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N that soft season, when descending show'rs
Call forth the greens,and wake the rising flow'rs;
When op'ning buds salute the welcome day,
And earth relenting feels the genial ray;
As balmy sleep had charm'd my cares to rest, 5
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 ;
The whole creation open to my eyes:
In air self-balanc'd hung the globe below,
Where mountains rise and circling oceans flow;
Here naked rocks, and empty wastes were seen, 15.
There tow'ry cities, and the forests green:
Here sailing ships delight the wand'ring eyes;
There trees, and intermingled temples rise;
Now a clear sun the thining fcenę displays,
The transient landscape now in clouds decays. 20
O'er the wide Prospect as I gaz'd around,
Sudden I heard a wild promiscuous sound,
Like broken thunders that at distance roar,
Or billows marm'ring on the hollow shore':
Then gazing up, a glorious pile beheld, 25
Whose tow'ring fummit ambient clouds conceal’d.
Ver. 11 etc.] These verses are hinted from the following of
Chaucer, Book ii.
Tho'beheld I fields and plains,
Now hills, and now mountains,
Now valeis, and now forestes,
And now unneth great beltes,
Now rivers, now citees,
Now towns, how great trees,
Now shippes sayling in the secs. P.
High on a rock of Ice the structure lay,
Steep its afcent, and slipp'ry was the way;
The wondrous rock like Parian marble Thone,
And seem'd to distant fight, of solid stone. 30
Inscriptions here of various Names I view'd,
The greater part by hostile time subdu'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
It stood upon so high a rock;
Higher ftandeth none in Spayne
What manner stone this rock was,
For it was like a lymed glass,
But that it shone full more clere;
But of what congel'd matere
It was, I niste redily;
But at the last espied I,
And found that it was every dele,
A rock of ise, and not of stele.
VER. 31. Infcriptions here, etc.)
Tho saw 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
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 saw, 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.
40. 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,
45 Like crystal faithful to the graving steel :
VER. 41. Nor was the work impair'd, etc.]
Tho gan I in myne harte cast,
That they were molte away for heate,
And not away with stormes beate.
VER:45. Yet part no injuries, etc.]
For on that other side I sey
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 self day, or that houre
That I on hem
But well I wiste what it made;
It was conserved with the shade
(All the writing that I fye)
Of the castle that stoode on high,
And stood eke in so cold a place,
That heate might it not deface. P.
The rock's high summit, in the temple's shade,
Nor heat could melt, nor beating storm invade.
Their names inscrib'd unnumber'd ages past
From time's first birth, with time itself shall last; 50
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, 55
And on th' impaffive 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. 60
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 65
Of various structure, but of equal grace: