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Between the statues obelisks were plac'd,
Of gothic structure was the northern side,
The temple shakes, the sounding gates unfold, Wide vaults appear, and roofs of fretted gold, Rais'd on a thousand pillars, wreath'd around With laurel foliage, and with eagles crown'd: Of bright transparent beryl were the walls, The friezes gold, and gold the capitals : As heav'n with stars, the roof with jewels glows, And ever-living lamps depend in rows. Full in the passage of each spacious gate, The sage historians in white garments wait; Grav'd o'er their seats the form of Time was found, His scythe revers'd, and both his pinions bound. Within stood heroes, who through loud alarms In bloody fields pursued renown in arms. High on a throne, with trophies charg'd, I view'd The youth that all things but himself subdu'd ; His feet on sceptres and tiaras trod, And his horn's head belied the Libyan god. There Cæsar, grac'd with both Minervas, shone; Cæsar, the world's great master, and his own ;
Unmov'd, superior still in every state,
Much-suffering heroes next their honours claim,
But in the centre of the hallow'd choir, Six pompous columns o'er the rest aspire ; Around the shrine itself of Fame they stand, Hold the chief honours, and the fane command. High on the first the mighty Homer shone ; Eternal adamant compos'd his throne; Father of verse! in holy fillets drest, His silver beard wav'd gently o'er his breast; Though blind, a boldness in his looks appears ; In years he seem'd, but not impair'd by years. The wars of Troy were round the pillar seen : Here fierce Tydides wounds the Cyprian queen; Here Hector, glorious from Patroclus' fall; Here, dragg'd in triumph round the Trojan wall. Motion and life did every part inspire, Bold was the work, and prov'd the master's fire; A strong expression most he seem'd to affect, And here and there disclos'd a brave neglect.
A golden column next in rank appear'd,
Four swans sustain a car of silver bright,
Here happy Horace tun'd the Ausonian lyre
Here, in a shrine that cast a dazzling light,
His piercing eyes, erect, appear to view
With equal rays immortal Tully shone;
These massy columns in a circle rise, O'er which a pompous dome invades the skies : Scarce to the top I stretch'd my aching sight, So large it spread, and swell'd to such a height. Full in the midst proud Fame's imperial seat With jewels blaz'd, magnificently great ; The vivid emeralds there revive the eye, The flaming rubies show their sanguine dye, Bright azure rays from lively sapphires stream, And lucid amber casts a golden gleam. With various-colour'd light the pavement shone, And all on fire appear'd the glowing throne; The dome's high arch reflects the mingled blaze, And forms a rainbow of alternate rays.When on the goddess first I cast my sight, Scarce seem'd her stature of a cubit's height; But swell'd to larger size, the more I gaz'd, Till to the roof her towering front she rais'd. With her, the temple every moment grew, And ampler vistas open'd to my view: Upward the columns shoot, the roofs ascend, And arches widen, and long aisles extend. Such was her form, as ancient bards have told; Wings raise her arms, and wing3 her feet infold; A thousand busy tongues the goddess bears, A thousand open eyes, and thousand listening ears. Beneath in order rang'd, the tuneful Nine (Her virgin handmaids) still attend the shrine; With eyes on Fame for ever fix'd, they sing; For fame they raise the voice, and tune the string ; With time's first birth began the heavenly lays, And last, eternal, through the length of days.
Around these wonders as I cast a look, The trumpet sounded, and the temple shook, And all the nations summon'd at the call, From different quarters fill the crowded hall, Of various tongues the mingled sounds were heard; In various garbs promiscuous throngs appear'd: Thick as the bees, that with the spring renew Their flowery toils, and sip the fragrant dew, When the wing'd colonies first tempt the sky, O'er dusky fields and shaded waters fly, Or, settling, seize the sweets the blossoms yield, And a low murmur runs along the field. Millions of suppliant crowds the shrine attend, And all degrees before the goddess bend; The poor, the rich, the valiant, and the sage, And boasting youth, and narrative old age. Their pleas were different, their request the same; For good and bad alike are fond of Fame. Some she disgrac'd, and some with honours crown'd; Unlike successes equal merits found. Thus her blind sister, fickle Fortune, reigns, And, undiscerning, scatters crowns and chains.
First at the shrine the learned world appear, And to the goddess thus prefer their prayer :"Long have we sought t'instruct and please mankind, With studies pale, with midnight vigils blind; But thank'd by few, rewarded yet by none, We here appeal to thy superior throne: On wit and learning the just prize bestow, For fame is all we must expect below.”
The goddess heard, and bade the Muses raise The golden trumpet of eternal praise :From pole to pole the winds diffuse the sound, That fills the circuit of the world around; Not all at once, as thunder breaks the cloud, The notes at first were rather sweet than loud; By just degrees they every moment rise, Fill the wide earth, and gain upon the skies. At every breath were balmy odours shed, Which still grew sweeter as they wider spread;