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Sicyon, ingenious Beauty's native earth,
And Rhodes, who gloried in Minerva’s birth —
Hence Sculpture drew her nurseries of skill,
Rich as a river fed by many a rill;
While earth and Heaven exult in its advance
To shine reflected in its bright expanse!
Nor there alone did liberal Art display
The sweet enchantment of her early fway: 1
Even rough Sparta, though engross’d by arms,
Esteem’d the patient chissel's fofter charms.
Proud of her dauntless race in battle tried,
She rear'd a sculptor with parental pride ; ..
Pleas’d that her fon Gitiades combin'd' .
Three kindred arts in his accomplish'd mind..
He built, he deck'd with bronze Minerva’s fane,
Then sung the goddess in a hallow'd strain. ::
The triple homage won her kind regard,
And from oblivion fav’d the artist and the bard *. .
But, like the cast of Spartan manners, coarse, '
And flighting softer charms for finewy force,
E'en Grecian art, through all its studious youth,
Reach'd not the latent grace of lovely Truth.
Her chiefs, her gods, as in a mental storm,
Aw'd with a proud austerity of form;
Yet Sculpture’s fons; with Nature in their view,
Increas’d in talents, and in honour grew. ;"
Such power Dipænus gave to Parian ftone,
That gods appear’d to make his cause their own;
And Terror thought they curs’d the sterile foil
Where haste insulted his unfinish'd toil*
Thy fons, Anthermus, with a filial pride
Their dear hereditary talents plied,
And bade, the measure of her fame to fill,
Their native Chios glory in their skill :
But, in an evil hour of angry haste,
They with malignant skill their art debas'd;
Pleas’d to devote to mockery's regard
The homely visage of no trifling bard: : : 310
Hipponax, fam’d for acrimonious song,.:..
Soon with lambic rage aveng’d the wrong. ; ?;,.
Deform’d of foul, Derifion fann’d the strife : :
But the mild patrons of enlighten'd life,
The nobler Graces, mourn’d the bickering hour,
And blam'd the mean abuse of mental power *. .
For aims more worthy of an art divine,
A purer fame, Antenor, shall be thine, .;.
Whose skill to public reverence confign’d
The patriot idols of the Grecian mind - i : 320
The young Tyrannicides, whose dauntless foul
Disdain’d submission to usurp'd control;.. . te
Whose brave achievement, and whose blended praise, .
Athens rehears'd in her convivial lays -
Athens, exulting those dear forms to fee-
Whose very filence cried aloud, “Be free + !"
Instructive Sculpture ! chaste and awful queen Of Arts that dignify this earthly scene ! Thy finest skill, thy moft empassion d powers, Form’d to outlive the pencil's fading flowers, - 330 Are well devoted, as true honour's prize, To Freedom's son who for his parent dies : For she, the prime ennobler of the mind,
. That, wanting her blest beam, is weak and blind Freedom, of Excellence the fostering friend, Whom Virtue loves, and Sciences attend - . . Freedom first made in Greece, her favourite land, Beauty and Force the creatures of thy hand : She taught thee with such forms to deck thy sphere As wise Idolatry may yet revere;
340 Forms, in which Art refin’d on Nature's plan, At once resembling and surpassing Man.
'Twas in the splendor of those glorious days,
When attic valour won eternal praise - -
When, happy to have clear’d her cumber'd coast
From fierce Invasion's foil'd barbaric hoft- ".
Exulting Liberty to Sculpture cried, “ Aid thou our triumphs, and our joys divide ! : “ Since I and Nature in this scene conspire “ To warm accomplish'd minds with happiest fire, 350 “ That Fame may see them in her fane preside, “ And deem her attic fons her dearest pride! “ To memorize their noble forms be thine! “ Grace thou the mortal with an air divine ! “ That Grecian excellence, eluding fate, “ Age after age may shine supremely great ; “ That Greece herself, and every polish'd clime, “ May, through the long vicissitudes of time, “ Hail those who fav’d her from Oppression's rod, “ The patriot hero, or the guardian god !" So Freedom spake, and at her potent call Obedient Sculpture peopled every hall; : The generous artist fix’d, with proud delight, The state's brave champions in the public fight; And grateful Genius felt his powers expand, While public virtue taught his willing hand