in rearing ; for the poet never loseth fight of his great principle.

35

Convine'd, she now contracts het vast design,
And a:l her Triumphs shrink into a Coin.
A narro v ord each crouded conquest keeps, 25
Beneath her Palm here fad Judea weeps.
Now fcantier limits the proud Arch confine,
And scarce are seen the proftrate Nile or Rhine ;
A small Euphrates thro' the piece is rolld,
And little Eagles wave their wings in gold. 30

The Medal, faithful to its charge of fame,
Thro' climes and ages bears each form and name :
In one hort view subjected to our eye
Gods, Emp'rors, Heroes, Sages, Lcauties, lie.
With sharpen'd fight pale Antiquaries pore,
Th'inscription value, but the rult adore.
This the blue varnish, that the grecn endears,
The facred rust of twice ten hundred years !
To gain Pescennius one employs his Schemes,
One grasps a Cecrops in extatic dreams.
Poor Vadius, long with learned spleen devour'd,
Can taste no plealure since his Shield was fcour'd :
And Curio, restless by the Fair-one's side,
Sighs for an Otho, and neglects his bride.
Their's is the Vanity, the Learning thine :

45 Touch'd by thy hand, again Rome's glorics shine; Her Gods, and god-like Heroes rise to view, And all her faded garlands bloom a-new. Nor blash, these studies thy regard engage ; These pleas'd the f..thers of poetic rage : 50

40

Ver. 49. Nor bluß, tbefe Studies thy regard engage ; ) A senseless affeciation which some writers of eminence have

6

55

60

The verse and sculpture bore an equal part,
And art reflected images to Art.

Oh when shall Britain, conscious of her claim,
Stand emulous of Greek and Roman fame?
In living medals see her wars enrolld,
And vanquish'd realms fupply recording gold?
Here rising bold, the Patriot's honest face ;

me Warriors frowning in historic brass:
en future ages with delight shall see
w Plato's, Bacon's, Newton's looks agree ;
.n fair series laurell's Bards be shown,
'irgil there, and here an Addison.
en fhall thy Craggs (and let me call him mine)

é cast ore, another Pollio, shine ;
** aspect open shall erect his head,

65 And round the orb in lasting notes be read, betrayed ; who when fortune, or their talents have raised them to a condition to do without those arts, for which on

*they gained our esteem, have pretended to think letters ow their Character. This false fame Mr. Voltaire has ry well, and with proper indignation, exposed in his acint of Mr. Congreve : “ He had one defeat, which was ais entertaining too mean an Idea of his first Profession, (that of a Writer) though it was to this he owed his rame and Fortune. He spoke of his works as of Trifles at were beneath him; and hinted to me in our first onversation, that I thould visit him upon no other foot

than that of a Gentleman, who led a Life of plainness “ and simplicity. I answered, that, had he been so un“ fortunate as to be a mere Gentleman, I should never “ have come to see him ; and I was very much disgusted

at so unseasonable a piece of vanity" Letters concerning the English Nation, xix.

« 上一頁繼續 »