« AnteriorContinuar »
Even the rough rocks with tender myrtles bloom,
And trodden weeds send out a rich perfume.
Bear me, fome God, to Baia's gentle seats,
Or cover me in Umbria's green retreats ;
Where western gales eternally reside,
And all the seasons lavish all their pride :
Blossoms, and fruits, and flowers together rise,
And the whole year in gay confufion lies.
Innmortal glories in my mind revive,
And in my soul a thousand paflions strive,
When Rome's exalted beauties 1 defcry
Magnificent in piles of ruin lie.
An amphitheatre's amazing height
Here fills my eye with terror and delight,
That on its public shows unpeopled Rome,
And held uncrowded nations in its womb :
Here pillars rough with sculpture pierce the skies :
And here the proud triumphal arches rise,
Where the old Romans deathless acts display'd,
Their base degenerate progeny upbraid:
Whole rivers here forsake the fields below,
And wond'ring at their heighth through airy channels flow,
Still to new scenes my wand'ring muse retires ;
And the dumb show of breathing rocks admires ;
Where the smooth chisel all its force has shown,
And soften'd into Alesh the rugged stone,
In folemn filence, a majeftic band,
Heroes, and gods, and Roman consuls ftand,
Stern tyrants, whom their cruelties renown,
And emperors in Parian marble frown
While the bright dames, to whom they humbly fu'd,
Still show the charms that their proud hearts subdu'd.
Fain would I Raphael's godlike art rehearse,
And show th' immortal labours in my verse,
Where from the mingled strength of shade and light,
A new creation rises to my fight,
Such heav'nly figures from his pencil flow,
So warm with life his blended colours glow.
From theme to theme with secret pleasure toft,
Amidst the soft variety I'm lost :
Here pleasing airs my ravish'd soul confound
With circling notes and labyrinths of found;
Here domes and temples rise in distant views,
And opening palaces invite my nuse.
How has kind heav'n adorn'd the happy land,
And scatter'd blessings with a wasteful hand !
But what avail her unexhausted stores,
Her blooming mountains, and her funny shores,
With all the gifts that heav'n and earth impart,
The smiles of nature, and the charms of art,
While proud oppression in her valleys reigns,
And tyranny usurps her happy plains ?
The poor inhabitant beholds in vain
The red'ning Orange and the swelling grain :
Joyless he fees the growing oils and wines,
And in the myrtle's fragrant shade repines:
Starves, in the midst of nature's bounty curft,
And in the loaden vineyard dies for thirst.
O liberty, thou goddess heav'nly bright,
Profuse of bliss, and pregnant with delight!
Eternal pleasures in thy presence reign,
And smiling plenty leads thy wanton train ;
Eas'd of her load subjection grows more light,
And poverty looks chearful in thy fight;
Thou mak'it the gloomy face of nature gay,
Giv'it beauty to the sun, and pleasure to the day.
Thee, goddess, thee, Britannia's isle adores ;
How has she oft exhausted all her stores,
How oft in fields of death thy presence sought,
Nor thinks the mighty prize too dearly bought i
On foreign mountains may the sun refine
grapes soft juice, and mellow it to wine,
With citron groves adorn a distant foil,
And the fat olive swell with foods of oil :
We envy not the warmer clime, that lies
In ten degrees of more indulgent skies,
Nor at the coarseness of our heav'n repine,
Tho'o'er our heads the frozen plejads shine:
'Tis liberty that crowns Britannia's ille,
And makes her barren rocks and her bleak mountains smile.
Others with tow'riug piles may please the fight,
And in their proud aspiring domes delight;
A nicer touch to the stretcht canvas give,
Or teach their animated rocks to live :
Tis Britain's care to watch o'er Europe's fate,
And hold in balance each contending state,
To threaten bold presumptuous kings with war,
And answer her aficted neighbour's Pray'r.
The Dane and Swede, 'rous'd up by fierce alarms,
Bless the wise conduct of her pious arms :
Soon as her fleets appear, their terrors cease,
And all the northern world lies hush'd in peace.
Th' ambitious Gaul beholds with secret dread
Her thunder aim'd at his aspiring head,
And fain her godlike lons wou'd disunite
By foreign gold, or by domeftic spite ;
But strives in vain to conquer or divide,
Whom Nasau's arms defend and counsels guide.
Fir'd with the name, which I so oft have found
The distant climes and diff'rent tongues resound,
I bridle in my struggling muse with pain,
That longs to lanch into a bolder strain,
But I've already troubled you too long,
Nor dare attempt a more advent'rous song,
My humble verse demands a softer theme,
A painted meadow, or a purling stream;
Unfit for heroes ; whom immortal lays,
And lines like Virgil's, or like yours, shou'd praise.
There is a fine fpirit of freedom, and love of liberty, display'd in the following letter from lord Lyttleton to Mr. Pope ; and the message from the shade of Virgil, which is truly poetical, and justly preceptive, may prove an useful leffon to future bards.
A Letter from the Right Honourable the Lord LYTTLETON
to Mr. POPE.
From Rome, 1730. Immortal bard! for whom each muse has wove The faireft garlands of th’ Aonian grove ; Preserv'd, our drooping genius to restore, When Addison and Congreve are no more; After so many stars extin& in night, The darken 'd ages last remaining light! To thee from Latian realms this verse is writ, Inspir'd by memory of ancient wit;
For now no more these climes their influence boaft,
Fall’n is their glory, and their virtue loft;
From tyrants, and from priests, the muses fly,
Daughters of reason and of liberty,
Nor Baiæ now, nor Umbria's plain they love,
Nor on the banks of Nar, or Mincia rove ;
To Thames's flow'ry borders they retire,
And kindle in thy breast the Roman fire.
So in the shades, where chear'd with summer rays
Melodious linnets warbled sprightly lays,
Soon as the faded, falling leaves complain
Of gloomy winter's unaufpicious reign,
No tuneful voice is heard of joy or love,
But mournful silence saddens all the grove.
Unhappy Italy! whose alter'd state Has felt the worft severity of fate : Not that barbarian hands her fasces broke, And bow'd her haughty neck beneath their yoke ; Nor that hier palaces to earth are thrown, Her cities defert, and her fields unfown ; But that her ancient spirit is decay'd, That sacred wisdom from her bounds is Aed, That there the source of science flows no more, Whence its rich furcams Supply'd the world before.
Illustrious names ! that once in Latium shin'd, Born to inftruct, and to command mankind; Chiefs, by whose virtue mighty Rome was rais'd, And poets, who those chiefs fublimely prais'd I Oft I the traces you have left explore, Your alhes visit, and your urns adore ; Oft kiss, with lips devout, fome mould'ring stone, With ivy's venerable ihade o'er-grown ; Those hallow'd ruins better pleas'd to see, Than all the pomp of modern luxury.
As late on Virgil's tomb fresh Aow'rs I Atrow'd, While with th' inspiring muse my bosom glow'd, Crown'd with eternal bays, my ravish'd eyes, Beheld the poet's awful form arise: Stranger, he said, whose pious hand has paid These grateful sites to my attentive shade, When thou thalt breathe thy happy native air, To Pope this meffage from his master bear,
Great bard, whose numbers I myself inspire,
To whom I gave my own harmonious lyre,
If high exalted on the throne of wit,
Near Me and Homer thou aspire to fit,
No more let meaner satire dim the rays
That flow majestic from thy noble bays;
In all the flow'ry paths of. Pindus stray,
But thun that thorny, that unpleasing way ;
Nor when each soft engaging muse is thine,
Address the leaft attractive of the nine.
Of thee more worthy were the task, to raise
A lasting column to thy country's praise,
To sing the land, which yet alone can boast
That liberty corrupted Rome has loft ;
Where science in the arms of peace is laid,
And plants her palm beneath the olive's Made.
Such was the theme for which my lyre I strung,
Such was the people whose exploits I fung;
Brave, yet refin'd, for arms and arts renown'd,
With diff'rent bays by Mars and Phæbus crown'd,
Dauntless opposers of tyrannic sway,
But pleas'd, a mild AUGUSTUS to obey.
If these commands fubmissive thou receive,
Immortal and unblam'd thy name shall live;
Envy to black Cocytus shall retire,
And howl with furies in tormenting fire ;
Approving time ihall consecrate thy lays,
And join the patriot's to the poet's praise,
The great use of medals is properly described in the ensuing elegant epistle from Mr. Pope to Mr. Addison ; and the extravagant passion which some people entertain only for the colour of them, is very agreeably and very jully ridiculed.
From Mr. Pops to Mr. Addison. Occafioned by his dialogue
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 like their dead ! Imperial wonders rais'd on nations spoil'd, Where mix'd with Naves the groaning martyr toild: