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See the wild waste of all-devouring years!
How Rome her own sad sepulchre appears !
With nodding arches, broken temples spread !
very tombs now vanish'd like their dead!
Imperial wonders raised on nations spoild,
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 :
a 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 sighd: 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.
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 gods and godlike heroes rise to view,
And all her faded garlands bloom anew.
Nor blush 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 shail 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 shali erect his 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
and drawn up by snatches, as the several occasions offered. I had no thoughts of publishing it, till it pleased some persons of rank and fortune (the authors of Verses to the imitator of Horace, and of an Epistle to a doctor of Divinity from a Nobleman at Hampton Court] to attack, in a very extraordinary manner, not only my writings (of which, being public, the public is judge) but my person, morals, and family ; whereof, to those who know ne not, a truer information may be requisite. Being divided between the necessity to say something of myself, and my own laziness to undertake so awkward a task, I thought it the shortest way to put the last hand to this Epistle. If it have any thing pleasing, it will be that by which I am most desirous to please, the truth and the sentiment: and if any thing offen. sive, it will be only to those I am least sorry to offend, the vi.
cious or the ungenerous. Many will know their own pictures in it, there being not a eir
cumstance but what is true ; but I have, for the most part, spared their names : and they may escape being laughed at, if they please .
I would have some of them to know, it was owing to the request
Sno of the learned and candid friend to whom it is inscribed that I the make not as free use of theirs as they have done of mine. However,
I shall have this advantage and honour on my side, that whereas, by their proceeding, any abuse may be directed at any man, no injury can possibly be done by mine, since a name less character can never be found out but by its truth and like
P. Saut, shut the door, good John,'fatigued, I said,
Tie up the knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dcad."
The dog-star rages ! nay, 'tis past a doubt,
All Bedlam, or Parnassus is let out:
Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand,
They rave, recite, and madden round the land.
What walls can guard me, or what shades can bide ?
They pierce my thickets, through my grot they glide,
By land, by water, they renew the charge ;
They stop the chariot, and they board the barge.
No place is sacred, not the church is free,
E'en Sunday shines no sabbath-day to me;
Then from the Mint walks forth the man of rhyme,
Happy! to catch me, just at dinner time.
Is there a parson, much bemused in beer,
A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer,
A clerk foredooin'd his father's soul to cross,
Who pens a stanza when he should engross?
Is there who, lock'd from ink and paper, scrawls
With desperate charcoal round his darken'd walls
All fly to Twit'nam, and in humble strain
Apply to me, to keep them mad or vain.
Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws, .
Imputes to me and my damn'd works the cause:
Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope,
And curse wit, and poetry, and Pore..
ring to the reput is inscribed as
i on my side to! may be directed nine, since 2 me
Friend to my life! (which did not you prolong,
The world had wanted many an idle song) one of mine. Is What drop or nostrum can this plague remove
Or which must end me, a fool's wrath or love?
A dire dilemma! either way I'm sped;
- its truth and If foes, they write; if friends they read me dead.
Seized and tied down to judge, how wretched I !
Who cant be silent, and who will not lie:
To laugh, were want of goodness and of grace;
, fu And to be grave exceeds all power of face, ,
I sit with sad civility ; I read
With honest anguish, and an aching head ;
And drop at last, but in unwilling ears,
This saving counsel, . Keep your piece nine years.'
• Nine years !' cries he, who, high in Drury-lane,
Lull?d by soft zephyrs through the broken pane,
Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before term ends,
Obliged by hunger, and request of friends :
• The piece, you think, is incorrect: why take it,
I'm all submission ; what you'd have it make it.
Three things another’s modest wishes bound,
My friendship, and a prologue, and ten pound.
Pitholeon sends to me : . You know his grace;
I want a patron ; ask him for a place.'
Pitholeon libell’d me but here's a letter
Informs you, sir, 'twas when he knew no better.
Dare you refuse him ? Curl invites to dine,
He'll write a journal, or he'll turn divine,
Bless me! a packet.-'Tis a stranger sues,
A virgin tragedy, an orphan muse.'
If I dislike it, ' Furies, death, and rage!
If I approve, Commend it to the stage.'
There (thank my stars) my whole commission ends,
the barge. ice, - me;