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Back to his bounds their subject Sea command,
Who builds a Bridge that never drove a pile ?
Should Ripley venture, all the world would smile.
MORAL ESSAY S.
E P I S T L E V.
To Mr. ADDISON.
Occasion’d by his Dialogues on MEDALS.
E E the wild Waste of all-devouring years !
How Rome her own sad Sepulchre appears, With nodding arches, broken temples spread! The very Tombs now vanish'd like their dead!
NOTES. THIS was originally writ EPIST. V.) As the third ten in the year 1715, when Epistle treated of the extremes Mr. Addison intended to pub- of Avarice and Profufion; and lish his book of medals; it the fourth took up one partiwas sometime before he was cular branch of the latter, fecretary of State ; but not pub- namely, the vanity of expence lished till Mr. Tickell's Edition in people of wealth and quality, of his works ; at which time and was therefore a corollary the verses on Mr, Craggs, which to the third; so this treats of conclude the poem, were ad one circumstance of that Va, ded, viz. in 1720 P.nity, as it appears in the com
mon collectors of old coins;
Imperial wonders rais’d on Nations spoild, 5
NOTES. and is, therefore, a corollary | wonder how this circumstance to the fourth.
came to find a place here. But VER. 6. Where mix'd with let him compare it with y 13, slaves the groaning Martyr tail'd] 14, and he will see the ReaThe inattentive reader might I son,
Barbarian blindness, Christian zeal conspire,
And papal piety, and gothic fire. For the Slaves mentioned above miring Gods with pride survey,] were of the same nation with | These Gods were the then Tythe Barbarians here: and the rants of Rome, to whom the Christians here, the Succeflors Empire raised Temples. The of the Martyrs there: Provi- epithet, admiring, conveys a dence ordaining, that these strong ridicule; that paffion, should ruin what those were in the opinion of Philofoso injuriously employed in rear phy, always conveying the ing : for the poet never loseth ideas of ignorance and mifight of his great principle. sery : VAR. 9. Fanes, which ad
Nil admirari properes eft una, Numici,
Solaque quæ poffit facere & servare beatum. Admiration implying our ignorance of other things ; prid., our ignorance of ourselves.
Perhaps, by its own ruins sav'd from flame, 15
Ambition figh’d: She found it vain to trust The faithless Column and the crumbling Bust : Huge moles, whose shadow stretch'd from shore to
shore, Their ruins perish’d, and their place no more! Convinc'd, she now contracts her valt design, And all her Triumphs shrink into a Coin. A narrow orb each crouded conquest keeps, 25 Beneath her Palm here fad Judæa weeps. Now scantier limits the proud Arch confine, And scarce are seen the prostrate Nile or Rhine ; A small Euphrates thro' the piece is roll’d, And little Eagles wave their wings in gold. 30
NOTES. VER. 18. And give to Titus each crowded Conquest keeps,} old Vefpafian's due.] A fine A ridicule on the pompous title insinuation of the entire want of Orbis Romanus, which the of Taste in Antiquaries; whose Romans gave to their empire. ignorance of Characters mis- Ver. 27.-- the proud Arch] leads them, (supported only by i.e. The triumphal Arch, which a name) againft Reason and was generally an enormous mals History.
of building, VER. 25.
A narrow Orb
The Medal, faithful to its charge of fame, Thro' climes and ages bears each form and name: In one short view. subjected to our eye Gods, Emp’rors, Heroes, Sages, Beauties, lie. With sharpen'd fight pale Antiquaries pore, 35 Th’ 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.
40 Poor Vadius, long with learned 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: 45 Touch'd by thy hand, again Rome's glories shine; Her Gods, and god-like Heroes rise to view, And all her faded garlands bloom a-new.
NOTES. VER. 35. With sharpen'd
37. This the blue vara fight pale Antiquaries pore,] nish, that the green endears] Microscopic glasses, invented i. e. This a collector of silver; by philofophers to discover the That, of brass coins. beauties in the minuter works Ver. 41. Poor Vadius) See of nature, ridiculously applied bis history, and that of his by Antiquaries, to detect the Shield, in the Memoirs of Scribcheats of counterfeit medals. lerus.