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Come, sister, come l' it said, or seem'd to say,
I come, I come! prepare your roseate bowers,
Then too, when fate shall thy fair frame destroy
May one kind grave unite each hapless name,
Then sadly say, with mutual pity moved,
0, may we never love as these have loved !'
And sure if fate some future bard shall join
THE TEMPLE OF FAME.
Written in the Year 1711.
ADVERTISEMENT. The hint of the following piece was taken from Chaucer's House of Fame. The design is in a manner entirely altered, the descriptions and most of the particular thoughts my own; yet I could not suffer it to be printed without this acknowledgment. The reader who would
compare this with Chaucer, may begin with his third book of Fame, there being nothing in the first two books tbat answers to their title.
The poem is introduced in the manner of the Provençal poets, whose works were for the most parts visions, or pieces of imagination, and constantly descriptive. From these, Petrarch and Chaucer frequently borrowed the idea of their poems. See the Trionfi of the former, and the Dream, Flower and the Leaf, &c. of the latter. The author of this, therefore, chose the same sort of exordium. IN that soft season, when descending showers Call forth the greens, and wake the rising flowers; When opening buds salute the welcome day, And earth, relenting, feels the genial ray; As balmy sleep had charm'd my cares to rest, And love itself was banish'd from my breast (What time the morn mysterious visions brings, While purer slumbers spread their golden wings), A train of phantoms in wild order rose, And, join'd, this intellectual scene compose.
I stood, methought, betwixt earth, seas, and skies i The whole creation open to my eyes ; In air, self-balanced, hung the globe below, Where mountains rise, and circling oceans flow : Here naked rocks, and empty wastes were seen; There towering cities, and the forests green ; Here sailing ships delight the wandering eyes; There trees and intermingled temples rise: Now a clear sun the shining scene displays; The transient landscape now in clouds decays.
O'er the wide prospect as I gazed around, Sudden I heard a wild promiscuous sound, Like broken thunders that at distance roar, Or billows murmuring on the hollow shore; Then gazing up, a glorious pilệ beheld, Whose towering summit ambient clouds conceal'd. High on a rock of ice the structure lay, Steep its ascent, and slippery was the way: The wondrous rock like Parian marble shone, And seem'd, to distant sight, of solid stone. Inscriptions here of various names I view'd, The greater part by hostile time subdued; Yet wide was spread their fame in ages past, And poets once had promised they should last. Some fresh engraved appear'd of wits renown'd; I look'd again, nor could their trace be found. Critics I that other names deface, And fix their own, with labour, in their place : Their own, like others, soon their place resign'd, Or disappear'd, and left the first behind. Nor was the work impair'd by storms alone, But felt th' approaches of too warm a sun; For Fame, impatient of extremes, decays Not more by enry, than excess of praise. Yet part no injuries of heaven could feel, Like crystal faithful to the graving steel : The rock's high summit, in the temple's shade, Nor heat could melt, nor beating storm invade. Their names inscribed unnumber'd ages past Proin time's first birth, with time itself shall last: These ever new, nor subject to decays, Spread and grow brighter with the length of days.
So Zembla's rocks (the beauteous work of frost) Rise white in air, and glitter o'er the coast; Pale suns, unfelt, at distance roll away, And on th' impassive ice the lightnings play; Eternal snows the growing mass supply, Till the bright mountains prop th' incumbent sky; As Atlas fix'd, each hoary pile appears, The gather'd winter of a thousand years. On this foundation Fame's high temple stands; Stupendous pile! not rear'a by mortal hands. Whate'er proud Rome or artful Greece beheld, Or elder Babylon, its frame excell'd. Four faces had the dome, and every face Of various structure, but of equal grace ! Four brazen gates, on columns lifted high, Salute the different quarters of the sky. Here fabled chiefs, in darker ages born, Or worthies old, whom arms or arts adorn, Who cities raised, or tamed a monstrous race, The walls in venerable order grace: Heroes in animated marble frown, And legislators seem to think in stone.
Westward, a sumptuous frontispiece appear'd, On Doric pillars of white marble rear'a, Crown'd with an architrave of antique mould, And sculpture rising on the roughen'd gold. In shaggy spoils here Theseus was beheld, And Perseus dreadful with Minerva's shield: There great Alcides, stooping with his toil, Rests on his club, and holds th' Hesperian spoil: Here Orpheus sings; trees, moving to the sound, Start from their roots, and form a shade around: Amphion there the loud creating lyre Strikes, and behold a sudden Thebes aspire! Cythæron's echoes answer to his call, And half the mountain rolls into a wall: There might you see the lengthening spires ascend, The domes swell up, the widening arches bend, The growing towers like exhalations rise, And the huge columns heave into the skies.
The eastern front was glorious to behold, With diamond flaming, and Barbaric gold.
There Ninus shone, who spread th' Assyrian fame,
But on the south a long majestic race
Of Gothic structure was the northern side, O’erwrought with ornaments of barbarous pride. There huge Colosses rose, with trophies crown'd, And Runic characters were graved around. There sat Zamolxis with erected eyes, And Odin here in mimic trances dies. There on rude iron columns, smear'd with blood, The horrid forms of Scythian heroes stood : Druids and Bards (their once-loud harps unstrung) And youths that died to be by poets sung. These and a thousand more of doubtful fame, To whom old fables gave a lasting name, In ranks adorn'd the temple's outward face'; The wall in lustre and effect like glass, Which, o'er each object casting various dyes, Enlarges some, and oth multiplies : Nor void of emblem was the mystic wall, For thus romantic Fame increases all.