« EelmineJätka »
N that soft season, when defcending show'rs Call forth the greens, and wake the rifing flow'rs; When op'ning buds falute the welcome day, And earth relenting feels the genial ray; As balmy fleep had charm'd my cares to rest, 5 And love itself was banish'd from my breast, (What time the morn mysterious vifions brings, While purer flumbers spread their golden wings)
VER. I. In that soft season, etc.] This Poem is introduced in the manner of the Provencial Poets, whofe works were for the most part Visions, or pieces of imagination, and conftantly defcriptive. From these, Petrarch and Chaucer frequently borrow the idea of their poems. See the Trionfi of the former, and the Dream, Flower and the Leaf, etc. of the latter. The Author of this therefore chose the fame fort of Exordium.
A train of phantoms in wild order rose,
And join'd, this intellectual scene compofe.
I ftood,methought, betwixt earth,feas,and skies; The whole creation open to my eyes:
In air self-balanc'd hung the globe below,
Where mountains rife and circling oceans flow
Here naked rocks, and empty waffes were seen, 15.
There tow'ry cities, and the forefts green:
Here failing ships delight the wand'ring eyes;
There trees, and intermingled temples rise;
Now a clear fun the fhining fcene difplays,
The tranfient landscape now in clouds decays. 20
O'er the wide Profpect as I gaz'd around,
Sudden I heard a wild promifcuous found,
Like broken thunders that at diftance roar,
Or billows murm'ring on the hollow fhore:
Then gazing up, a glorious pile beheld,
Whofe tow'ring fummit ambient clouds conceal'd.
VER.11 etc. These verfes are hinted from the following of Chaucer, Book ii.
Tho' beheld I fields and plains,
Now hills, and now mountains,
Now valeis, and now foreftes,
And now unneth great beftes,
Now rivers, now citees,
Now towns, now great trees,
Now fhippes fayling in the fees. P.
High on a rock of Ice the structure lay,
Steep its afcent, and flipp'ry was the way;
The wond'rous rock like Parian marble shone,
And feem'd to distant fight, of folid stone.
Inscriptions here of various Names I view'd,
The greater part by hoftile time fubdu'd;
Yet wide was spread their fame in ages past,
And Poets once had promis'd they should last.
VER. 27. High on a rock of Ice, etc.] Chaucer's third book of Fame.
It stood upon fo high a rock;
Higher ftandeth none in Spayne
What manner ftone this rock was,
For it was like a lymed glass,
But that it fhone full more clere ;
But of what congel❜d matere
It was, I nifte redily;
But at the last espied I,
And found that it was every dele,
A rock of ife, and not of stele.
VER. 31. Infcriptions here, etc.]
Tho faw I all the hill y-grave
With famous folkes names fele,
That had been in much wele
And her fames wide y-blow;
But well unneth might I know,
Any letters for to rede
Ther names by, for out of drede
They weren almost off-thawen so,
That of the letters one or two
Were molte away of every name,
So unfamous was woxe her fame;
But men said, what may ever laft. P.
Some fresh engrav'd appear'd of Wits renown'd; I look'd again, nor could their trace be found. 36 Critics I faw, that other names deface,
And fix their own, with labour, in their place:
Their own, like others, foon their place refign'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 envy than excess of Praise.
Yet part no injuries of heav'n could feel,
Like crystal faithful to the graving steel:
VER. 41. Nor was the work impair'd, etc.]
Tho gan I in myne harte caft,
That they were molte away for heate,
And not away with ftormes beate.
VER. 45. Yet part no injuries, etc.]
For on that other fide I fey
Of that hill which northward ley,
How it was written full of names
Of folke, that had afore great fames,
Of old time, and yet they were
As fresh as men had written hem there
The felf day, or that houre
on hem gan to poure: But well I wifte what it made;
It was conferved with the fhade
(All the writing that I fye)
Of the caftle that stoode on high,
And stood eke in fo cold a place,
That heate might it not deface. P..
The rock's high fummit, in the temple's shade,
Nor heat could melt, nor beating storm invade.
Their names infcrib'd unnumber'd ages past
From time's first birth, with time itself shall last; 50
These ever new, nor fubject to decays,
Spread, and grow brighter with the length of days.
So Zembla's rocks (the beauteous work of froft)
Rife white in air, and glitter o'er the coast!
Pale funs, unfelt, at diftance roll away,
And on th' impaffive ice the light'nings play;
Eternal fnows 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'd by mortal hands.
Whate'er proud Rome or artful Greece beheld,
Or elder Babylon its frame excell❜d.
Four faces had the dome, and ev'ry face
Of various ftructure, but of equal grace:
VER. 65. Four faces had the dome, etc.] The Temple is defcribed to be fquare, the four fronts with open gates facing the different quarters of the world, as an intimation that all nations of the earth may alike he received into it. The western front is of Grecian architecture: The Doric order was peculiarly facred to