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Here Orpheus sings; trees moving to the sound
Start from their roots, and form a shade around :
Amphion there the loud creating lyre
Strikes, and behold a sudden Thebes aspire !
Cythæron's echoes answer to his call,
And half the mountain rolls into a wall :
There might you see the lengthening spires ascend,
The domes swell up, the widening arches bend,
The growing towers like exhalations rise,
And the huge columns heave into the skies.
The eastern front was glorious to behold,
With diamond flaming, and Barbaric gold.
There Ninus shone, who spread th’ Assyrian fame,
And the great founder of the Persian name:
There in long robes the royal Magi stand,
Grave Zoroaster waves the circling wand:
The sage Chaldæans rob’d in white appear'd,
And Brachmans, deep in desert woods rever'd.
These stopp'd the Moon, and callid th' unbody'd
shades To midnight banquets in the glimmering glades; Made visionary fabrics round them rise, And airy spectres skim before their eyes ; Of talismans and sigils knew the power, And careful watch'd the planetary hour. Superior, and alone, Confucius stood, Who taught that useful science, to be good.
But on the south, a long majestic race Of Egypt's priests the gilded niches grace, Who measur'd Earth, describ'd the starry spheres, And trac'd the long records of lunar years.
High on his car Sesostris struck my view,
Whom sceptre'd slaves in golden harness drew :
His hands a bow and pointed javelin hold;
His giant limbs are arm'd in scales of gold.
Between the statues obelisks were plac'd,
And the learn'd walls with hieroglyphics grac'd.
Of Gothic structure was the northern side,
O'erwrought with ornaments of barbarous pride.
There huge Colosses rose, with trophies crown'd,
And Runic characters were grav'd around.
There sat Zamolxis with erected eyes,
And Odin here in mimic trances dies.
There on rude iron columns, smear'd with blood,
The horrid forms of Scythian heroes stood,
Druids and bards (their once loud harps unstrung),
And youths that died to be by poets sung.
These and a thousand more of doubtful fame,
To whom old fables gave a lasting name,
In rankes adorn'd the temple's outward face;
The wall in lustre and effect like glass,
Which, o'er each object casting various dyes,
Enlarges some, and others multiplies :
Nor void of emblem was the mystic wall,
For thus romantic Fame increases all.
The temple shakes, the sounding gates unfold, Wide vaults appear, and roofs of fretted gold : Rais'd on a thousand pillars wreath'd around With laurel-foliage, and with eagles crown'd: Of bright transparent beryl were the walls, The friezes gold, and gold the capitals : As Heaven with stars, the roof with jewels glows, And ever-living lamps depend in rows.
Full in the passage of each spacious gate,
The sage historians in white garments wait;
Grav'd o'er their seats the form of Time was found,
His scythe revers’d, and both his pinions bound.
Within stood heroes, who through loud alarms
In bloody fields pursued renown in arms.
High on a throne with trophies charg'd, I view'd
The youth that all things but himself subdued ;
His feet on sceptres and tiaras trod,
And his horn'd head bely'd the Lybian god.
There Cæsar, grac'd with both Minervas, shone ;
Cæsar, the world's great master, and his own;
Unmov'd, superior still in every state,
And scarce detested in his country's fate.
But chief were those, who not for empire fought,
But with their toils their people's safety bought :
High o'er the rest Epaminondas stood;
Timoleon, glorious in his brother's blood;
Bold Scipio, saviour of the Roman state;
Great in his triumphs, in retirement great ;
And wise Aurelius, in whose well-taught mind
With boundless power unbounded virtue join'd,
His own strict judge, and patron of mankind.
Much suffering heroes next their honours claim,
Those of less noisy, and less guilty fame,
Fair Virtue's silent train : supreme of these
Here ever shines the godlike Socrates ;
He whom ungrateful Athens could expel,
At all times just, but when he sign’d the shell:
Here his abode the martyr'd Phocion claims,
With Agis, not the last of Spartan names :
Unconquer'd Cato shows the wound he tore,
And Brutus his ill genius meets no more.
But in the centre of the hallow'd choir,
Six pompous columns o'er the rest aspire ;
Around the shrine itself of Fame they stand,
Hold the chief honours, and the fane command.
High on the first, the mighty Homer shone ;
Eternal adamant compos'd his throne;
Father of verse ! in holy fillets drest,
His silver beard wav'd gently o'er his breast;
Though blind, a boldness in his looks appears ;
In years he seem'd, but not impair'd by years.
The wars of Troy were round the pillar seen :
Here fierce Tydides wounds the Cyprian queen;
Here Hector glorious from Patroclus' fall,
Here dragg'd in triumph round the Trojan wall.
Motion and life did every part inspire,
Bold was the work, and prov'd the master's fire;
A strong expression most he seem'd t' affect,
And here and there disclos'd a brave neglect.
A golden column next in rank appear'd,
On which a shrine of purest gold was rear'd;
Finish'd the whole, and labour'd every part,
With patient touches of unwearied Art:
The Mantuan there in sober triumph sate,
Compos'd his posture, and his look 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;
Eliza stretch'd upon the funeral pyre,
Æneas bending with his aged sire:
Troy ilam'd in burning gold, and o’er the throne ARMS AND THE MAN in golden cyphers shone.
Four swans sustain a car of silver bright,
With heads advanc'd, and pinions stretch'd for flight:
Here, like some furious prophet, Pindar rode,
And seem'd to labour with th' inspiring god.
Across the harp a careless hand he flings,
And boldly sinks into the sounding strings.
The figur'd games of Greece the column grace,
Neptune and Jove survey the rapid race.
The youths hang o'er their chariots as they run;
The fiery steeds seem starting from the stone;
The champions in distorted postures threat ;
And all appear'd irregularly great.
re happy Horace tun'd th' Ausonian lyre
To sweeter sounds, and temper'd Pindar's fire :
Pleas'd with Alcæus' manly rage t' infuse
The softer spirit of the Sapphic Muse.
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
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;
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 :