Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

A golden column next in rank appear'd, On which a shrine of purest gold was rear'd; Finish'd the whole, and labor'd every part, With patient touches of unwearied art: The Mantuan there in sober triumph sate, 200 Composed his posture, and his looks sedate; On Homer still he fix'd a reverent eye, Great without pride, in modest majesty. In living sculpture on the sides were spread The Latian wars, and haughty Turnus dead : 205 Eliza stretch'd upon the funeral pyre; Æneas bending with his aged sire : Troy flamed in burning gold, and o'er the throne • Arms and the man’ in golden ciphers shone.

Four swans sustain a car of silver bright, 210 With heads advanced, and pinions stretch'd for

flight: Here, like some furious prophet, Pindar rode, And seem'd to labor with the inspiring god. Across the harp a careless hand he flings, And boldly sinks into the sounding strings. 215 The figured games of Greece the column grace; Neptune and Jove survey the rapid race. The youths hang o'er the chariots as they run; The fiery steeds seem starting from the stone ; The champions in distorted postures threat; 220 And all appear'd irregularly great.

210 Four swans sustain, &c. Pindar being seated in a chariot, alludes to the chariot-races he celebrated in the Grecian games : the swans are emblems of poetry, their soaring posture intimates the sublimity and activity of his genius. Neptune presided over the Isthmian, and Jupiter over the Olympian games.-Pope.

Here happy Horace tuned the Ausonian lyre To sweeter sounds, and temperd Pindar's

fire: Pleased with Alcæus' manly rage to infuse The softer spirit of the Sapphic Muse. 225 The polish'd pillar different sculptures grace; A work outlasting monumental brass. Here smiling Loves and Bacchanals appear; The Julian star, and great Augustus here. The doves that round the infant poet spread 230 Myrtles and bays, hung hovering o'er his head.

Here in a shrine that cast a dazzling light, Sate fix'd in thought the mighty Stagirite; His sacred head a radiant zodiac crown'd, And various animals his sides surround: 235 His piercing eyes, erect, appear to view Superior worlds, and look all Nature through.

With equal rays immortal Tully shone; The Roman rostra deck'd the consul's throne: 239 Gathering his flowing robe, he seem'd to stand In act to speak, and graceful stretch'd his hand. Behind, Rome's genius waits with civic crowns, And the great father of his country owns.

These massy columns in a circle rise, 244 O’er which a pompous dome invades the skies : Scarce to the top I stretch'd my aching sight, So large it spread, and swelld to such a height. Full in the midst proud Fame's imperial seat With jewels blazed, magnificently great; The vivid emeralds there revive the eye, 250 The flaming rubies show their sanguine die, Bright azure rays from lively sapphire stream, And lucid amber casts a golden gleam.

With various-color'd light the pavement shone,
And all on fire appeard the glowing throne ; 255
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 swelld to larger size, the more I gazed, 260
Till to the roof her towering front she raised.
With her the temple every moment grew,
And ampler vistas opend to my view :
Upward the columns shoot, the roofs ascend,
And arches widen, and long isles extend. 265
Such was her form, as ancient bards have told;
Wings raise her arms, and wings her feet infold ;
A thousand busy tongues the goddess bears,
And thousand open eyes, and thousand listening

ears.
Beneath, in order ranged, the tuneful Nine, 270
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. 275

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 ;

280 In various garbs promiscuous throngs appear'; 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; 285
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, 290
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 disgraced, and some with honors crown'd;
Unlike successes equal merits found.

295 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 to instruct and please man

kind, 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.' 305

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 ; 310 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 odors shed, Which still grew sweeter as they wider spread : 315

300

Less fragrant scents the unfolding rose exhales, Or spices breathing in Arabian gales.

Next these the good and just, an awful train, Thus on their knees address the sacred fane : • Since living virtue is with envy cursed, 320 And the best men are treated like the worst, Do thou, just goddess, call our merits forth, And give each deed the exact intrinsic worth.' · Not with bare justice shall your act be crown'd,' Said Fame, but high above desert renown'd: 325 Let fuller notes the applauding world amaze, And the loud clarion labor in your praise.'

This band dismiss'd, behold another crowd Preferr'd the same request, and lowly bow'd; The constant tenor of whose well-spent days 330 No less deserved a just return of praise : But straight the direful trump of slander sounds; Through the big dome the doubling thunder

bounds; Loud as the burst of cannon rends the skies, The dire report through every region flies; 335 In every ear incessant rumors rung, And gathering scandals grew on every tongue. From the black trumpet's rusty concave broke Sulphureous flames, and clouds of rolling smoke: The poisonous vapor blots the purple skies, 340 And withers all before it as it flies.

A troop came next, who crowns and armor wore, And proud defiance in their looks they bore:• For thee,' they cried, amidst alarms and strife, We sail'd in tempests down the stream of life ; 345 For thee whole nations fill'd with flames and blood, And swam to empire through the purple flood.

« ZurückWeiter »