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I ftood, methought, betwixt earth, seas, and skies; The whole creation open to my eyes:
In air felf-balanc'd hung the globe below,
Where mountains rife and circling oceans flow;
Here naked rocks, and empty waftes were seen,
There tow'ry cities, and the forefts green :
Here failing ships delight the wand'ring eyes :
There trees, and intermingled temples rife ;
Now a clear fun the shining scene displays,
The tranfient landscape now in clouds decays.
O'er the wide Profpect as I gaz'd around,
Sudden I heard a wild promifcuous found,
Like broken thunders that at distance roar,
Or billows murm'ring on the hollow shore :
Then gazing up, a glorious pile beheld,
Whose tow'ring fummit ambient clouds conceal'd.
High on a rock of Ice the structure lay,
Steep its afcent, and flipp'ry was the way;
VER. 11. etc.] Thefe verfes are hinted from the follow
ing of Chaucer, Book ii.
Tho beheld I fields and plains,
Now hills, and now mountains,
Now valeis, and now forestes,
And now unneth great bestes,
Now rivers, now citees,
Now towns, now great trees,
Now shippes fayling in the fee. P.
VER. 27. High on a rock of Ice etc.] Chaucer's third book of Fame.
It flood upon fo high a rock,
Higher standeth none in Spayne-
'The wond'rous rock like Parian marble fhone,
And seem'd, to distant fight, of solid stone.
Infcriptions here of various Names I view'd,
The greater part by hoftile time fubdu'd;
Yet wide was fpread their fame in ages paft,
And Poets once had promis'd they should last.
Some fresh engrav'd appear'd of Wits renown'd; 35
I look'd again, nor could their trace be found.
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 difappear'd, and left the firft behind.
What manner ftone this rock was,
For it was like a lymed glafs,
But that it fhone full more clere;
But of what congeled matere
It was, I nifte redily;
But at the laft efpied I,
And found that it was every dele,
A rock of ife, and not of ftele.
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 almoft off-thawen fo,
That of the letters one or two
Were molte away of every name,
So unfamous was woxe her fame;
But men faid, what may ever last? P.
Nor was the work impair'd by ftorms alone,
But felt th'approaches of too warm a fun;
For Fame, impatient of extremes, decays
Not more by Envy than excess of Praise.
Yet part no injuries of heav'n could feel,
Like cryftal faithful to the graving fteel:
The rock's high fummit, in the temple's fhade,
Nor heat could melt, nor beating ftorm invade.
Their names infcrib'd unnumber'd ages paft
From time's first birth, with time itself fhall laft; 50
Thefe ever new, nor fubject to decays
Spread, and grow brighter with the length of days.
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 formes 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
That I on hem gan to poure:
But well I wifte what it made;
It was conferved with the shade
(All the writing that I fye)
Of the caftle that ftoode on high,
And stood eke in fo cold a place,
1 hat heate might it not deface. P.
So Zembla's rocks (the beauteous work of froft)
Rife white in air, and glitter o'er the coaft;
Pale funs, unfelt, at distance roll away,
And on th'impaffive ice the light'nings play;
Eternal fnows the growing mafs fupply,
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 ftands
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 structure, but of equal grace:
Four brazen gates, on columns lifted high,
Salute the diff'rent quarters of the sky.
Here fabled Chiefs in darker ages born,
Or Worthies old, whom arms or arts adorn,
Who cities rais'd, or tam'd a monftrous race;
The walls in venerable order 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 be received into it. The western front is of Grecian architecture: the Doric order was peculiarly facred to Heroes and Worthies. Those whose statues are after mentioned, were the first names of old Greece in arms and arts. P.
Heroes in animated marble frown,
And Legiflators feem to think in ftone.
- Westward, a sumptuous frontifpice appear'd,
On Doric pillars of white marble rear'd,
Crown'd with an architrave of antique mold,
And sculpture rifing on the roughen'd gold.
In fhaggy spoils here Thefeus was beheld,
And Perfeus dreadful with Minerva's fhield:
There great Alcides stooping with his toil,
Refts on his club, and holds th’Hefperian spoil.
Here Orpheus fings; trees moving to the found
Start from their roots, and form a fhade around:
Amphion there the loud creating lyre
Strikes, and beholds a fudden Thebes aspire!
Citharon's echoes anfwer to his call,
And half the mountain rolls into a wall:
There might you see the length'ning spires afcend, The domes fwell up, the wid'ning arches bend, 90 The growing tow'rs, like exhalations rise,
And the huge columns heave into the skies.
The Eastern front was glorious to behold,
With di'mond flaming, and Barbaric gold.
VER. 81. There great Alcides etc.] This figure of Hercules is drawn with an eye to the position of the famous ftatue of Farnese. P.