« PreviousContinue »
- Quoniam hæc ratio plerumque videtur
Occasioned by Mr. Addison's Treatise 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'd like their dead ! Some felt the silent stroke of mould'ring 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 bury'd 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 narrow orb each crowded conquest keeps ; Beneath her palm here sad Judea weeps; Now scantier limits the proud arch confine, And scarce are seen the prostrate Nile and 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, Thro' climes and ages bears each form and name : In one short view, subjected to our eye, Gods, emp’rors, 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;
Theirs is the vanity, the learning thine.
O when shall Britain, conscious of her claim, Stand emulous of Greek and Roman fame? In living medals see her wars enrollid, 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: Orin 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. 66 Statesman, yet friend to truth! in soul sincere, In action faithful, and in honour clear; Who broke no 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 lov'd.”