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High on a throne, with trophies charg'd, I view'd
The youth that all thiogs but himself subdued ;
His feet on sceptres and tiaras trod,
And his horn'd head belied the Libyan god.
There Cæsar, grac'd with both Minervas, shone;
Cæsar, the world's great master, and his own;
Unmov'd, superior still in every state,
And scarce detested in his country's fate.
But chief were those who not for empire fought,
But with their toils their people's safety bought :
High o'er the rest Epaminondas stood;
Timoleon, glorious in his brother's blood;
Bold Scipio, saviour of the Roman state,
Great in his triumphs, in retirement great;
And wise Aurelius, in whose well-taught mind 2
With boundless power unbounded virtue join'd,
His own strict judge, and patron of mankind. )
Much-suffering heroes next their honours claim,
Those of less noisy and less guilty fame,
Fair virtue's silent train : supreme, of these
Here ever shines the godlike Socrates :
He whom ungrateful Athens could expel,
At all times just, but when he sign'd the shell:
Here his abode the martyrd Phocion claims,
With Agis, not the last of Spartan names:
Unconquerd Cato shows the wound he tore,
And Brutus his ill genius meets no more.
But in the centre of the hallow'd choir, Six pompous columns o'er the rest aspire; Around the shrine itself of Fame they stand, Hold the chief honours, and the fane command. High on the first the mighty Homer shone; Eternal adamant compos'd bis throne; Father of verse! in holy fillets dress’d, His silver beard wav'd gently o'er his breast;
Though blind, a boldness in his looks appears;
In years he seem'd, but not impair'd by years.
The wars of Troy were round the pillar seen :
Here fierce Tydides wounds the Cyprian queen;
Here Hector, glorious from Patroclus' fall;
Here, drag'd in triumph round the Trojan wall.
Motion and life did every part inspire,
Bold was the work, and prov'd the master's fire;
A strong expression most be seem'd to affect,
And here and there disclos'd a brave neglect.
A golden column next in rank appear'd,
On which a shrine of purest gold was reard;
Finish'd the whole, and labour'd every part,
With patient touches of unwearied art.
The Mantuan there in sober triumph sate,
Compos'd his posture, and his looks sedate;
On Homer still be fix'd a reverend eye,
Great without pride, in modest majesty.
In living sculpture on the sides were spread
The Latian wars, and haughty Turnas dead :
Eliza stretch'd upon the funeral pyre;
Æneas bending with his aged sire:
Troy flam'd in burning gold, and o'er the throne
• Arms and the man'in golden ciphers shone.
Four swans sustain a car of silver bright,
With heads advanc'd, and pinions stretch'd for flight:
Here, like some furious prophet, Pindar rode,
And seem'd to labour with the’ inspiring god.
Across the harp a careless hand he flings,
And boldly sinks into the sounding strings.
The figur'd games of Greece the column grace;
Neptune and Jove survey the rapid race:
The youths hang o'er their chariots as they run;
The fiery steeds seem starting from the stone;
The champions in distorted postures threat;
And all appeard irregularly great.
Here happy Horace tund the’ Ausonian lyre
To sweeter sounds, and temper'd Pindar's fire;
Pleas'd with Alcæns' manly rage to' infuse
The softer spirit of the Sapphic Muse.
The polish'd pillar different sculptures grace,
A work outlasting monumental brass.
Here smiling loves and bacchanals appear,
The Julian star, and great Augustas here :
The doves, that round the infant poet spread
Myrtles and bays, hang hovering o'er bis head,
Here, in a shrine that cast a dazzling light,
Sate fix'd in thought the mighty Stagirite;
His sacred head a radiant zodiac crown'd,
And various animals his sides surround;
His piercing eyes, erect, appear to view
Superior worlds, and look all nature through,
With equal rays immortal Tully shone;
The Roman rostra deck'd the consul's throne :
Gathering his flowing robe, he seem'd to stand
In act to speak, and graceful stretch'd his hand.
Behind, Rome's genius waits with civic crowns,
And the great father of his country owns.
These massy columns in a circle rise, D'er which a pompous dome invades the skies: Scarce to the top I stretch'd my aching sight, So large it spread, and swellid to such a height. Full in the midst proud Fame's imperial seat With jewels blaz’d, magnificently great; The vivid emeralds there revive the eye, The flaming rubies show their sanguine dye, Bright azure rays from lively sapphires stream, And lucid amber casts a golden gleam.
With various-colour'd light the pavement shone,
And all on fire appear'd the glowing throne :
The dome's high arch reflects the mingled blaze,
And forms a rainbow of alternate rays.-
When on the goddess first I cast my sight,
Scarce seem'd her stature of a cubit's height;
But swell’d to larger size, the more I gaz'd,
Till to the roof her towering front she rais'd.
With her, the temple every moment grew,
And ampler vistas open’d to my view:
Upward the columns shoot, the roofs ascend,
And arches widen, and long aisles extend.
Such was her form, as ancient bards have told;
Wings raise her arms, and wings her feet infold;
A thousand busy tongues the goddess bears,
A thousand open eyes, and thousand listening ears.
Beneath, in order rang'd, the tuneful Nine
(Her virgin handmaids) still attend the shrine;
With eyes on Fame for ever fix'd, they sing;
For fame they raise the voice, and tune the string ;
With time's first birth began the heavenly lays,
And last, eternal through the length of days.
Around these wonders as I cast a look,
The trumpet sounded, and the temple shook,
And all the nations, summon'd at the call,
From different quarters fill the crowded hall,
Of various tongues the mingled sounds were heard;
In various garbs promiscuous throngs appear'd:
Thick as the bees, that with the spring renew
Their flowery toils, and sip the fragrant dew.
When the wing'd colonies first tempt the sky,
O'er dusky fields and shaded waters fly,
Or, settling, seize the sweets the blossoms yield;
And a low murmur runs along the field.
Millions of suppliant crowds the shrine attend,
And all degrees before the goddess bend;
The poor, the rich, the valiant, and the sage,
And boasting youth, and narrative old age.
Their pleas were different, their request the same;
For good and bad alike are fond of Fame.
Some she disgrac'd, and some with honours crown'd;
Unlike successes equal merits found.
Thus her blind sister, fickle Fortune, reigns,
And, undiscerning, scatters crowns and chains.
First at the shrine the learned world appear,
And to the goddess thus prefer their pray'r:-
• Long bave we sought to' instruct and please man-
With studies pale, with midnight vigils blind; [kind,
But thank'd by few, rewarded yet by none,
We here appeal to thy soperior throne:
On wit and learning the just prize bestow,
For fame is all we must expect below.'
The goddess heard, and bade the Muses raise The golden trumpet of eternal praise :From pole to pole the winds diffuse the sound, That fills the circuit of the world around; Not all at once, as thunder breaks the cloud, The notes at first were rather sweet than loud; By just degrees they every moment rise, Fill the wide earth, and gain upon the skies. At every breath were balmy odours shed, Which still.grew sweeter as they wider spread; Less fragrant scents the unfolding rose exhales, Or spices breathing in Arabian gales.
Next these the good and just, an awful train, Thus on their knees address’d the sacred fane : . Since living virtue is with envy curs'd, And the best men are treated like the worst,