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EPISTLE V.

TO MR. ADDISON.

Occasioned by his Dialogues on Medals.

This was originally written in the year 1715, when Mr. Addison intended to publish his book of medals; it was some tiine before he was secretary of state; but not published till Mr. Tickell's edition of his works : at which time his verses on Mr. Craggs, which conclude the poem, were added, viz. in 1720.

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

SES

EE 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 toild : 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 mouldering 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 buried marble half preserves a name;
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 parrow orb each crowded conquest keeps, Beneath her palm here sad Judea weeps. Now scautier limits the proud arch confine, And scarce are seen the prostrate Nile or Rhine; A small Euphrates through the piece is rollid, 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, emperors, 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 ecstatic 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, agaiu 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 enrolld,
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 laureld bards be shown,
A Virgil there, and here an Addison.
Then shall thy 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, best friend to truth! of soul sincere,
Io action faithful, and in honour clear;
Who broke do 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 loy'd.'

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This paper is a sort of bill of complaint, begua

many years since, and drawn up by snatches, as the several occasions offered. I had no thoughts of publishing it, till it pleased some persons of rank and fortune (the authors of Verses to the Imitator of Horace, and of an Epistle to a Doctor of Divinity froin a Nobleman at Hampton Court] to attack, in a very extraordinary manner, not only my writings (of which, being public, the public is judge) but my person, morals, and family; whereof, to those who know me not, a truer information may be requisite. Being divided between the necessity to say something of myself, and my own laziness to undertake so awkward a task, I thought it the shortest way to put the last hand to this Epistle. If it have any thing pleasing, it will be that by which I am most desirous to please, the truth and the sentiment; and if any thing offensive, it will be only to those I am least sorry to offend, the vicious or the ungeMany will know their own pictures in it, there

perous.

being not a circumstance but what is true; but I have, for the most part, spared their names; and

they may escape being laughed at, if they please. I would have some of them to know, it was owing

to the request of the learned and candid friend to whom it is inscribed, that I make not as free use of theirs as they have done of mine. However, I shall have this advantage and honour on my side, that whereas, by their proceeding, any abuse may he directed at any man, no injury can possibly be done by mine, since a nameless character can never be found out but by its truth and likeness.

P.SHUT, shut the door, good John ! fatigu’d, I

said, • Tie up the knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead.' The dog-star rages ! nay, 'tis past a doubt, All Bedlam, or Parnassus, is let out: Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand, They rave, recite, and madden round the land. What walls can guard me, or what shades can

hide? They pierce iny thickets, through my grot they glide. By land, by water, they renew the charge ; They stop the chariot, and they board the barge. No place is sacred, not the church is free, Ev'n Sunday shines no sabbath-day to me; Then from the mint walks forth the man of rhyme, Happy! to catch me, just at dinner-time.

Is there a parson, much bemus'd in beer, A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer, A clerk foredoom'd his father's soul to cross, Who pens a stanza when he should engross? Is there who, lock'd from ink and paper, scrawls With desperate charcoal round his darken'd walls? All Ay to Twit'nam, and in humble strain Apply to me, to keep them mad or vain.

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