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SEE the wild Waste of all-devouring years!
How Rome her own sad Sepulchre appears!


MR. ADDISON. 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 the verses on Mr. Craggs, which conclude the poem, were added, viz. in 1720.-P.

Notwithstanding the foregoing note is ascribed to Pope, the information it contains is certainly erroneous, as Mr. Addison died on the seventeenth day of June, 1719; and consequently Pope could not, in the year 1720, request to share with him in the friendship of Craggs. The fact is, that the six last lines, which afterwards formed the epitaph on Craggs, appear in the epistle to Addison, not as obituary, but as an inscription on a supposed medal of Craggs, and were consequently written whilst both Addison and Craggs were living.

DIALOGUES ON MEDALS.] This treatise on Medals was written by Addison in that pleasing form of composition, so unsuccessfully attempted by many modern authors, Dialogues. In no one species of writing have the Ancients so indisputable a superiority over us. The dialogues of Plato and Cicero, especially the former, are perfect dramas; where the characters are supported with consistency and nature, and the reasoning

suited to the characters.

"There are in English three dialogues, and but three," says a learned and ingenious author, who has himself practised this agreeable way of writing, "that deserve commendation, namely, the Moralists in Lord Shaftesbury, Mr. Addison's Treatise on Medals, and the Minute Philosopher of Bishop Berkley." Alciphron did, indeed, well deserve to be mentioned on this occasion; notwithstanding it has been treated with contempt by writers much inferior to Berkley in learning, genius, and taste. Omitting those passages in the fourth dialogue, where he has introduced his fanciful and whimsical opinions about vision, an attentive reader will find that there is scarce a single argument that can be urged in defence of Revelation, but what is here placed in the clearest light, and in the most beautiful diction in this work there is a happy union of reasoning and imagination. The two different characters of the two different sorts of freethinkers, the sensual and the refined, are strongly contrasted with each other, and with the plainness and simplicity of Euphranor.


These dialogues of Addison are written with that sweetness and purity of style which constitute him one of the first of our prose writers. The chief imperfection of his Treatise on Medals is, the persons introduced as speakers, in direct contradiction to the practice of the Ancients, are

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With nodding arches, broken temples spread!
The very tombs now vanish'd like their dead!
Imperial wonders rais'd on Nations spoil'd,
Where, mix'd with slaves, the groaning martyr toil'd:
Huge Theatres, that now unpeopled woods,
Now drain'd a distant country of her floods:
Fanes, which admiring Gods with pride survey,
Statues of Men, scarce less alive than they!
Some felt the silent stroke of mould'ring age,
Some hostile fury, some religious rage,
Barbarian blindness, Christian zeal conspire,
And Papal piety, and Gothic fire.




fictitious, not real; for Cynthio, Philander, Palæmon, Eugenio, and Theocles, cannot equally excite and engage the attention of the reader, with Socrates and Alcibiades, Atticus and Brutus, Cowley and Spratt, Maynard and Somers. It is somewhat singular, that so many of the modern dialogue-writers should have failed in this particular, when so many of the most celebrated wits of modern Italy had given them eminent examples of the contrary proceeding, and closely following the steps of the Ancients, constantly introduced living and real persons in their numerous compositions of this sort; in which they were so fond of delivering their sentiments, both on moral and critical subjects; witness the Il Cortegiano of B. Castiglione, the Asolani of P. Bembo, Dialoghi del S. Sperone, and the great Galileo, the Naugerius of Fracastorius, and Lil. Gyraldus de Poetis, and many others. In all which pieces the famous and living geniuses of Italy are introduced discussing the several different topics before them.-Warton.

"Roma quondam

Ver. 2. her own sad Sepulchre] St. Jerome says, orbis caput, postea populi Romani sepulchrum."-Warton. Ver. 2. her own sad Sepulchre]

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O Solyman, for her art thou become
A heap of stones, and to thyself a tomb."

From Sandys's Psalms; one of the most extraordinary productions in verse, that the English language can produce. As a translation, it is infinitely superior to any other, both for fidelity, music, and strength of versification. It was published with Lawes's Airs, which are simple and expressive. I cannot but lament, that such music, and such words, should not be used in our parochial churches, instead of the wretched metre of Sternhold and Hopkins, or the empty and inadequate paraphrases of Tate and Brady, often set to as bad music.-Bowles.

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Ver. 6. Where, mix'd with slaves, the groaning martyr toil'd:] Palladio, speaking of the Baths of Dioclesian, says, Nell' edificatione delle quali, Dioclesiano tenne molti anni 140 mila Christiani a edificarle.”Warburton.

Ver. 6. groaning martyr] Dodwell, in his Dissertationes Cyprianicæ, has undertaken to prove that the number of Martyrs was far less than hath been usually imagined. His opinion is combated by Mosheim in the 5th Chapter of his excellent History of the Church.-Warton.

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