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There Ninus fhone, who fpread th' Affyrian fame, 95
VER. 96. And the great founder of the Perfian name:] Cyrus was the beginning of the Perfian, as Ninus was of the Affyrian Monarchy. The Magi and Chaldæans (the chief of whom was Zoroafter) employed their ftudies upon magic and aftrology, which was in a manner almost all the learning of the ancient Afian people. We have scarce any account of a moral philofopher except Confucius, the great law-giver of the Chinese, who lived about two thousand years ago. P.
VER. 110. Egypt's priefts etc.] The learning of the old Egyptian Priefts confifted for the most part in geometry
High on his car Sefoftris ftruck my view,
And Odin here in mimic trances dies.
There on rude iron columns, fmear'd with blood,125 The horrid forms of Scythian heroes stood,
and aftronomy: they also preferved the Hiftory of their nation. Their greatest Hero upon record is Sefoftris, whose actions and conquefts may be feen at large in Diodorus, etc. He is faid to have caused the Kings he vanquished to draw him in his Chariot. The pofture of his ftatue, in these verses, is correfpondent to the defcription which Herodotus gives of one of them remaining in his own time. P.
VER. 119. Of Gothic ftructure was the Northern fide,] The Architecture is agreeable to that part of the world, The learning of the northern nations lay more obfcure than that of the reft; Zamolxis was the difciple of Pythagoras,. who taught the immortality of the foul to the Scythians. Odin, or Woden, was the great legislator and hero of the Goths. They tell us of him, that, being fubject to fits, he perfuaded his followers, that during thofe trances he received inspirations, from whence he dictated his laws: he is faid to have been the inventor of the Runic characters. P.
Druids and Bards (their once loud harps unftrung)
The Temple shakes, the founding 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 freezes gold, and gold the capitals: As heav'n with stars, the roof with jewels glows, And ever-living lamps depend in rows.
VER. 127. Druids and Bards etc.] Thefe were the priests and poets of thofe people, fo celebrated for their favage virtue. Those heroic barbarians accounted it a dishonour to die in their beds, and rushed on to certain death in the profpect of an after-life, and for the glory of a fong from their bards in praise of their actions. P.
VER. 132. The wall in luftre etc.]
Full in the paffage of each fpacious gate,
The fage Hiftorians in white garments wait;
And his horn'd head bely'd the Libyar God,
There Cæfar, grac'd with both Minerva's, fhone; 155 Cæfar, the world's great mafter, and his own;
Unmov'd, fuperior ftill in ev'ry state,
And scarce detefted in his Country's fate.
But chief were thofe, who not for empire fought,
Timoleon, glorious in his brother's blood;
VER. 152. The Youth that all things but himself fubdu'd;] Alexander the Great: the Tiara was the crown peculiar to the Afian Princes: his defire to be thought the fon of Jupiter Ammon, caufed him to wear the horns of that God, and to reprefent the fame upon his coins; which was continued by feveral of his fucceffors. P.
VER. 162, Timoleon, glorious in his brother's blood;] Timoleon had faved the life of his brother Timophanes in the battle between the Argives and Corinthians; but afterwards killed him when he affected the tyranny, preferring his duty to his country to all the obligations of blood. P.
Bold Scipio, faviour of the Roman ftate;
Great in his triumphs, in retirement great;
With Agis, not the laft of Spartan names:
VER. 172. He whom ungrateful Athens etc.] Ariftides, who for his great integrity was diftinguished by the appellation of the Juft. When his countrymen would have banished him by the Oftracifm, where it was the cuftom for every man to fign the name of the perfon he voted to exile in an Oyster-shell; a peasant, who could not write, came to Ariftides to do it for him, who readily figned his own name. P.
VER.178. But in the centre of the hallow'd choir, etc.] In the midst of the temple, nearest the throne of Fame, are placed the greatest names in learning of all antiquity. These are described in fuch attitudes as exprefs their different characters: the columns on which they are raised are adorned with fculptures, taken from the most striking fubjects of their works; which fculpture bears a refemblance, in its manner and character, to the manner and character of their writings. P.