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TO MR. ADDISON.*

[Occasioned by his Dialogues on Medals.] SEE the wild waste of all-devouring years! How Rome her own sad sepulchre appears, With nodding arches, broken temples, spread! The very tombs now vanish'd like their dead! Imperial wonders rais'd on nations spoil'd, Where mix'd with slaves the groaning martyr toil'd: Huge theatres, that now unpeopled woods, Now drain'd a distant country of her floods; Fanes, which admiring gods with pride survey, Statues of men scarce less alive than they! Some felt the silent stroke of mould'ring age, Some hostile fury, some religious rage; Barbarian blindness, Christian zeal conspire, And Papal piety, and Gothic fire. Perhaps, by its own ruins sav'd from flame, Some bury'd marble half préserves a name;

* This was originally written in the year 1715, when Mr. Addison, not yet Secretary of State, had prepared his book of Medals for the press, but not published till Mr. Tickell's edition of Addison's works in 1720; when the verses on Mr. Craggs, which conclude this poem, were added.

As the third Epistle treated of the extremes of avarice and profusion; and the fourth book upon one particular branch of the latter, namely, the vanity of expence in people of wealth and quality, and was therefore a corollary to the third; so this treats of one circumstance of that variety, as it appears in the common collectors of old coins; and is, therefore a corollary to the fourth.

That name the learn'd with fierce disputes pursue, And give to Titus old Vespasian's due.

Ambition sigh'd; she found it vain to trust
The faithless column and the crumbling bust;
Huge moles, whose shadow stretch'd from shore
to shore,

Their ruins perish'd, and their place no more:
Convinc'd, she now contracts her vast design,
And all her triumphs shrink into a Coin.
A narrow orb each crowded conquest keeps,
Beneath her palm here sad Judea weeps.
Now scantier limits the proud arch confine,
And scarce are seen the prostrate Nile, or Rhine;
A small Euphrates through the piece is roll'd,
And little Eagles wave their wings in gold.

The Medal, faithful to its charge of fame,
Through climes and ages bears each form and name:
In one short view subjected to our eye,
Gods, emp'rors, heroes, sages, beauties, lie.
With sharpen'd sight pale Antiquaries pore,
Th' inscription value, but the rust adore.
This the blue varnish, that the green endears,
The sacred rust of twice ten hundred years!
To gain Pescennius one employs his schemes,
One grasps a Cecrops in extatic dreams

Poor Vadius long with learned spleen devour'd
Can taste no pleasure since his shield was scour'd;
And Curio, restless by the fair-one's side,
Sighs for an Otho, and neglects his bride.

Theirs is the vanity, the learning thine: Touch'd by thy hand again Rome's glories shine; Her gods and godlike heroes rise to view And all her faded garlands bloom anew. Nor blush these studies thy regard engage; These pleas'd the fathers' of poetic rage; The verse and sculpture bore an equal part, And art reflected images to art.

Oh! when shall Britain, conscious of her claim, Stand emulous of Greek and Roman fame? In living Medals see her wars enroll'd, And vanquish'd realms supply recording gold; Here, rising bold, the patriot's honest face, There warriors frowning in historic brass; Then future ages with delight shall see How Plato's, Bacon's, Newton's looks agree; Or in fair series laurell'd bards be shown, A Virgil there, and here an Addison:

Then shall my Craggs (and let me call him mine) On the cast ore another Pollio shine;

With

aspect open shall erect his head And round the orb in lasting notes be read, Statesman, yet friend to truth! of soul sincere, 'In action faithful, and in honor clear; Who broke no promise, serv'd no private end, 'Who gain'd no title, and who lost no friend; • Ennobled by himself, by all approv'd, And prais'd unenvy'd by the Muse he lov'd.'

HER PROLOGUE.

FROM CHAUCER.

BEHOLD the woes of matrimonial life,
And hear with rev'rence an experienc'd Wife ;
To dear-bought Wisdom give the credit due,
And think for once a woman tells you true.
In all these trials I have borne a part;
I was myself the scourge that caus'd the smart;
For since fifteen.in triumph have I led
Five captive husbands from the church to bed.

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Christ saw a wedding once, the Scripture says, And saw but one, 'tis thought, in all his days; 10 Whence some infer, whose conscience is too nice, No pious Christian ought to marry twice.

But let them read, and solve me if they can, The words address'd to the Samaritan:

Five times in lawful wedlock she was join'd, 15 And sure the certain stint was ne'er defin'd.

• Increase and multiply' was Heav'n's command, And that's a text I clearly understand.

This too Let men their sires and mothers leave,
And to their dearer wives for ever cleave.' 20
More wives than one by Solomon were try'd,
Or else the wisest of mankind's bely'd.
I've had myself full many a merry fit,

And trust in Heav'n I may have many yet;

For when my transitory spouse unkind,

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Shall die and leave his woeful wife behind,
I'll take the next good Christian I can find.
Paul, knowing one could never serve our turn,
Declar'd 'twas better far to wed than burn.
There's danger in assembling fire and tow;
I grant them that; and what it means you know.
The same apostle, too, has elsewhere own'd
No precept for virginity he found:

'Tis but a counsel-and we women still

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Take which we like, the counsel or our will. 35

I envy not
not their bliss if he or she

Think fit to live in perfect chastity:

Pure let them be, and free from taint of vice;
I for a few slight spots am not too nice.
Heav'n calls us diff'rent ways, on these bestows 40
One proper gift, another grants to those ;
Not ev'ry man's oblig'd to sell his store,
And give up all his substance to the poor:
Such as are perfect may, I can't deny ;
But by your leaves, Divines! so am not I.
Full many a saint, since first the world began,
Liv'd an unspotted maid in spite of man:
Let such (a God's name) with fine wheat be fed,
And let us honest wives eat barley bread.

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For me, I'll keep the post assign'd by Heav'n, 50
And use the copious talent it has giv'n:
Let my good spouse pay tribute, do me right,
And keep an equal reck'ning ev'ry night:

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