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A train of phantoms in wild order rose,
I stood, methought, betwixt earth, seas, and skies,
15 There tow'ry cities, and the forests green: Here sailing ships delight the wand'ring eyes; There trees and intermingled temples rise : Now a clear sun the shining scene displays, The transient landscape now in clouds decays. 20
O'er the wide prospect as I gaz'd around, Sudden I heard a wild promiscuous sound, Like broken thunders that at distance roar, Or billows murm’ring on the hollow shore: Then gazing up, a glorious pile beheld,
25 Whose tow'ring summit ambient clouds conceald. High on a rock of ice the structure lay, Steep its ascent, and slipp'ry was the way: The wond'rous rock like Parian marble shone, And seem'd, to distant sight, of solid stone : 30 Inscriptions here of various names I view'd, The greater part by hostile Time subdu'd; Yet wide was spread their fame in ages past, And poets once had promis'd they should last.
Some fresh engrav'd appear'd of wits renown'd; 35
45 Like crystal faithful to the graving steel: The rock's high summit, in the temple's shade, Nor heat could melt, nor beating storm invade. There names inscrib'd unnumber'd ages past, From Time's first birth, with Time itself shall last; These ever new, nor subject to decays,
51 Spread, and grow brighter with the length of days.
So Zembla's rocks (the beauteous work of Frost) Rise white in air, and glitter o'er the coast; Pale suns, unfelt, at distance roll away,
55 And on th' impassive ice the lightnings play; Eternal snows the growing mass supply, Till the bright mountains prop th’ incumbent sky; As Atlas fix'd, each hoary pile appears, T'he gather'd winter of a thousand years. 60
On this foundation Fame's high temple stands;
Westward, a sumptuous frontispiece appear'd, 75 On Doric pillars of white marble rear'd, Crown'd with an architrave of antique mould, - And sculpture rising on the roughen'd gold. In shaggy spoils here Theseus was beheld, And Perseus dreadful with Minerva's shield: 80 There great Alcides, stooping with his toil, Rests on his club, and holds th' Hesperian spoil: Here Orpheus sings; trees moving to the sound, Start from their roots, and form a slade around : Amphion the the loud creating lyre
85 Strikes, and beholds a sudden Thebes aspire!
Cythæron's echoes answer to his call,
The eastern front was glorious to behold,
105 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, 110 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,
Of Gothic structure was the northern side,
The temple shakes, the sounding gates unfold, Wide vaults appear, and roofs of fretted gold,