« PreviousContinue »
Is this a dinner? this a genial room?
No 'tis a temple, and a hecatomb.
A solemn sacrifice perform'd in state:
You drink by measure, and two minuits eat:
So quick requires each flying course, you'd swear
Sancho's dead doctor and his wand were there. 160
Between each act the trembling salvers ring,
From sour to sweet wine, and God bless the king.
In plenty starving, tantalized in state,
And complaisantly help'd to all I hate,
Treated, caress'd, and tired, I take my leave,
Sick of his civil pride from morn to eve!
I curse such lavish cost and little skill,
And swear no day was ever pass'd so ill.
Yet hence the poor are clothed, the hungry fed ;
Health to himself, and to his infants bread, 170
The labourer hears; what his hard heart denies,
His charitable vanity supplies.
Another age shall see the golden ear Imbrown the slope, and nod on the parterre, Deep harvests bury all his pride has plann'd, And laughing Ceres re-assume the land.
Who then shall grace, or who improve the soil?
Who plants like Bathurst, or who builds like Boyle.
'Tis use alone that sanctifies expense
And splendour borrows all her rays from sense. 180
His father's acres who enjoys in peace,
Or makes his neighbours glad, if he increase ;
Whose cheerful tenants bless their yearly toil,.
Yet to their lord owe more than to the soil;
Whose ample lawns are not ashamed to feed
The milky heifer and deserving steed
; Whose rising forests, not for pride or show.
But future buildings, future navies, grow :
Let his plantations stretch from down to down,
First shade a country, and then raise a town. 190
You, too, proceed! make falling arts your care,
Erect new wonders, and the old repair;
Jones and Palladio to themselves restore,
And be whate'er Vetruvius was before :
Till kings call forth the idea of your mind
(Proud to accomplish what such hands design'd)
Bid harbours open, public ways extend,
Bid temples worthier of the God ascend ;
Did the broad arch the dangerous flood contain,
The nole projected break the roaring main : 200
Back to his bounds their subject sea command,
And roll obedient rivers through the land:
These honours peace to unhappy Britain brings :
These are imperial works, and worthy kings.
OCCASIONED BY HIS DIALOGUES ON MEDALS.
This was originally written in the year 1715, when Mr. Addison intended to publish his book of medals; it was some time before he was secretary of state; but not published till Mr. Tickell's edition of his works; at which time his verses on Mr. Craggs, which conclude the poem, were added, viz. in 1720.
As the third Epistie treated of the extremes of avarice and profusion; and the fourth took up one particular hranch of the latter, namely, the vanity of expense in people of wealth anu quality, and was therefore a corollary to the third ; so this treats of one circumstance of that vanity, as it appears in the common collectors of old coin; and is, therefore, a corollary to the fourth.
See the wild waste of all-devouring years !
How Rome her own sad sepulchre appears !
With nodding arches, broken temples spread!
tombs now vanish'd like their dead!
Imperial wonders raised on nations spoil'd,
Where mix'd with slaves the groaning martyr toild:
Huge theatres, that now unpeopled woods,
Now drain'd a distant country of her floods :
Panes, which admiring gods with pride survey ;
Statues of men, scarce less alive than they! 10
Some felt the silent stroke of mouldering age,
Some hostile fury, some religious rage :
Barbarian blindness, Christian zeal conspire,
And papal piety, and Gothic fire;
Perhaps by its own ruins saved from flame,
Some buried marble half preserves a name ;
That name the learn'd with fierce disputes pursue,
And give to Titus old Vespasian's due.
Ambition sigh'd : she found in vain to trust
The faithless column and the crumbling bust; 20
Huge moles, whose shadow stretch'd from shore to
Their ruins perish'd, and their place no more!
Convinced, she now contracts her vast design,
And all her triumphs shrink into a coin;
A narrow orb each crowded conquest keeps,
Beneath her palm here sad Judea weeps.
Now scantier limits the proud arch confine,
And scarce are seen the prostrate Nile or Rhine;
A small Euphrates through the piece is rollid,
And little eagles wave their wings in gold.
30 The medal, faithful to its charge of fame, Through climes and ages bears each form and name :
In one short view subjected to our eye,
Gods, emperors, heroes, sages, beauties lie.
With sharpen'd sight pale antiquaries pore,
The inscription value, but the rust adore.
This the blue varnish, that the green endears,
The sacred rust of twice ten hundred years !
To gain Pescennius one employs his schemes,
One grasps a Cecrops in ecstatic dreams,
Poor Vadius, long with learn'd spleen devour'd,
Can taste no pleasure since his shield was scour'd;
And Curio, restless by the fair one's side,
Sighs for an Otho, and neglects his bride.
Theirs is the vanity, the learning thine :
Touch'd by thy hand, again Rome's glories shine;
Her yods and godlike heroes rise to view,
And all her faded garlands bloom anew.
Nor blusb these studies thy regard engage;
These pleased the fathers of poetic rage :
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 enroll’d,
And vanquish'd realms supply recording gold?
Here, rising bold, the patriot's honest face;
There, warriors frowning in historic brass :
Then future ages with delight shall see
How Plato's Bacon's Newton's looks agree :
Or in fair series laurell'd bards be shown,
A Virgil there, and here an Addison.
Then shall thy craggs (and let me call him mine)
On the cast ore, another Pollio, shine:
With aspect open shall erect bis head,
And round the orb in lasting notes be read,
Statesman, yet friend to truth! of soul sincere,
In action faithful, and in honour clear :
Who broke no promise, served no private end,
Who cain'd no title, and who lost no friend;
Ennobled by himself, by all approved,
And praised, unenvied, by the muse he loved.'
This paper is a sort of bill of complaint, begun many years since