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Inscriptions here of various Names I view'd,
The greater part by hostile time subdued ;
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;
I look'd again, nor could their trace be found.
Critics I saw, that other names deface,
And fix their own, with labour, in their place :
Their own, like others, soon their place resign'd,
Or disappear'd, and left the first behind.
Nor was the work impair'd by storms alone,
But felt th' approaches of too warm a iun;
For Fame, impatient of extremes, decays
Not more by Envy, than excess of Praise,
Ver. 31. Inscriptions here, &c.]
Tho' saw I all the hill y-grave
With famous folkes names fele,
That had been in much wele
And her fames wide y-blow;
But well unneth might I know,
Any letters for to rede
Their names by, for out of drede
They weren almost off-thawen fo,
That of the letters one or two
Were molte away of every name,
So unfamous was woxe her fame;
But men said, what may ever last ?
Ver. 41. Nor was the work impair'd, &c.]
Tho'gan I in myne harte cast,
That they were molte away for heate,
And not away with stormes beate.
Yet part no injuries of heaven could feel,
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.
Their names infcrib'd unnumber'd ages past
From time's first birth, with time itself shall last;
These ever new, nor subject to decays,
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 funs, unfelt, at distance roll away,
And on th' impaffive ice the lightnings play;
Eternal snows the growing mass fupply,
Till the bright mountains prop th' incumbent sky;
As Atlas fix'd, each hoary pile appears,
The gather'd winter of a thousand years,
Ver. 45. Yet part no injuries, &c.]
For on that other side I fey
Of that hill which northward ley,
How it was written full of names
Of folke, that had afore
Of old time, and yet they were
As fresh as men had written hem there
That self day, or that houre
That I on hem gan to poure :
But well I wiste what it made;
It was conferved with the shade
(All the writing that I fye)
Of the castle that stoode on high,
And stood eke in so cold a place,
That heat might it not deface.
On this foundation Fame's high temple stands;
Stupendous pile! not rear'd by mortal hands.
Whate'er proud Rome or artful Greece beheld,
Or elder Babylon, its frame excell'd.
Four faces had the dome, and every face
Of various fructure, but of equal grace !
Four brazen gates, on columns lifted high,
Salute the different quarters of the sky.
Here fabled Chiefs in darker ages born,
Or Worthies old, whom arms or arts adorn, 70
Who cities rais'd, or tam'd a monstrous race;
The walls in venerable order grace :
Heroes in animated marble frown,
And Legislators seem to think in stone.
Westward, a sumptuous frontispiece appear'd, 75 On Doric pillars of white marble rear’d, Crown'd with an architrave of antique mold, And sculpture rising on the roughen'd gold. In shaggy spoils here Theseus was beheld, And Perseus dreadful with Minerva's shield : There great Alcides, ftooping with his toil, Rests on his club, and holds th' Hesperian spoil : Here Orpheus fings; trees moving to the found Start from their roots, and form a shade around : Amphion there the loud creating lyre
8$ Strikes, and behold a sudden Thebes afpire ! Cythæron's echoes answer to his call, And half the mountain rolls into a wall : There might you see the lengthening fpires ascend, The domes fwell up, the widening arches bend,
The growing towers like exhalations rise,
And the huge columộs heave into the skies.
The Eastern front was glorious to behold,
With diamond flaming, and Barbaric gold.
There Ninus shone, who spread th’ Assyrian fame, 95
founder of the Persian name : There in long robes the royal Magi stand, Grave Zoroaster waves the circling wand : The fage Chaldæans rob’d in white appear’d, And Brachmans, deep in defert woods rever'd. These stopp’d the moon, and call’d th' unbody'd shades To midnight banquets in the glimmering glades; Made visionary fabrics round them rise, And airy spectres skim before their eyes; Of Talismans and Sigils knew the power,
1ος 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, 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, Whom scepter'd flaves in golden harness drew : His hands a bow and pointed javelin hold; 115 His giant limbs are arm'd in scales of gold. Between the statues Obelisks were plac'd, And the learn'd walls with Hieroglyphics gracd.
Of Gothic structure was the Northern side, O’erwrought with ornaments of bas barous pride.
There huge Colosses rose, with trophies crown'd,
And Runic characters were grav'd around.
There fate Zamolxis with erected eyes,
And Odin here in mimic trances dies.
There on rude iron columns, smear'd with blood, 120
The horrid forms of Scythian heroes stood.
Druids and Bards (their once loud harps unstrung)
And youths that died to be by Poets sung.
'These and a thousand more of doubtful fame,
To whom old fables gave a lasting name,
In ranks adorn'd the Temple’s outward face;
The wall in lustre and effect like glass,
Which, o'er each object casting various dyes,
Enlarges fome, and others multiplies:
Nor void of emblem was the mystic wall,
For thus romantic Fame increases all.
The Temple thakes, the founding gates unfold, Wide vaults appear, and roofs of fretted gold : Rais’d on a thousand pillars wreath'd around With laurel-foliage, and with eagles crown'd:
140 Of bright transparent beryl were the walls, The freezes gold, and gold the capitals: As heaven with stars, the roof with jewels glows, And ever-living lamps depend in rows. Full in the passage of each spacious gate,
145 The fage Historians in white garments wait;
Ver. 132. The wall in lustre, &c.]
It thone lighter than a glass,
And made well more than it was,
As kind of thing Fame is.